The Push

Jonathan Willis
November 13 2013 08:49AM

At this point, it seems all but certain that the 2013-14 season is done for the Oilers. The team is in a hole so deep in a conference so good that clawing back into a playoff spot is going to be an extremely difficult proposition. Given that, does it make sense to start the tank job and go for the best available pick?

Not on your life.

RE-BUILD

Rebuild has gotten to be an ugly word in Edmonton, but the idea is sound. The trouble is that the Oilers have only been able to execute one part of it.

Via dictionary.com:

"Withdrawal or backward motion" pretty much sums up the Edmonton Oilers post-Pronger. But that's only half the battle.

Again from dictionary.com:

Pick a definition; that's the plan now. The Oilers need to construct a better NHL team. They need to establish, increase and/or strengthen their ability to compete with other clubs. They need to mold or form young players into championship-calibre professionals. And on and on it goes.

The Edmonton Oilers are masters of “re-.” They’ve got “re-“ down cold. It’s the whole “build” part of the word that was always going to be much, much more difficult and seems to have the organization flummoxed.

Tossing The Season

That’s why it’s important that general manager Craig MacTavish not toss his hands in the air and say ‘forget it, we’ll move the vets at the deadline and take the pick.’ That portion of the rebuild needs to be over. That’s not to say that pending free agents that aren’t in the plans can’t be let go at the deadline – just that the focus has to be on building the team for next year.

Draft picks are a long-term investment that, if they pay off at all, pay off years down the road. This isn’t a team that needs more draft picks. This isn't a team that needs the highest possible first overall pick this summer.

The lone focus here, with this season already all but over, has to be on making the playoffs next season – and the best way to do that is to do everything possible to make and keep the team competitive this season. Even if that means picking 10th overall rather than in the top-five. 

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#101 rob
November 13 2013, 12:24PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Props
13
props
Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'd be reasonably shocked if Philadelphia wasn't willing to part with Couturier+ for Eberle.

hey J.W,how about the fans give the oil a standing O tonight and cheer through out the game,lets see if we can kick start our team instead of leaving it to our incompetent managment team!lets make these guys feel like someone is behind them and turn this year around,I know they dont deserve it but lets rock the hell out of rexall tonight!

Avatar
#102 Fresh Mess
November 13 2013, 12:24PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
1
props

@DSF

agreed

Avatar
#103 Citizen David
November 13 2013, 12:31PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
13
props

@DSF

Wow. This is why you don't have credibility. You say that Voracek is better that Eberle because in a 48 game season Voracek out scored him. When it's pointed out that Eberle is beating him this year you say small sample size. How about full sample size: Eberle career PPG .799 Voracek .615

Avatar
#104 Alsker
November 13 2013, 12:34PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
3
props
Fresh Mess wrote:

JW,

Fedun's demotion in favour of Potter would also be consistent with Katz ordering management to reduce payroll. Fedun is oon a two way contract. Potter is on a one way NHL deal.

Seven hundred grand savings is nothing to sneeze at when you are talking about your own money.

Another year with no playoff revenue, I wouldn't blame Katz for cutting the budget. Spending to the cap sure didn't bring results.

Although choosing Smid to dump salary is still perplexing to me. Terrible trade.

I'm with you, money can't buy love or a winning hockey team. As for Smid if there would have been another deal in place where $ needed to be shed, whatever. With MacT stating its for cap help next year than he's either an idiot or Smid crossed the line on something. With all our matinees so far this season its fitting that this is such a soap opera.

Avatar
#105 Devolution
November 13 2013, 12:35PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
5
props

I really believe this team has the talent, and in fact, coaching to win. They need to play out the season, learn to win and also learn not to lose.

I have never played a high level of hockey, but surely a team needs some games to gel with each other and a new system. This season is gone anyway; give them a chance to put it together with no drama hanging over them.

Avatar
#106 nunyour
November 13 2013, 12:41PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
5
props

The oiler ship is sinking and captain Lowe and his first mate Mact are hiding.

Avatar
#107 Citizen David
November 13 2013, 12:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props

@DSF

Also since you refuse in Gagner's case to accept his prorated points last season how about this stat Voracek's highest point total 50. Eberle's 76. As well as a 51 point season.

