Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Much Ado About Nothing

Well, in many ways the free agent signings don't bode well for the Oilers. As I'm typing this I've just read that the Kings have signed Demitra, terms not available.

Perhaps our slide presentation on Edmonton's great Slovakian community and lovely river valley didn't win him over...

Already many possible fits have signed elsewhere (Holik 3.65 million in ATL, Foote 4.6 million over 3 years in COL, Aucoin 4 million over 4 years in CHI and Rathje 3.5 million over 5 in PHI). This is a bad season to be a buyer, plain and simple - especially since the crop is mostly over-valued veterans well past the UFA age. I can admire Lowe's restraint in not making boneheaded moves since some GMS have already done it for him. Despite a "new era" in fiscal prudence the Columbus Blue Jackets signed an overrated and soon to be decrepit Foote at 4.6 million annually for three years, and oh yeah, he has a no trade clause. Florida also signed Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts for too much. And Holik might prove unwise, although I'm less sure that's a terrible deal. But those other guys got essentially got RAISES. It's unfortunate that the Oilers simply can't ignore the need for a centre and puck mover on the back end. As much as I like to put faith in prospects making the team we still have Horcoff as Number 1 centre, my friends. We're obviously going to have to sign someone (perhaps underwhelmingly) or just as likely trade for a player. Wish I could type more...off to work!


Chris! said...

...and I got scorned for suggesting the Oilers should go for Greg Johnson and Andrei Nikolishin; looks like they're our only real options in terms of FA centres who are worth anything now. Barring a trade, of course.

Now that pretty much any team can offer the same player the same amount of money, location has become more important than ever. And really, why would a millionaire want to move here?

Live in the now, please said...

> why would a millionaire want to move here?

Because the Oilers won a lot of Cups when they were attending elementary school in another city?

Seriously, good question. And, I think it goes back to the theory of needing to make a splash. Saying, we're going to try to win now, rather than taking a good long look at the new landscape, then starting a rebuilding process possibly next year.
How many superstars are going to sign up for that voyage?
Its the organizational philosophy, and I'm afraid its survived the lockout and is here, living with us in the present.

Have the Oilers done one encouraging thing besides turfing a despised underachiever, since the lockout ended?
How about one thing different?
Granted this is the second day of free agency, but it's been two weeks and I've yet to hear them say anything bold, let alone

Everybody is getting at least somewhat "busy" as the kids say; those dasterdly Flyers, heck, even Chicago had swapped No. 1 defencemen.
Say what you will but even Atlanta improved their defence with Holik - to offset their stable of budding superstars up front.
The Bruins are going to sign a good player every day between now and training camp.
As George Johnson of the Calgary Herald points out Monday, the Flames are basically a superstar defenceman away from creating a dynasty-style core.

Now is the time for bold action, worry be damned.

Dave (Berry) said...

I don't know, I think going nuts right now would be a mistake. Earlier, when I was talking big, I really wasn't expecting someone like Adam Foote to get 4.6 mil. He's not going to be an all-star again in his career, and even at his prime, he was, at best, the best 2nd or 3rd defenceman in the league--someone who was solid in his own end but pretty mediocre offensively. To waste 1/8 of your entire payroll on an aging stay-at-home defenceman is ridiculous, and if that's the way the market is shaping up (and it seems to be), the Oil would be way better off easing off this year, maybe signing one of the cheaper guys Chris mentioned, and save some cap room for next year, when there are better, younger players and (presumably) a little more fiscal sanity.

In the meantime, the Oilers could try using the cap room they'll have left over making Edmonton the slightest bit attractive to elite players. Roving blowjob squads anyone?

mike w said...

>the Oil would be way better off easing off this year, maybe signing one of the cheaper guys Chris mentioned, and save some cap room for next year

Only problem is that Demitra signed for a pretty reasonable $13.5 million US over three years -a good deal for the Kings. One worries that Oil fans don't want to be sullying a glittering array of cheap players as if cheap for cheap's sake meant something. What do I care if Cal Nichols overpays a player? We're nowhere near our limit. I think Foote is terrible for the Oilers but a Holik or moreover a Demitra is what we need now.

