Some Oiler Rumblings

We haven't heard much in respect to the Oilers since prospect camp started. It's almost like management took some time and ignored the dealings in the NHL to watch the kids play like so many Edmontonians did.

But, not all is totally quiet...

Mike Comrie

To further an article Brownlee did on Oilers Nation today regarding Mike Comrie and his status with the Oilers, we did a little digging to see if anyone we knew had heard anything. We didn't find much, but a couple tidbits that were interesting.

Mike Comrie's first choice is Edmonton. He's let the management know it and he's advised those that are listening that he'd be willing to wait a little for another 1 year deal until Edmonton gets the "holes" filled that need filling. Comrie's take is that he didn't get the chance to prove what he wanted last year when he made his return. He'd like to have one full healthy season with the Oilers to get his numbers back on track and in a place the Oilers find him either a) indispensible or b) worth a lot more than $1.2 million on the open market.

Those are all good things for Edmonton fans hoping the Oilers keep Comrie one more year. The trick is that Comrie might not wait forever. As Brownlee pointed out (and we hadn't heard any specific names, but I believe Brownlee when he says it) there are teams kicking tires. There shouldn't be much concern over the next five days or so with teams like Chicago and San Jose battling over Hjalmarsson as they'd be silly to make other moves while this Hjalmarsson RFA offer thing is going on, but after that all bets are off. If Edmonton wants Comrie signed, they need to do it in a week or two. My guess is if they don't we might see Comrie in a San Jose uniform.

Simon Gagne

Despite how big I think it is that Gagne could get placed on waivers, the people I talked to don't seem to hear anything in the Oilers office about it. They think it's because no one truly believes that the Flyers would waive Gagne and that eventually a trade would be approved by Gagne to someplace like L.A.

I was also corrected about Gagne's ability to be traded at the end of the season if Edmonton claims him on waivers. The belief is that Gagne would have to be put back on waivers before being traded by Edmonton at the deadline. If this is true, it takes away a major factor in picking Gagne up as an investment.

I still believe if Gagne is put on waivers a team would be silly not to take a proven goal scorer, but the Oilers do have depth on left wing. Perhaps it's why there hasn't been much excitement about the rumors.

Teemu Hartikainen and Linus Omark

There is some buzz going that outside of the big three (Eberle, MPS and Hall) Hartikainen was the sleeper prospect in this years camp and may get some time with the big club. There is a feeling with the lack of options at that 3rd line center spot, Teemu may get a look if he does well prior to making the jump to the NHL.

Hartikainen caught the eye of a number of coaches and management.

There is also word that some think Linus Omark who many call a shoe in for Oklahoma, might be considered more than just a straight to the minors guy. Obviously Omark wasn't at camp, but there is some thought he might get serious consideration and be that 4th prospect Renney was talking about in interviews when he said "who knows, maybe we're taking about more than three guys making this team".

Rob Neidermayer

It sounds as though Edmonton wasn't too concerned they lost out on Neidermayer and their kicking tires wasn't an official offer. It was rumored Neidermayer had given serious consideration to Edmonton, but that Buffalo offered something official more quickly and he jumped on the sure thing.

The Oilers may not do much about that third line center spot until arbitration hearings or pre-signings with players like Gilbert Brule. The Oilers might be back and forth about whether or not they already have something in their system that could effectively fill that 3rd line void.

Tom Gilbert

Spoke to a guy who spoke to a guy who had the chance to talk to Tom Gilbert (take that to mean I have no idea how valid this is). They said Gilbert was extremely excited for the coming season and getting the chance to play with Ryan Whitney.

Gilbert was the biggest benefactor when Whitney arrived and went on an incredible offensive point producing run. Gilbert feels his game is more suited to that style of play and that his pairings last year left him to be the more defensive minded of the two defencemen, which he wasn't totally comfortable with. Whitney liked to work with Gilbert and Gilbert with Whitney.

My buddy seems to think Gilbert can get 60 points plus playing with Whitney for an entire season and being on the top powerplay unit. I'm not as sold, but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility.

Taylor Hall Partying It Up

There were some spottings of Taylor Hall throughout prospect camp around Edmonton. Some of the recollections of what Taylor Hall was doing involved guest bartending, partying and enjoying the nightlife. As you can guess, reaction to it was mixed and sparked some conversation about the Oilers arranging a living situation with a seasoned pro for Hall during his rookie campaign.

