There has been so much talk this season of the Oilers making a trade in the off-season to bring in a true top pairing D-man. Much of the talk has Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent Hopkins being sent out to acquire Travis Hamonic or Kevin Shattenkirk, both of whom would likely improve this team a great deal. I don’t want to get into the pros and cons of dealing Ebs or the Nuge but we all know that you need to trade value to get value and for the first time in a while I trust the GM to make the right deal.
So the question remain: Should the Oilers trade for Hamonic or Shattenkirk? I’ll admit that before doing research for this article I would have picked Shattenkirk, I’m just more familiar with the player so I have less doubt that he can come in and help the team win. I put together a player usage chart over at hockeyabstract.com to compare both of these guys to defensemen already on the Oilers and I’m actually a bit surpised:
A little info about the chart if your not familiar with these:
The higher up on the chart a player is the tougher the opposition is that he is facing and the further to the right a player is the more defensive zone draws the players takes. That means that the upper right corner of the chart is where players who are trusted most by their coach and get the least protection are found. The color of the players bubble is determined by their relative corsi to the rest of their team. The deeper the blue in the bubble the better the players Corsi is and the deeper the red the lower the players Corsi is. I chose rel corsi because I believe its a better indicator for the individual player regardless of how good of a possession team they play on. Lastly the size of the bubble is determined by the time on ice the players plays, the larger bubble indicates more minutes.
Hamonic VS Shattenkirk
Its pretty clear to me looking at this chart that Hamonic is a top pairing d-man and Shattenkirk is a second pairing. Hamonic is starting more shifts in the defensive zone and doing it against tougher competition than Shatenkirk and still has a bit better relative corsi. He also plays substantially more minutes than any body else on this chart. Shattenkirk is playing 2nd pairing minutes, getting the offensive zone push and playing easier competition than Hamonic and really isn’t the proven top pairing defenseman the Oilers need.
Personally, I’d love to get both of these guys but if I had to choose one it would hands down be Travis Hamonic.
Not long ago Zack Kassian was likely the most hated NHL’r by Edmonton Oiler fans and now he’s an Edmonton Oiler. I look forward to seeing the crowds reaction to Zacks first game at Rexall place. Continue reading →
The Edmonton Oilers have given full control of the Oilers to Peter Chiarelli, naming him President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. Chiarelli is going to take a few weeks to assess the team and players to see exactly where his positions of strength and weakness are before making any moves, but he will make moves. Given his track record of making big trades in Boston I think we can expect a big trade or two this summer.
The weaknesses on the Oilers are pretty obvious, they need a starting goalie and they need a couple of top pairing defensemen if they want a shot at making the playoffs next season. They may have an opportunity to get a piece or two via free agency but typically that requires an overpayment and I’m not sure thats a good idea in Edmonton so I expect Chiarelli to make a couple of trades to fill these areas. Continue reading →
The Edmonton Oilers have traded 24yr old center Sam Gagner to the Tampa Bay Lightning for 28yr old winger Teddy Purcell. Gagner never seemed to improve in Edmonton from his rookie season way back in the 07/08 season where had a career high 49 points as an 18yr old. He’s never been able to get to the next level offensively or play the strong 2-way game that the Oilers desperately need and this past season the majority of the fan base in Edmonton turned on the young center, and apparently so has Craig Mactavish. In Gagner’s 7 seasons with the Oilers he has played under 5 different head coaches which I’m sure had a substantial impact on his development, I’m eager to see how he performs in a more structured situation in Arizona.
Thats right Arizona! Soon after the trade to Tampa, the lightning traded Gagner and BJ Crombeen to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 6th rd draft pick. The Lightning also retained 1/3 of Gagners salary in the deal. This is the new NHL where GM’s are willing to trade good players on bad contracts for very little return so that they can make cap room for UFA hunting.
This new NHL is very interesting for a team like the Oilers who have about $20M in cap space available before signing Jeff Petry and Justin Shultz, they’re is a great position to make deal similar to what the Coyotes did to acquire Gagner and Crombeen. Take the Boston Bruins for example who have under 6M in cap space to resign RFA’s Tory Krug and Matt Bartkowski and replace the offense of Jerome Iginla, they would love to rid themselves of Chris Kelly’s $3M cap hit. Does a trade sending Chris Kelly and Jonny Boychuk (3.367M cap hit) to the Oilers in exchange for a pick and prospect make sense for both sides? Boston would clear up 6.3M in cap space while the Oilers would add a good top 4 right handed defenseman and a 4th line center to a team that desperately needs these types of players. Of course Boychuk and Kelly would need to waive no trade clauses to make the deal happen but this is the type of deal MacT needs to be looking for to improve the team.
The Oilers signed defenceman Nikita Nikitin this morning to a 2yr contract at 4.5M per year. The dollars are a tad high for a guy who played 3rd pairing minutes last year in Columbus but the Oilers had to pay for that short term. I’m sure Nikitin was probably looking for a 4-6 year term in the 3.5M to 4M range but the Oilers were looking to add a bridge player to give Nurse 2 more seasons to develop before making the jump to the NHL.
Nikitin looks like a good candidate to play along side Justin Shultz which should make a solid 2nd pairing playing some sheltered minutes. He’s a real NHL defenceman with experience who has shown success in the past playing against tough competition and he’s only 28yrs old. He really does fill a hole on the team and will push Nurse back to Jr this year.
A pretty big overpayment at 4.5M per season and even though the Oilers do have the cap room to sign the deal I worry about how this contract will affect the negotiations with Petry and Shultz or another UFA defenceman (Stralman).
On the bright side Nikitin should slot in on the 2nd pairing and only makes $900k more than the Oilers were paying Nick Shultz last season.
Craig Mactavish and the Edmonton Oilers made a couple of moves on friday in an attempt to improve the team. First the Oilers traded stay at home Defensmen Ladi Smid and AHL goalie Olivier Roy to the Calgary Flames for goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit and C Roman Horak. Mactavish followed up the trade with the UFA signing of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a 1yr 1.75M contract. Continue reading →