The Rebuild Part 1: Introduction (by Zackman35)

By , January 15, 2012 11:35 am

The Rebuild Part 1: Introduction


Taylor Hall

“One, they’re probably going to beat you by eight goals and two, they’re going to kick that crap out of you too if you want to challenge them that way. “ – Steve Tambellini

Edmonton is a well educated hockey town and you don’t have to go very far to find out what state the Oilers are in, and for that matter what it is and what it means to be in a rebuild. What is a rebuild anyways? The dictionary defines it as:

    verb (used with object)
    1. to repair, especially to dismantle and reassemble with newparts: to rebuild an old car.
    2. to replace, restrengthen, or reinforce: to rebuild an army.
    3. to revise, reshape, or reorganize: to rebuild a shattered career.

Now of course there are varying degrees of rebuilds and every season every team in the league is sure to make at least one roster/on-ice movement which will hopefully improve or re-strengthen the on ice performance of their franchise. These degrees of “rebuilds” can vary, from more subtle movements/transactions (Detroit Red Wings) to full on scorched earth type rebuilds (Edmonton Oilers).

It is possible for teams to be successful, competing in the playoffs year after year, to still have the opportunity to rebuild their teams, to a lesser extent of course, without falling to the bottom of the NHL standings. Most recently we’ve witnessed this with teams like Boston (Seguin, D. Hamilton) and Philadelphia (Couturier, Schenn) acquiring key players for their core and future of their team while successfully signing players which will have impact on how their team does in the standings (Campbell, Horton, Jagr, Bryzgalov). To attain this degree of rebuild the team usually already has a stable foundation with valuable roster players, and blue-chip prospects in the system acquired from various outlets of the market whether it be draft, free-agency, waiver claim or even signing a player from the conclusion of scouting work (Tim Thomas). A team doesn’t have to necessarily depend on the draft to be rebuilt, the Boston Bruins have shown us this (Peter Chiarelli: Boston’s Unsung Hero? – Good Article) however, when you have little to work with some time there is no other way than to rebuild the entire organization from the ground up.

This degree of rebuild, the type that Edmonton is going through, is more of the scorched earth in nature, meaning you tear away the team to their very core and begin to build outward. Even though success is not certain, we’ve seen teams built from the ground up make a solid run to the Stanley Cup Finals (Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago) and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about, raising lord Stanley’s mug.

This degree of rebuild heavily depends on solid drafting to establish the core and foundation of the team along with a few key trades and sly acquisitions via free agency and or even, to some extent, waiver claims. Like mentioned earlier we’ve seen teams follow this model before, Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago and now the Oilers are also following in a similar fashion.

Rebuild Examples: Post from HFboards (Credit: TheNumber4 and Hemsky_83)



Pittsburgh:
2000 – Pick #18 – Orpik
2002 – Pick #5 – Ryan Whitney
2003 – Pick #1 – Marc Andre Fleury
2004 – Pick #2 – Evgeni Malkin, #99 Kennedy
2005 – Pick #1 – Sydney Crosby, #62 Kris Letang
2006 – Pick #2 – Jordan Staal

Key trades: Neal, Dupuis
Key FA’s: Michalek, Martin



Washington:
2002 – Pick #13 Alex Semin
2004 – Pick #1 – Alexander Ovechkin
2005 – Pick #15 – Sasha Pokulok, #29 Mike Green
2006 – Pick #4 – Niklas Backstrom
2007 – Pick #5 – Karl Alzner
2008 – Pick #21 – Anton Gustafson, #27 John Carlson,
2009 – Pick #24 – Marcus Johansen

Key Trades: Laich, Chimera
Key FA’s: Hamrlik, Knuble, Vokoun



Chicago:
2003 – Pick #54 Duncan Keith
2004 – Pick #15 Brent Seabrook
2004 – Pick #3 – Cam Barker, #32 Dave Bolland
2005 – Pick #7 – Jack Skille, #108 Niklas Hjalmarsson
2006 – Pick #3 – Jonathan Toews
2007 – Pick #1 – Patrick Kane
2008 – Pick #11 – Kyle Beach – Officially Out of Rebuild, Pushing for Playoff Spot