I agree on the living situation as many good players like Crosby and Gagner have done it, but not because he was seen partying a couple times during the offseason. Let me be the first to say the following about people seeing Hall partying... who cares.

I didn't see Taylor Hall except at the camp. He looked a bit sluggish at times, but he was probably beat up and tired from the non-stop press and media buzz surrounding his being the 1st overall pick and it being to a hockey mad market like Edmonton. Some should consider it a good sign that Hall is enjoying what the city has to offer.

I don't want to hear of course that Hall isn't preparing to be the best he can be for the Oilers this season because of course Edmonton has a lot riding on his success, but sheesh, players like the Staals, Jason Arnott, Patrick Kane and half the Montreal Canadiens roster have done worse than guest bartend somewhere. This is no big deal and shouldn't be taken to the extreme.

Shawn Horcoff

I've been told from people who have seen Horcoff, is that he's leaned out a bit. There was some concern that he put too much beef on in an effort to get more physical and was concerned about another injury while doing rehab and playing. His overcompensating for it took away from his speed.

Horcoff isn't given much credit for being as fast as he actually is, and I think it will be a good thing if Horcoff is around the weight he was before his injury. Personally I hope that of all the players on this years roster to bounce back or really shine it's Shawn Horcoff.

When the pressure wasn't on him last season as the year closed, he was argueably Edmonton's best forward playing along side Moreau and Pisani. Despite the odds he won't have either as linemates this year, it would be nice to see him pick up where he left off on that little run.


Post a Comment

Oilers and Flyers Need to Talk

News came today that Nikolai Zherdev was signed by the Flyers to a one year $2 million dollar deal. When word first broke that Zherdev wanted to return and it was the Flyers who were interested, everyone seemed to ask the same questions -- how could the Flyers possibly afford Zherdev?

The $2 million dollar number Zherdev signed for one year is far less than the rumored reports Zherdev was seeking $4 million over multiple years. That kind of money was outrageous considering what he offers and his reputation as a skilled but full of attitude and half-assed effort kind of player. The reality is, the Flyers got a pretty good offensive weapon at a pretty good price.

The question still remains how the Flyers intend to get themselves under the cap. Here are the logical choices and to me, everyone single one of them speaks volumes that Steve Tambellini should pick up the phone and make something happen here...

Simon Gagne is placed on waivers

I'd be amazed if the Flyers gave Gagne away for free, but from a report we wrote on earlier, it sounds like this is an option the Flyers are considering. Edmonton becomes the first team eligible to lay claim to Gagne if he is waived and despite the strengths of the Oilers on LW, they should take Gagne if he's free.

Gagne has one year with a manageable cap hit. He's a two time 40 goal scorer, a veteran leader and he gives the Oilers prospects a bit more time should they require it. I'd like to see the kids play, but if they're not ready passing on Gagne now is a kick yourself proposition later if you need someone when a LW goes back to the AHL.

If the Flyers are not 100% sure, I'd even throw a 6th rounder to Philadelphia in trade so they get something instead of nothing. You'll easily be able to upgrade the 6th for a 2nd or higher come the trade deadline for a playoff team needing to make a push. With only one year on his contract, he becomes one of the most attractive deadline deals for any team if he's healthy. The Oilers likely won't re-sign him so make him an investment.

Scott Hartnell is Moved for Cap Space

The Oilers like Hartnell. Why wouldn't they? He's 6' and 210 pounds and nasty. He's tough, he does the dirty work, he's big, he's still young and he's signed until a point the Oilers should be competitive. Because of his $4.2 cap hit, he's also likely a move for the Flyers to clear their cap space problems.

The thing I like about Hartnell is that he has another gear. In big games and in nasty situations, he seems to excel. Look at last years playoffs for example. Hartnell had a decent regular season with 14 goals and 44 points, but in the playoffs he had 8 goals and 17 points in 23 games. That's huge.