Avatar
#108 DSF
November 13 2013, 12:51PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
7
props
Citizen David wrote:

Wow. This is why you don't have credibility. You say that Voracek is better that Eberle because in a 48 game season Voracek out scored him. When it's pointed out that Eberle is beating him this year you say small sample size. How about full sample size: Eberle career PPG .799 Voracek .615

How about this?:

Cap hit:

Voracek $4.25M

Eberle $6M

Teams in the NHL play in a cap environment.

Or how about this?

Voracek Corsi ON - +13.52

Eberle CorsiON - +4.38

Or how about this:

CorsiFor%

Voracek 56.3% (10th best for RW in the NHL)

Eberle 46.3% (60th best for RW in the NHL)

Players that can take on tough competition and not get outscored are worth their weight in gold.

Players that can score but get their heads caved in by the opposition, not so much.

Avatar
#109 DSF
November 13 2013, 12:54PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
5
props
Citizen David wrote:

Also since you refuse in Gagner's case to accept his prorated points last season how about this stat Voracek's highest point total 50. Eberle's 76. As well as a 51 point season.

Yes, Eberle is a better scorer but, as you see above there is much more to winning hockey games than scoring.

You should also factor in the season before last when Eberle had an unsustainable shooting percentage which, predictably, has fallen back to earth.

Avatar
#110 Citizen David
November 13 2013, 12:58PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
2
props
DSF wrote:

How about this?:

Cap hit:

Voracek $4.25M

Eberle $6M

Teams in the NHL play in a cap environment.

Or how about this?

Voracek Corsi ON - +13.52

Eberle CorsiON - +4.38

Or how about this:

CorsiFor%

Voracek 56.3% (10th best for RW in the NHL)

Eberle 46.3% (60th best for RW in the NHL)

Players that can take on tough competition and not get outscored are worth their weight in gold.

Players that can score but get their heads caved in by the opposition, not so much.

I have no problem paying a 70+ point first line right winger 6 million. It would be nice it it were more of a bargain but it's fine with me. 4.25 is not what I'd call a great deal for what Voracek does. 40 something's points and good defensively. 2nd-3rd liner.

Avatar
#111 Citizen David
November 13 2013, 01:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props
DSF wrote:

Yes, Eberle is a better scorer but, as you see above there is much more to winning hockey games than scoring.

You should also factor in the season before last when Eberle had an unsustainable shooting percentage which, predictably, has fallen back to earth.

And yet he's till on pace this season for 78 points with a brutal shooting percentage. What happens if it rises?...

Avatar
#112 Citizen David
November 13 2013, 01:01PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
2
props

@DSF

I know it takes more than points to win but what I want from 6million first liners the most, what is most important from them, is points. And Eberle delivers.

Avatar
#113 camdog
November 13 2013, 01:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props
sizzay wrote:

See, I think he is pulling strings. See how defensive the imbecile got when he got questioned after the Tambellini firing? He didn't say, I left everything up to Tambellini.

Of course Lowe has been pulling some strings, but how many strings, nobody knows.

Craig Mactavish knew he was going to be hired GM 2-3 years ago, long before Tambelini was even fired. As soon as he was re-hired as an advisor most people knew this was happening. There was never a search for a GM...I would love for somebody to question Lowe on when he decided to make Mact the GM?

Avatar
#114 Serious Gord
November 13 2013, 01:06PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
3
props
rob wrote:

hey J.W,how about the fans give the oil a standing O tonight and cheer through out the game,lets see if we can kick start our team instead of leaving it to our incompetent managment team!lets make these guys feel like someone is behind them and turn this year around,I know they dont deserve it but lets rock the hell out of rexall tonight!

Wow!

Cheering failure. That ought to work...

I'm sure It will really send a message to management that we think they are incompetent.

Avatar
#115 gcw_rocks
November 13 2013, 01:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
8
props

In general I agree they should not try and tank this year, but since they are losing so badly it doesn't really matter. What they shouldn't do is give away that 1st round pick for a short term fix on a lost season.

