Oilers hot topic for Friedman’s 30 thoughts..

By , July 18, 2012 10:00 am

Elliotte Friedman had the Oilers for 9 of his 30… er 44 thoughts:

16. Had a lengthy conversation Monday with new Oilers coach Ralph Krueger. Talked about some of his ideas and learned he thinks similarly to two successful bench bosses, Mike Babcock and Ken Hitchcock.

17. Red Wings players will tell you Babcock’s belief is that “when we’re defending, you do it my way. When we have the puck, you can create.” (He laughed when asked about that.) Krueger’s plan for Edmonton will be along those lines. “The only way we’re going to learn to win is by having a solid team structure,” Krueger said. “We had a lot of ‘immature games’ last season…they were fun to play and watch, but we lost. We need to learn to manage the game better — play to the score, the clock, the situation.”

18. Krueger added the critical thing will be “finding a team defensive structure that works for the whole game, but allows players to use their intuition offensively.” He explained that when it comes to that part of the game, he believes more in “principles” than a set system. An example would be always having a net presence on the power play. As long as those principles are followed, the Halls, Hemskys and Nugent-Hopkinses of the world can create.

19. The Hitchcockian stuff came when we discussed Edmonton’s forward lines. In Dallas, Hitchcock once explained how he believed more in forward “pairs” than trios. For example, Mike Modano always played with Jere Lehtinen. The third could be rotated. Krueger wants to see if he can create a flexible, dangerous lineup that way.

20. He explained that he liked Jordan Eberle with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner with Ales Hemsky. That not only allows him to move Hall around the lineup, but also rotate others depending on the situation — Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones, Ben Eager and potentially even Shawn Horcoff on the wing. I’m really curious to see this. This stuff fascinates me.

21. Some of you will be wondering: what about Nail Yakupov? Krueger wants to see how the number one pick looks on the left side. Yakupov is used to the right, but with Eberle and Hemsky there, it’s pretty jammed. Finally, Krueger closed by saying one of the most important things moving forward for the Oilers will be the group “demanding more from each other and the team right from the beginning.”

22. Couple other Edmonton notes (should point out Krueger is not the source for any of this): think the Oilers, desperately searching for defencemen, took a long look at Islander Mark Streit. Garth Snow would not address that, but did say via text message, “I have no intention to trade Streit.”

23. Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey got a lot of attention for helping recruit Justin Schultz to Oilertown, but do not underestimate the role Hall played. Word is his sales pitch was extremely impressive, because he was unafraid to discuss the tough things the team has gone through — and how he believes those will be fixed.

24. Sam Gagner’s arbitration is tentatively scheduled for Friday. This one’s going to be interesting if it gets that far. The Oilers are probably thinking David Perron ($3.8 million AAV) while agent Jeff Jackson is likely looking at Brandon Dubinsky ($4.2M). Saw-off in the middle?

I really like Krueger’s coaching philosophy.. a lot. I’ve said it before, but I think he’s our Dan Bylsma that comes in and fixes things.. seemingly out of nowhere. You need the right coach, and you need the right timing. The timing is pretty close (meaning that our lineup is almost there.. but it is definitely not without flaw). I think the coach is right though. I like Babcock’s philosophy (which Krueger seems to follow as well) that defense is something that should be very structured, while offense is mostly up to the players. Krueger improves upon that by ensuring some basic principles/tactics are remembered.

This isn’t the first time we have heard about pairs of linemates rather than trios. Was it first suggested by Pat Quinn? I think so. But I am intrigued by this return, as I think it is a really good idea and doens’t kill us when the injuries inevitably happen. Gagner with Hemsky I like because both have shown good chemistry together in the past, and it helps keep these two useful in the lineup (especially Hemsky). Yakupov at left wing? Count me as a skeptic.. but it definitely won’t hurt to try. I’d also like to see Hartikainen worked into top-six left wing now and then when opportunity arises.

Mark Streit at D is definitely a guy I have thought of. I would prefer someone with more defensive accumen in their game though. But he’s a smart D and would help the powerplay a lot.

Friedman cites Taylor Hall’s honest sales pitch to Justin Schultz as a top reason, but others have also said Ralph Krueger had a huge impact too. I’d imagine that more than anything, it was Hall and Krueger that convinced Schultz to come here. Getting calls from Coffey and Gretzky were probably cool fanboy fun, but I’m not sure how convincing they were. Mind you, when 99 speaks, you fucking listen. And he also is a very intelligent speaker, so I am sure there was an impact (ditto for Coffey). I just think Krueger and Hall were probably all it took.

