And on the 1st day, he created the heavens, then called it an off-season…

By , July 2, 2011 12:23 am
Tambi was a busy man today...

Tambi was a busy man today...

OK, really, today wasn’t THAT good. It was good though, and I was surprised how much the Edmonton Oilers got done in a single day. This is the same crew of people that snailed their way through last off-season and did much to improve the farm team, but very little to improve the big club with Colin Fraser, Jim Vandermeer and Kurtis Foster being the “big” additions.

So, let’s summarize:

OUT


Kurtis Foster… a defenseman that really didn’t do much for this team, unfortunately. A big time underachiever, Foster provided next to no offense (8G, 14A) and was a defensive nightmare (see David Staples posts on Neilsen numbers for some good support of that). Foster was involved in a trade with the Ducks today that saw us getting Andy Sutton in return.

Colin Fraser… the forward version of Kurtis Foster, he provided next to no offense (3G, 2A), wasn’t at all the defensive talent we thought he’d be, and was poor on the dot. Fraser was moved in the trade for Ryan Smyth

Jim Vandermeer… I started to warm up to him about 20 games in, and if we didn’t acquire some toughness on the blue, I’d probably be sad to see him go. I didn’t like that he “floated” the first part of the season, but I really loved that he finally showed some give a damn around January or so. Dandy Vandy signed with the Sharks.

JF Jacques… I was probably his lone supporter… probably moreso than his own family. But even I know that his days were numbered here, given that he had big injuries issues and provides little else than toughness. Jacques is currently a UFA.

Zack Stortini… Stortini lost all favor with the coach after some poor fight results. I didn’t like how Oilers fans dumped on him when Renney lost faith in him. I think he’s a character guy that, while is a borderline NHLer in most aspects, didn’t deserve much of the fan abuse he receives. Hopefully he is picked up by a team out there… preferably out east, so we don’t have to deal with his yapping ;). He will be missed in the community, however. Stortini is currently a UFA.

Steve MacIntyre… he hasn’t been moved yet, like Stortini and Jacques, however you can pretty much guarantee that he will be gone with Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk here now. There is a small chance the Oilers try and sign him and squeak him down into their farm system, but that is doubtful. Some team looking for a big tough guy will pick him up for cheap.

Jason Strudwick… he is also currently a UFA. I think we can all agree that as a defenseman, he was pretty awful… a 7th d-man at best. He’s a funny guy, and a good guy to bridge gap between veterans and rookies. Rumor has it that he may retire and sign on in a coaching role.

IN

Ryan Smith… acquired in a trade that involved a 7th round pick and Colin Fraser going to the Kings. This was a great deal for the Oilers that made fans here extremely happy. Ryan Smyth brings the grit and leadership that this team really needs. Expect to see him re-united with Hemsky. Smyth is signed for 1-year with a cap hit of $6.25M.

Ben Eager… big.. tough. This guy is a true enforcer in the sense that he won’t be polite and offer you to dance. Look for him to protect the young players. However, it should be known that he will rack up his share of bad penalties. Eager was signed to a 3-year deal with a $1.1M cap hit.

Darcy Hordichuk… Hordichuk’s biggest downfall is that he has been quite prone to injuries due to his high-tempo crash and bang style. Expect a J.F. Jacques like game out of him… high energy, but really weak on the offense. He can also be a penalty machine, like Ben Eager. However, on the plus side, this guy will stand up for teammates in the truest of sense. In fact, he’s already talked about how excited he is to do that for the young kids here. He’s also very known for being a very active member in the community, like many of the tough guy’s in the league. Hordichuck was signed to a 1-year deal at $825,000.

Andy Sutton… so we traded a guy that brings limited physicality, piss-poor defense, and underachieving offense for a huge monster, physical d-man that can play a decent defensive game? Well, consider me happy. But to be clear, he’s older at 36, and with his big size, he will have trouble with the quick players. I don’t expect TOO much out of him, but I think taking a poor asset in Foster and turning it into a usable piece is a great piece of work by Tambellini. Kurtis Foster is a reclamation project though, so the Ducks might be thinking they got the better of the deal here too. Sutton is a 35+ contract, with 1-year left on it at $2.125M.