I took a look at how Chicago, Vancouver, Boston, Detroit, San Jose and Pittsburgh spend their cap dollars. What macT needs to do is start addressing gaps. based on those six teams, an ideal budget would look something like this:

Percent $M 1st 25.0% 17.5 2nd 17.0% 11.9 3rd 9.0% 6.3 4th 4.0% 2.8

1st 14.9% 10.4 2nd 9.6% 6.7 3rd 5.3% 3.7

Starter 7.7% 5.4 Back up 1.9% 1.3

Extra roster 2.9% 2.0 (players 21 to 23) Available 3.0% 2.0 (deadline deals)

Total 100% $70.0 (estimated for next yr)

One quick look at how much the Oilers are spending on their 3rd line and their bottom pairing show some major issues. Underspending on the top pairing also stands out.

If the Oilers are going to trade Hemsky, it should be for a two-way 3rd line winger on a value contract that extends into next season or beyond. When you look at the bigger picture, that's probably better for the Oilers than retaining Hemsky and being forced to underspend elsewhere.

It means spending $3.5M on Nick Schultz is crazy. It means Ference contract is going to look horrible in a year or two when he is on the third pairing.

It means MacT should be looking to trade one of Eberle, Yakupov, or Gagner as the centrepiece for a top pairing defender.

Tanking is not the right choice. Fixing how they manage their cap space is what they should focus on.

Too bad I have no faith in MacT or Howson to fox the problem.

Avatar
#116 Thumby
November 13 2013, 01:21PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props
DSF wrote:

How about this?:

Cap hit:

Voracek $4.25M

Eberle $6M

Teams in the NHL play in a cap environment.

Or how about this?

Voracek Corsi ON - +13.52

Eberle CorsiON - +4.38

Or how about this:

CorsiFor%

Voracek 56.3% (10th best for RW in the NHL)

Eberle 46.3% (60th best for RW in the NHL)

Players that can take on tough competition and not get outscored are worth their weight in gold.

Players that can score but get their heads caved in by the opposition, not so much.

I usually side with DSF logic but I wonder what Eberle advanced stats would look like with comparable defence men and goaltending as Voracek plays in front of?

Avatar
#117 DSF
November 13 2013, 01:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
3
props
Citizen David wrote:

And yet he's till on pace this season for 78 points with a brutal shooting percentage. What happens if it rises?...

He's on pace for a 64 point season.

And the Oilers have played 14 of their 19 games against weaker EC opponents.

In the 8 games against WC opponents, Eberle has scored 1G and 2A.

We''ll have to see how that works out as the season progresses.

Avatar
#118 forsoothed
November 13 2013, 01:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
4
props

We may want to be past "rebuild" and it may be silly to be in a "rebuild" at this point in time, but the Oilers just traded a legit NHL D for prospects with no one to immediately fill his shoes... that's a rebuild and we're still in the middle of it.

Avatar
#119 Rob...
November 13 2013, 01:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
7
props

So pathetic. I tuned in to Stauffer this afternoon for the first time in ages. He states in the first segment that Arcobello says he still works on a shift by shift basis. Sounds great, right? Except that in the second segment Stauffer plays the actual interview and yet again he fed Arcobello the answer and got him to parrot it back to him. Shame on you Bob. Could you possibly show more disrespect to your interviewees? Let them answer the flippin questions on their own.

Avatar
#120 DSF
November 13 2013, 01:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props
Thumby wrote:

I usually side with DSF logic but I wonder what Eberle advanced stats would look like with comparable defence men and goaltending as Voracek plays in front of?

Phillies goaltending has been dreadful for years and, without Pronger, their D doesn't scare anyone.

Braden Coburn is pretty good but it's pretty thin after that.

Avatar
#121 rickithebear
November 13 2013, 02:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props

N. schultz and potter playing together

2.86 GF/60 0.57 GA/60

very strong 3rd pair!

Avatar
#122 match16
November 13 2013, 02:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props
6 ring circus wrote:

In some organizations they don't allow you to keep making mistakes and have endless excuses,they just get rid of you, never to be heard from again.

Wait, the Oilers are an organization? I thought it was just a club for Lowe and his buddies to hang out?

