Tuesday, August 16, 2005

We still need a centre... (also: Press Conference tomorrow)

We need a decent first line scoring forward, or at the very least a Centre that isn't Todd Harvey. Here's the list of remaing UFAs, and it's kind of slim pickings isn't it? As for trades, Handzus has been batted around, since Clarke is gonna have to offload salary. Another team to watch is Anaheim, Brian Burke wants to offload Petr Sykora's salary of $3 million. I still think something has to happen, can the Oilers go into the season so weak down the middle?

Vincent Damphousse, San Jose; Ron Francis, Toronto; Travis Green, Boston; Brian Holzinger, Columbus; Mark Messier, N.Y. Rangers; Rem Murray, Nashville; Andrei Nikolishin, Colorado; Yanic Perreault, Montreal; Jozef Stumpel, Los Angeles; Shaun Van Allen, Ottawa.

Right wings
Donald Audette, Florida; Peter Bondra, Ottawa; Anson Carter, Los Angeles; Adam Deadmarsh, Los Angeles; Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, Washington; Alexander Mogilny, Toronto; Vladimir Orszagh, Nashville; Owen Nolan, Toronto; Teemu Selanne, Colorado; Scott Young, Dallas.

Left wings
Dave Andreychuk, Tampa Bay; Bates Battaglia, Washington; Jim Cummins, Colorado; Jim McKenzie, Nashville; Brian Savage, Phoenix; Steve Thomas, Detroit; Rob Zamuner, Boston.

***In the meantime, the Oilers have called a press conference for tomorrow, for reasons unknown. I'll update when I find out.***


Dave (Berry) said...

Sikora would be nice, but he's still making 3.1 mil--who do we move to free up that kind of cash? The only person we have who would make that is Smyth (not, necessarily, in the same trade, of course, but I don't think we want to load up and then look like we have to dump salary, just so we end up getting hosed). I don't know if we can afford that extra salary without dumping someone who's fairly valuable.

However, on the same front, two semi-decent centres might be available. First, Michael Handzus, whose name has popped up several times over the years, is supposedly going out of Philly. I don't know what we'd have to give up for him, or if we'd even be in the running, but Roenick went for a fourth-round pick, so I can't see Handzus breaking the bank.

Also, the Pens are apparently on the verge of a few more signings, including Jozef Stumpel, and might be dumping Milan Kraft. Now, granted, Kraft was only a 40-point guy last season, that was his first season over 20 points, and that was basically only his second (non-consecutive) season as a regular, but he's only 25, so it could just be that he had to break out of his shell. Besides that, he's 6'4", and would probably come for about a million. He's also a pretty good checker, so on the off chance he couldn't find his hands, he could give us something in return, even if it's only a really solid third-liner.

I don't know, Kraft isn't ideal, but he has upside, he's cheap, and he would strengthen our centre core some.

Chris! said...

You raise some good points about Kraft, Dave, but I think the Oilers would probably bring up someone from inside like Brad Winchester to fill up a bottom line with some size before they went and bought someone else.

As for this press conference tomorrow, my interest is definitely piqued, but considering he's our only significant RFA left unsigned, I'm more than a little nervous that Smyth is on his way out in some Big Deal. Will it bring a centre? Somehow I don't think so; I can't picture the Oilers spending $4 million on Peca just to put him on the second line--which might mean a pure scoring winger, which I wouldn't be too happy about if it meant losing Smyth in the mix. We've given up a key team component in every deal we've made so far, and I think it's time for us to actually add a player and build around the core rather than just trade up.

Well, let's see what happens, I guess.

CG said...

I think it's pretty obvious that Mark Messier while emerge from a smoke filled corridor sometime around noon today at the Rexall Place/Skyreach (centre?)/Northlands Colliseum.
I've got no inside dope on this but it's the only move that make sense, especially with a press conference that's called well in advance. The timing makes sense. The Oilers and the Rangers (Sather) could have kept it quiet.
I'd briefly entertained the idea that Lowe would be beheaded in that little bar area they have down there outside the Oilers dressing room, but that's not the Oilers style. He's unable to sign star free agents after fucking up the Comrie deal so bad that it made the papers in Kazakhstan, yet he lives.
Yep, Mess will be coming back to where it all started — perhaps a nice handshake of agreement between the new look, new rules NHL and those high flying glory days. Or perhaps it'll be a marathon of dissappointment and a 10-15 goal season for the league's only remaining WHA'er.
The big question for me is whether Messier will be able to take it. Mid-life crises aren't pretty to begin with, and I'm intrigued by the idea that Messier, after 13 seasons split between New York, banging Madonna and Vancouver, might not be able to take the 7-11 hotdog esthetic of life in Canada's northern-most peach at $1.2 million per season.
I think he'd be an interesting suicide.
This is too cruel, and it's hard to see him end up anywhere else, but $3.5 million for Mogilny would certainly have tempered this transaction.
For the record: Messier will tie Howe's record on Oct. 8 at Dallas, break it Oct. 29 at Nashville, or sit a game then break it at Rexall on Nov. 2 versus Columbus. He could sit out to tie versus Columbus but then the CFR is in town, and a seven game road trip starts. This usually signals the beginning of Oilers' annual fall slide, but perhaps much more this year.
Good Times.


Anonymous said...

Will emerge, fuck, not while emerge, will emerge -- ed

Anonymous said...

As it turns out it's just and under-whelming. Paul Coffee to join hall of people that used to play here, according to Edtn Sun early edition.

Chris! said...

That's it? Jesus, who cares. I almost would have preferred Messier. But only if he had rode onto the stage at the airport Westin on a Harley with a big leather jacket dyed in original Oilers away colours while "Rock Me Like a Hurricane" blared over the strained PA system.


