Thursday, May 3, 2012

Making sense of it all

I know we have no playoff hockey going on here in Edmonton. I know people are getting tired of the rebuild and want to see a winning team. But c'mon folks, let's take this one step at a time.

The conversations I hear happening on the sports radio stations from callers, the comments and suggestions I am seeing on blog sites are 'out of this world' insane.  I mean no disrespect to any of the callers or even comments on sites but "Oiler fan needs to take more time to think through the bigger picture'. Most of what I am reading and hearing is all along the same lines and commented on by many a fan of the Edmonton Oilers, so I will generalize the statements and comment on them here at OilersJambalya.

Now before I comment on the following statements being said by Oiler Fans, I do understand the frustration. However, it is important to remember it takes TIME to develop great players and it takes WORK. Maybe some of the statements that are being made seem like a better idea right now, but if Tamby made one of the decisions that some are saying he should do, you and I know, we would then be hearing everyone beating on him for making such a dumb decision in the first place.

I am not one to compliment Tamby but the more I hear from other GM's , Coaches and former great players (not associated with Edmonton) the more I am starting to be convinced taking it 1 draft at a time, 1 year of development at a time is the best way to build toward LONG TERM success. Maybe trading players immediately and signing free agents could work for the short term but it could cost you in the long haul. I know , I as a fan, don't want to be working on another rebuild after only 3-4 years of a good run or 2.


* We need to trade down in this years draft and take the defencemen. Our greatest need is defence so we can trade for a good assets and a team in the top 5 for their pick.

Name the last time a team did this and it worked. The best idea of a offer would be with Toronto maybe. Yakupov for Schenn and Reinhart? I guess if you don't believe Yakupov is elite level like Hall then you might. Truth is, Yakupov is right in and around the type of player Hall is by most scouts,  just plays different but could mean the same to any team he plays for. I have followed Yakupov for 2 full years now and see no reason for him to disappoint.

 I know lots of people like to comment on draft eligible players based on a couple comments from others, but the only way you really know the player is to follow over a good chunk of time and listen to all reports good and bad on a player. IMO the whole Russian factor is the silliest argument people have for not drafting Nail. I know some of you won't like it, but as Kevin Lowe said "we will be taking the first pick overall unless some team blows our socks off with a trade offer." And for the Oilers to take someone else at #1 besides Nail? That would be potential suicide. Stu likes to play it safe with his first round selections.

* Yakupov is another small winger. We don't need small players anymore, we have enough and we have lots of wingers.

Another SMALL winger? Yakupov is not a tall player but he weighs as much as Hall does this year and is a solid muscle machine. He is strong even against the likes of big Dougie Hamilton in Niagra. As far as another WINGER? Well Besides Eberle and Hall, who are the Oilers top 6 wingers? Hemsky? People always complain about his ability to stay healthy or even if he still has it. Hartikainen is still a project and with Paajarvi , some are not even sure he is a top 6 winger. Tobias Rieder is looking good in the OHL this year, but nothing is a sure thing. On the farm Pitlick is starting to develop well but a top 6 winger? Nope, to me that argument doesn't hold water at all.

* We need to blow up the whole team other then RNH, Eberle and Hall (maybe a few others can stay as well, but only a few)

Blow it up? This was probably the craziest comment or idea I have heard yet. We may not be where we want to be, but blowing this thing up with the exception of the young stars would just mean MORE REBUILDING and more years to wait for a contender.

* We need to sink Khabby in the minors next year or trade him and get a legitimate top goalie.

Why waste money on Khabby in the minors? It makes no sense. If a trade is available, I am sure they will explore it, but if we don't want him right now, why would someone else? We need to stay away from the idea, that people want players we think are BAD hockey players. You would have to GIVE away something in that trade and take back something you don't want as well.

We  have 2 very interesting AND developing goalies in Bunz and Roy in our minor system this year. DD has shown he is still getting better and is a capable goalie. We don't need a goalie doing anything other then giving the Oilers a chance each night. If we keep the soft goals out of our net, we have a chance every night. That is where Khabby showed his greatest weakness since his arrival.

* Hall is better off being on the wing and should not be moved to center position. He would not play as dynamic if in the middle.

No one can really say if Hall would be better in the middle or left on the wing unless they read fortunes. The only reason people say they want him on LW is because the speed he crosses over the blue line backs up defenders and they can't see him performing as well if he is more defensively cautious at center position. When he was drafted, they wanted to make sure he was still comfortable with that position, there was a reason and having RNH does not mean it can not happen now. If coaching believes he is better off eventually playing center cause of drafting Yakupov then I am fine. It is possible it could turn out to be a much better role for him. Only time will tell on this one. All I do know, if Hall was to play with Eberle, it would set up a great RNH, and Yakupov duo as well. 

* Look at how well Sequin has played compared to Taylor Hall, we should have taken the center as we need that 2nd centermen.

It is true Sequin has done quite well since entering the league, but until last year in the playoffs, no one was talking about this. He really grew this past year and is showing to be a big part of the Bruins future. However let's remember, Sequin is NOT playing CENTER position, he is playing RW. This is a very big mistake some are mentioning when saying we should have taken Sequin to be our centerman. No one knows yet, if Tyler Sequin will be a great centermen or not, as with only question marks, only time will tell.

* We need to start drafting defencemen who are high skilled, we have nothing really top 4 in our system.

Start drafting top defencemen? Folks, Gernat, Marincin, Musil, Klefbom, these boys are all potential candidates for some high end talent. Sure not all will work out, but I am willing to bet that 1 of the 4 will be a top 2 defencemen in the future. 25% success rate for high end defencemen is a pretty good rate of success. To draft a defencemen #1 overall or give up the chance on a potential draft Superstar player for a maybe good defencemen is not in my vocabulary. We had this same discussion last year between RNH and Adam Larson. Who still thinks the Oilers should not have drafted RNH? 

* We need goalies, DD will not cut it, he is taking too long to develop.

Too long to develop? Look at how much some goalies look to be top 10 in the league and then fall apart. Fleury anyone? Luongo? The list changes each year. Goalies are a different breed of player. To have a steady and reliable goalie who can occasionally steal a game is good for me. To me a goalie over 4 million becomes scary!

* Get rid of Belanger and Horcoff , they are just taking the places of players who can develop at the NHL level.

We must have revisited this story at least 50 times on Belanger this year alone and 200 times on Horcoff the last 3. Belanger is possible to move this off-season, Horcoff not so much. Salary Cap is not a problem YET for the Oilers so Horcoff contract does not affect a thing this year or next. Horcoff as 3rd or 4th line Centre is all ok by me. When they can unload that contract and deal, they will. Sometimes it REALLY is about timing.

* Paajarvi showed this last year he is not a top 6 forward and will only be a perimeter player. We should trade him off for whatever we can get.

While I do agree Paajarvi took a step backwards this year, he does not get the same special treatment a Gagner or others get. Maybe 8 games on the top 2 lines. 2 of those games he played real well. He has a ways to go, has some things to learn, someone had to have a bad season of the 3 and I am sure most are happy Hall and Eberle did not falter. Paajarvi will be back challenging this year.

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