Key Trades: Sharp, Leddy
Key FA’s: Hossa


2009-2010 Season

For the season opening roster the Oilers iced a team that consisted of the following lines:


JFJ – Horcoff – Hemsky
O’Sullivan – Comrie – Stone
Pnner – Brule – Cogliano
Moreau – Gagner – Stortini

Souray – Visnovsky
Grebeshkov – Gilbert
Smid – Staios

Khabibulin

In season key additions:
March 03 – Ryan Jones claimed off waivers from Nashville.
March 04 – Lubomir Visnovsky traded to Anaheim for Ryan Whitney + 2010 6th Round Pick

Quotes from the Oilers organization following the Oilers 2009-2010 season:

“No doubt the chemistry had deteriorated to the point where are team was like teams that I use to look at that I just despised in terms of the attitude in the dressing room…” – Kevin Lowe

“You don’t win. It’s hard on people, it’s hard on people. The positive side is you get to find out a lot about people. Not only when you win but when you don’t. And you see the people that can hang in there and stick with and be professional be prepared and be a good teammate.” – Steve Tambellini

“What happened this past season, made it very clear to me that now is our opportunity to rebuild, when I say rebuild, this is a major rebuild.” – Daryl Katz

In essence, following the dismal 2009-2010 season, sparked the rebuild in its entirety, on and off the ice. Over the summer Kevin Pendergast was fired and a sideways move sent former head coach Pat Quinn to front office with Tom Renney assuming the duties of head coach. Earlier in the year the organization had established and relocated their AHL team to Oklahoma City and Katz wasn’t afraid to put money into the team.

2010-2011 Season

The 2010-2011 sold “H.O.P.E.”, icing an opening night roster of:


Penner – Gagner – Hemsky
Hall – Horcoff – Eberle
Paajarvi – Cogliano – Brule
MacIntyre – Fraser – Stortini

Whitney – Gilbert
Smid – Foster
Vandameer – Peckham

Khabibulin


In season key transactions:
February 28 – Dustin Penner to Los Angeles for Colten Teubert + 2011 1st Round Pick (#19 Oscar Klefbom) + Conditional 2012 Third Round Pick

Even with the youth and hope that the management was selling the Oilers finished 30th overall yet again, although this year the silver lining appeared to be much thicker.

The Oilers were fairly busy this past offseason acquiring some grit, depth and attempting to fill a few other holes. (Eager, Hordichuck, Belanger, Barker, Potter, Fedun) They also sent Cogliano to Anaheim with a 2013 2nd Round Pick coming our way. Most notable was probably the return of Ryan Smyth, which sent Colin Fraser and a 2012 7th round pick to Los Angeles.

The Oilers added two first round picks this past off-season in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom.

2011-2012 Season

For the 2011-2012 season the Oilers iced a team of:

Smyth – Horcoff – Hemsky
Hall – RNH – Eberle
Paajarvi – Lander – Omark
Petrell – Belanger – Jones
(Hordichuck)

Barker – Gilbert
Smid – Petry
Sutton – Peckham
(Potter/Chorney)

Khabibulin
Dubnyk


Injured Opening Night: Gagner, Eager, Whitney

Even with a questionable blue line the Oilers surprised, or at least should have surprised, everyone coming out of the gate. The Oilers have iced a team this year with a young and dynamic offensive core however much of their roster still seams incomplete, especially when it comes to the blue line. How was this team suppose to compete for playoff contention with having a questionable defensive group and shaky goaltending coming into the season? Even though they started off with a superb record the on ice woes are more than glaring now. There are still bright spots, hell possible shining stars in the making, but this team still has a bit to go yet.


Edmonton:
2004 – Pick #14 Devan Dubnyk
2006 – Pick #45 Jeff Petry
2007 – Pick #6 Sam Gagner
2008 – Pick #22 Jordan Eberle, #163 Teemu Hartikainen
2009 – Pick #10 Magnus Paajarvi, #40 Anton Lander
2010 – Pick #1 Taylor Hall
2011 – Pick #1 Ryan Nugent Hopkins, #19 Oscar Klefbom

Key Trades: Whitney, Smyth,???
Key FA’s: ???

