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The Rebuild Part 1: Introduction

All talk about the Edmonton Oilers
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:58 am
The Rebuild Part 1: Introduction


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    “One, they’re probably going to beat you by eight goals and two, they’re going to kick that crap out of you too if you want to challenge them that way. “ - Steve Tambellini
Edmonton is a well educated hockey town and you don’t have to go very far to find out what state the Oilers are in, and for that matter what it is and what it means to be in a rebuild. What is a rebuild anyways? The dictionary defines it as:

    verb (used with object)
    1. to repair, especially to dismantle and reassemble with newparts: to rebuild an old car.
    2. to replace, restrengthen, or reinforce: to rebuild an army.
    3. to revise, reshape, or reorganize: to rebuild a shattered career.

Now of course there are varying degrees of rebuilds and every season every team in the league is sure to make at least one roster/on-ice movement which will hopefully improve or re-strengthen the on ice performance of their franchise. These degrees of “rebuilds” can vary, from more subtle movements/transactions (Detroit Red Wings) to full on scorched earth type rebuilds (Edmonton Oilers).

It is possible for teams to be successful, competing in the playoffs year after year, to still have the opportunity to rebuild their teams, to a lesser extent of course, without falling to the bottom of the NHL standings. Most recently we’ve witnessed this with teams like Boston (Seguin, D. Hamilton) and Philadelphia (Couturier, Schenn) acquiring key players for their core and future of their team while successfully signing players which will have impact on how their team does in the standings (Campbell, Horton, Jagr, Bryzgalov). To attain this degree of rebuild the team usually already has a stable foundation with valuable roster players, and blue-chip prospects in the system acquired from various outlets of the market whether it be draft, free-agency, waiver claim or even signing a player from the conclusion of scouting work (Tim Thomas). A team doesn’t have to necessarily depend on the draft to be rebuilt, the Boston Bruins have shown us this (Peter Chiarelli: Boston’s Unsung Hero? –Good Article) however, when you have little to work with some time there is no other way than to rebuild the entire organization from the ground up.

This degree of rebuild, the type that Edmonton is going through, is more of the scorched earth in nature, meaning you tear away the team to their very core and begin to build outward. Even though success is not certain, we’ve seen teams built from the ground up make a solid run to the Stanley Cup Finals (Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago) and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about, raising lord Stanley’s mug.

This degree of rebuild heavily depends on solid drafting to establish the core and foundation of the team along with a few key trades and sly acquisitions via free agency and or even, to some extent, waiver claims. Like mentioned earlier we’ve seen teams follow this model before, Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago and now the Oilers are also following in a similar fashion.

Rebuild Examples: Post from HFboards: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=1032733


Pittsburgh:
2000 – Pick #18 - Orpik
2002 - Pick #5 - Ryan Whitney
2003 – Pick #1 - Marc Andre Fleury
2004 - Pick #2 - Evgeni Malkin, #99 Kennedy
2005 - Pick #1 - Sydney Crosby, #62 Kris Letang
2006 - Pick #2 - Jordan Staal

Key trades: Neal, Dupuis
Key FA's: Michalek, Martin

Washington:
2002 – Pick #13 Alex Semin
2004 - Pick #1 - Alexander Ovechkin
2005 - Pick #15 - Sasha Pokulok, #29 Mike Green
2006 - Pick #4 - Niklas Backstrom
2007 - Pick #5 - Karl Alzner
2008 - Pick #21 - Anton Gustafson, #27 John Carlson,
2009 – Pick #24 - Marcus Johansen

Key Trades: Laich, Chimera
Key FA's: Hamrlik, Knuble, Vokoun

Chicago:
2003 – Pick #54 Duncan Keith
2004 – Pick #15 Brent Seabrook
2004 - Pick #3 - Cam Barker, #32 Dave Bolland
2005 - Pick #7 - Jack Skille, #108 Niklas Hjalmarsson
2006 - Pick #3 - Jonathan Toews
2007 - Pick #1 - Patrick Kane
2008 - Pick #11 - Kyle Beach - Officially Out of Rebuild, Pushing for Playoff Spot

Key Trades: Sharp, Leddy
Key FA's: Hossa




2009-2010 Season

For the season opening roster the Oilers iced a team that consisted of the following lines:

JFJ – Horcoff – Hemsky
O’Sullivan – Comrie – Stone
Pnner – Brule – Cogliano
Moreau – