Letter from the editor2

Hi everyone. It seems as though people like it when I moonlight over at the Copper and Blue, so I did it again. BCB and I did a semi-collaborative post (by which I mean I wrote and he edited) on Marx, Debord and deadline day. It can be read here.

Go Oilers

SWS

Typology of Trades. Vol. 1

In thinking about the up coming deadline, and procrastinating on my school work, I came up with an idea today: I would create a typology of what the Oilers have to trade with in the draft using the trades that occurred this year. It is not so complete, but it makes a little sense and we have to get some blogs up on here (now and again). I was going to do it with a bunch of philosophy too: but I got kind of lazy.

Here is the outline: Forwards = Kant, Defense = Deleuze, Goalies = Pre-socratics. Maybe I will as it gets closer to the deadline or when some Oilers get traded?

Forwards:

Over this last year, there have been multiple trades that involve forwards that may help us establish value for some of the Oilers at the deadline. First, I am going to ignore the Michael Frolik trade since it does not make any sense: but I do like Derek’s work on why the Oilers should be buyers. I am not going to take that approach since I believe that Tambo is going to stick to his ‘seller’ mindset that has driven this franchise in to ruin over the last 14 months or so.

The category I would like to begin with is the spare parts: or for fourth line guys. Both the Eager and the Voros trades could come into this category. On one hand, San Jose only gave up a fifth round pick (in 2011) for an overly-aggressive fourth liner that can fight, check, and has some playoff experience, while, on the other hand, Burkie’s man-crush on ‘thugs’ made him over pay for Voros giving the Ducks a 7th round pick in 2012 (only if he re-signs). I think these trades could set the upper limit and the lower limit (the smallest possible compensation allowed by the current CBA).

So how in the Oilers line up would fit this bill, well I have a few names: SMac, JFJ, Fraser, & Red Ox. SMac would look like the closes thing to a Voros, and I can’t see a competent GM paying over a 7th rounder (if resigned for next year) for SMac at this point in the season: the hulking tower of a man is not going to get in that many minutes before being a healthy scratch in the playoff. SMac would need to be going to a non-playoff team looking to start piecing a line up together for next year. Fraser becomes a better fit for the Eager trade: both 4th line players who bring a skill or two, and have some playoff experience. Fraser is less dominate that Eager in aggression and physicality, but has more ability on the PK and defensive side to the game (not great ability but just more). He might go for a 5th or 6th round pick to a contender that misses out on their preferred target. JFJ and the Red Ox fall somewhere in the middle: they could be a contributor to the fourth line of a playoff team (or at least a decent 13th/14th depth man) . . . but they do not have playoff experience (which is always a premium) and have some obvious flaws in their games—puck skills and size, respectably. The most you might get is a late 6th, but most likely only a 7th round pick (without conditions). Remember Zorg cleared waivers so most teams most likely do not think our players are worth shit!

Players for Sale: Fraser (NHL team) and Red Ox (a team pushing for an AHL run . . . aka wait a few days and then waive Reddox since nobody will be able to use him in the playoffs they will not likely take him). Buyers: I don’t know but my guess would be: Rangers, Phillie, San Jose, Phoenix, Caroline, Calgary. All could use a upgrade in the bottom of there line up and have maybe the cap space to address this. They get to be picky since I doubt we see more then 3 forwards get trade for such low amounts, especially with a few waiver wires that occur at this time of year.

The next category is the ‘bust, or just needs a new home’ type of player. The only trade I see which is close to this is Montreal’s trade with the Ducks earlier in the season: in which Maxim Lapierre—a second round pick that never lived up to his expectations on the bleu rouge blanc—was trade for a fifth round pick in next years draft and Brett Festerling (an undrafted Dman with 80 games of NHL experience). In the past this has often been a former first rounder for another former first rounder type of trade.

The only player on this list, really, for me is Brule. Not Cogliano since the coaching staff seems to have a lot of faith in him and the fact the Oilers have always included him in block-busters that fail to get off the ground. So Brule is a former lottery (albeit low lottery pick at 5th overall), and has skill and physicality in his game. He could be used by a playoff bound team on the fourth line, which has the skating legs, checking ability, and offensive awareness (aka shot) to be able to step up for a few shifts / games on a higher line. If I were a playoff team, Brule would be a higher target for my fourth plus lines then old Blackhawks like Eager or Fraser.

The problem is his contract: 1.85 Million next season. He is not too expensive (that he only cost 0.5 million against the cap for the rest of this year) so it is a high risk, high reward gamble: Brule could turn out bad but he could also turn out good. The price for a ‘Brule’ type player is about often an exact equivalent: a former first rounder, who has great potential, little likely chance to live up to that potential, and serviceable in a good/excellent team’s fourth line and on a bad teams second or third line. Most likely it would either be a failed first or second rounder and maybe a low pick coming back.

