Showing posts with label Kevin Lowe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kevin Lowe. Show all posts

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!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Oilers hire Tambellini

When I first heard about the hiring of Tambellini as GM of the Oilers I was surprised to hear about it and instantly a couple questions came to mind.

Is Tambellini the replacement of Kevin Lowe or a compliment to Kevin Lowe?

Every quote I find indicates to me that its more of the latter.

Quote from Tambellini (per
"This is a management team". "We're going to work together as a group. I don't want Kevin Lowe going anywhere. He's one of the reasons that I came here. He'll be involved as much as he wants to be involved and I look forward to that."

Kevin Lowe
"We all like to think that titles are irrelevant," says Lowe. "We want to just get the job done collectively as a team so that the Oilers organization can be successful."

"Steve will end up doing more of the day-to-day stuff of the General Manager's role, which is a lot. That's what was wearing me down personally. The major decisions are going to be made collectively with the management group with me ultimately having the final say."

Based on these quotes, to me Katz wanted to add a top-end NHL mind to the management team and the shuffle of positions was done to allow Tambellini to come on board. To me, KLo still has the power but will be less involved in negotiations and more involved in decisions (with the input of Tambellini and the team). This is Katz' second stamp on the team and a good one. Not that I'm an expert on this but you dont become a billionare by working for yourself. There just isnt enough time. You make decisions (alone or as a group) and have capable people implement them. Running an NHL team is an increasingly harder job each year and a cohesive team is a more effective than one person. A management team can self destruct quite easily but given that KLo and Tambellini have worked together before (as shown in the photo of the 2002 Olympics) the risk of this happening should be minimal. Overall, I see this as a positive.

How good is Tambellini as a GM?

This one will have to be answered over time. My preference was to add Doug Armstrong who had a proven record but he was hired by St Louis months ago and I never considered Tambelli an option. The Canucks have been unable to make the right moves to take the next step as a franchise. Before the lockout, the Canucks were unable to add the pieces to make a push when the had a strong team led by Naslund-Bertuzzi-Morrison. More recently, they've had the best goaltender in the league but been unable field a decent lineup in front of him. Is that a reflection of Tambellini? I dont think you can fairly pinpoint that on him if he isn't the man in charge. I wonder if the name Rich Winter ever entered discussions ...

One of the reasons I started blogging was so that I could help track my opinions and changes in Oilers direction. This is a fairly significant change and it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oilers sign Zach Stortini

In other news, we landed on the moon ;) I've been meaning to get to this but I've been swamped at work. So here is my thoughts on some old news. This signing isn't a blockbuster move but I for one am glad. He adds grit to the lineup and annoys the piss out of Calgary and Vancouver. Most importantly, he is a team guy who works his bag off. Reminds me of a one of our recently hired coaches - Kelly Buchberger.

Stortini's job is not the easiest one in the NHL. He has to take face washes and cheap shots without retaliating. His job is to get other players to take runs at him. But hey, he plays in the NHL and I'm sure he's thrilled. I don't even really care if he isn't a great fighter because the Oilers are far removed from being an intimidating team.

With the cap going up, 700k for 3 years is very reasonable. Good for Zach and another good contract for KLo/Olczyk. With Zach's work ethic, there is very little chance he wont cover the contract.

Friday, June 6, 2008

KLo this offseason

Last year Kevin Lowe came out publicly and said how the Oilers were going to add 5-7 players and that they had to improve the team. When I first heard this I was excited but also skeptical that we'd be able to get that many players of value. As it turns out, Lowe was left chasing and made some moves that were lateral at best. This year, the team is in a much better position but I also like how his approach much different. KLo seems to be holding his cards closer to his chest. I think thats the way to go. You dont want to have 29 other GMs sitting out there knowing that you have to back up your claims.

Todays quote:

I would like a top-end forward but we're not in a situation where we have to do something to really improve our team. If nothing happens, we'll go to camp with what we have and we'll see what unfolds. I don't feel like I'm under pressure to do something.

He was a lot more descrete about what he is planning on doing. For all we know he has game on the go right now. Frankly I'd be ok if Lowe went out and said "we're going to do what we can to improve the team, maybe add a forward and/or a defender". He doesnt really need to promise anything because it all depends on who is available and what the price is. Considering money doesnt really buy you goals and that it appears to be a sellers market, I think its best to sell off replaceable assets and bank on the development of the kids. The UFAs outside Hossa are average (I think Hossa is going to re-sign for one season in Pittsburgh anyways) and will be overpriced. If you can get a Lecavalier or Gaborik by all means do so, but I think the best option is to build some consistency in the lineup and, assuming we are in playoff contention, add players at the deadline - when the price of talent is cheaper and we have a better idea of who in the playoff run last year was for real and who is Scott Fraser.