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Mark Fraser

All talk about the Edmonton Oilers
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:43 am
Gotta say I'm very pleased with this acquisition. Fraser is a hitting and shot blocking force who is defence first and he has a mean streak and can back it up with his big frame. I'd say that this trade has the potential to have a big impact and it kind of reminds me of the trade the Leafs and Oilers made when we got Jason Smith.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:28 pm
I hope that is the case. I'm keeping an open mind. Really the Oilers didn't give up anything I'm concerned about, and they need some physical presence back there. Credit to MacT for doing one thing completely wrong, and that's forgetting that you need defensive players on defence on occasion. Ideally Mark Fistric should still be here, IMHO. I'm not sure Fraser is an upgrade on Fistric.. but we'll see.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:59 pm
I think it is hilarious that a team took Cameron Abney. That said, there's probably a reason why they took Cameron Abney, aside from potentially being able to sign Harski one day. Mark Fraser is not part of a winning team. He's an AHL defenseman with extreme ability in the strength department, but has neither the skating, technique, or hockey intelligence to validate a NHL spot. In the short term he'll likely look fairly ok. So has players like Stortini, Brown, and others before. In time he'll be exposed.
I don't mind the acquisition as such, the idea is fair. But we cannot keep "adding" size without any skill and somehow thing if it averages out our team will function. We haven't fused Fraser's strength with Nuge's hands. As long as we don't actually bring in hockey talent, MacTavish will still pat himself on the back and claim that the Oilers are making the most moves in the NHL. As Racki says, Fraser is in the Fistric range, likely a tad worse, even, and that's what we do. Circles. And when you start off at a bad place, the circle ends there too.

:D
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:41 pm
NorOil: on the blueline, they completely purged any semblance of physical player.. save for maybe Ference. I don't think they're "continuing to add size without skill" (at least in that position). That said, it should go without saying that you want a complete package player on your blueline any chance you can get (or at the very least, a guy with some mobility). But I'll say until I'm blue in the face that the most important talent a defenseman should have should be ability to defend. That should be his strongest point. We have a bulk of mobile defenders, and I don't think any one of them is particularly that good in their own zone (that's probably a compliment to them, the way I phrased it). That needs to change. That doesn't mean bringing in a bunch of Fistric types.. but I do think unless they pull off a miracle and land 6 complete d-men, they're going to have to sacrifice some of that mobility and bring in a physical d-man or two. I never would have moved Smid, unless we replaced him (which we haven't).

A team also shouldn't be made up of clones of the same player (at any position). You need some diversity. Oilers mentality has always been this (at least under the Lowe regime): "We need more size!"... *draft nothing but big players... sign big players... trade for big players.. trade away small players*. "OK, now we can't compete with speedy teams!" *trade away all the big guys and bring in smaller skill guys who have potential to be fast*. In my opinion, there should be a mix. You aren't likely going to acquire 6 very good d-men that can play defense, play physical, and move the puck up ice. You'd probably be lucky to have one guy that does that.

I know, from our past conversations, that you like a player like say Jan Hejda who has a bit of everything in his game, and that's alright. But I think if you have 6 clones of that kind of player, you're easy to play against. Versatility..... have some guys who specialize at something. You don't want 6 big, hulking d-men any more than you want 6 speedy, offensively skilled, but passive d-men. If you have a choice between the guy who brings a solid defensive game, some offense, and some puck moving ability vs. the guy who is a lumbering physical beast with a good defensive game, you take option 1 99 times out of 100. But I think you have to give your coach options, and that means not having a bunch of clones but rather some guys with their own forte. Every one of the Oilers blue line (save for the new Fraser) can be described as a "mobile" d-man.

I would go further and say that they should avoid the Nick Schultz types.. guys who don't really excel at any one thing, and bring a jack of all trades, master of none type of play. You want your pairings made up, generally, of guys that complement each other. Justin Schultz shouldn't play with a guy who is mediocre at everything but bad at nothing. He should play with a guy who can make up for his strong desire to pinch in on every single play.

I guess you could say that I want a bit of everything in my player groupings (d-pairings, forward lines) rather than expecting that on an individual basis, which is unfortunately unrealistic and very hard to achieve, as we've seen. In no way am I suggesting we should have Steve Staios types here though. But I thought Mark Fistric was a good player to keep around (and it seems the Ducks agree) as long as you balance his skill set with another player... and you play him in roles where he can succeed.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:46 pm
Coles notes version of above:

Whether you're talking about wanting a guy who excels at offense.. a guy who excels at defense.. or a guy who is a jack of all trades.. never solve your troubles in bulk, in my opinion. You want a good balance/mix to your team to make it tougher on your opponent to play against.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:04 pm
I think you are associating defensive ability with physicality, or absence of offensive upside. True that players in the NHL without offensive upside at all, such as Fistric, are where they are presumably because they have some other skill. And what other skill could they have but a defensive one? We could argue the semantics here, but I don't believe Fraser to be any better at playing defense than someone like Nick Schultz, simply because Fraser isn't very good at much else than skating into people really hard. My problem is that however much our team needs toughness, it cannot be bought as an item separate from a minimum of hockey ability if it is to help us in the long term. I'd rather have a team of Hejdas or Petrys than one of Frasers, Fistrics, or even Orpiks. Our problem is primarily the quality of our defensemen, secondly their skillset or lack of particular traits. Justin Schultz is quite bad defensively not because he isn't strong, but because he's disinterested and lacks competitiveness. The fact that he's an offensively gifted player isn't the issue, I only wish Fraser had a bit of that, but he does not. Ultimately, they're two sides of the same problem - one dimensional hockey players. I don't think it solves our problem to have both, even if they complement each other. Once Schultz misreads a pinch, Fraser's defensive "ability" cannot make up for it because he is not good enough as a hockey player.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:40 pm
Yah, I will first say that I don't think Fraser likely has any business on an NHL club (although I'll wait to judge that completely), so we don't disagree there. I also probably did a poor job explaining things, making it sound like you can only be a physical player if you are an offensive player. I just think that there probably aren't enough Hejdas in the NHL, and you have to make a bit of sacrifice to make up a complete blue line. I don't think Fistric was as bad as some claimed him to be, but time will tell there. Right now, he's on a winner. He might be the defensive version of LA and Chicago's Colin Fraser. I think it's OK to have one or two guys like that if your defensive group is a bit more solid.

But one thing I couldn't agree more with in your para above is that Justin Schultz is poor defensively because of his disinterest. Ideally, again, you acquire guys with Justin Schultz's offensive ability that can commit defensively. I don't think they've proven easy to come by at all, which is why I still repeatedly say that you make up for it a bit by having players that excel more in one area paired with someone who excels in another area (that doesn't mean you pair Staois with MAB, BTW). And that's probably more a sacrifice you make in the lower ranks of your line up anyways, cause you'd have to hope that you can at least acquire one or two guys that know how to play some defense and are mobile (ex. Ference).

I think you're right though that the Oilers quality of D was completely wrong. On paper, Belov, Jultz, Ference, Nultz, .. they each sound good on paper, but in practice, you've got two guys in there that don't understand defensive hockey enough paired with two guys who probably don't have the talent level to make up for their deficiencies (or worse yet, they've paired Belov and Jultz together for the ultimate panic level in the D-zone).

I wouldn't be upset to see any one of these guys go, really...I don't think there is one untouchable on the blue line, and help is a ways away still.

FYI, Petry is one of my fave defensemen, so I'm with you that I'd rather see a team with 4 or 5 d-men like him, but can we get 5 Petrys? If so, why don't we have them yet? Inept GM?

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