He might be too expensive to be a third line guy, but man oh man would he fit nicely there and he can be used on the 2nd unit powerplay and used effectively for the Edmonton Oilers. Over in the depth chart it would give Edmonton Penner/Hall/Hartnell/Jones. That's a line-up your set with at left wing for a long time. It's got a nice combination of speed, size, grit and feistiness. It's also under $12 million of your entire cap which is not terrible in the bigger picture.

Jeff Carter Moved to Clear Cap Space

Carter's been talked about a lot in rumors involving the Flyers and possible trades. He wasn't a factor in last years playoffs thanks to two broken feet, so for some reason that makes him expendable. If he is and money can't go back the other way, why not an Andrew Cogliano or Gilbert Brule, Theo Peckham and a late draft pick for Carter?

That's decent value going the other way and should save the Flyers the $2 million plus in space they need to save. The Oilers give up good prospects but get a 30-40 goal and 60-75 point first line center. If the Flyers cap problems mean when Carter's RFA contract is due he has to be shipped anyways, Philly might as well get something you can use now instead of less later.

Some might suggest Carter's RFA status a problem for Edmonton, but think about it this way. Re-signing Carter is going to be in the Oilers favor come contract time. Even if Carter earns an RFA offer, the Oilers are bound to get a pile of draft picks when that offer comes in somewhere around $5 million per season. If it's $5 million or less, the Oilers would likely match.

With Carter in, the Oilers have Carter/Gagner/Horcoff/Fraser. That's about $13-$14 million depending on what Gagner gets for this contract. It means that Horcoff is overpaid as a third line center, but we already knew that. I'd still do the deal and try to move the space later. It's not like the Oilers all of a sudden become the Flyers and go $2 million over the cap.

Flyers Move Daniel Carcillo Because There's No Room to Re-sign Him

Daniel Carcillo is a jerk. He's also a great fourth line winger who can play higher than fourth line minutes at an affordable price. You hate him on every other team he plays for and perhaps you don't like him as an Oiler, but he can be effective and has hockey skill.

He's purely a depth trade for Edmonton in which the Oilers would move maybe a late round draft pick to get him considering the Flyers have no space to sign him. He's got a reputation for stirring the pot, but he will drop the gloves if he has to.

Flyers Trade Matt Carle Because They See Him As Somewhat Expendable

I'm not sure this is actually the train of thought in Philadelphia right now, but look at what the Flyers have on defence. Pronger, Timonen, Mezaros, Coburn, Carle and others. Of those names Carle seems the odd man out.

Carle makes $3.4 million for the next three years and makes total sense as a #3 or #4 defenceman on the Oilers. He logs 23 plus minutes of hard ice-time, he can kill penalties and he logged heavy powerplay time.

In any other situation Carle isn't likely someone you'd trade. The Flyers aren't in any other situation though.


Long story short (I may be passed that point now), there are literally a number of options for what Edmonton should see as attractive players. Some of them are temporary stop-gaps while the kids mature and others are actually workable parts you can include in your rebuild.

If things got interesting there could be a deal that sees more than one of things happen at the same time. The interesting part becomes what these Flyers players are worth in terms of cache around the NHL. If a lot, the Oilers might not have much to go on here except Gagne (who if waived Edmonton has first shot at).

Even if that's all Edmonton does here, that's a pretty good upgrade for one year and a solid investment comes trade deadline day to pick up more picks or prospects for a proper rebuild.


Post a Comment

Is Simon Gagne Too Good To Pass Up?

Darren Dreger reported something interesting on Thursday. A tweet in the afternoon read "Some NHL execs think Philly will place Gagne on waivers, if a trade isn't found very soon."

It sounds like something that wouldn't catch the eyes and ears of many and it didn't even find its way to the TSN site, but this is pretty big news. Simon Gagne is a legit first line winger in the NHL. Despite some injury riddled seasons, he's posted multiple 60 plus point runs and at least two 40 goal campaigns. The fact that the Flyers are considering moving him, especially for a wildcard like Zherdev amazes me.

But, that's not really the point here.

Gagne is a strong option for a team that lacks a big time, first line goal scoring forward. His cap hit is a bit high, but at $5.25 is manageable. He's also only got one year remaining in his current deal which means that Gagne quickly becomes a small risk and a great pickup for someone on waivers who isn't forced to make a trade or give up assets to obtain him.