Players for Sale: Brule, Cogliano (for a Defenseman?). Buyers: Tampa, Montreal, Carolina, Atlanta, Detroit, Anaheim, Phoenix, Blackhawks, Calgary (not with us), and Columbus. All for different reasons but they could all use a player like Brule or Cogliano right now. Lots of teams could use this type of player . . . including Edmonton.

Then there is the solid veteran 3rd liner, on a playoff team, type of trades, which include the vets that are normally entering their UFA playing on the bottom feeders of the league. Obvious that is not the exactly the case for Kelly that took a trip to B-town for a second rounder, but Jamie Langenbrunner’s jaunt back to Dallas for 3rd or 2nd pick in this next two years: please see here for the complications. The Oilers have nobody up front that fits this bill (this is one of two reasons we are worst in the fuck’n league). Maybe Ryan Jones, but he is not get you a 2nd round pick maybe a fourth or a prospect . . . maybe.

Players for Sale: Jones? Buyers: Everyone in the playoff run except Nashville & Washington maybe?

Last you have the upper limit, as of right now: the Versteeg or Fisher Deals. Now I like the Fisher deal better on both sides . . . Fisher is a better player then Versteeg (while quite different) . . . and I like the return better too. I know Burkie gets that 3rd pick right now—and he using it for lube in his giant ego-stroke at trade dead line—and the one Murray gets is still a might get. But it has the chance to go up to a second round pick if the very deep Nashville team wins in the playoffs. I also like future picks since Ottawa gets the second next year and they can decide whether to draft a player or use it as trade bait in the second year of the rebuild.

The Oilers that fit this bill are Hemsky and Penner. I really don’t want to talk about them today so I am just going to suggest that these deals are the starting point for Hemsky or Penner . . . both I consider better players with playoff jewelry or experience.

Players for Sale: the above two mentioned players. Buyers: The City of Angels, the Apex of Country Music, The Quebecois, Steel Town USA, and maybe where CNN is located: just to name a few.

Defensemen

The three major defensemen trades I would like to focus on are: Mara, Beauchemin, & Wisniewski. Mara is obviously the least, with the Ducks only getting their own 5th round pick back (which they gave up in Lapierre trade). This does not look good for Vandermeer’s trade value right now. Montreal obviously winning the Lapierre trade since they got two pseudo-NHL defenders to shore up the bottom of the NHL and top of the AHL roster on the blue. Their luck has been terrible with injuries (their top two defenders in my opinion); they have relied on their depth at this position while continuing to add. Wisniewski for the compensatory 2nder rounder they have on a failure to sign an old first round and another conditional 5th rounder next year. Vandermeer is not this good but maybe Smid is? Beauchemin looks like a logical hockey trade: a top defender (this time with years on his contract, weird!) for a NHL player, prospect and random draft choice + matching salaries/ish. I don’t see the Oilers Brass trading Gilbert for such a small amount (or maybe I hate Lupul). We don’t have any other players that fit this bill.

And it doesn’t matter anyway; GMs get crazy for Dmen at the Deadline. The prize is more rhizomatic then structural. Who knew that Staois could get you a third rounder?* Why is Pronger always trade for a handful of assets? There seems to be a free flowing set of relationships been these trades: less structured value, which is often more context specific (who the trading partners are, their needs, the players involved themselves, etc…). There are always the vets that go for picks at the deadline but what those picks are is a mystery to me. If forwards are like the old family-tree method of biology, then defensemen are more like cladistic in contemporary biological science.

Players for sale: Everyone but Gilbert and Petry. Buyers: every team trying to make the playoffs, there is a player here to fit anyone’s budget (Smid could go for a second, vis-à-vis Grebeshkov logic; Vandermeer must be available for a 3rd or 4th, if you wait long enough you might be able to get him for a 5th; what would Peckham cost you to be a 6th /7th defender on a decent team? Some picks and prospects?)

Goalies:

Lastly, the Islanders have made a couple goalie trades . . . not surprising since they have an old back-up goalie (with out NHL management experience) and a little man—crazier than any goalie—in charge of the team. Look, I didn’t even need to mention their 15-year contract to a broken 1B tandem goalie. So Rollie for D prospect Ty Wishart and Al Montoya for a 6th round pick. I think even Tambo could of got a lot higher pick out of the Island for either Gerber or JDD . . . I am assuming that he wants OKC to win or at least try.

Players for Sale: No one.


* If we are thinking about Derek’s suggestion to be a buyer not a seller at the Deadline, which does not look to be a bad idea . . . I like his logic. Then wouldn’t it be along that line to add the Flames pick into market? Not for a pure rental, but their might be a 3rd line centre with a couple years on his contract available? Maybe here is wishing!

