Monday, July 25, 2005

Kevin Lowe 101

On the cusp of a free agency frenzy, I figured it would be a good time to reflect upon our GM Kevin Lowe ...Who is he? Who buys his ties? Why is his hair thinning? What does he WANT?

Or I guess it would be more relevant to ask if he's any good as a GM, so I've assembled all of his major deals and signings and added tacky, acerbic remarks underneath. He's made some good deals and made some bad decisions, and he seems somewhat conservative, principled about player salaries but unlikely to be a ball-breaker with other GMs. I think we'll get a better sense of his abilities in the next two months: salaries aren't a big deal and it's really a matter of Lowe having a chance to pick exactly what he wants, so I guess we'll see!


December 16 - Traded restricted free agent center Mike Comrie to the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Jeff Woywitka, a first round pick (Schremp) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and a third round pick in 2005.
Good deal, but could have been better. We were offered Anaheim's first round pick and Corey Perry who is looking a lot better than Woywitka who faltered with the Roadrunners last season. But we'll just have to wait and see who won this trade, won't we?
November 28 - Activated center Adam Oates.
Bleahh. Needed to find someone to replace Comrie but picked the wrong man. He scored two goals in 60 games.
March 11 - Traded right wing Anson Carter and defenseman Ales Pisa to the New York Rangers for right wing Radek Dvorak and defenseman Cory Cross.
Anytime the Oilers trade a 20-30 goal scorer it's got to be worth something. We should have spent the money we found for Oates on this guy's salary. Dvorak is one of the Oilers most underrated players though and does everything but score more than 20 goals a season. Does anyone like Cory Cross?
Traded defenseman Janne Niinimaa to the New York Islanders for left wings Brad Isbister and Raffi Torres.
{Choke] The team died a bit when we lost this workhorse. We haven't found a defenceman that can replace his ice time and impact on the team (

October 7 - Traded right wing Mike Grier to the Washington Capitals for 2003 second
- and third-round draft picks.
June 22 - Traded center Jochen Hecht to the Buffalo Sabres for two 2002 second-round draft picks
( Jeff Deslauriers)
No big loss.
June 18 - Acquired center Jiri Dopita from the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2003 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2004 fifth-round pick.
Well it was worth a shot. But maybe Lowe should stay away from signing old UFAs this summer...
March 19 - Traded defenseman Tom Poti and left wing Rem Murray to the New York Rangers for center Mike York and a 2002 fourth-round draft pick.
Excellent trade. Edmonton has a knack for grooming character pluggers like Rem Murray, an Edmonton made the smart move by trading him when he had maximum trade value. Poti has some upside but I thought Mike York was our best player last year until he got injured.


July 1 - Traded center Doug Weight and right wing Michel Riesen to the St.Louis Blues for center Marty Reasoner, left wing Jochen Hecht and defenseman Jan Horacek.
The money trade. More of a desperate attempt to not lose out on a UFA like we did with Curtis Joseph.
June 29 - Traded center Sergei Zholtok to the Minnesota Wild for undisclosed draft picks.
Can you believe he died of a heart attack last year?
March 13 - Traded left wing Dan LaCouture to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Sven Butenschon.


December 18 - Traded center Chad Kilger to the Montreal Canadiens for center Sergei Zholtok.
November 15 - Traded right wing Bill Guerin to the Boston Bruins for the rights to left wing Anson Carter, a 2001 second-round pick and the option of switching first-round picks in the 2001 or 2002 draft (Lynch, Hemsky).
Another good deal. We saved some money and Carter more less did a good job replacing Guerin's numbers. Inexplicably the Oilers drafted well enough to make something of their draft picks.
June 24
- Traded Hamrlik to the NY Islanders for D Eric Brewer, leftwing Josh Green, 2000 second-round draft (Brad Winchester)
Everyone thinks this is Lowe's best trade but time will tell. Brewer, despite the hype and Olympics, is still top a complete number one defenceman. But he has younger and has the potential to be much better than Hamrlik is now (which still isn't bad). What made it a good trade is that Billy Beane-esque thing of trying to cycle in good ascending players in for older ones who have reached their peak. Often we trade for reputation when it really doesn't reflect reality. As some guy on the HF Boards pointed out, Hemsky actually had a technically better season than Selanne but you can imagine the buzz the Oilers would get from signing the Finn. I just hope Kevin Lowe doesn't bust his nut trying to get a older player past his prime. It's proven to be his weakness.