Let's put it this way, Gagne is not Sheldon Souray -- he's simply too good, he's lower priced, he offers value and he's got a good attitude. He won't be passed over by 29 other NHL teams.

With the timing of this news, is it me or is it too bad the Oilers have a lot of left wingers? Just our luck that while Edmonton could use a veteran to help lead the kids along and someone who has a reputation for being a pure goal scorer is literally dropped on the doorstep, this is one time the Oilers might not actually be interested.

With the Oilers first to have a crack at a waiver eligible player, not taking advantage of such an opportunity seems a shame if it becomes available. One might think finding a way to fit him in versus letting him simply pass on by for another team to jump on is what the Oilers should consider. Gagne and his one year could be just the right player at the right time to buy the kids more time and if need be, moving pieces (without having to get rid of them) should be possible.

It's too bad that might not happen.


Post a Comment

Ryan Smyth Not An Option For Oilers

With all due respect to Ryan Rishaug of TSN, tweeting that Ryan Smyth would be a good fit for the Oilers was Rishaug simply tweeting his opinion. He's entitled to it, but in his position he might want to be more careful with his words.

Rishaug has been nothing shy of extremely informative since joining the twitter world. He got some great scoops at the draft, he's been adding updated news on players and prospects the Oilers have signed or were trying to sign, and he's been bang on with almost everything. Long story short, I'm a fan of Rishaug and I follow his tweets often. When he says something, I think it has legs and don't for a second discredit his ability to get inside information.

The problem is this bit of news was an opinion misunderstood as a possibility Edmonton was looking at. I don't think Rishaug realized just how much people might hang on his every word -- or tweets if you will -- because of his job title and associated clout in the industry. From his subsequent tweets on the same subject, it's clear he realized he should calm the waters before it became too late.

Mere minutes after Rishaug posted his tweets, the Oilers blogosphere was flooded with articles about the possibilities of Ryan Smyth coming back to Edmonton in a deal for Sheldon Souray. From bloggers like our little site here, to widely respected names like Robin Brownlee, writers have been giving their two cents. That's the beauty of blogging and what blogging is all about. Yet, this specific rumor has gotten way bigger than it should have.

My opinion might upset Oiler fans hoping to see Souray moved. My opinion is in definite disagreement with Rishaug and Brownlee who posted (or seemingly suggested) Souray possibly being moved for Smyth. I'm going to give it anyways.

Unless some major cards fall down and Lombardi loses his marbles after not getting Kovalchuk (or paying way too much to get Kovalchuk) Ryan Smyth for Sheldon Souray isn't going to happen. Not now, not ever.

I could go on and on about the reasons why this deal makes no sense. I could also go on and on about why I'd love to see this trade. If the Oilers could do it, I would be floored with enthusiasm. I like Ryan Smyth. He's captain material on a team that isn't sure who their captain should be and him being in Edmonton makes a lot of sense from an Oilers perspective. But for the Kings, this trade makes little sense. Here's why...

Sheldon Souray has absolutely no cache around the NHL right now. None. If a trade like this was an option it would have happened by now and Souray being placed on and clearing waivers should be an indication of that. With Souray's history of injury, his cap hit and his attitude, I don't see Souray's cache going up later down the road either. Unless Souray plays in the NHL to start the season -- and plays extremely well -- the Oilers were always aware that in any trade involving Souray, they'd be taking on salary. That wasn't going to be a surprise to anyone.

When it comes to specially using Kovalchuk as the trigger in this trade, here is where it gets even more complicated.

Kovalchuk is likely mere days away from making a decision. Even though he hasn't yet, everyone knew the Kings were on the top of the list from day one. Should Kings GM Dean Lombardi be successful in snagging Kovalchuk from free agency, he would have formulated some kind of plan to let the dominos fall once Kovalchuk was on board. If Rishaug has information on it now, why would he not have gotten information back then?

My guess, is because no conversation -- or at least not a serious one -- has likely taken place between Lombardi and Tambellini. If Smyth was trade bait, Tambellini would know (assuming he's doing his job shopping Souray). Furthermore, if Tambellini had some inkling that a trade like this was possible, why put Souray on waivers before Kovalchuk decides? It just doesn't make sense to risk losing Souray for nothing if a possible return you'd be interested in was Ryan Smyth.