Sam Gagner at $4M worries me a bit, but only because his current value isn’t that high yet. I think in the long run, he’ll be a lot more valuable than $4M/year.. so I guess you can say that I believe this will be much like Hemsky’s previous contract… a bargain (assuming it is long term).

9 Responses to “Oilers hot topic for Friedman’s 30 thoughts..”

  1. chucker says:

    I like the idea of pairs. Sather did that too and yes, it was Quinn who did the same to start with and it worked well until the opposition realized he didn’t line match. You see the same thing in good teams when guys like Crosby and Zetterberg play an extra shift on the third or fourth. It works well when done right.

    I have to say, the more Krueger speaks, the more I love this hire. I think he will be exactly what we hoped for.

  2. chucker says:

    Also, I was thinking Krueger would want Streit since he had coached him before. What other good Swiss players are out there?

    I know Snow says no, but would Whitney and Khabbi be a possible trade if we throw in a pick? Lots for a guy with one year left, but he will fetch more at the deadline.

    Willis:http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/07/18/report-edmonton-oilers-interested-in-mark-streit-new-york-islanders-not-interested-in-trading-him/

  3. Metal&Oil says:

    chucker:
    Also, I was thinking Krueger would want Streit since he had coached him before. What other good Swiss players are out there?

    I know Snow says no, but would Whitney and Khabbi be a possible trade if we throw in a pick?Lots for a guy with one year left, but he will fetch more at the deadline.

    Willis:http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/07/18/report-edmonton-oilers-interested-in-mark-streit-new-york-islanders-not-interested-in-trading-him/

    Can we throw in Horcoff too :)

    In all seriousness I doubt the Islanders would have interest in Khabby as they have a healthy (but for how long) Rick Depietro, as well as Nabokov and a bunch of goalie prospects on their farm team that have some good potential.

    If we are to rid ourselves of Khabby (if management even wants to) then it will probably be to the B’s for Timmy . This type of deal would make sense for both teams and as it would clear cap space for the Bruins who have the least amount of cap space available in the NHL.

    Even with Thomas’s cap hit counting against the books without him playing. Katz would save actual dollars on his salary and open a slot for the Oilers to get another, more appropriate netminder for the lineup to compete with Dubes. I would not be opposed to that goalie being Yann Danis, they are paying him big bucks regardless of if he plays in EDM or OKC anyways.

  4. LateNightOilFan says:

    Can’t see that scenario working from the Isles POV chucker. Whitney’s health is a concern and I can’t see them taking on Khabi at $3.75m when they have Nabokov at $2.75m and DP with the contract from hell and the inability to play when healthy. In fact, Isles fans hope he is not healthy so he will stay out of the lineup and not screw things up.

    However, the most relevant reason why is Charles Wang would be trading a $4.1m actual salary payment for $5.5m + $3.75 ($9.25m) actual salary payment. The actual dollars come into play more than whether it would improve the team on the ice (which is doubtful). He’s more into lower salary/higher cap hit kind of deals.

    Isles and Oilers are tough trading partners, their needs are pretty similar. The Isles need a second line centre, Gags has been bantered about if Streit was going the other way, but there’s alot of debate by Isles fans about whether Gags is a legit 2nd line centre and worth giving up Streit for. Plus with Gags going to arbitration there’s uncertainty about that and whether he’s even available.

  5. chucker says:

    LateNightOilFan:
    Can’t see that scenario working from the Isles POV chucker.Whitney’s health is a concern and I can’t see them taking on Khabi at $3.75m when they have Nabokov at $2.75m and DP with the contract from hell and the inability to play when healthy.In fact, Isles fans hope he is not healthy so he will stay out of the lineup and not screw things up.

    However, the most relevant reason why is Charles Wang would be trading a $4.1m actual salary payment for $5.5m + $3.75 ($9.25m) actual salary payment.The actual dollars come into play more than whether it would improve the team on the ice (which is doubtful).He’s more into lower salary/higher cap hit kind of deals.

    Isles and Oilers are tough trading partners, their needs are pretty similar.The Isles need a second line centre, Gags has been bantered about if Streit was going the other way, but there’s alot of debate by Isles fans about whether Gags is a legit 2nd line centre and worth giving up Streit for. Plus with Gags going to arbitration there’s uncertainty about that and whether he’s even available.

    Good points. I doubt they would be into that kind of trade too. I only dreamed of it because they need to reach the floor and both are expiring contracts. still, strange things have been know to happen on the island.