It’s hard to call the Key Acquisitions (Trades/FA’s) listed above as so because I would consider these players helping us at least contend for a playoff spot but you can argue, at least with the Key Trades that Whitney (when healthy) and Smyth have made an impact and positive contribution to this team. As for the free agents I would list Khabibulin, Belanger and Eager as notable but I wouldn’t quite list them as “key”. As for our organization and prospects in our system I say the Oilers are fairly wealthy on this front and it’s been some time. Listed above are players I think will most likely be here and have an impact on our future of this rebuild.

What history tells us is that the Oilers will most likely be active around the trade deadline this year and we may be able to use it to judge where the team is and are heading in the rebuild. Are we going to move players to acquire more draft picks or are we going to acquire players who are going to take on a roster spot and or make an impact in the very near future? These types of moves can tell us a lot where the team is and where the Oilers are heading. Even though the Oilers are most likely going to be getting another top five pick this season the deadline may give us a hint in what direction the team will be heading this offseason what we may be gearing up for next fall. I don’t think rebuilds should judged based on time but by how much an organization matures.

Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

The Rebuild Part 2: Trade Deadline – Coming Soon.

14 Responses to “The Rebuild Part 1: Introduction (by Zackman35)”

  1. Racki says:

    Great work, Zackman35!

    I’m pretty anxious to read the next part of this article.

    Looking at how other teams handled their rebuilds, it’s hard to say where the Oilers management should be headed. I personally would say they should have been focused on winning this season (i.e., we don’t give a damn about drafting a top pick this year, and perhaps even trade the pick). However, recent events tell me that either Tambellini is horrible at reacting to key losses and sliding in the standings, or he is perfectly OK with another year of losing.

    I think if we look at the players ranked high in this coming draft, we really should be moving our pick. This may prove to be a silly comment years from now, but while I think Ryan Murray is going to be a good defenseman, I think it will take time for him to get to the level we need. I also am not too keen on his size. I think he’ll be fine with it, in the long run, but it won’t make for an easy transition. It’s not a big problem though.

    Really though, I think with the Nuge, Eberle and Hall having their contracts due up in 2 or 3 years, we need a defenseman who will be NHL ready right away. That, to me, means trading our pick.

    I would take our top pick, and a combination of assets such as Ales Hemsky, Nikolai Khabibulin (hey, he’s hot still right now), Linus Omark, Toni Rajala, and perhaps even Jeff Petry and make a deal that will land us someone like Shea Weber or Ryan Suter, or a top caliber of defenseman.

    In the off-season, if we move Khabibulin, we would need to go after one of the 30-ish year old goaltenders. There are a few out there that are of decent quality and will be UFA (if not re-signed before July 1st).

    My vision of rebuild has us not worrying about who we’re going to draft with our 1 – 3 overall pick. It has us trying to climb as high as we can in the standings.. even if it means just going from 28th to 25th.

  2. john says:

    Well said & easy to get behind Racki. Now if only Tambi would get his finger out of his bum & do it …

  3. zackman35 says:

    Racki:
    Great work, Zackman35!

    I’m pretty anxious to read the next part of this article.

    Looking at how other teams handled their rebuilds, it’s hard to say where the Oilers management should be headed. I personally would say they should have been focused on winning this season (i.e., we don’t give a damn about drafting a top pick this year, and perhaps even trade the pick). However, recent events tell me that either Tambellini is horrible at reacting to key losses and sliding in the standings, or he is perfectly OK with another year of losing.

    Thanks Racki!

    I think management was selling another year of false hope and or running on a gamble based upon the line-up they thought would compete for a playoff spot. Even though the forwards look like a pretty strong group there was still a few areas where things were un-certain like RNH – although he proved us wrong! As for defense we had Gilbert who has been fairly dependable, even with the flak he’s received from fans, going into the season we were still unsure about Smid (although he’s seem to come into his own) and injury rattled Whitney. We were taking a sheer gamble on Barker and there was just too many holes to fill to feel confident on our d-men. Also the fact we were going to begin the season with NK between the pipes and although that worked out good initially well… look were we are as a team now.