Another huge factor here, is that this entire trade idea is reliant on the fact that Kovalchuk goes to the Kings. That's a big "if". Lombardi has now backed away from negotiations with Kovalchuk twice, which should give us some indication of the seriousness and stop at nothing mentality of the Kings to get this UFA deal done. The Kings would like Kovalchuk in the fold, but not at the cost of the teams recent success. Lombardi won't be willing to overpay and he won't mess up team chemistry, depth or momentum just to accomodate a player who's already proven himself to be a handful.

Signing Kovalchuk to anything more than a $7 million dollar cap hit per year risks the future success of the Kings franchise. Yes the Kings have $17 million in cap space (well near the most of any NHL team) but Lombardi has Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds all up for contracts by the end of next season and adding a player with a $10 million dollar hit no matter who you get rid of hurts your odds of re-signing all of those players.

Add to it that the logical choice should Kovalchuk get his $7 million plus wouldn't be to move Smyth. With the lack of left wing depth on the Kings roster, a name like Justin Williams or Michal Handzus makes more sense. They too have big cap hits and they too make adding Souray's number doable.

The Kings actually have depth in the center and right wing positions and could move one without shaking up too drastically the makeup of the team. In contrast, Kovalchuk and Smyth would really be the only two top six left wingers on that squad. Why trade Smyth which then gives your team only one?

This is not even considering the fact that Ryan Smyth has a no-trade clause in his contract. In blogs and articles I read, some pointed this out quickly. Just as quickly many pointed out that Smyth would be willing in a heartbeat to waive it and come back to Edmonton. Why and what makes people think this? I'm not suggesting he wouldn't. I'm suggesting the odds that he would or wouldn't are about the same. To me, there are lots of reasons Smyth might not want to return.

Smyth left the organization on not the greatest terms. The franchise felt like they had to move him because of his unwillingness to take a home-town discount. He was upset Edmonton couldn't boost their offer by a mere $100,000 to get a deal done. The result was being shipped to the NYI. I'm not saying there is, but perhaps there is still some left over feelings there.

The Oilers are also rebuilding and far from a cup contender. Smyth finishes out his current deal in two seasons and he's on the right team for that situation. How much longer will Smyth be playing with his recent injury history? Wouldn't he want a chance to win a cup which he's yet to do? Edmonton is likely the last place he'd have that chance and the Kings give him a shot.

By coming to the Oilers, Smyth would have to be willing to admit to himself he's not going to be anything more than a semi-productive mentor. That's a serious blow to a man who likely still thinks he has something to offer.

We're also assuming here that the Oilers would like to add a $6 million plus 3rd line winger. I'm sure to get rid of one contract they take on another, but Smyth being buried there isn't the answer for the Oilers. It's the lesser of two evils sure, but logic suggests Edmonton to seek options before they seek this one.

Ryan Smyth is a nice idea, but it's not a realistic one. Yes, stranger things have happened, but with everything the Oilers have done thus far, nothing to me suggests this move makes sense. If it didn, I'm hard pressed to see how it hasn't happened yet. What's your thought?


Post a Comment

Nabokov 4yrs in KHL?

It's not Oiler related, but it looks like big ticket goaltender UFA Evgeni Nabokov has signed a 4yr deal with the KHL. Not much of a home these days for expensive goalies in the NHL.

More as we get it...


Post a Comment

Ryan Stone Heads to Calgary

The first of what will likely be a few exiting UFA's from last years Oilers squad has left knowing there just isn't going to space for them in Edmonton.
UFA Ryan Stone has signed with the Calgary Flames. A two way deal worth $500,000 in the NHL and $100,000 in the AHL has sent Stone south a few hundred kilometers.

Stone missed much of last season with the Oilers due to a knee surgery. In 27 games he tallied 6 points and 48 penalty minutes.

Some quick reaction from a few fans has people suggesting Stone is the next Curtis Glencross. People were upset when Glencross was signed to a contract in Calgary after being seemingly ignored by the Oilers. Glencross started strong in the first part of the following season, but never really became the superstar his points in the final few games he played with Edmonton might have suggested he'd be.

Stone is a gritty mucker type player. The Oilers won't miss him though. He played few games, he fills no real glaring need and I'll bet if people had to try and figure out where to stick him in the depth chart of this years Oilers squad, they wouldn't know where to start.

