Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Welcome back, Mr. Nedved

He's back.

The last time we saw Petr Nedved, in 2004, the guy almost single-handedly pushed the Oilers over the playoff hump, scoring 15 points in 16 games. Being a unrestricted free agent at season's end, Nedved chose to move on to Phoenix, reportedly because his model wife
Veronica Varekova wasn't too keen on living in a northern outpost without a half-decent Givenchy boutique anywhere near it.

Since then, Nedved has a had a rough go of it in the last couple of seasons. When he hasn't been hobbled by groin problems, he's put up mediocre offensive numbers, getting tossed around the waiver wire like a loose coin in the dryer. He's never been very good defensively, and at the age of 35 he's lost a step or two. And oh yeah -- Petr and Veronica Varekova divorced last summer. Ouch.

So the million dollar question is: why did we take him? He's cheap, for one. The Oilers only pay half of his $2.3 million one-year deal since he was picked up on waivers, and its pro-rated, so the Oilers are looking at something like half a million or so. The other possibility is that the Oilers are going to make a trade with one of their forwards, and have signed Nedved to fill the gap (the Oilers press release makes it sound like Nedved's here to stay).

As we all know, the Oilers' most pressing need is a puck-moving defenceman that can get a shot within five feet of the net on the powerplay, but this sounds more like a Kevin Lowe lark in lieu of anything else. I'm inclined to believe that Nedved isn't worth our time, just like Adam Oates or Jiri Dopita, but he still has a great shot (isn't that why we got Lupul?) and may be able to spark something with his Czech pals Ales Hemsky and Petr Sykora. It's a low-cost gamble, for sure.

My verdict:
the Oilers couldn't play much worse these days, so it's better than nothing.


Anonymous said...

Will 93 play tonight ?
I can't seem to find out.

Anonymous said...

Didn't we float this idea a couple months ago when Nedved went down to the A the first time? I think we did. Anyhow, I like this move. You're right in that it seems like a shoulder-shrug from Lowe, but he has a good track record with fellow Czechs and the price is certainly right.

Now, of course, we've got one centre too many. This may not bode well for Mr. Stoll.


Anonymous said...

While the numbers would suggest Edmonton has too many centres, the problem is that Edmonton is weak at centre. This team needs a good number one centre (and no, I'm not suggesting Nedved is it) capable of about 90 points a season. They gambled on Horcoff last year as their first line centre and got lucky but realistically i think is he is, at best, a second line centre.

Loxy said...

The Oilers did what they needed to last year with a very similar center cops. I think the #1 center thing is overrated when more pressing needs can be found at #1-#4 of the defense.

The Oilers offensive strength comes from rolling the lines and defensively matching their centers with the best of the other team.

sacamano said...

Why does K-Lowe mock me so!

First, he ships out our best Czech - my beloved D-Vo - only to bring in the slacker Czech which results in my D-Vo replacement Thor to be sent to the minors.

I'm enraged.

Anonymous said...

Stoll isn't going anywhere. He's our face off specialist and plays with heart in the Smyth-echolon. I'd say Horc and his overpaid contract might be going elsewhere.

Black Dog said...

Nobody would take Horc for the money he's taking and neither he nor Stoll is going anywhere. Nedved is close to done and if you trade Horc or Stoll your centre corp(se) next year wil be the one who is not traded, Reasoner and two rookies.

Not happening.

Its a low cost gamble. He'll play with Sykora and Hemsky or just Sykora if they move Hemsky back to play with Smyth and Horcoff as rumoured.

He will be motivated because if he can't get anything done, his career is over. Which it may be already.

chris! - wife and kids are away on Sunday for a couple of weeks - I have to go drinking, er, do some research for my other blog - up for a pint or two?

Anonymous said...

Hey, apropos of nothing, and not like anyone asked me, but the tagline of this blog would be much funnier without that exclamation point. The exclamation point is the Sinbad of humor writing. Deadpan is always funnier. Unless you're Louis-Ferdinand Celine.

Randy in the Med Hizzo said...

Is nothing to be learned from the death spiral of the Philadelphia Flyers?

Eyeris said...

Well, if Veronica Varekova decides to reunite with Nedvad, I hear Holt now has a Tiffany counter. That's upscale, yo.

Chris! said...

The people have spoken, and for once they have a point: the exclamation point in the tagline is gone. The only things I want to be the Sinbad of are Zubaz pants and single diamond studs.

Chris! said...

Also, Pat: I'm always up for a pint. I work most evenings during the week, but I have Thursday night off next week if that works for you. Drop me an email and we'll work something out!

Black Dog said...

Chris!, I can actually say for the first time in about 18 months then except for my own hockey I will be free any evening from this Sunday on for two weeks.

So, lets say Thursday then. I'll drop you a line early next week.