Avatar
#123 Mike
November 13 2013, 02:33PM
Trash it!
19
trashes
Props
4
props

I'm so tired of all the negative articles and the "seasons over" comments. Has anyone read the secret. Negative begets negative that's why this thing with yak is front and center, the teams record the booing at games all of it is killing this teams mojo. They asked smid what's wrong with the team yesterday and him not being an oiler he could of said anything you know what he said? Classy guy says "I have no idea" and he is right. What's their record when the outshoot opponents? Or what's there record when they score 4 or more goals? The answers to these questions don't make sense. Everyone needs to back off the amount of pressure the fans/media is creating on these players is ridiculous. Eakins said the other day I'm seeing vets make mistakes they normally wouldn't. That's pressure. They couldn't wait to go on the road last week cuz the fans were howling for blood. Yes they sucked that det game and deserved it but look at the record. As fans do we want to see the record improve or turn into the same haters that all us fans have been beating back with a stick over the years. How many times have you heard a van fan or any fan say the oilers suck over the years? Now instead of defending the team what we now agree? This is the worst I have seen the oilers record but the best hockey numbers wise I have seen them produce over some years. It's not entirely a personnel thing. It is bad stinkin luck that has accumulated over years and when you come out of such a rotten time sometimes the bad luck doesn't want to let go it wants to drag u back down. Us supporting our time to the fullest and them winning will change things for good but the more negativity we add to this fire the more harder it's gonna burn. Let's stay positive people they still have a slim chance and what a story that would be if they came sliding in at 8th when the seasons done. Let's cheer for a 50-20-12 finish.....it's still possible

Avatar
#124 Dog Train
November 13 2013, 03:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
7
props

All I can is it's a good thing this is an Olympic year. The Winter Olympics should provide a much needed distraction.

Avatar
#125 MessyEH!
November 13 2013, 03:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
4
props

@Mike

Could you save me some of what your taking? The Oilers don't deserve fans like you.

Avatar
#126 Oiler Al
November 13 2013, 03:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
3
props
Bob wrote:

One time I rebuilt a shed.

So has Kevin Lowe, but shed is spelled a bit differently. S..t.

Avatar
#127 Oiler Al
November 13 2013, 04:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Jonathan Willis wrote:

It depends on what Lowe's precise role has been these last few years.

If Lowe's been pulling the strings, absolutely he should wear this.

If Lowe's been in other roles - overseeing the broader organization (the Barons, the Oil Kings, etc.) - and not been involved in the day-to-day of the Oilers, I don't think he should be fired for the sins of Steve Tambellini.

Come on Jonathan, Tambelini was Lowes ticket to "Goatscapedome'. Besides the buck stops with Lowe.

If he's not involved day to day, maybe he should be... he appears to be in the spotlight in the Oil Change segments... Seems to be lurking in the press box with Howson and MacT.

He's in charge of the Oilers as much as he is of the Barons, and Oil Kings.

Avatar
#128 Oiler Al
November 13 2013, 04:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Jonathan Willis wrote:

It depends on what Lowe's precise role has been these last few years.

If Lowe's been pulling the strings, absolutely he should wear this.

If Lowe's been in other roles - overseeing the broader organization (the Barons, the Oil Kings, etc.) - and not been involved in the day-to-day of the Oilers, I don't think he should be fired for the sins of Steve Tambellini.

Come on Jonathan, Tambelini was Lowes ticket to "Goatscapedome'. Besides the buck stops with Lowe.

If he's not involved day to day, maybe he should be... he appears to be in the spotlight in the Oil Change segments... Seems to be lurking in the press box with Howson and MacT.

He's in charge of the Oilers as much as he is of the Barons, and Oil Kings.

Avatar
#129 madjam
November 13 2013, 04:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
4
props
gcw_rocks wrote:

In general I agree they should not try and tank this year, but since they are losing so badly it doesn't really matter. What they shouldn't do is give away that 1st round pick for a short term fix on a lost season.

