Monday, August 14, 2006

Leetch... sucks?

From a small blurb at the end of today's TSN "Hockey Insider" post:

Edmonton is nowhere near the Eastern seaboard, and although Leetch rejected the Oilers gestures a year ago, a source close to the future hall of famer says he might be more inclined to consider that option now. I'm sure Edmonton will make the obligatory call.

The new era of free agency is not even three months old and this "eastern seaboard/family" thing is kind of killing the Oilers, isn't it? Still, it seems reasonable that Brian Leetch would play for his ex-Ranger teammates Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish on a quasi-contender, but just as easily you could say "the year is 2006" and realize that Leetch is a defensively sloppy, injury-prone 38 year-old in the full-on dusk of his career.

As badly as the Oilers power play needs help on the point (I'm nervous about any PP that has Staios or Bergeron sneaking on to the second unit), I'm wary of bringing in a guy that Bruins webboard fans describe as a "hack" or "weakness on ice." Granted, Leetch was played to death in Boston, which probably made him look much worse in his own zone than he actually is, but is Leetch really worth the gamble? In a market where Georges Laraque gets over a million for a handful minutes a night, I can't imagine Leetch would come as much of a bargain. Maybe I'm underrating his point production, but at this stage of his career he's not a complete defenceman.

The other disturbing thing is that with the Greenville Grrrowl vanishing into thin air, the Oilers have absolutely no minor league affiliates to speak of, aside from a few possible roster spots
in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. With Leetch taking up a roster spot, there may be no neat place to tuck away Danny Syvret or Ladislav Smid, which can only hurt the Oilers in the long run especially if Leetch ends up not being much better than a 5th or 6th defenceman. My little Magic 8 Ball says we're better off taking what we have into training camp, see how the D shapes up, and then making a trade if necessary.

Then again, there's something distinctly mid-1990s in blindly hoping for Oilers prospects to make the team out of training camp. If either Staios, Smith or Marc-Andre Bergeron take a step backwards next season, we may need all of the help we can get.


imark said...

Totally agree. No need for Leetch, we're not that desperate are we? Nothing that can't be fixed in the first few weeks (hopefully K-Lowe has learned his lesson with the goaltending issues from last season).

Steve said...

Um, isn't the lesson to be learned from last season's goaltending issues that going into the season with an unproven corps and no backup plan is a stupid idea?

If the price of Brian Leetch is $2M, as is being reported, I say go for it - there's a question mark around him too, just as there is around Hejda, but the more backup plans the Oilers have on the roster, the safer I feel.

(All of this assumes, of course, that we're not getting Vishnevski or Tarnstrom, which it currently appears we're not.)

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

hmmm, I agree with Steve but not with Leetch as the solution.

I think you are right Mike - they are going to camp, they'll see what they have and if/when they realize they need more then what they have then they'll get some help.

I think there are better options then Leetch out there.

Steve said...

Sure, I'm certainly not that high on Leetch, I just think we need somebody, even if things look good coming out of training camp. What better options do you see?

Anonymous said...

Before Adam Oates died he passed on his magical powers in face-off-man-ship... maybe the Leetch can aid our defensive core?

anj said...

leetch is pretty rad, as long as he stays healthy. he can still move and isn't as poor defensively as you may think. he was the leafs' (ahem) most reliable defender when we got him a couple years ago and he changed mccabe's game entirely. he'll make your kids better. i'd do it, considering what you've got now.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

well, of course the question is - who is available?

that I don't know

so I'm talking out of my ass, I guess

but there has to be someone younger then him - my main issue is that at 38 how healthy can he be

Dallas has 8 dmen (although I like Janne and he is one of them I would say no to him)

Jersey and Boston are both iffy about the cap - so are a few other teams - there must be a fit somewhere

I think after camp some team will be looking to dump someone because a younger (cheaper) player has made the jump

just don't ask me for any names

Anonymous said...

I like anj's comment about helping develop youth, but I do not see anyone besides Greene getting to spend real time with him - its a committee.

I think that the "lesson" is for the faithful not management. In spite of Conkannen last year the Oil did "fix (their) problems" and came up the smallest of increments short. The story would have been as dire as many here are bemoaning if they finished 9th, but they finished 8th - also by the smallest of increments. Isn't that why we all keep watching, we don't know the outcome?

As long as they stay in the race until we see who is available. Salary cap systems foster player movement and the most irrational seeming deals. I do not need this fixed today and do not see anything wrong with letting this play out into the season.

Colby Cosh said...

About the farm-team thing. What if the Oilers just said "Fuck this crap," formed two squads, and sent them out to play head-to-head in places like St. Albert and Ft. Saskatchewan? Is there really anything these guys can learn in the ECHL that they wouldn't this way? You could play exhibition games against varsity/collegiate teams, the Jr. B all-stars, the national Spengler Cup guys...

I only ask because that actually seems to be where things are heading at this point.

bigleaguer said...

What if the Oilers just said "Fuck this crap," formed two squads, and sent them out to play head-to-head in places like St. Albert and Ft. Saskatchewan?

Just what the Oilers need - Oiler rookies vs. the Gibbons Broncos. The horror... the horror...

MikeP said...

bigleaguer, he said "play head-to-head games", so presumably they'd be playing each other.

That'd be pretty bad too though: imagine if JFJ ends Schremp's career?

Ingmar "W" Bergman said...

Dopita played for Znojemsti Excalibur Orli Czech last seasn.

Best name ever.

Doogie said...

Hm...maybe we should make a team and send them to Europe to tour the Division I leagues? Might just work.

Colby Cosh said...

Schremp's career is under a more pernicious threat from his own fashion choices than from any opposing player.

Julian said...

you know that when schremp gets to training camp, that picture is going to be taped all over his locker.

we may need to pass it on to the Oilers to make sure this happens.