Skating.

I have recently re-discovered the joys of skating. A couple springs ago, I bought a pair of Reeboks skates while they were 50% off. They got stuck in a box when I moved a couple months later, and forgotten about: unsharpened, incorrectly laced-up, with the price tags still on. I moved to Toronto this fall, only to find my new skates again. It took me a while to get around to getting them sharpened.

Once I started to skate again, memories—of standing around in the first hockey practices of the fall shifting, from foot to foot, as so I could pretend the pain in my feet was not there—surfaced again for the first time in over ten or more years. I guess they make skates out of some kind of composite armor that is a bitch to break in: my wet shock trick didn’t do anything but freeze my feet into the skates (it works for combat boots so why not skates? Oh, I skate outside).

I decided I couldn’t afford hockey equipment, this year—Damn! The prices of sticks these-days, breaks a graduate student’s pocketbook—even the old Stastny or Coffey Sherwoods are over fifty bucks. But I did get a nice new jock & can (as I can remember random pucks and sticks well), as well as a few pucks before I decided I should to re-learn how to skate before I picked up a hockey stick.

So I have been skating around on outdoor rinks as of the last few weeks: just big loops around some choppy piece of ice always with beautiful women. No really: my roommate, women I am interested in, a six year-old princess, & some friends. There is more talking and flirting then I remember when as a child I went skating with the ‘boys’. Not that a couple of these ladies are not far superior skaters to me. They often end up skating circles around my, while I am sweating and gasping for breath. Damn it has been a few fun weeks, and unlike the recent Oiler’s play it has create a bunch of great memories.

This is the worst season of memories, by the Oilers, that I can ever remember. I watch religiously through the nineties . . . even after I quit hockey to be in musical theatre and modern dance (see interest in women). I know I get to watch the Holy Trinity* and Omark dance in the offensive zone, as well as Petry & Peckham really fill out their games: overall it is the best rookie crop I have ever seen in orange and blue silks. But I hate it. I want to watch the Oilers win games, and be in the playoff race—even if it means spring disappointment: cause often spring disappointment means we have some good moments at the end of April.

So since we are only talking about next season (I mean virtually every blog is on board with this: it easy to talk about this season: i.e. “Did you see _______ last night, He was great, and still so young. Too bad the rest of the team is undermanned and the systems suck.”). Here is my list of untouchables . . . I did this a couple seasons ago, and boy was I wrong. Here are a couple highlights:

a) Tambo on the ‘Untouchable List’. I must have been drunk on something or just really desperate to have said this: “we have been begging for an upper office manger who has experience and not one of the old boys, we finally got one: lets give him a chance.”

b) Having both then goaltenders on the ‘On the Edge List’. Oh and I am talking about: Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (“the only Hopeful part of the three headed monster”) and Dwayne Roloson (“we need a veteran goalie for our Utopia”). Seriously, I had delusions the JDD might not suck and Roloson would be a good veteran mentor between the pipes. Actually one of those statements turned out to be true.

c) My ‘Can’t be moved (unless we pull a Mogilny) List’ was completely out to lunch. I had Staios (that netted us a third round pick) & Cap’t Two-Minute-Minor (how the BJ’s claimed off waivers: we really should have sent flowers after that one-night stand) solidly in the mix. Cole eventual got trade too, but that has been Tambo’s biggest bust. Lastly, I had the pugilists—SMac and Zorg—on this list, cause I never think fighters have value on the trade market . . . well, I might have been wrong about the man once called HuggyBear, but the lumbering goon needs to get waived—WHAT THE FUCK, TAMBO! Sorry about the allcaps.

d) The ‘Trade Bait List’ includes those that were just that (Garon, Grebeshkov, and Brodziak) with a couple players that got releases/bought-out (Pouliot & Nilsson). The jury is still out on the rest.

e) I correctly predicted that Chad ‘camp mendelbaum’ Moreau and Pete Peeters would be fired, and I did ask the question of Kelly Buchburger (“what is his experience? what is his roll?”). I still don’t know the answer. I am too embarrassed to repeat what I said about Lowe and MacT.

This year’s list:

‘Untouchable List’

Taylor Hall—Best natural talent on the team, and will be its most dominate player for the next 5 or 6 seasons.

Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson—Too talent to give up on because of a little slow start moving form the SEL to the NHL. Wouldn't be a bad idea to hire a veteran Swede—in the off season (maybe on the back end)—for the room vis-à-vis the Pääjärvi Ghost, Omark, & Lander.

