Tuesday, February 09, 2010
The biggest problem for the Oilers? Up front.
What a disaster.
The goaltending is a mess but it could be fixed by Khabibulin staying healthy or the Oilers getting out from under his cap hit using the obscure loophole or by simply signing a co-number one, if they can find one.
The D, while struggling this season, is a nice mix of kids and vets and if it were status quo next season I think they'd be okay if they could stay healthy. Weird to say based on the shitshow last night when the Yotes blew them out with all hands but Souray on deck but I don't mind the D all that much. And there's quality on the farm and guys with different skillsets amongst those prospects.
But the forwards?
They are too small. Too inexperienced. Too one dimensional. Too inconsistent. Too soft. Too shitty.
Out of the whole lot of them there are only a handful worth a damn.
And even the good news isn't really that good. The Oilers have some interesting guys on the way, some possible quality. Paarjavi-Svensson, Eberle, Lander, Nash, Vande Velde, the Finn, Omark, Cornet. Plus they will have a top pick this summer, likely either Hall or Seguin.
The Swedes and the Finn have all played against men already so that's a plus. Lander and Nash and Van De Velde bring a wider range of skills than the others. (Hell they bring a wider range of skills than most of the guys with the big club right now.)
Here's the problem. The last few years the Oilers have been guilty of throwing out kid after kid into positions where they certainly cannot succeed. And now they have a whack of guys on the way and a whack of guys at the big league level who should be flushed and I'm envisioning Eberle playing with Moreau and Stone and MPS in the pressbox and another line of kids getting eaten alive.
The Oilers barely have any NHL players as it is and now they have a bunch of choices to make.
But first they have to answer these questions.
Will the younger Euros come over? Should they?
Does it make sense for MPS and Lander and the Finn to make their way over? I would guess the latter two would be in Oklahoma City and that's probably fine but does MPS go to the minors? Despite Maguire's bleatings he's not an elite NHLer now nor is he the Oilers' best forward RIGHT NOW but he's probably better than, say Jacques, or Cogliano. He's playing in a pretty good league, against men, and his numbers show that he is holding his own as does word of mouth. But he's another kid.
Is there a spot for Omark?
The Youtube shit aside, we know that Omark has put up pretty good numbers for two years in real leagues. We don't know much else though. We certainly don't know what he can do in the NHL. His equivalencies are good though. Does he deserve a shot or is he a throwin on a deal? If they bring him over there's another spot for an untested smaller youngster.
How about Eberle?
The Oilers are going to be selling hope and Eberle is famous. To me this is the easiest choice of all. Despite his pedigree he is still behind MPS, I would think, and he's still a smaller skill guy. He's a guy who starts in the minors. Same as Getzlaf and Perry and a whole bunch of others have.
What about Seguin or Hall?
Based on the WJC Hall is quality but he's not as good as Eberle. So then he or Seguin should go back to junior, right?
When's the last time a top two pick from junior didn't make the big club? And in a case where a kid dominates junior and has no other option is it helpful to his game to go back to play against kids?
I have no idea and of course it depends on the player but rightly or wrongly this kid is going to probably be breaking camp with the big club.
Now Do You See The Problem?
Of course you do. The Oilers are going to move Moreau and Pisani and Comrie if anyone will have them although strangely enough I have enjoyed the second comring of Comrie. If this club had some fucking size I'd seriously consider keeping him.
And so you have Penner, Hemsky, Gagner and Horcoff as four of your top nine.
And you can cobble together a fourth line from Stortini, Pouliot, Potulny, Stone and Reddox. Maybe even big Vande Velde earns a spot there.
I'd cut Jacques loose although I'll bet management does not. Anyways for the sake of argument lets do it. Other than hitting he doesn't do a damn thing.
So we need to fit five spots in the top nine. And we have Cogliano, Brule, O'Sullivan and Nilsson.
Have I missed anybody? Does anybody care?
Plus the kids I just mentioned.
Now we still have a big mess if that's what we run with.
Now so far my wishlist is a veteran 5/6 Dman, a shutdown type guy for the top four and a goalie (Scott convinced me).
What I'm also looking for is a couple of young guys who can play in the top nine, a couple of guys with size, a couple of guys who can do the little things. I'd like them to be ready to step into the lineup so they should have some experience, a couple of guys who haven't been able to crack a deeper lineup somewhere.
Ideally of course we'd be picking up a couple of vets of this ilk, Dvorak types lets call them, guys you can fit in throughout the lineup.
But here again your mileage may vary. Vets would be better, I think, and they would be available, but if the Oilers are trying to build then you may as well go with kids. See if you can find a young Kesler type somewhere.
I move Nilsson, the dogfucker, and I move O'Sullivan too. I know he only has one more year on his deal but for the scratch he's making he does not bring enough to the table.
And I probably move Cogliano although I'm not sold on that. Thing is either he or Brule have some value and with MPS and Hall/Seguin and Eberle rising how long are these two guys going to be around anyways?
But ... I think there's more there for both of them. Cogliano has been brutal but I'd like to see him with a couple of guys with skill and Brule is just starting as a pro really. And even though he's smaller he's got some toughness and he's a bit of a dirty little fucker and this club could use that.
Again, Your Mileage May Vary
There are those who will argue that O'Sullivan and Nilsson are better players right now than any of the leftover kids and they'd probably be right but both guys need to go I think.
There are those who would say get rid of Cogliano and Brule. How many kids can you have? Replace them with MPS and Hall/Seguin and bring in three veteran forwards and sprinkle them through the lineup.
There are those who would say forget the veterans, its a rebuild, bring in a couple of kids who can grind and throw them into the mix.
There are those who would say run out the new kids and keep the old kids too. Let them take their lumps and get another high pick.
There are those who would say hell, keep the status quo, lottery picks two years in a row won't hurt.
Remember though, looming over all of this are the pending contract expirations of Hemsky and Penner. Are they going to want to hang around through much more of this?
And to those who say lets burn it to the ground and pull a Pittsburgh or Chicago remember a couple of things - with four years of shit behind us how much more can you put up with? And what if it doesn't work out? The rebuild I mean. Because sometimes they don't.
What Would I Do?
I'm not sure, to be honest. The Hemsky/Penner thing looms large in my mind. Moving Cogliano and Brule makes some sense to me with the kids coming if they can get some value but I don't know about that. If either takes another step then you have a guy who can outperform his contract and God knows the Oilers could use one or two of those.
Some guys with some size who can play this game would be nice. I guess they should be kids based on where this club is but really would bringing in some vets to help out the kids hurt at all? Would Radek Dvorak and Blair Betts mean a club fighting for tenth instead of a club in thirteenth? Not likely. But with only three veterans plus Gagner to go around aren't you just throwing the kids to the wolves? Look at Cogliano. His confidence is shattered and he can't do a damn thing right. How would his development have been different if he had played with Torres and Stoll or Smyth and Horcoff? Can you give up on a guy whose career has been a mess because of how he has been handled when he could go elsewhere and do well?
Not sure, not sure. The problem remains the same as it has been for years now. Too many kids.
Its a goddamned mess is all I know.
Posted by Black Dog at 8:58 PM