Eric Belanger… for 3 years we won’t have to worry about faceoffs. This is long overdue. He’s a guy that can play in all situations too – evens, powerplay and penalty kill. Great signing here. I thought the price and term were a bit high for a team that should be looking to bring in Vande Velde and/or Tyler Pitlick and/or Anton Lander though.. so we’ll see what happens in the long run. Belanger is signed for 3-years at a cap hit of $1.75M.

Cam Barker… he has potential to be a very good pick up for us, and potential to be another Kurtis Foster failure. Time will tell here, but he is a more well rounded player, and I think it’s more likely that we see the good side of Barker. He’ll buy some time for the development of Jeff Petry and Martin Marincin, amongst others. Cam Barker is on a 1-year, $2.25M deal.

UNKNOWNS


You could include MacIntyre, JFJ, Strudwick and Storini here, but let’s face it… they’re gone.

Andrew Cogliano… where does he fit in the equation now? Rumor has it that he doesn’t, and is being shopped (and this rumor monger has been gold all week). I think this is the best idea. I think we’ll likely get about 60 cents on the dollar here if we are lucky.

Gilbert Brule… the Oilers already attempted to stuff him in a deal and failed. I think it’s obvious that his days are numbered here. However, with him being injured, it’s going to be tough to move him. I’d guess that once he’s fully healthy, they’ll place him on waivers, and perhaps attempt to bury him in the minors if there are no takers. Tough break for Gilbert.

Nikolai Khabibulin… believe it or not, the Oilers have been working quite hard this off-season to acquire a goalie. They have looked at Europeans, and they have been rumored to be talking to big free agent goaltender Tomas Voukon. It would take a miracle to be rid of Khabibulin’s salary / cap hit, so I’m not sure what they have planned there. My only guess is that they are going to bite the bullet and buy him out. This saves them a little salary, but the cap hit will still stick with the team for the remaining 2 years he is here.

WHAT’S LEFT TO DO?


Sign Peckham. Find a new home for Cogliano and Khabibulin, and find a new goaltender for the team. All things considered, that’s a VERY short list for a team that finished 30th place last year and the year before it. I say it every year, but I’m really excited about this coming season. I think the pieces Tambellini acquired and moved out in the last week or so have significantly changed the face of this team. Some much better luck from the hockey gods (read: less injuries) and this team could be several rungs higher on the standings ladder at the end of the season.

Here’s how I see the lineup next year:

Hall Horcoff Eberle
Smyth Gagner Hemsky
Paajarvi Lander/VV/RNH Omark
Hartikainen/Hordichuk/Eager Belanger Jones

Whitney Barker
Peckham Gilbert
Smid Sutton

Our defensive pairings aren’t easy to conjure up. I’m not really sure who will work best with whom. I think Peckham and Gilbert are a good match. However, I can’t figure out who really would play top line pairing with Whitney and be suitable there. MAYBE Barker. But I’m not too certain about that, and since he shoots left, it might not be a spot he can slot into. We’ll see.

Petry should be one of the first defensive call ups. He’d be the only D besides Gilbert that plays the right side naturally.

A decision still needs to be made who will play center with Paajarvi and Omark. Belanger might move up into the top 9, in which case we’ll be trying to fit a rookie into the 4th line.


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51 Responses to “And on the 1st day, he created the heavens, then called it an off-season…”

  1. Racki says:

    How many people predicted Tambo would be this busy today? We all knew he wouldn’t be picking up any big name players (ex. Richards), but I don’t think many people expected him to sign 4 players and trade for 1. Busy, busy day. A little overkill having both Eager and Hordichuk though, perhaps. But I’d have to say that the BoA swings our way a bit more this year, at least on the toughness front.

  2. Mr.Majestyk says:

    Free agent fail was bigger than i expected and maybe due to the talent available teams didn’t get too crazy. Except for Montreal and Erik Cole, that was just dumb. And Wiz but we already discussed that. All in all a pretty good day for the Oilers.

