There have been a few interesting events over the last few weeks. The old song by C+C Music Factory seems appropriate for many of them.
- First the Hemsky signing. I’m still somewhat shocked, but this was a fantastic signing. To those who thought he wouldn’t get that much as a free agent (due to his injury history) I ask where you have been for the last few years. Exhibit A: Marian Gaborik, also injury plagued, signed a 5 year 7.5 million per year deal with the Rangers. Exhibit B: Tim Connolly, more injury prone than Hemsky and not as good, signed a two year deal with a cap hit of 4.75 million. Exhibit C: Martin Havlat, again similar injury worries, signs a 6 year contract with a cap hit of 5 million. Had Hemsky gone to free agency he would likely have gotten more money for a longer term with some type of a no trade clause. This suggests that he wants to stay here and hopefully others will see that and want to come here too. The other reason I like this signing is that it suggests the Oilers are ready to step out of the rebuild and start trying to win. All I have to say about that is ‘about time’. My one fear though is that Tambellini made the offer expecting Hemsky to turn it down so that he could say he tried to resign him, and then trade him for mid round picks and low level prospects (aka nothing).
- Whoever believes trading Gilbert for Schultz is a good idea has no place in hockey management. I like Schultz, but I don’t see how trading a defenceman who is good everywhere for one who is good in only one area is a fair trade. I’ve heard two arguments in favour of this trade, and in my opinion both are completely stupid. First is that Petry’s development made Gilbert expendable. The argument goes that Petry is ready for the top four and with Whitney also there as an offensive top four d-man there was no room for Gilbert. I’ll agree that Petry does look like he’s ready, but we desperately need depth. Plus this assumes that Whitney is capable of top pairing play. With his mobility issues that may no longer be the case. In fact I would have been more ok with the trade had it been Whitney for Schultz. Yes it would have been a risk, but if Whitney’s mobility will be a continued issue then a possibly worthwhile one. The second argument was that they needed a change in the dressing room. If that was true why did they resign Hemsky? He was here for all the bad years as well. So was Gagner, and Smid, and Jones, and so on, but they didn’t get traded. Even if Gilbert was a problem they should have gotten more for him, say Schultz and at least a second round pick.
- Also on the trade deadline, I wish the Oilers had done more. There were rumours that offers were made for Khabby, and rumours that the Oilers tried to trade him but found no takers. I would guess that it was the latter, cause I doubt anyone would want him, but if there was an offer they should have taken it (assuming it wasn’t a worse player with a larger cap hit for longer, but does such a player even exist?)
- Hopefully something happens before or at free agency to the defence, and goaltending, but I’m not holding my breath.
- Speaking of management, I am now fully on the side of those who believe that Tambellini should not receive an extension. I’m OK with keeping him as an assistant with the primary function of overseeing OK-City, but for me the Gilbert trade was the last straw.
- Ian recently wrote an article about the loser point, and I tend to agree. It has to be changed to a more equitable method, though what that is I can’t say. I enjoy the shootout, and am fine with no ties being allowed, but what would be the fairest point system? One that I have heard was making each game worth 5 points (5 for regulation win, 4 for OT win, 3 for shootout win, 2 for shootout loss, and 1 for OT loss), but while that may be the most fair, it does seem a bit extreme. Then there is the 3 point game, where an OT or shootout win gets you only 2 points, and finally back to the old if you win you get 2 points, if you lose you get none. I am personally fine with any of the above, as long as every game results in the same number of total points given.
- As to whether the Oilers should try to sign Dustin Penner this offseason as has been suggested by Jeff and others, I say sure why not. Sign him cheap, play him on the third line with Horcoff and Smyth, or the fourth line with Belanger. I think he would be an upgrade over Petrell and Hordichuck for sure, and if he plays well, over Jones and Eager too.
- Grants recent article brought back memories of an old t-shirt I had as a kid that said “Hey Ref, Don’t Quit Your Day Job!” I’ve never understood the decision making process that seems to happen with refs. Yes I can understand that it must be hard and that they won’t see everything, but some things are just so blatantly obvious, and right in front of them that you have to wonder. Unfortunately I don’t see anything changing anytime soon…
- Speaking of Petrell, there has been some anger about him playing with Eberle and RNH at times. I say what does it hurt? The season is basically over, so why not try people on different lines to see what they can do. The worst that happens is we lose, which we’re likely to do anyway, and at best maybe someone shows well enough to stick around or to be traded for something of value.
- OK-City gets Paajarvi and Lander, but loses Omark. It’s about time that Lander gets sent down, and I for one hope that he and Paajarvi get big minutes together to see how they work together. I would love to see an all Swede line with Omark as well, but he deserves a shot on the big club (though he needs to be on a better line than the 4th). It will be interesting to see how long he stays with the big club…
- Many have called for Renney to be fired all season for a variety of reasons, but I saw no point to doing it now. Maybe if we had confidence in management, but since we don’t, I would rather see them wait out the season, and then bring in a new GM who can choose his own coach. Although after seeing Omark play on the 4th line, maybe Renney needs to go now. I wonder if he believes that he’s gone and so just doesn’t care anymore. If that is the case fire him and let Kruger take over on an interim basis. I would be interested to see what if any changes he would make without Renney being involved anymore. Actually know that I’ve said that I think I am in favor of firing Renney now, and letting Kruger have an audition for the permanent job.
- Dubnyk should absolutely start well more than half of the remaining games. I would suggest he start at least 75%, preferably more. Khabby isn’t going to be traded, and we aren’t making the playoffs, so start Dubnyk as much as possible and see what he does. Even if Khabby wins a game, I wouldn’t start him twice in a row anymore this season. Starting him twice in a row when he loses the first game could be viewed as grounds for firing the coach.
As I mentioned before Hall needs a letter on the front of his jersey. The Oilers site lists Hemsky and Whitney as the A’s, which I’m fine with, but I think they should go with home and away A’s, and the other 2 should be Hall and Smyth. Just my opinion, but I think it would be good for the team now and in the future. If there is an amnesty clause in the new CBA and the Oilers buy out Horcoff, then I would suggest Hall for Captain. I know the Oilers tend to give the C to older players, but I think it fits. If that happens then I see no reason not to give Eberle an A as well.
Topics: Ales Hemsky, Anton Lander, Devan Dubnyk, Dustin Penner, Jeff Petry, Jordan Eberle, Lennart Petrell, Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi, Nick Schultz, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ralph Krueger, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Whitney, Shawn Horcoff, Steve Tambellini, Taylor Hall, Tom Gilbert, Tom Renney