Friday, March 30, 2012

10 Oilers thoughts

Its been a long time since I have written here. I have tickets tonight so hockey is on the mind and I had an uber long Lowetide post which I thought I might as well turn into a blog post. Just like Elliot Friedman's 30 thoughts or Jeff Angus's 10 fantasy thoughts I figured I would do a similar post - Oilers edition.

I'm really interested in the Oilers rebuild over the next 6 months. More then normal. In previous years the moves were important still but we were so far off it seemed like "as long as they draft well its ok they're gonna suck anyways". Next year I actually think the team will step forward. Here we go...

1) Much of the Oilers talk is about the draft but if the Oilers rebuild is dependent on the 2012 1st its in trouble. Boston is a good team without Seguin or Dougie Hamilton for example.

2) In the drafts 2002-2009 (see the list below) there is drop off after the 2nd pick quite often. In 2002,2005,2007 the drop off is after the 1st pick. It sounds like its Yakapov and a drop this year. Our first for OEL anyone?

3) 5 of the 7 dmen taken in the top 3 (2002-2009) are players who have yet to establish themselves as their pick should warrant. JBo isn't as elite as people thought and in Doughty's case I'd consider Pierangelo or Karlsson to be comparable or better. If I'm drafting I take the best player available with a preference towards forwards - so likely Grigorenko (assuming we don't win lottery). There is less risk and defense is a hard position to learn.

4) Luke Schenn could really use a change of scenery? The Staal brothers are all good players. Developed properly. Could Luke catch up to his brother in Philly?

5) If Bob Mackenzie is correct in that Justin Schultz is a decent bet to sign here then Oilers are in a much much better position defensively. A player who should be able to play next year would allow the prospects (Musil, Klefbom, Gernat, Marincin) to develop.

6) I know many of the stats guys hate the Gilbert for Nick Schultz trade. But he's looked great and provides some stability on the back end so far.

7) Personally I think the Oilers biggest need is a Backes, Lucic type forward with size. I think the D can be addressed with a capable top 4 player and our prospect pipeline. Mike Gillis is a great GM and moved Hodgson for Kassian. A playoff move. The Oilers will hopefully add a player like this before learning the lesson in the playoffs. Its a lesson I'm 100% sure you don't need to tell Kevin Lowe. Adding such a player isn't easy to do.

8) Laddy Smid has quietly emerged as a great shutdown player. It took 6 years for the Pronger trade to look ok. It was a brutal trade, why give up 6 years? But now that the suffering is over, Smid and Eberle look fine.

9) I'm not as concerned about Hall's injury but a summer without training is gonna set him back. His shoulder will heal but I'm not looking for Hall to be the same player until Nov-Dec. He's gonna need a healthy season soon or injuries will stunt his development.

10) Renney is in an interesting spot where he doesn't have a contract so has to play for wins. I probably resign him unless Dave Tippet becomes available. Todd Nelsson is another good option but I think Renney deserves a shot to coach the team in a year that matters.

2002 - Nash,Lehtonen, JBo, Pitkanen, Whiteny
2003 - Fleury, Staal, Horton, Zherdev, Vanek
2004 - Ovechkin, Malkin, Barker, Ladd, Wheeler
2005 - Crosby, Ryan, Johnson, Pouliot, Price
2006 - Johnson, Staal, Toews, Backstrom, Kessel
2007 - Kane, JVR, Turris, Hickey, Alzner
2008 - Stamkos, Doughty, Bogosian, Pieterangelo, Schenn
2009 - Taveres, Hedman, Duchene, Kane, Schenn

(I ignored 2010 and 2011 because its too early to make conclusions)
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