  6. Racki says:

    LateNightOilFan:
    Can’t see that scenario working from the Isles POV chucker.Whitney’s health is a concern and I can’t see them taking on Khabi at $3.75m when they have Nabokov at $2.75m and DP with the contract from hell and the inability to play when healthy.In fact, Isles fans hope he is not healthy so he will stay out of the lineup and not screw things up.

    However, the most relevant reason why is Charles Wang would be trading a $4.1m actual salary payment for $5.5m + $3.75 ($9.25m) actual salary payment.The actual dollars come into play more than whether it would improve the team on the ice (which is doubtful).He’s more into lower salary/higher cap hit kind of deals.

    Isles and Oilers are tough trading partners, their needs are pretty similar.The Isles need a second line centre, Gags has been bantered about if Streit was going the other way, but there’s alot of debate by Isles fans about whether Gags is a legit 2nd line centre and worth giving up Streit for. Plus with Gags going to arbitration there’s uncertainty about that and whether he’s even available.

    Let’s be honest…. Gagner for Streit would be monumentally stupid on Tambellini’s part. I do think that Chucker’s deal was underpayment though. While Streit is a good d-man, offensively, he isn’t a guy I’d really put in that “must have” category where you’d give up a solid young player like Gagner. It’s probably no secret that I value Gagner quite a bit (probably too much, granted)… but I think it’s not good asset management at all if we move a young player with good potential for a guy with 1-year left on his contract (and not to mention not the youngest guy either).

    I’ll be honest that I like the idea of Mark Streit, but I’ve always felt that our biggest problem on this team is DEFENSE. We need guys who excel at defense with the added bonus of offensive ability.. not the other way around, IMHO.

    Add in the fact that if we trade Gagner away, we open up another whole on this team.

    On the note of Gagner going to arbitration and therefore not being trade eligible.. I’m not so sure there is any rule on that. The player can’t be “offersheeted”, however I think they’re still trade eligible. Not 100% sure on that. But at any rate, it’s unlikely he’ll move between now and Friday, I’d think.

  7. Metal&Oil says:

    If memory serves me correctly Andrew Cogliano was traded prior to arbitration and signed signed a contract with the Ducks prior to his hearing.

  8. LateNightOilFan says:

    Racki: Let’s be honest…. Gagner for Streit would be monumentally stupid on Tambellini’s part. I do think that Chucker’s deal was underpayment though. While Streit is a good d-man, offensively, he isn’t a guy I’d really put in that “must have” category where you’d give up a solid young player like Gagner. It’s probably no secret that I value Gagner quite a bit (probably too much, granted)… but I think it’s not good asset management at all if we move a young player with good potential for a guy with 1-year left on his contract (and not to mention not the youngest guy either). I’ll be honest that I like the idea of Mark Streit, but I’ve always felt that our biggest problem on this team is DEFENSE. We need guys who excel at defense with the added bonus of offensive ability.. not the other way around, IMHO. Add in the fact that if we trade Gagner away, we open up another whole on this team. On the note of Gagner going to arbitration and therefore not being trade eligible.. I’m not so sure there is any rule on that. The player can’t be “offersheeted”, however I think they’re still trade eligible. Not 100% sure on that. But at any rate, it’s unlikely he’ll move between now and Friday, I’d think.

    Sorry Racki – to clarify I wasn’t talking about whether Gags can be traded under the various rules, I was talking about whether the Oilers even want to trade him. I think the Isles fans I have seen talking about this scenario are under-valuing Gags, and I believe he and his potential are more valuable to the Oilers than Streit would be to the Oilers. You are correct, Streit has flaws defensively but he is a very important player to the Isles and it would be somewhat counter-productive for them to trade him now that they have Vis – i.e. Streit + Vis is a big improvement (or should be) for the Isles. Trade Streit and they’re not much further ahead on their blue line.

    In short, I don’t think Snow is blowing smoke here – I think the Isles keep Streit.

  9. Racki says:

    LNOF: Oh ok, I thought maybe that was what you meant (re: Gagner’s availability to be traded), but wasn’t sure.

    As far as the Isles valuing Streit a lot, I’m sure that is quite true. I just think a Gagner for Streit trade doesn’t make sense at all for the Oilers. As far as the Islanders side.. you are likely right there too, so this deal really all around doesn’t make much sense. I’d actually be pretty choked if it happened, unless the Islanders were padding their end of the deal (which by your comments would not happened) with some sort of prospect.

    I think the Islanders are more inclined to throw away youth pre-maturely, not the Oilers.

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