  3. dawgtoy says:

    Erik Cole…wtf? That’s terrible! Please no Richards to Calgary. Might be an incredible deal for a player to be maf if Rangers can land Richards, maybe Dubinsky? If we can dumb Rehabby, what a great couple of days for Tambi and our Oilers.

  4. Jay says:

    Hey Racki,

    Great stuff! I’m actually incredibly excited myself. The word “shock,” pretty much sums up how I felt yesterday. Who would have thought Tambo would build up the bottom of the roster? After the last two seasons, Oilers fans certainly deserve and received something to be excited about outside of the draft.

    I like your lines, but I personally don’t see Belanger dumped on the 4rth line. He’s a guy who won 55% of his draws on over 1k taken last year, led his team in TOI as a forward, and put up 40 points still. I guess if the Nuge makes the team, I’m not sure what will happen with our lines.

  5. Racki says:

    Hey Jay,

    Yah I wasn’t sure where to put him. I think it’s a near safe bet that Hall Horcoff and Eberle work together. Paajarvi Gagner and Omark also had something going too. So maybe Renney runs an all vet line with Smyth Belanger Hemsky then? There are a few possibilities, anyways. It would appear that we have that kind of roster where guys can move up or down the line up and not look out of place (save for the two thugs).

  6. Racki says:

    Brad Richards signs with the Rangers for 9 years with an average cap hit of $6.5M.

    http://www.capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=690

    Flames offered more… Kings around the same… but Richards apparently wanted to go out east.

  7. NorwegianOiler says:

    http://twitter.com/#!/@TreenasOil says Hemsky was almost traded. Hemmer keeps coming up as someone we’re trying to move. I still can’t understand why we are so keen on moving our best player all this time. If we’re serious about winning, better keep around players that are 1) Quality NHLers and 2) Happy to be in Edmonton (apparently, at least).

    I’m with Racki, TreenasOil – the enigmatic tweetybird – likely to be just as the other scantily clad ladies on the internet: Just another dude trolling :D What better alias than a babe?

  8. Alan-NottsUK says:

    http://twitter.com/#!/@TreenasOil

    Eastern Team asking about Horcoff, Oilers asking for 1st round pick and a prospect

    just added: Horcoff liked by Katz family, doubts he gets moved

    edit: Habs are team asking

  9. Racki says:

    Ya I saw those tweets (p.s., stop staring at her tweets, guys). Interesting. I would be disappointed to see horcoff go and we are better with hemsky than without. But moving big salary in horc would be good for the long term, I think. Still yet, for the most part I hope he stays.

    As for 83, with smyth here, I’m excited for a reunion. Simple as that. But moving an injury prone guy may not be a bad idea

  10. Racki says:

    Also, “@TreenasOil: Gagner Gilbert and Cogliano are the names that kept coming up today Some very aggressive told to watch the next few days maybe even tomoro..”. I would be happy if gilbert and cogs were moved. However, losing another rhd might be tough.

  11. NorwegianOiler says:

    Hope he stays, but not because “He is liked by the Katz family” – whenever business is second to personal relationships things start to go awry. Ask the Sutter mafia in Calgary. TreenasOil’s emergence and sources keeps me sceptical, even though the ‘results’ are convincing. Just makes me wonder who keeps feeding this person information…

    Horcoff’s presence is needed to stabilize our center position. If he’s moved and all we are left with is another 1st rounder (15-20 range) and a prospect that may or may not turn out, we’re back to square one in terms of faceoff centers, etc. It would actually be a downgrade, given that Belanger won’t outperform Horcoff (even if he’d win an extra faceoff every other game). We did not get much better with the goons and Sutton, but having both of Belanger and Horcoff might actually make a difference. I’d keep it that way.

  12. Alan-NottsUK says:

    If Gilbert is moved with no D coming back I guess Petry takes his place, he’s a RHD right?

    Cogliano would be a good addition for a team close to the cap limit.

    Can’t see them moving Gagner this season, maybe next year after they have had a chance to look at Nugent-Hopkins

    I can’t see Horcoff being traded without a decent vet lined up to replace him on a 1/2 year deal either

  13. Racki says:

    Agree very much, n.o. I guess it all depends on how we followedup trading horcs. But I think he is decent on ice but very key off ice. It’s a combination of the two that makes him important here, to me. He’s played very well with the kids and them well with him. Dont think the timing is right to move him. Re visit this next year or come trade deadline (i.e. If they show signs of better chemistry with someone else)

  14. Treeoil says:

    Is Sean Avery gay?