Better to let him move on and try and earn some playing time elsewhere.


Post a Comment

Oilers Prospect Camp Day 1

I had the chance to pop by the camp this morning. I got there just after 9am and was able to grab a good seat. Glad I did because by 10am it was packed.

Lots of people just wanting to watch the new faces and lots of people with no clue who certain people were, but it was cool to see Edmontonians get behind these kids as the Oilers will likely have a number of them in their lineup come opening night.

Here's a few notes from what I gathered today:

The Oilers started with some skating drills with Steve Serdachny. I'm no hockey player, but some of the drills were interesting including a jumping drill when players would wave their own sticks under their feet and be forced to jump over them. Some of the prospects did well, others really struggled. This was the first time I noticed MPS who really stood out here. As you read you'll start to notice a recurring theme... MPS was awesome -- there is some real power in his stride.

Serdachny wasted no time getting on kids and he played no favorites. Among others, he harped on Eberle a bit. Not because Eberle wasn't skating but I think because he saw the potential in Eberle being able to set the tone to the rest of the rookies. I was impressed with Eberle considering the knock on him is his skating speed. Eberle to me actually looked a step faster than a lot of the other prospects and from what I've seen before.

The zamoboni came out and did a lap around the ice. All went well until the second machine spit out a whack of ice and left the driver looking like a real putz. Kelly Buchburger wound up spending a few minutes trying to get rid of the debris. Fortunately it had no effect on the rest of the day.

Mike Sillinger took over with some additional offensive drills. 3 on 0 and breakout drills were the meal of the day. Again, some kids struggled and others picked up on things right away. You could really tell the high end prospects from some of the later picks. A few names surprised me too like Kristians Pelss who has an unbelieveable release. Again MPS stood out with his speed and size. Taylor Hall got a few fan reactions for some pretty stick handling and shots when he started to put a bit more effort into it. For the most part however, Hall looked tired and not surprisingly. I can't imagine how much running around he's done since his arrival.

Renney, Sillinger and Buchburger then finished off with some breakout drills and game of rebound on the goalie Tyler Bunz. Bunz looked great and the only player to really light him up was center Tyler Pitlick. Pitlick has a great snap/wrist shot and scored about three consecutive on a goalie who otherwise made some crazy good saves.

In an interview after day one, Renney mentioned after the fact that there wasn't too much of a premuim placed on effort today. This camp is more about the kids getting to know each other, the coaching staff and getting their footing back on the ice. Many of the kids were tired, jet lagged and haven't rested much yet.

Kids like Anton Lander, who provided the most entertaining moments of the day with a few spills and a nice reaction to a fan with a Sweden t-shirt, was visibily tired. He landed late last night, but kept a smile on his face all day.

It was an interesting camp to say the least and I look forward to tomorrow. I'll be looking at a few of the defencemen in a bit more detail. If you have any players you'd like me to keep an eye on, feel free to leave it in the comments section.


Post a Comment

What Heading For Arbitration Will Tell Us About Three Oilers

31 players filed for arbitration on Monday. Three of them came from the Edmonton Oilers.

Gilbert Brule, Jeff Deslauriers and J.F. Jacques have all decided they have a case to make before an arbitrator. Their hope is to get the maximum allowable for a player of similar skillset, experience and salary in their given position. Their other hope? To stay employed when all is said and done.

For two of these three players, the odds of employment may have gone down a tad.

Gilbert Brule is the one player of these three that might have the right to take the Oilers to arbitration. As a first round draft pick, he played significantly more minutes last season, scored 17-20-37 in 65 games and came in fourth in team scoring. Had he played a full 82 game schedule, he can argue he was on pace for 22 goals and 25 assists for 45 points.

Those results are reasonable numbers for a player looking to get a $2 million plus salary for about two years. That Brian Burke gave Kulemin a similar deal in Toronto, helps the cause of a player like Brule when making compareables.

The other card up Brule's sleeve is that he is aware of Edmonton's desire to keep him knowing he has tremendous upside and grit unlike some of the other fowards on this roster. He fits into their 3rd line center depth chart nicely and his skills suit him to be a top six forward.