Dave (Berry) said...

Hey, on the subject of actually interesting, non-Coffey related news, the Canucks signed Anson Carter for the bargain-basement price of 1mil, TSN reports.

As I've pointed out before, he scores on roughly the same level as Smyth, and he can play either of the three forward positions, so he's probably going to see some second-line time with the Sedins and get about 50-60 points, depending on how much PP time he logs. Pretty good pick-up for only a million.

Oh, also Alex Mogilny is with the Devils (sigh), but for a lot of money (3.5mil), meaning the Devils are probably looking to move somebody (almost 36 million paid with RFAs like Elias and Friesen still to be signed). Aside from the fact they totally fucking overpaid Dan McGillis, who's making the same (2.2mil) as Scott Gomez, and Malakhov (3.6mil for 37-year-old with an injury history who is easily worse than Hamrlik, who signed for just below that and was still kind of overpaid), they'll have to move somebody talented and it probably won't be anyone they just signed. There is one complication, in that Elias is still recovering from Hep A, so he's a ways off, but my guess is either Elias (since he's presumably being replaced by Mogilny) or John Madden, who is probably the game's best third-line checker, but is making almost 4mil a year. The Oilers should probably get interested if it's the former.

flick of the switch said...

Madden, Hmmm. He's the guy I see most likely in an Oilers uniform, but ((and I'll try to explain this in less than 1,500 words)) I think that the Oilers have too many Madden-esque players already. His $3.8 million salary is genuinely surprising, however.

They need some pop, but at this late stage, I think making a splash is out of the question. What's left seems like a lot of what the Oilers already have an overabundance of already; 15-22 goal guys.

Big shout to Dave for spotting Milan Kraft. 19 goals in 66 games with a shitty Penguins club. Hmmmm. Still, TSN.cs doesn't have him listed so he might be staying in Czech (?).
In a similar vien, Boston centre Sergei Zinovjev (25 years old, 17 goals in 53 Russian league games last year) is still an RFA though he played with AKBARS (rus) last year, and might stay.

Also is it just me or did the Bruins, who I've been pumping mercilessly, forget to sign a goalie. They're at $30.4 million with nine undisclosed salaries and no goalies.


Pleasure Motors said...

I noticed that Kraft wasn't on the TSN website, too, but he is on the Penguins site, and I believe he's still under contract, so I don't think he could even stay in Czech if he wanted. Also, TSN hasn't listed players before: I forget the exact team, but there was one or two times I was looking for players who weren't on at one point but were later, so maybe it's just an oversight.

Having said that, Stumpel went to Florida, and Kraft is one of only three centres listed on the website (I think their other kid, Mechkin or whatever, is a centre, though, and he's unsigned), so he might not be available after all. Though, of course, that's not to say we couldn't trade for him (Stoll and something, say), but I doubt he's the type of guy who's even on Lowe's radar, so I wouldn't hold out hope unless he was actually on the block. Anyway, on the note of his stats, I think his numbers are more impressive given he probably saw little-to-no PP time behind Lemieux.

But anyway, since all I really like to do when it comes to hockey is speculate about trade rumours, I have another wild bit of pie-in-the-sky thought. With Tampa signing Lecalvier for so much money, general thought is they won't be able to give St. Louis as much money as he wanted. Now, I'm not saying Tampa is dumb enough to trade the Hart Trophy winner, but they do have a pretty good, young second-line centre named Brad Richards making about 4mil a year, and could free up some room by trading him. This, combined with the fact that Spector seems to think that Ryan Smyth is on his way out of Edmonton (before the season even starts, if I remember correctly--also, that theory is given more weight, to me, by the fact we still haven't signed him), has me thinking: Richards for Smyth? Tampa would probably need some commitment, in the sense of Smyth signing for, say, 2.5 mil, so they could give the extra to St. Louis, but, considering Dave Andreychuk likely won't be back, Smyth is the type of gritty leader-dude that would look good flanking Lecalvier with St. Louis--he'd give both of those other two a lot of space.

Yeah, the main problem I see with that on the Oilers side is that, by replacing Smyth with Richards, we still probably only have 4 or 5 real top-6 forwards: Hemsky, (who is supposed to break out, but who knows), Dvorak (more of a second-line-at-best kind of guy), Peca (ditto), Richards, and, uh, maybe Torres or Horcoff, depending on what you think of either's ability to carry over from last season. That said, we would definitely have a centre, and a dependable scorer, too, and maybe we could move someone like Horcoff or Reasoner (or even Peca, maybe, considering he doesn't seem to care about staying in Edmonton too much) and something for a solid (though likely still second-line type) winger.

I don't know how plausible this is, but it's not entirely off-the-wall, either, and, though earlier I voiced my support for Smyth, Richards 79 points from the centre slot would look pretty good in blue and copper, especially if he scrounged up a secondary deal for another winger.

Ballbreaker said...

>I believe he's still under contract, so I don't think he could even stay in Czech if he wanted

Would they extradite him? Besides this is mostly useless talk, because Pittsburg has a tonne of cap-space left (Crosby and Lemieux for $2mill combined). But I heard a rumour that Malkin is a buddy of Gonchar's, so maybe they do have too many centres (oh, imagine such problems).

Interesting thought about Tampa. Though I think they'll keep everyone this year.
I'd be interested in jamming a Ruslan Fedotenko out of there for $1,3 Million in a year or two.
Atlanta needs to sign a couple big wheels in Heately and Kovalchuk with less than 8 or so million bucks of real world money (not cap space).
They've got a lot of minimum wage guys on that team (seven maybe more) as well, so I don't know what you could steal.
Are we down to just AHL guys like Tommi Santala (6-foot-3, Finnish centre, some sort of scoring touch in the minors, none in 33 NHL games)?