  15. Mr.Majestyk says:

    If there is seriosly a chance to move Horcoff and his contract i say go for it. Times like these don’t come along too often. Alas he has a NTC so it would have to be alright by him first.

    If we gave up Horc we’d have to look at someone like Arnott to come back as a free agent.

  16. Racki says:

    Treeoil:
    Is Sean Avery gay?

    I take it that this is because of his stance on gay marriage and saying the NHL should be pioneers in sports and show support of it. Really, I doubt he’s gay at all. If you recall the “sloppy seconds” other players in the league have had of his. And even if he is, to me, it’s neither here nor there. I’m not sure his reasoning behind the comments… best guess is that he wants to clean up his image a bit, at least temporarily until he can sneak-attack someone again. I don’t really have an opinion on the subject he brought up, but I did think it strange to hear from him. The guy’s a predator, and I think any “genuine” sounding thing that comes out of his mouth has some sort of double motive.

    Mr.Majestyk:
    If there is seriosly a chance to move Horcoff and his contract i say go for it.Times like these don’t come along too often.Alas he has a NTC so it would have to be alright by him first.

    If we gave up Horc we’d have to look at someone like Arnott to come back as a free agent.

    Arnott is a bit old, but for a year or two, I would love to have him here. I hate to say it, but I think he would be a better influence skill wise on the rooks. I would like him here though even if we DID have Horc here still.

    Horcoff, Arnott, Belanger, Gagner down the middle sounds much better.

  17. zackman35 says:

    Here is a little fun fact…

    Left Wing: Hall (#1 OV 2010), PRV (#10 OV 2009), Smyth (#6 OV 1994), Eager (#23 OV 2002)
    Center: Gagner (#6 OV 2007), Cogs (#25 OV 2005), * RNH (#1 OV 2011)
    Right Wing: Eberle (#22 OV 2008), Hemsky (#13 OV 2001),

    Defense: Whitney (#5 OV 2002), Smid (#9 OV 2004), Barker (#3 OV 2004)

    Goalies: Dubnyk (#14 OV 2004)

    Just a few first round picks eh? It would be really nice to rid of Khabi and upgrade our D landing someone like Girardi or a young guy up and coming. I’m still up for trading Hemsky (only because he’s injury prone) but we’d have to get something quality in return.

    EDIT: I wonder if there is anyway we could land Ekman-Larsson… just kidding that wont happen. I think we could have a chance at landing a defensive prospect from Ottawa though, they seem to be stacked.

    To OTT
    Gilbert + Cogs + 3rd Rounder 2012

    To EDM
    Cowen OR Runbald (The deal would have to be a little more substantial for this kid)

    EDIT II: I think its almost time for me to give another go at a new POTF layout Racki.

  18. oilinblood says:

    Racki: How many people predicted Tambo would be this busy today? We all knew he wouldn’t be picking up any big name players (ex. Richards), but I don’t think many people expected him to sign 4 players and trade for 1. Busy, busy day. A little overkill having both Eager and Hordichuk though, perhaps. But I’d have to say that the BoA swings our way a bit more this year, at least on the toughness front.

    add in that calgary tossed regehr. i think we got more competitive and will see less man games lost to injury. we didnt get more talented but we already had a nice top 6 and with smyth and belanger we might have a solid top 9. our top end d and forwards will have to have good years but that is typical for any team.

    i am thinking we might be competitive before afflecks start shooting the tim thomas story boston style.

    I can see a few teams interested i horcoff and khabi, because of the cap floor. the only way montreal would be metioned as interest in horc is if gomez would be coming back, i would expect. hells no.