What do YOU think?


Chris! said...

Hey Mikey, great research on this one. Did you go hunting for all this or is there a trade database I don't know about?

I think we're pretty much in agreeal on most of these assessments. In fact, when it's all laid out in front of me, I'm surprised to see just how competently Lowe has, like you said, repeatedly traded peaking players for rising players. You're giving him too much slack for the Comrie trade though; Perry's shaping up to be an impact forward, while Woywitka took his first steps towards being an entirely pedestrian checking defenceman.

Is Woywitka a reasonable acquisition in a trade involving our top centre? Maybe, in time, but not for the next several years at least. This was Lowe's biggest fumble, in my opinion.

collin said...

Here's ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI's (Ice-T's) take on soemthing we talked about a couple days ago.

Includes the phrase: "Here's enough cash to choke a hippo."

I have a summer cold. Shitty.


mike w said...

>Did you go hunting for all this >or is there a trade database I >don't know about?

Yeah, I just ripped it off some bigger hockey nerd's website.

The thing that was annoying about the Comrie trade is I think he was traded to Philly to avoid having him in the same Conference, only to have Philly trade him a few weeks later to Phoenix.

Now he's gonna be what? On the third line? Why did he want to be traded again? Something tells the "he slept with Salo's wife" rumour is too interesting to be true.

Dave (Berry) said...

I agree with most of your assessments here, Mike, but I don't know how much we can use these to judge Lowe's prowess by, at least in the "new" NHL. Pretty much all these deals were made from a position of weakness (ie not having enough money to pay our free agents), and while he's done good considering, I don't know if he has what it takes to actually, you know, evaluate a legitimate trade. I mean, you'd assume so, but the closest thing we've had, the Comrie deal (he could have just let the fucker rot--we weren't get anything out of hiim anyway), is also arguably the worst deal. In our position now, it will really be about evaluating what we have too much off and what we need, and pulling off a deal that finds a balance between that. Maybe Lowe is just a fine GM for a team that never really gave itself a chance to finish any better than sixth, and as we've all pointed out, any excuses they had are pretty much gone now. (Oh, plus, as Chris points out every time he sits in front of a keyboard, our drafting still tends to blow, and hard, which is part of Lowe's responsibility as well.)

Also, I heard that part of the reason Comrie was traded was because MacTavish and him did not get along at all, and Mac-T basically gave the Oilers a "It's him or me" kind of talk, with the Oilers opting for their mediocre coach. I don't know how true that is, but if you'll recall, MacTavish did take a little while to sign a new coaching contract in the summer of Odd-Three. Or it was the wife thing. Bammmmmmmmmm.

collin said...

I remember MacTavish's long fishing trip to "think things over" after the loss to Dallas in '03. Stories of how Lowe's first order of business that summer was to lock up MacTavish.
I heard there was more than one night on Craig's voyage of discovery when Mac-T sat up in a easy chair, staring out across to the lake, rolling his finger around the rim of a wine glass, imagining that Mike was smiling down in the reflection on the water.
Then Henry Fonda ran the boat into the rocks, and Mac-T decided to come back.

I say, that Comrie's in the past, though Lowe's credibility probably took a giant hit over the handling of it all.
The draft is another matter. It's been, what, five years now, four seasons, with the new group at the helm.
The Roadrunners pulled the curtain back on how weak the system is.

Maybe I should get an alias?