    As for the draft pick, I think it’s far to valuable with a chance of drafting Yakupov or Murray, to be going after any unsigned players even if it is Shea Weber. I’m not sure how often a player is traded and then rejects the contract signing but it’s simply too risky. There is no doubt about we need a number 1 D-man, and I would love to have Shea Weber or Ryan Suter on the team but signing them to a contract would have to be certain.

    I want the Oilers to compete too and again I stress that rebuilds shouldn’t be judged on time and the assets/players you acquire but I think it will be at least one more season before we make a deep run in the playoffs. If we can address some of these issues, mainly defense and goaltending I think this team could compete for a playoff spot next season but for that to be done there will most likely be a lot of movement between the deadline and next fall.

    I agree that the team should be competing but also I think adding a top three prospect to our system at this time of the rebuild is just as valuable.

  4. Racki says:

    I’ll take the certainty angle another way… are you certain Yakupov will turn out, or Murray? Do we need another high caliber forward? I suppose you can never have too many, but I don’t think we need Yakupov, Grigo, etc. As for Murray, again, there’s a potential size concern there, and will he be able to play a good enough game in his own zone at the NHL level is what concerns me. So… there’s no certainty there either. Although it does feel more comforting knowing that we’ll at least have the new pick for a few years.

    I do think that stockpiling assets is very important, but I also think that we’re not going anywhere if we’re just trying to grab all the top 3 prosepcts we can and putting them in all of our key roles. It forces guys to mature immediately. We know it CAN work for some guys though, but I don’t think we want to be relying on this too often. I think defense is a position that takes longer to develop guys in (Doughty is a rare player, remember).

    Now, on the flipside, I’m definitely OK for the Oilers to make an attempt at July 1st to sign Weber or Suter if they’re still available.. even throwing wads of cash at them (not my cash obviously :P). But if the right deal came along for our 1st, it would be soooooo gone this time around.

  5. Racki says:

    I guess as a quick summarization of what I’m thinking:

    The Oilers should try anything they can to acquire a first rate defenseman that is already developed (or very close) rather than acquiring that spot through the draft. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to trade away the pick, I suppose. However, I don’t think it should be untouchable… if a good deal for a very good d-man comes around, we should be willing to move that pick.

  6. zackman35 says:

    Racki:
    I guess as a quick summarization of what I’m thinking:

    The Oilers should try anything they can to acquire a first rate defenseman that is already developed (or very close) rather than acquiring that spot through the draft. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to trade away the pick, I suppose. However, I don’t think it should be untouchable… if a good deal for a very good d-man comes around, we should be willing to move that pick.

    Depending on who it is it’s tough to say. Would you trade Hall, Eberle or RNH for a D-man? What if Nashville signs Weber and Suter for ~7mill cap hit for 8 years, would you still trade one of those three? I don’t know the exact pedigree of the pick but I think Yakupov will be a dynamic player. I think there are too many variables to argue here… :P

    There is still chance that Suter will be on the open market this summer, I say lets at least wait until then (after the draft) until we make our move (not just on Suter). Unless we can get it done sooner of course, without the expense of our pick because there is a good chance that we will be in the lottery. and that’s not something you want to give up.

    I understand what you’re saying though. I’d rather have Weber on the depth chart next year than Murray in the juniors but wouldn’t it be great to have Suter on the depth + Murray in the juniors too?

    Right now we are just shooting in the wind, come deadline we’ll have a better idea. All in due time.

  7. Racki says:

    “but wouldn’t it be great to have Suter on the depth + Murray in the juniors too?”

    Absolutely. Like I said, if we can get a guy like Weber here, and signed, without using that pick.. I’m definitely all for that. My point was just that we shouldn’t be opposed to trading it, as it’s possibly our best available asset in making a huge trade. Bear in mind that Weber is an RFA at the end of the year, as opposed to a UFA… so there is a little less risk in just wasting a pick on him (as opposed to Suter)… although there has been rumor out there that he wanted to sign a 1-year deal, but I think that speaks more of him just not wanting to lock in on a team that isn’t a guarantee to be committed to winning (small market).. or maybe even going somewhere else (i.e. the team may move).