    Horcoff will have another good year this year. i thought he had a really good year this past year before the injury woes taxxed. cap hit is a non issue for us for another 2 seasons. If Horcoff ad Hemsky come back with strong shoulders… we will be laughing. In Belanger we have a guy who can finally make a second dependable centre behind horcoff.
    cogs brule dont fit at all anymore.

    so what are we at right now?
    hall horcoff eberle
    paajarvi gagner omark
    smyth belanger hemsky
    hordi vv/omarra eager

    defense is packed on the left. has barker ever played rd? i know from oil change smid is not comfortable on the right.

  19. Racki says:

    OIB: Ryan Jones?

    Zack: I see you also forgot about him. :P As far as a new theme, sounds good! I’m thinking that when you decide on a template to use, I’ll have to install it first or something to make sure it puts the options menu in there. On that note, whatever template you use, make sure it can be installed through the WordPress front end :)

  20. Treeoil says:

    If the flames didn’t get Richards (thank goodness for that) will they try to get Stamkos?

  21. Racki says:

    I kind of wonder if any teams are looking to offersheet either Stamkos or Doughty. I thought we would see it, but we haven’t yet. I’m guessing that no one is that ballsy to do it.

  22. Treeoil says:

    By the way I want express my gratitude to the writter of the blog, since I live in Philadelphia it’s hard to talk to or listen to anyone talk about the oilers.

  23. Mr.Majestyk says:

    I think if either TB or LA signed Richards we would see an offersheet. As teams are able to add to their teams they aren’t likely to offer sheet, but if they get left in the cold who knows.

    What teams that wanted something didn’t get anything? I only can think of the Leafs because they said they would be big players in the market but they didn’t really get anything. Except they needed a center and just got Tim Connelly.

  24. Alan-NottsUK says:

    One thing I just thought about was if the rumors about interest in Hemsky around the league is true and the Oiler’s interest in Green from Washington is true, do you think they could be main parts in a trade between the teams?

  25. NorwegianOiler says:

    Alan-NottsUK:
    One thing I just thought about was if the rumors about interest in Hemsky around the league is true and the Oiler’s interest in Green from Washington is true, do you think they could be main parts in a trade between the teams?

    Let’s hope it’s not Semin ;)

  26. Racki says:

    Alan-NottsUK:
    One thing I just thought about was if the rumors about interest in Hemsky around the league is true and the Oiler’s interest in Green from Washington is true, do you think they could be main parts in a trade between the teams?

    I can’t imagine what else we’d have to add to our end of the deal, but I would be happy with that. Right hand D man, oozes offense. He’s be the Coffey to Ryan-Nugent Hopkins’ Gretzky…. easy folks, I kid, I kid. Seriously though, would love to have him here. I think we’d have to pay quite the price though.

  27. zackman35 says:

    As per @TreenasOil
    oilers have offers but not what they want if they can’t move brule he will go on waivers

    Makes sense. Maybe we could end up turning Brule into another Brodziak scenario, getting deep picks. I think the injuries and urgency to put him in the show has really hindered his progress/potential.

  28. Ktown says:

    Glad I shared the TreenasOil thing. Hopefully she turns out to be the realdeal, but her accuracy level has seemed pretty high thus far. Sorry, BO for blowing the “source” lol.

    I like the signings and trades yesterday. Heard that we were in on Vokoun but he wanted too much for too long – then he signs for $1.5M with was? shit balls, I say.

    Other than getting some decent picks or prospects for Cogs, I don’t think there’s a whole lot more that Tambi can do to make the team better… this season.

    I give Tambi a solid A for yesterday (A+ if Barker regains form).

  29. Alan-NottsUK says:

    I had treenasoil on twitter anyway, just had no idea how accurate they were before yesterday though lol

  30. oilinblood says:

    oops forgot jones. yup cogs and brule are done. and likely zero market value since teams have gm’s that know how to do math and waivers are free.

    as for mike green from wash… yes please. please include cogs and whitney in the package. mind you it relieves us of a rhd (which is in a way counter productive) but gilbert gets top pair dollars.

    im amazed that the market is saying a 40 point centre is worth 4m. these are dumb days of summer.

  31. Alan-NottsUK says:

    washington have 22 players signed with $544,000 cap space remaining.

