Finally, it’s over…

By , July 31, 2009 4:57 pm
noheatley

Tambi finally quits Heatley

Today Oilers GM Steve Tambellini held a conference call to announce that the Oilers have finally ended the grovelling, begging, pleading, and video-sending. The Oilers have moved on and will no longer pursue Dany Heatley.

Good news, yes? Well, whether you were wanting the Oilers to land Dany Heatley or just wanting the team to move on, most fans recognized that the Oilers need to do something to make this team better. So far the Oilers are plus Khabibulin, and a new coaching staff, and minus Roloson, Brodziak and Kotalik. There is still a question mark on the top line left wing (and possibly center, although I stand by Horcoff), size issues in the top six , and a lack of faceoff depth beyond Horcoff.

Disappointingly, Tambellini also commented during the phone conference that he feels this team is a playoff contender as is. He also alluded earlier in the off-season that if negotiations with Heatley didn’t work out, there wouldn’t be any other changes in store for the Oilers. It would be Heatley or bust. Pouliot and/or Brule are likely going to get a big opportunity this year to fill in with the checking center role. And while I do like their offensive upside (albeit somewhat limited, at the moment) I don’t think either of these guys can replace the faceoff abilities of a Brodizak, or Reasoner or Stoll.

But hey, it’s a new season, and a new coaching staff. We’ll just have to be patient and wait and see.

6 Responses to “Finally, it’s over…”

  1. Hockey Noob says:

    After I recently found out about your blog, I had to make sure that I would be the first person to leave a comment, lol. Cograts and best of luck with the new blog! Racki or Stooch?

    It does seem likely based on recent comments by both Prendergast and Tambellini that we’ll being standing pat this off season. However, there’s a remote chance that we’ll make a minor roster change or two. I would love to see either Gagne or Kessel in an Oilers uniform, but it might be too much to hope for.

    It sounds like Slats is going to have to make a decision very quickly in terms of whether or not he will let Zherdev walk. Though many feel that Nilsson has tremendous potential which I will not dispute, he has been rumored to be on the chopping block by several blog sites. IMO the added cap hit that a Nilsson +/- lesser prospect trade for Zherdev ($1.9 million) might be worth considering to add scoring depth to our 2nd line.

  2. Racki says:

    Hey Noob,

    I could definitely see the Oilers moving Nilsson for a guy like Zherdev. Both have question marks with their desire to play, however only one of them has a few 20+ goal seasons under their belt (one in Columbus, two in New York). Not to mention, Zherdev has a bit of size to him (at 6’2″) which would likely make him a bit more durable than a guy like Nilsson.

    I would love to see the Oilers take a chance on Zherdev if the cost were Nilsson and a minor prospect. I think the Oil would still need to free up a bit of salary though unless the other player was an NHL roster player. The Oilers have approximately $2.15M left in cap space (according to capgeek.com), and still need to sign Ladi Smid, Gilbert Brule and Rob Schremp. The $2.15M cap space includes a full 23-man roster though, so for each player we sign that stays in the NHL, we’ll see another one moved down to the AHL (although it won’t be anyone too costly).

    But I had mentioned on Lowetide some lines I’d like to see once we landed Zherdev:

    Penner O’Sullivan Hemsky
    Cogliano Gagner Zherdev
    Moreau Horcoff Pisani
    JFJ Brule Stortini

    I think it would give us fairly balanced lines, and I think line 3 would give us a fairly solid vet line (something Quinn might favor). I hesitate to see Horcoff dropped to the third line, especially since he’ll have a tough time living up to his salary on the top line (in the fans eyes, at least), but I think he would be very well served in that role.

  3. Hockey Noob says:

    Yeah, I read that top 9 as you posted on the Oilers’ forum. It really caught my attention as I think a few savvy Oilers’s bloggers have considered playing Horcoff with Moreau and Pisani to essentially give Quinn a vet line to play the toughest opposition. As a side note, I wonder if the line would be called MorPisoff or HorPiseau, lol.

    It’s certainly a rather unconventional idea, but I think it has enough potential and merit to be considered. It would allow the Penner/POS/Hemmer line to face somewhat softer opposition and potentially allow the Gagner line to tear up the soft minutes.

    On Lowetide blog comments section, I discussed your idea today. Kris suggested a more conventional top 9 arrangement with keeping Horpensky intact:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Zherdev
    Cogliano-Pouliot-Pisani

    Either way, I think that our roster looks better with Zherdev on 2RW than it does without.

  4. Racki says:

    I have thought about leaving the Horpensky line intact as well too. In fact, I’d really like to see that. However, my only reasoning for breaking it up was to give Cogliano better linemates. I have never really been a fan of him being on the 3rd line, even though he has been quite successful there (18 goals is nothing to scoff at).

    Where did Kris have Moreau? On line 4? That actually is a spot I’d personally like to see him too, just because I think it’s more fitted to his style of play.

    I’m going to re-buff my original suggestion a bit, and go with the following:

    Penner O’Sullivan Hemsky
    Cogliano Gagner Zherdev
    Pouliot Horcoff Pisani
    Moreau Brule Stortini

    I’m not so sure how Pouliot will fair on that 3rd line though, but I suppose it would be no worse than Moreau there either. I think that spot though would be the greatest opportunity for improvement and perhaps could see some young players cycling in on it.

    Just some random thoughts here ;)

  5. Hockey Noob says:

    Hey Racki,

    Yeah, I agree that Moreau might be the weakest link on the 3rd line/shut down line. I also agree with your concerns of Cogliano on the 3rd line as per kris’ top 9 suggestion. I should have posted his full four lines, so here they are:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Zherdev
    Cogliano-Pouliot-Pisani
    Moreau-Brule-Stortini

    Moreau on the 4rth is something many people have been discussing as perhaps a better fit for the captain. I’m not sure how well he would take to 4rth line duties with that being the main concern.

    With the purpose of the 3rd line being that of playing the tough opposition, I do think it is a novel idea with the line +/- Moreau/Pouliot. Horcoff and Pisani would be the key components of the line to play the toughs, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to play around with the LW for the line to find out which combination works the best.

  6. Racki says:

    Yah, I’m really liking the idea of Moreau on the 4th line. Here’s the way I see it. Yes, Moreau is our captain, and it might seem like a demotion, but this team can roll 4 lines. Each line will serve its own special purpose, and each line will be key to winning games.

    Our top 2 lines are obviously very offensive oriented lines. When one isn’t producing, hopefully the other will be. If not, we have line 3, which is a solid hybrid of offense and defense. Line 4, is equally critical. We saw last year and the year before how big that 4th line can be. It’s our energy line, and wow did it pull through before. I really can’t help but draw some comparisons between Moreau and Glencross.

    I’d really like to see Moreau take that role and run with it, as it suits his playing style. But having a guy like Brule allows him to maintain that offensive side and perhaps put in a dozen or more goals a season.

    It’s amazing how one small player change can really change the look of the team, no?

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