Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deadline day

Today's deadline will hopefully be exciting for Oilers fans. If they can make a couple good moves without sacrificing the future, a date with Calgary in the first round is a possibility - how fun would that be!* I'd like to see the Oilers add a veteran centre who kills penalties and wins faceoffs. That will move Cogliano to the wing or to the 4th line but ultimately once the playoffs are on, I'd expect MacT to move a couple kids to the 4th line and rely on veterans. This would be ok as the playoff experience would be valuable regardless. The Oilers could use a top 6 scoring forward and a backup goalie as well. I am OK with Peckham as the 7th defender but Lowe has a solid history of finding reliable 4-6 defenders and if a defender is acquired I'm for it.

With the cap likely to go down and the Oilers at 49 (max 50) contracts, they would be well advised to ditch some salary and deal some fringe players. Players who I would be ok if they moved are Schremp, Pouliot and Nilsson. I don't like Moreau or Staois' contracts going forward but I see no reason to trade these guys before the playoffs unless the offers are outstanding. Moving these guys in the offseason should be considered however.

As for likely trading partners I'll throw out there:

Islanders and Flyers - the usual trading partners
Rangers - they seem to have a lot of reliable defensive forwards but dont score many goals. The Sather connection plus the Oilers surplus skill guys might make a trade a possibility
Bruins/Hurricanes - Rumors for Cole have been around for weeks
Kings - They talked alot last season when the Oilers were after Camalleri and obviously in the Visnovsky trade. I'd love to get a guy like Frolov.
Maple Leafs - While the Burke/KLo feud probably hasn't simmered enough, Tambellini has good relations with Burke and TO looks to be selling.

I'll post after the deadline with my thoughts about the Oilers moves (or lack there of).

The most encouraging loss of the season?

The Oilers lost 5-4 in OT last night to a Nashville Predators team that has owned them for the last couple years. Nashville is a good team, physical, solid leadership in Arnott and Weber and have an under rated coach. In the last couple seasons they have lost Forsberg, Kariya, Radulov and Sullivan. With Sullivan coming back after almost 2 years on the IR, the teams biggest need has been addressed without any cost. Nashville has a tough division and a tough schedule which makes me think that they can still be beat in a standings race.

If not for the egg laid by the first line last night the Oilers win the game. Gagner, Cole, Cogliano, Pouliot and Smid had excellent games. JFJ looked like a real NHL player last night as well and that was by far his best game as an Oiler. Grebeshkov, Stortini and Brodziak have also came on of late. The Oilers problem all season has been secondary scoring and its been a lot of pressure put on the kids to succeed and for the most part they haven't. But if last nights game can spark some confidence in the 2nd line that bodes well for the Oilers chances at the post season.

On Dustin ... again

There is so much discussion around Dustin Penner in the Oilogosphere. He must wish he signed for cheap in Anaheim to stay out of the spotlight but last night proves he is an important part of the first line. As per Trakor/Bruce on Lowetides site

Penner leads this team with 5 game winning goals.
Penner has just as many goals as Horcoff and more points than Cole, Gagner, and Nilsson.
Penner is a is +3.
Penner has the 2nd best PTS/60 on the team.
Penner has the 2nd best GFON/60 on the team.
Only Shawn Horcoff has a better GFON/GAON/60 ratio.
Only Shawn Horcoff has faced harder QualComp.
Horpensky now sits at EV +21/-5.
Penner leads all Oiler forwards by a fair margin in SC differential.

The conclusions (not included) made after these stats by Traktor were wrong about MacTavish but the stats are still solid. MacTavish isn't the reason Penner takes nights off. He takes way too many nights off and if Hemsky is as good as we think he is, our top line LW has to have more than 14 goals. But Penner is our best available option and while there is room for an upgrade, he belongs on the #1 line.

Once again, big day today. Hopefully a couple good moves are available.

*I just remembered I won a Molson prize pack from ched for knowing Esa Tikannen scored the last series winner between Edmonton and Calgary a couple weeks ago and forgot to claim my prize!
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