    They need to sign alzner and brouwer. Alzners last contract was $1.6m and is an RFA, Brouwer’s was $1m also an RFA.

    so they need to make a trade.

    edit: Sabres have just over $1m left and only have 19 players signed. another team who needs to trade off salary

  32. LateNightOilFan says:

    I can’t believe Vokoun went to the Caps for $1.5m on a 1 year. Wow, did he ever price himself out of the market this year. That’s quite a Plan B – yet it might be what brings the Caps to the SCF when all is said and done.

  33. oilinblood says:

    how is green recovering from the concussion? is he ufa next year or the year after?
    if we are truly going for it… weber is the guy.

    convenient we still have our 1st for 2012

  34. Racki says:

    Green is RFA after this year. I would imagine that he is UFA eligible the following year..??

    OIB: Remember Weber filed for arbitration, so we won’t be offersheeting, if that’s why you mentioned the 2012 pick.. but Doughty is an option too.

    Anyways, I would definitely trade for Green though. I think even moving Whitney would be good, as we move out a lefty for a righty and balance things a bit, although ideally we keep Whitney and move a different lefty not named Peckham… and preferably not named Smid. Uh… options are a bit low there.

    Whitney Green
    Peckham Gilbert
    Smid Sutton
    ?

    Anyways, I doubt we’ll get him, so I’m just dreaming at this point.

  35. NorwegianOiler says:

    Hmm, if we are going after a defenseman of Green’s reputation (i.e. having to give up valuable assets to acquire said player) I’d prefer to go after a defender that is actually great at defending ;) Nothing against Green, but he’s not a marquee #1 type as is Chara, Weber, Lidström, Pronger or even younger guys like Keith or Seabrook.

  36. oilinblood says:

    rack… i dont know if im the only one who thinks this but ummm your title is getting as lil carried away dontchathink? :P

  37. Racki says:

    Thus the first paragraph, OIB :P

    N.O.: I too would like an all around defender, but how many times are these guys available? I though Brent Burns would have been a great pickup, and was surprised he was available. But I’m not sure I’d pass up a chance at Mike Green, even if he isn’t the best defender. I’m not confident he’ll put up the same numbers, but let’s say he did.. you really think a guy who is+24, +39 and +6 in his last 3 years is a defensive liability? It’s all about the chances you create vs. the chances you give up. Now, I don’t put much stock at all into the plus/minus stat and I know he plays with Ovechkin and Backstrom and company, but you know that Green’s offensive gifts MORE than make up for his defensive short comings.

    Would I rather have Chara, Weber or Pronger or even Lidstrom? Definitely, but they’re not available. Mike Green paired with a guy who takes care of his own zone would be fannnntastic.

  38. Bostonoiler says:

    Vokoun wanted 5 years 5M per from the Oilers, then signed for nothing in Washington, wow did he lose millions or what?

  39. Racki says:

    I guess that’s the difference between a cup team now and a cup team 5 years from now.

  40. Bostonoiler says:

    So it looks like Potter will be taking Petiot’s spot in OKC, as Petiot signed in Tampa Bay today.

  41. Bostonoiler says:

    I don’t think Mike Green is getting moved. Whitney and Green would be pretty nice tho….Karl Alzner is the guy I would be calling the Caps for right now.

    Tambi isn’t done, but I don’t think anything major is left for him. Cogliano will go for a 2nd/3rd round pick, Brule will get traded for a 6th/7th rounder or just waived. Gagner sticks around this season, Gilbert probably stays too.

  42. Treeoil says:

    Since the oilers still need a better goalie they should go after Wilkes-berry/Scranton goalie brad thiessen, he would be cheap and he’s a great goalie with a bright future.

  43. Jay says:

    Hey Racki,

    I guess if the Nuge goes back to the Rebels…. I agree with you about the EHH line for sure. It looked dominant against the toughs early last season.

    As for Gagner, I’m not certain, but I think Staples had the PRV/Gag/Omark line bleeding scoring chances against. Many suggest that Gagner can’t carry two rookies yet. I’d like to see Gagner with Smyth and Hemsky– I guess on the second line.

    For the 3rd line, Belanger could be good with PRV/Omark since it provides them with the support of a 2-way vet.

    However, there’s still the huge question about the nuge as well as potential further roster changes.