I took a look at how Chicago, Vancouver, Boston, Detroit, San Jose and Pittsburgh spend their cap dollars. What macT needs to do is start addressing gaps. based on those six teams, an ideal budget would look something like this:

Percent $M 1st 25.0% 17.5 2nd 17.0% 11.9 3rd 9.0% 6.3 4th 4.0% 2.8

1st 14.9% 10.4 2nd 9.6% 6.7 3rd 5.3% 3.7

Starter 7.7% 5.4 Back up 1.9% 1.3

Extra roster 2.9% 2.0 (players 21 to 23) Available 3.0% 2.0 (deadline deals)

Total 100% $70.0 (estimated for next yr)

One quick look at how much the Oilers are spending on their 3rd line and their bottom pairing show some major issues. Underspending on the top pairing also stands out.

If the Oilers are going to trade Hemsky, it should be for a two-way 3rd line winger on a value contract that extends into next season or beyond. When you look at the bigger picture, that's probably better for the Oilers than retaining Hemsky and being forced to underspend elsewhere.

It means spending $3.5M on Nick Schultz is crazy. It means Ference contract is going to look horrible in a year or two when he is on the third pairing.

It means MacT should be looking to trade one of Eberle, Yakupov, or Gagner as the centrepiece for a top pairing defender.

Tanking is not the right choice. Fixing how they manage their cap space is what they should focus on.

Too bad I have no faith in MacT or Howson to fox the problem.

Well said , and your analysis breakdown on coppernblue was a gem .

Avatar
#130 dangilitis
November 13 2013, 05:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props
DSF wrote:

How about this?:

Cap hit:

Voracek $4.25M

Eberle $6M

Teams in the NHL play in a cap environment.

Or how about this?

Voracek Corsi ON - +13.52

Eberle CorsiON - +4.38

Or how about this:

CorsiFor%

Voracek 56.3% (10th best for RW in the NHL)

Eberle 46.3% (60th best for RW in the NHL)

Players that can take on tough competition and not get outscored are worth their weight in gold.

Players that can score but get their heads caved in by the opposition, not so much.

OK.

Then compare Eberle's and Seguin's PPG and salaries and come to a conclusion using your logic!

Avatar
#131 Thumby
November 13 2013, 05:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
DSF wrote:

Phillies goaltending has been dreadful for years and, without Pronger, their D doesn't scare anyone.

Braden Coburn is pretty good but it's pretty thin after that.

True, we're comparing ugly ducklings here...

I still think Philly's D + G > Oiler's D + G.

Not to mention the quality of 2 way players at center Philly has vs. Edmonton...factor all that in and I think you'd agree Eberle would likely have better advanced stats all things being equal...

Avatar
#132 brian hitchinson
November 13 2013, 06:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

@Alsker

When does the Oiler management ever do anything to help the Oilers? With Kevin Lowe as pres, the Oilers have definitely competed for the No. 1 pick. This new version of last yr., is worse!! With Lowe as pres., the Oilers will continue to struggle, with this team & it's so called "stars". Why the Oilers are at the max with the salary cap & have got this shi##y team, stuggests to me that this team is not run properly & Lowe is leader of this sinking ship!!

Avatar
#133 Hockey fan 1976
November 13 2013, 06:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
3
props

So I guess we have now two types of fans : Tier I, those that pay season ticket prices and are now officially watching a team tanking in November and Tier II ,those that can stay home and can turn this circus off their TV while not giving these clowns the satisfaction to take our money. I'll take fan tier II please.

Avatar
#134 Hockey fan 1976
November 13 2013, 06:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props
MessyEH! wrote:

Could you save me some of what your taking? The Oilers don't deserve fans like you.

@Mike you have got to be kidding me. Either you are high or really have no concept of how professional sports or any business for that matter works. I could care less that these guys feel bad or have "pressure" and we are so negative and they couldn't take the booos from the crowd. You and the Oilers can both grow a pair. They are professional hockey players making millions and millions per year. You get paid to perform and it's not a popularity contest.

By the way @Mike, in the real world, if you don't perform you get fired. Ou boss doesn't care if your feelings get hurt when you don't meet deadlines and reach quotas. Results and bottom lines is what the real world asks for.

What a joke!!!

Comments are closed for this article.