For a number of reasons, unless a trade becomes available to Edmonton that sees Brule involved and gives the Oilers better return or a chance to make other required moves, the Oilers will likely try to get a deal done before Brule's scheduled arbitration hearing. Something similar to what Nilsson got two years ago isn't out of the question.

As for J.F. Jacques and Jeff Deslauriers? They should be hoping this decision doesn't cost them their respective jobs.

With how little Jacques contributes to the Oilers and the competing forwards looking for NHL jobs, Jacques should have considered himself lucky to have been qualified by Edmonton. He's been injured, he's been ineffective and he's produced nothing offensively or defensively that would warrant a large pay increase over his previous salary of $500,000.

We know Tambellini thinks a lot of what a healthy J.F. could do in terms of grit and more skilled size, but this move by J.F. can't make the Oilers happy. What kind of raise does Jacques expect to get? Is he really of the mindset that players like Boogaard and Konopka who did well in free agency is a worthwhile measuring stick?

Whatever Jacques receives from an abitrator might be a mute point. The Oilers should have no problems letting Jacques hearing come and go. If he's awarded anything more than a sniff of $700,000, the Oilers should just walk away and I think they are prepared to. I don't have it on any kind of authority, but this is the kind of writing on the wall that leads a player who should consider himself lucky to have a job, unsurprised when he isn't lucky to keep it.

Then there's Jeff Deslauriers. Deslauriers has a bit stronger a case, but it isn't looking good for the default starter. The Oilers are in no real rush to keep Deslauriers. Instead the real issue here is that the Oilers are hesitant to give up Deslauriers for nothing. No team wants to lose a higher draft pick for nothing. Deslauriers is taking a risk that Edmonton feels that way about him too.

Edmonton is already dealing with the three headed goalie monster. Tambellini has gone on record saying there won't be three goalies to start the season. Between Khabibulin, Dubnyk and Deslauriers, where does JDD think that leaves him?

If Khabibulin doesn't return, Deslaurier may catch a break. If Bulin does come back, Deslauriers may be looking for a backup job somewhere since the Oilers can and likely will sign Dubnyk to a much lower and more reasonable contract. If all else fails, Edmonton can always head to the wealth of goalie talents on the market that can be had for fair value.

Three very different cases, three likely different outcomes. A betting man might say Brule has the best shot at being an Oiler next season. Even that isn't a gimmie by any means.


Post a Comment

Probert...More Than a Fighter

This is Bob Probert. Most know him as one of the heavyweight greats. His bouts with the likes of Tie Domi, Stu Grimson, Joey Kocur, Marty McSorley and others are of legend in the NHL. Probert truly was a feared tough guy and known league wide for it.

Probert was drafted as the 4th pick in the third round (46th overall) in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, in which the Red Wings also selected his "Bruise Brother" Joey Kocur. He spent his career as a penalty minute producing machine until 1989 when he was arrested for cocaine possession while crossing the Detroit-Windsor border. He served three months in a federal prison in Minnesota, three more months in a halfway house, and was indefinitely suspended from the NHL. The NHL lifted the suspension at the conclusion of his prison term.

The time didn't seem to slow Probert down too much, coming back as an Alternate Captain with Detroit and averaging 40 points a season. He continued as a strong roster player for the Red Wings until 1994 when Probert wasn't renewed in Detroit after a motorcycle accident that again got him in a bit of legal trouble.

While Probert had his ups and downs, many don't know how good of a hockey player Probert was. Younger fans now know him as one of the true heavyweights back in the day. Heavyweights in that regard did have decent NHL careers. But Probert was unlike the Derek Boogaards of todays NHL because Probert was a skilled NHL'er who produced often as many points and he did penalties.

Did you know that Probert had 5 NHL seasons where he was close to 40 points or more? Can you remember the last true heavyweight to do that? Did you know that in 87/88 Probert had 62 points in the regular season and 21 points in 16 games during the playoffs? He scored more than 20 goals twice in his career and in one season came awfully close with 19.

Except being voted to the 87–88 Campbell Conference all-star team, Probert would make you pay on the ice in a bunch of ways and he rarely got enough credit for it.