  44. NorwegianOiler says:

    Bostonoiler:
    Vokoun wanted 5 years 5M per from the Oilers, then signed for nothing in Washington, wow did he lose millions or what?

    I think it is a refreshing example of a player who wants to win more than he wants money. He’s been cashing in in Florida without seeing a minute of playoff action for years. Better offers were obviously out there for him, but taking 1.5M deal (that allows the Caps to keep another player or two, even though they have to unload someone to sign Brouwer, etc.) makes me happy as a hockey fan. Vokoun’s an excellent netminder, which his stats back up, and the Caps are lucky to have signed him to what is the best deal of the summer so far.

    Simon Gagne’s deal with the Kings is also quite a steal in my opinion, especially compared to the brutal contracts given to several Florida acquisitions and others like Ville Leino or Wisniewski.

  45. NorwegianOiler says:

    Jay:
    Hey Racki,

    I guess if the Nuge goes back to the Rebels….I agree with you about the EHH line for sure.It looked dominant against the toughs early last season.

    As for Gagner, I’m not certain, but I think Staples had the PRV/Gag/Omark line bleeding scoring chances against.Many suggest that Gagner can’t carry two rookies yet.I’d like to see Gagner with Smyth and Hemsky– I guess on the second line.

    For the 3rd line, Belanger could be good with PRV/Omark since it provides them with the support of a 2-way vet.

    However, there’s still the huge question about the nuge as well as potential further roster changes.

    Agree about the general idea for lines. Horcoff allows Eberle and Hall to focus a tad more offensively, wins them draws and Horcs can despite his stone hands score a few too. Giving Gagner a couple of veterans to center is also a way to increase his confidence and perhaps boost him to a breakout year. Belanger could hopefully play the Horcoffian role to Omark and Pääjärvi – giving them a bit of coverage whilst also being able to contribute some offense once in a while.

    That leaves a wonderfully mixed fourth line, but with our injury history it won’t last long before everything’s thrown into the MacBle…Tom Renney’s blender.

  46. Alan-NottsUK says:

    Racki: I can’t imagine what else we’d have to add to our end of the deal, but I would be happy with that. Right hand D man, oozes offense. He’s be the Coffey to Ryan-Nugent Hopkins’ Gretzky…. easy folks, I kid, I kid. Seriously though, would love to have him here. I think we’d have to pay quite the price though.

    i’m not too sure the price would be that high, depends on how much they want to keep Alzner. They already have 7 Dmen signed, if they continue with their D first system from last year then Green may be expendable

  47. Racki says:

    Jay.. Agree on gags with hemsky smyth. If the nuge stays, that may change things. Who is going to center line 4 anyways?

  48. Alan-NottsUK says:

    if RNH stays i guess it would be

    Gagner – Smyth & Hemsky
    RNH – Hall & Eberle
    Horcoff – Paajarvi & Omark
    Belanger – Eager & Jones

    Also Belanger/Horcoff taking D zone draws in place of RNH/Gagner sometimes

    If RNH doesn’t still then Lander or Vande Velde or O’Marra come up and do 4th line duties. Horcoff with Eberle and Hall, Belanger with Omark and Paajarvi.

    I still think Omark could end up gone by the start of the year and the third line could end up being

    Hartikainen – Horcoff – Paajarvi

  49. Racki says:

    I fear rnh hall and eberle together. Too much inexperience. I know rnh is expected to be there eventually, but I think it’s too soon. Hard to know for sure though. They’ll try it in camp. I think hall and ebs can handle top line duties with horc, but I just doubt rnh can slide right in right away.

  50. Alan-NottsUK says:

    that’s why I put them in as second. though I don’t think there will be specific 1st 2nd 3rd lines. Mainly because we will have 2 very good scoring lines outside of hall and eberle’s line.

    If RNH is given mainly PP & offensive duties, with Horcoff or Belanger taking the big faceoffs in the D zone i don’t think it would be too much of a problem for him.

    I also think that unless RNH is outstanding in the first 9 games he should be sent back to juniors, if he is only good or coping then he should go back down to get the WJC chance and to bulk up over the year.

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