Ricky Powell said...

Well said, sir.
I have this picture in mind of Oiler central being this mess of people bumping into each other not knowing what to think -- like they woke up in the year 3000 with bunch more money.
Maybe they don't have any money to spend? They had pretty much maxed out their revenue (Heritage Classic) last season and only broke even spending $35 Million on salaries.
Maybe high-end players have asked Mike Comrie what it's like to play in (or get traded out of) Edmonton?

Chris! said...

Calgary just added some more gritty support and potential scoring by signing Darren McCarty (two years, $1.9 mil) and Tony Amonte (two years, $3.7 mil).

And word on the street is that both Edmonton and Calgary are really trying to get Niedermayer on their back end. Gee, I wonder which team he'd pick of the two: the one that has a clear building plan, an eye for talent and a good shot at a cup next year, or the team with "heart" that is so far removed from being able to compete for a Cup that they don't even know what a Cup-winning team looks like anymore. Tough call, I'm sure.

Also, if you want to see optimism so so sweet, so pure and so deluded that it'll almost break your heart, spend an hour on the oilfans.com message boards sometime.

mike w said...

Okay, what the hell is left? What do you think of Kriya, Zhamnov or Rafalski? Neidermayer seems like a tough bet, but who knows? He seems like a smart guy; he might see the advantage in getting top dog status in a team that will give him whatever he wants. Suddenly we're in a position of selling the city to players as a reason to play here. All I can say is: Yikes! I love Edmonton and all, but have you seen the ride from the airport?! DEPRESSING.

Chris! said...

Oop! Dave Scatchard, another centre whose name was bandied hopefully about among Edmonton speculators, just signed with the Boston Bruins: four years, $8.4 million. That's actually a hell of a price for a guy like him, though who knows if he'll still be earning it four years from now.

Anyways, yeah. Yikes. Either the Oilers are planning something really big, they're getting consistently outbid, or worse yet, they have no fucking clue what they're doing. Honestly, I think it might be a combination of the latter two; after all, it's been so long since we've last gone shopping that our haggling's probably gotten pretty rusty. Or maybe we're just waiting for our best pals the Rangers to sign who we want so we can trade for them later in the year.

Yep, like I said earlier--it's boiling down to a question of where a player wants to play. And that doesn't bode well for our dour little hinterland outpost.

Dave (Berry) said...

If I may, from Sunday, July 24 at 11:27am, one Mr David Berry said:

"That said, though technically money is no longer an issue, now we'll get to hear all sorts of other reasons why free agents don't want to come to Edmonton, such as the fact we're a dead town that's as far north as you're going to get in this league, with nothing to amuse NHLers but a gigantic mall and all the underage girls they can grab at Barry T's (or, uh, The Standard)."

I just wanted to point out that I called this a week before we started getting jilted. Oh, also, there isn't a hope in hell of us landing Neidermayer unless we get a second-tier, semi-big name first, to show we mean business.

That is all.

mike w said...

>Oh, also, there isn't a hope in hell of us landing Neidermayer unless we get a second-tier, semi-big name first, to show we mean business.

We don't really know that. All he's said (to some New Jersey paper) is that he wants a "good place for his kids" and of course top dollar. He's a Norris winner and I think the best UFA out there. We don't exactly blow the bank by signing him at max salary.

I also wonder about the collective memory of Oilers fans, the same Oiler fans who are now going on about "the core" (although somehow Brewer isn't really part of that) were the ones in 2003 bemoaning our dreadful powerplay and lack of skilled players. I wonder what Oiler fans would be thinking if we hadn't ended up on a winning streak near the end of the season. I vaguely recall a MacKinnon article in the Journal suggesting we tank the season to get a top draft pick (he really is a terrible, boring hockey writer, btw), so things weren't all that great. I'm still hoping Lowe finds a decent defenceman and trades for a good centre. It's quite possible Demitra wanted to stay go to a big city like LA, which would explain his somewhat cheap comparative price.

Pleasure Motors said...

Ho-lee fuck.


I guess we can forget about Niedermayer. Or, uh, he'll be coming here for sure now. So, what do we do about those forward lines now?