I decided to write a little something to keep my fellow oiler posters entertained while they find a new oiler blogger. If you do like it, I may write another. If you don't like it, then I'm never showing my face here again.
Let’s start with the big move of the summer. LW Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson(MPS) and a 2nd round pick in 2014 to St. Louis for LW David Perron. I may be one of few who think this, but I’m not a big fan of the deal for a couple reasons.
-St Louis was in a hole. They had around 9M to sign PF Chris Stewart and stud Dman Alex Pietrangelo. So they cashed in Perron and his 3.812M cap hit for inexpensive (inked to a 2 year deal with an AAV of 1.2M) Paajarvi and a more than likely mid-early 2nd rounder. STL was in a hole and EDM helped them out of it. STL was against the cap and EDM could have taken advantage of their situation, but did not.
-I expected MPS to continue to grow as a player. Confidence was a big issue with Paajarvi. He had a decent rookie season in 2010-2011 collecting 30P and was expected to increase his point totals the following year, but thanks to the acquisition of Ryan Smyth in the off season, he found himself in 3rd and 4th line roles with the likes of Eric Belanger and the Belanger circle and was eventually sent down. Went off to a rocky start in EDM this year(0P in first 8GP), but finished adequately for a fringe top 6 player (16P in 34GP). I fully expect him to continue to develop and become a 40-50P player in STL.
Did EDM end up with the best player in the deal? For now, yes.
Onto the 2nd biggest deal of EDM’s summer. Dumping Horcoff. C Shawn Horcoff dealt to DAL in exchange for D Philip Larsen and a 7th round pick in 2016. I was a fan of Horcoff’s regardless of his contract. I thought he was a good captain and a fine 3C. When Horc was out of the lineup with a broken knuckle (seem to forget if he missed any off of that hit from behind courtesy of Shane Doan), EDM was 4-9-4 this past season. He was an underappreciated and quality player in his time in EDM, but it was time to go. 5.5M against the cap until 2015-2016 was about 2.5-3M too much for what he brought. MacT did a fine job dumping his salary, without having to retain a penny. Philip Larsen appears to be nothing more than a depth D man who may be waived come training camp and a 7th round pick is a 7th round pick.
Did EDM end up with the best player in the deal? No. But Horcoff’s contract gone allowed for some wiggle room and the ability to add some depth to a weak D.
Grade: 9.5/10 Great deal
Sammy Gags 3 years 14.4M
-I expected a 1-year deal and for Gagner to walk at UFA next year, so I’m fine with this deal. Gagner is a criminally underrated player. Knocks against him have been that he’s too small and has yet to hit 50P. He’s 2nd in points from his draft year to only Patrick Kane (although will most certainly be passed by the likes of Benn, Pacioretty, and Couture). He’s starting to finally play with some top level talent with 2012 first overall pick RW Nail Yakupov and newly acquired LW David Perron on his wings. I could easily see him as a 50-60P player in the next year to two years. Tambellini painted MacT in a corner with the 1 year deal last year. Wasn’t much he could do.
Taylor Fedun 1 year two-way deal 675K
-Who cares. May become a depth Dman in the next 2 years. Clocks ticking. In a logjam this year.
Ladislav Smid 4 years 14M
-Fine contract. A top 4D on about 26 teams and top 2 in EDM. Smart, mean shut down Dman. 3rd in hits and 6th in blocked shots among Dmen this year.
Boyd Gordon 3 years 9M
-A bit of an overpay, but there was a gaping hole at C and Gordon was a perfect fit. Gordon played some very tough minutes in PHX (started 32.6% of non neutral zone FOs in the defensive end) and had a 52% corsi. May be a 2.25-2.5M player, but EDM got one of the better defensive Cs. (12th in Selke voting)
Andrew Ference 4 years 13M NMC
-The money isn’t bad, but I’m not a fan of the term and the NMC. Ference played #4 minutes on a great team in Boston this past season, but he’s also turning 35 next season.
Ryan Jones 1 year 1.5M
-Fan favourite in EDM mostly due to the hair. Not a big fan of the player, but there are worse bottom 6 wingers out there. Here’s to hoping he bounces back from his eye injury.
Grade: 7/10 Would have preferred Penner at 2M
Jason Labarbera 1 year 1M
-Fine backup. Fine $$ and term. Good friend of Dubey’s. I’m a fan of the signing. Would’ve liked Khudobin, but backups are not the cause of any major downfalls. I’m one of many oiler fans that are very confident in Dubnyk.
Richard Bachman 2-way deal 625K
-Great #3 option IMO. Had decent numbers as a backup in Dallas in 2011-2012 for a 25YO. Much better than Danis, I’m thinking.
Jesse Joensuu 2 years 1.9M
-Never heard of this guy. Let’s pray he’s a decent bottom 6 winger.
Anton Belov 1 year 1.525M
-Again, a guy I’ve never heard of. Was apparently a top Dman in the KHL this past season. MacT saw what he liked in him at the WHCs. Could be top4, could be bottom pairing in OKC. Little risk move. I like it
Denis Grebeshkov 1 year 1.5M
-I liked Grebeshkov in EDM and he must’ve liked MacT. Another guy that could be top 4 if everything goes right. Could flop too. Low risk.
Ryan Hamilton 2 way deal 2 years 1.2M total
-I like it. Looks like he flourished under Eakins and Eakins must have been a fan for EDM to have gone after him. Hopefully EDM has something in him.
Firing of Ralph Krueger:
-May be the best move EDM made all summer. EDM’s 5 on 5 play was among the worst in the league. A change was absolutely necessary. I wish Krueger could have stayed as an associate as he did wonders with the PP. Aside from that he will not be missed.
Hiring of Dallas Eakins:
-I know very little about Dallas Eakins, but his hiring sounds like a change for the better. Succeeded as the head coach of the marlies the last 2 years. We may see a losing streak early on due to a long road trip and adjusting to the coaching change. EDM’s 5 on 5 play can seriously only go up. Let’s hope Eakins is what he’s built up to be.
Hiring of Keith Acton:
-Been an assistant coach for nearly 2 decades in PHI, TOR, and CBJ. Lack of experience and lack of numbers was a problem with the coaching staff this year.
-I think EDM automatically goes up 3 spots in the standings with him gone. Horrid player.
-MacT said he’s looking for Dmen to compliment EDM’s style. Slow, physical, often out of position Fistric did not fit in to this picture.
-Thanks for wasting that pick Tambo. Got a nice 10GP out of him.
-Didn’t really show up for 80% of his contract. Was abysmal save the final 2 years/52GP.
-Brutal possession player. Not NHL calibre. Won’t really be missed.
-Don’t know how or why he was re-signed. Not an NHL player.
Overall Grade: 8/10
When MacT said that at best the bottom 6 was a non-threat offensively, I assumed he’d fix it. Gordon is a start but all he’s doing is replacing Horc. Joensuu, who?
Depth added to the back end is nice. Some competition for the bottom pairing. Still no top 2 Dmen which leads me to believe EDM still won’t be in playoff contention.
Thanks for reading