Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bad Role Models


San Jose just signed Milan Michalek to a long term extionsion to his contract. From the Edmonton Sun: "The six-year, $26 million US agreement they reached with the 22-year-old forward won't kick in until 2008-09, once Michalek's current pact expires. He'll make $942,400 in 2007-08 after earning $471,200 last year."

But the funny thing about this deal isn't the money, which is reasonable. It's the reason behind it.

"After a summer in which the Edmonton Oilers handed out a pair of offer sheets to restricted free agents - successfully prying forward Dustin Penner away from the Anaheim Ducks with a five-year deal worth $21.25 million US - general manager Doug Wilson read the marketplace and decided to get the Czech native under lock and key."

If K-Lowe does it, it has to be good!

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Roll all the dice"


Looking at our roster for the upcoming season, it looks to me like K-Lowe has decided to roll all the dice on a few big gambles. If they pay off, we'll be laughing all the way to the bank. I'll be laughing all the way to the bank because of online betting. Er, playoffs. But if they don't, I think we've just gambled away the deed to the house.

IF Penner can beat, or at least match, his numbers from last year, and IF Roloson's age doesn't catch up with him, and IF Nillson can become a real NHL player and IF at least one of our hot prospects can work wonders, and IF our best players can stay healthy, then we could be in a pretty good position.

But those are some pretty big "ifs".

Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of Garon, and I think that we'd still be almost good in net if we had to start, but we wouldn't be contenders, not by a long shot.

The "ifs" that I think are likely to come true are:

Penner will at least match his numbers from last year. Even if they were a fluke, Horcoff and Hemmers are a lot better linemates than Perry and Getzlaf, and that seems like the most likely match up.

Nillson will really prove himself this year. I've been a fan of his for a while, and I really think he can put up at least 15 goals this season. He won't make up for Smyth, but he'll be fine.

The "ifs" that I think may come true are:

Our players will most likely stay healthy. No team can have that much awful luck two years straight, right?

Roli will probably do better than what you'd expect from someone his age. Most good goalies stay good, even up to their retirement year.

The "if" that I just can't see happening:

Sadly, I don't see any of our prospects becoming a miracle man anytime soon. A couple of them might make the big boy's club, but I really don't see any of them putting up more than a couple of points.

So, Oil fans. Are we willing to roll all the dice on these risky bets? I am. I think we'll get 4/5 of these, and that may just be enough to turn us into an eighth seed playoff team.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What We Can Brag About


We may be headed for another average (or worse) season, but the Oilers have, by far, the best blogosphere of all the NHL teams. At my last count we had somewhere in the realm of twenty blogs, and I can think of five or so that really set the bar for the rest of us.
The best of the Oilogosphere is Lowetide. He often sees what others miss, and tends to have the most up to date news.
Next is a four-way tie, in my humble opinion, between Covered in Oil, Black Dog Hates Skunks, MC79 Hockey and Irreverent Oil Fans. The only real problem with any of these three is that oftentimes they lack active posting, forcing readers (well, me) to look for my news elsewhere. BDHS is often an exception to this, however.
And while a newcomer to the scene, Oilblobosphere looks very promising indeed. I look forward to many happy evenings trying to access his page quickly before my internet calves on me.


This is the biggest Oilers news right now.

How sad is that?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rationalizing

I'm going to try to rationalize some of Lowe's moves here, because someone has to.

1. The Smyth Trade

For one thing, Smyth was on the wrong side of 30, and paying him 5.5 mill/year would be paying for what he's done, not what he's going to do. Also, Nillson and O'Marra could become solid NHLers someday, probably in four years or so, maybe a bit longer. I've never read anything negative of Nillson except for inexperience, and I'd imagine by the time he's in his late twenties he could be a starter for the team. He'll never be Smytty, but he'll probably be good.

2. The Souray Signing

This deal looks a lot better now than it did when it happened, because when it happened we still had Simpsons screwing up the powerplay and any skill Souray had on it would be lost by our back assward Power play strategy. Now that he's been replaced by Daum, however, Souray might ALMOST be worth the money. Almost.

3. The Penner Offer Sheet

When it happened, I was wondering what in the world Lowe could possibly be thinking. He played his first full NHL season at the age of 24, and that was with excellent young talent in his line. However, 29 goals in a rookie season is pretty darn impressive in my books, even if you are far too old to be having a rookie season at all. If he can at least keep his numbers level this season, and then start to climb up he might be worth the money by the end of his contract. But for this much, he'll really need to be scoring around 40 goals a season and be helping Hemsky become a better player.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

UFA Time?

There was a rumour about the Oilers going after Forsberg, but the more I think about that deal, the worse it seems to me. Center is probably our strongest forward position, and what we really need is a second line scorer.

Right now everyone's mad on Mike Johnson, and I agree that he'd be excellent. If Anson Carter would suck up his ego and sign for what he's actually worth now that he's older, I think he'd also be a good aquisition.

Still, it pisses me off that we decide that money isn't an object AFTER trading Smyth for magic beans.

Who'll play?

These are my projections for the Oiler's line-up going into the 2007/2008 season.

Penner......Horcoff.....Hemsky (Easy Minutes)
Torres......Stoll.......Veteran RW (Moderate Minutes)
Moreau......Reasoner....Pisani (Tough Minutes)
Sanderson...Pouliot.....Nillson (Filler)

Staois/Pitkanen
Souray/Smid
Grebeshkov/Greene

Roloson
Garon

For the extras I'd say Thoreson and Tarnstrom are shoe-ins, unless Tarnstrom takes Greb's spot on the 3rd D-pairing. I wouldn't be surprised either if they sit Gagner in the press box too.

Sanderson Interview

I just listened to the
Geoff Sanderson Interview and while there isn't a whole lot to talk about, but I think it's good to have another hometown (sort of) boy (sort of).

I laughed out loud, though, when Morley Scott said "The last two years with two struggling teams, is it nice to play in a place with success?"

Is he looking at the same Oilers team I'm looking at? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't consider just missing the draft lottery "team success".

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Penner Interview

I just listened to the
Dustin Penner Interview and it sounds to me like the guy has the right attitude. Morley Scott asked him a question about what he thought about getting to play with Hemsky and Horcoff, but Penner told was careful to say that he hoped he'd have good chemistry IF that's where he ended up, but it was all up to the coaches. Also, he seems to be reasonably smart, even if he does radically overuse the words "um" and "uh". Of course, hockey players don't exactly tend to make great statesman.

Roy, Brodziak and Paukovich, oh my!

I just read here: http://oilers.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=335779 that the Oilers have signed Roy, Brodziak and Paukovich to entry level contracts. Looking at Roy I'm not sure if he's the kind of player who'd have a real career in a regular city, but in Edmonton we're going to be picking people off of the street to fill the blueline, so everyone helps I suppose.

Brodziak could play 4th Line minutes in a year or two, depending on our other centers' skill levels at training camp.

And then there's Paukovich. I'm not going to pretend that I've been following the University of Denver's hockey program all that closely, but judging by his stats he can't be all bad. He went 8-9-17 last season, playing 39 of his teams 40 games. He's also got size, but I haven't been able to find any comments on him as a player besides that.

Most interestingly is the fact that he is 11th in University history in total PIM. I think MacT is going to like this guy.