    My problem with this “let’s wait and see if Suter’s available” idea is that this is what the Oilers often (seem to) do, and they end up missing great opportunities while other teams snipe these players out from under them. I don’t think the Predators will just let Suter go either.

    “Would you trade Hall, Eberle or RNH for a D-man?”
    No, all three of those guys are already what I consider our core, and proven players. Each have something to offer that the other 2 don’t bring. It’s a great trio, and I wouldn’t move any of them. I think that every team should have their untouchables… and well, those are definitely ours.

    Again, I’ll reiterate… it’s not so much that I just want us to move the 1st rounder… I want us to land a big name, young, two-way D-man any way we can. We shouldn’t just be playing a wait and see game. Tambellini should be busting his balls trying to land one, or come July 1st, there’s a good chance our next “big name D” is going to be another Cam Barker gamble while other teams snipe up available players.

    There are assets that should not be moved, but for me, that 1st is available (for the right return.. which DEFINITELY has to be a big one), and players such as Hemsky, Whitney, Omark, Khabibulin are available as well.

    I’d involve our 1st rounder for Shea Weber in a heartbeat because we’ll have an opportunity to sign him to a deal that works for us before anyone else has that chance… and if we can’t do that.. well, we still have ability to trade him without losing him for nothing.

    But it definitely would be fantastic if we managed to land Weber or even Suter and still hung on to our 1st rounder. Absolutely.

  8. zackman35 says:

    I knew Weber was an RFA but I didn’t put 1+1 together about trading for him and we’d get those rights. Why I asked about moving Hall/Ebs/RNH is because what happens if that pick becomes Yakupov? It sounds like he has the potential to become as dyanmic as Hall.

    I just can’t see Nashville moving Suter or Weber for that matter before the end of the season/deadline knowing they are well in the playoff hunt. They mean too much for their franchise to be moved for a pick and group of players/prospects at the deadline unless one of our big three is involved. If they weren’t in the playoff hunt then things would be quite different however I think they will remain in the race for the season.

    In a nutshell wait until closer to the deadline to see where we are in the standings and if a Weber caliber d-man can be acquired then go for it but chances Nashville or another team in the playoff hunt is not willing to bite. Are there other potential dance partners though?

  9. Racki says:

    No, I wouldn’t trade Hall, Eberle or Nuge, but I think all 3 of those guys are top line talent. I have to ask.. how many top line, 1st overall picks should we amass? When do the returns start to diminish? You can only give out so many minutes to players. That said, I’d love to have Yakupov in the system, but I would not consider that a priority. When I ask myself, would I rather have another Hall/Ebs/Nuge, or would I rather have a Weber.. I very quickly say I’d rather have a Weber. As they say, defense wins championships. We’ve got the offensive talent… we need the two-way defender.

    As to your comment about teams maybe not willing to move players… that’s not something that Tambellini should be concerning himself with though. You make the offers… if they bite, they bite.. if they don’t.. well, no harm done. But how do you know if you don’t try? You can’t be passive and sit here thinking “well, they won’t want to move him”. There’s been a few guys that have moved in recent years that made me say “holy shit.. he was available?!?”. Why wait til July 1st if you can potentially get them between now and the deadline?

  10. zackman35 says:

    Ah yes good point and I’m all about acquiring the d-man I’m just saying that the likely good of it happening are more slim at the deadline with a situation like Nashville in the playoff hun as opposed to a more likely scenario after the playoffs.

    Definitely though if I’m Tambellini I’m trying to do whatever I can to improve this team at the deadline more geared to competing soon rather than in a few seasons. We have established a young core but another player to that young code wouldn’t hurt either especially if it’s top five. I’d be in favor of moving the pick if it’s top five for the right deal but if it’s top to I’d say stay and I wouldn’t complain.

  11. hemmerlady says:

    Racki:
    No, I wouldn’t trade Hall, Eberle or Nuge, but I think all 3 of those guys are top line talent. I have to ask.. how many top line, 1st overall picks should we amass? When do the returns start to diminish? You can only give out so many minutes to players. That said, I’d love to have Yakupov in the system, but I would not consider that a priority. When I ask myself, would I rather have another Hall/Ebs/Nuge, or would I rather have a Weber.. I very quickly say I’d rather have a Weber. As they say, defense wins championships. We’ve got the offensive talent… we need the two-way defender.