Today, AM 800 CKLW reported that emergency crews met a boat with other passengers in Lakeshore, Ont., just east of Windsor. On that boat was the 45-year-old Probert who had collapsed and at the time had no vital signs. They performed CPR on the former Red Wings and Blackhawks’ forward and transported him to Windsor Regional Hospital, but he could not be revived. Probert was later pronounced dead.

Probert, who was married with twin boys, had a great NHL career. In 16 seasons in NHL Probert had amassed 384 points and 3,300 penalty minutes. He was feared, liked, respected and popular around the league. Probert had his troubles, but had cleaned up his life to a large degree. He made a lot of post career appearances including charity work and a recent visit with the Canadian troops in Afghanistan as part of an NHL alumni tour.

Probert will always be remembered as one of the true heavyweights. I'll remember him as a guy who had his ups and downs, but seemed much nicer in public appearances than his on-ice persona ever made you think he'd be.

This is a sad day for the NHL and for Bob Probert's family and friends. Our prayers go out to everyone who knew him and for the fans who loved to watch Probert do his thing.


Post a Comment

Things to Expect Today from the Oilers

With the holiday, everyone in the NHL seemed to take the weekend off. The only real news of note finishing off Saturday and throughout Sunday's holiday was that Kovalchuk was off the radar of the Los Angeles Kings. Not an entirely exciting weekend for hockey.

Monday should see things pick up a bit. Here's what to expect...

Niedermayer Yes or No?

The Oilers are kicking tires on Rob Niedermayer. We listed Rob in an article we did last week as someone we thought the Oilers might target. Well Edmonton along with we hear as many as five other teams have expressed interest. The good news for Oiler fans, is that it's been said Rob will heavily consider an Oilers offer if one is made.

Monday may be the day Niedermayer makes a decision. If so, and Rob chooses the Oilers, expect Tambellini to start looking to trim instead of add. Edmonton may look at other UFA's down the road when more of the dust settles and some great value is out there in low-end signings or tryouts, but if they land their third line faceoff and penalty killer, a large chunk of what the Oilers sought out to do will be accomplished.

Hall To Sign?

Expect Taylor Hall to have his first NHL contract in his pretty little hands on Monday. The goal is to have Hall enter rookie camp starting Tuesday as an Oiler under contract. Expect something in the neighbourhood of $3.75 million after bonuses, which is very similar to the deal signed by Tavares last season.

Don't expect Hall to have a number yet. He's gone on record saying it looks like #4 is not in the cards and a new number will have to be chosen. This could change depending on Kevin Lowe, but it's not likely fans will be able to crest their jerseys just yet.

Who's Between the Pipes?

People are wondering what will happen with the goalies. Don't expect an answer on Monday. In fact, don't expect one until Wednesday at the earliest when Nikolai Khabibulin has his appearance in court for the DUI charges he's facing in Arizona.

The Oilers likely won't decide anything until they know the fate of their now starter and whether his $3.75 is a cap hit. It likely will be unless Khabibulin gets a load of jail time (and even then I'm not certain of the rules on this), but the chances are he won't serve much and any time can be served around the season.

Souray Speaks?

The Sheldon Souray situation is likely far from over. Unless by some miracle a few more defencemen get plucked from the free agent market and Souray all of a sudden becomes attractive to one of the 29 teams who passed on his waiver rights, Sheldon Souray will be staying quiet until he's moved.

That move may be another NHL team or it may be just off the Oilers roster, where he'll sit collecting some money. Souray now knows for sure the Oilers don't want him around. Any conversations that might change that fact will take time and mending fences won't happen overnight.

What's the Story With Sam Gagner?

The Oilers have a lot of RFA contracts to consider and Sam Gagner is likey high on the priority list. Will a deal get done Monday? Perhaps not, but one should be on the table soon.

The risk of an RFA offer is low, but if anyone might receive one from Edmonton it's Gagner. The Oilers will have to decide if they wait to see what gets offered (if one is), what it will take to match it or the draft picks they might get in return to not match, or they'll try to avoid the process altogether and get a deal done for a number they think is lower than any offer that might be tendered.

If I had to guess, Gagner might be looking at a one year for $2.5 with the expectation that if his numbers improve he'll be in line for a bigger deal, or the Oilers will try to sign Gagner for a minimum of three years.


Post a Comment

More To Read