Shawn Horcoff—It doesn't matter if he could be included on the ‘Can’t be moved (unless we pull a Mogilny) List’: it is irrelavent. Right now, the Mighty Russian has to teach the defensive side of the game to the youngen’ on the run against the hardest competition. I am not going to check the advance stats, cause that is what I see.

Jordan Eberle—The smartest play of the Three. ‘nough said.

Ladislav Smid, Theo Peckham & Jeff Petry—Smid's birthday is today and 26 years old: he has a 1.3 Million year contract that expires this year but is an RFA. Peckham is in the same boat but with a 0.55 million contract: plus he is 23 only years old. Petry is also 23 years old, but this is his first pro season and only makes 1 Million for this year and next . . . still a RFA. Together they should make a solid 4-5-6 defenseman, at minimum, and have the ability to fill in for bigger rolls. What that is going to cost us what? Like maybe 4 million in cap-space to sign all of them next season: most likely cheaper. I wouldn’t think about moving these parts, but just adding to them (see below).

‘On the Edge List’

Sam Gagner—I personally think trading him is a stupid and selfish idea. Trade from a weakness (centre) to fill another need, when the part of the weakness you are trading is not actually the weakness. See Gagner is type casted as not the big-number-one-center that we ‘need’. What we need is a health Horcoff and another competent centre, because a depth of two is not enough.

Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney—Well this are two prototype-defensemen that I want playing with the three young dmen that I called untouchables. The problem is neither one of them us good enough to be a real ‘Number 1 Dman’! I really mean it; I loved to have these two players for most if not all their current contracts (four million over the next three and two years). I’d trade one, if that had to happen to up grade the position, but they would be a significant piece going back (maybe with prospects but not anything exciting).

J-F Jacques & Steve MacIntyre—They have no value, and lots of backers (Management and Coaching, respectively) in the organization. They are wastes of contract spaces, and wastes of roster spaces. Please save us now, this cannot be happening.

‘Can’t be moved (unless we pull a Mogilny) List’

Gilbert Brule, Kurtis Foster & Colin Fraser—They suck. I said the same thing about a lot of players that were traded last time around: plus a bunch of them got a lot of value back. I just can’t see any other GM want these players this year. They all have contracts that run into next year and have underperformed.

Nikolai Khabibulin—He is a drunk. Signed over 35 years old, makes a shit-tonne of money, and is terrible.

Jason Strudwick—What does he do again? He has no value, but I have been wrong before.

Zack Stortini—Zorg just got waived. I say he gets picked up. I hope he does, I liked him.

‘Trade Bait List’

Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky & Linus Omark—Too many skilled, talented wingers, and not enough top-flight defense and a centremen with a brain. I have been vocal about Hanzal and Weber, but that is hardly an original idea. The important part is identifying which wingers will perform better and getting them under reasonable contracts. Then trading the other one or two for the missing parts we need (the two mentioned in this paragraph and between the pipes).

Andrew Cogliano—What position does he play? I really do not think it is centre, or wing: maybe it is Rover? He needs to be moved to top 6 forward, on the wing. Right now there is too many young skilled wingers ahead of him and even more veterans . . . what to do? I’d either trade him or trade two of the above wingers and move him up to see what he can do as a winger playing with actual talent. The problem is that Tambo has not displayed the ability to make solid acquisitions at the deadline: the Cole for Patty’O and the Czech shot was a terrible deal. His selling for draft picks and small deals in the summer ‘record’ is much better. The Oilers need to address their long term weakness before Cogliano gets a fair shot at the wing—Tambo moves too slow for this to happen.

Jim Vandermeer—I think Lowetide says he might just be worth the most, but that man writes too much for me to ever quote him. I tend to agree. He is gone or hurt by the trade deadline.

Ryan Jones—Trade him, now! Before he loses any value. It is fine if he turns out great on another team, we need extra bullets for the ‘Magnificent’ Bastards gun.

Jeff Deslauriers & Martin Gerber—If the Barons are looking to make a playoff run, then both should be kept around. Maybe they should add a 5th or 7th round pick and get another skilled forward to help this platoon out. If not, and you would have to think the Oilers want the Barons to make the playoffs in their first year, you trade one of them for sixth or seventh round draft pick as to get some value out of their expiring contacts

Devan Dubnyk—Why not trade him? I don’t think he is the answer going forward, but I don’t know what is. Goalies are crazy. With the Booz’en Wall here he is getting kinda fucked.

So there you have it. I really find losing boring to watch. Tambo is not going to do anything till the summer. I am lost on whether to keep watching. I most likely will with my roommate, but she is a Habs fan (but so is my Dad and Uncle). Please get better on the ice, or Katz please fire people. If not, I am just going skating.

* Hall, Jordan Eberle, and the Pääjärvi Ghost