    ^ This. Yeah. 100%

    As to your comment about teams maybe not willing to move players… that’s not something that Tambellini should be concerning himself with though. You make the offers… if they bite, they bite.. if they don’t.. well, no harm done. But how do you know if you don’t try? You can’t be passive and sit here thinking “well, they won’t want to move him”. There’s been a few guys that have moved in recent years that made me say “holy shit.. he was available?!?”. Why wait til July 1st if you can potentially get them between now and the deadline?

    That’s a great point as well. You’ll never know if you don’t ask (variation on Gretz’ “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”)

    Zack: Thanks for the write-up. Now stop kicking my ass in the pool. (that goes for everyone….d’oh) I blame YOU. ;) Just jokin it’s my 1st yr as manager and I wasted some picks on a goalie. Rookie mistake.

  12. Racki says:

    HL: having just played you, I can give a piece of advice. I’m sure you know this already, but if not, you should be dressing every player you can fit into a given night. I noticed on Sunday you didn’t have everyone in the lineup. I think if you had everyone dressed sunday, you’d be close to stealing a couple stats which would. Don’t think it would have been enough, but if you had that same probably nightly, then maybe you would have made it 7-4 instead of 9-2 if you dressed everyone you could all the time.

    It’s important to note that a player gets 0 points for you if he’s sitting on your bench. You might know that or forgot that.. or just didn’t realize that guys were on your bench. For me, I set my roster up a week ahead of time. When I make a trade or drop/add players, I redo the roster for the week because that will undo all changes. Then just every day or every other day I have a quick look to see if players are hurt or if I need to dress a different goalie or what have you.

  13. G&S says:

    Great read Zackman!

    The sad part about all of this is that IMO a full rebuild should not have been necessary for this team. All those years before our cup run in 2006 where we year after year were forced to trade our best assets for picks and prospects basically netted us nothing and I have to ask why? I think it all boils down to poor prospect management. Those years of sharing or having no farm team at all have really dug this team into a big hole and is a major reason why this total rebuild is necessary.

    I am so glad that the farm team has been fixed but it will take years for the fruits of that work to come to life for the big club. just imagine how much better shape we would be in if management did not treat the farm team like a neglected step child for the better part of the last decade……we would probably be a playoff team. Oh well that’s a shoulda, coulda woulda now.

    As for what to do with our pick and how to upgrade the D. Well that’s a tough one. I think it all depends on where we finish in the lotto. If we get the first pick we take Nail 100% and move Hall to center and overpay in FA to get that defender. Anything other then the number 1 pick then we trade it.

  14. hemmerlady says:

    Racki:
    HL: having just played you, I can give a piece of advice. I’m sure you know this already, but if not, you should be dressing every player you can fit into a given night. I noticed on Sunday you didn’t have everyone in the lineup. I think if you had everyone dressed sunday, you’d be close to stealing a couple stats which would. Don’t think it would have been enough, but if you had that same probably nightly, then maybe you would have made it 7-4 instead of 9-2 if you dressed everyone you could all the time.

    It’s important to note that a player gets 0 points for you if he’s sitting on your bench. You might know that or forgot that.. or just didn’t realize that guys were on your bench. For me, I set my roster up a week ahead of time. When I make a trade or drop/add players, I redo the roster for the week because that will undo all changes. Then just every day or every other day I have a quick look to see if players are hurt or if I need to dress a different goalie or what have you.

    ‘yeah, I know. Thanks for checking though. I try to do my rosters in advance but when I get too busy I don’t do it. I didn’t play someone last night who ended up scoring, so that doesn’t help. *I didn’t realize that adding and dropping effs up the roster though and you have to re-do your picks – that’s probably been my downfall b/c I’ve made lots of changes.

    Usually it’s not even close, if I would have dressed one guy who got one goal but I didn’t get the points b/c he was benched, I mean. Usually my opponent beats me by a much larger embarrassing margin anyway. I have 3 ducks on my roster, and they are garbage this year (except Selanne is ok). And Mike Richards hasn’t been playing that well. It’s Oiler luck it really is.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy

%d bloggers like this: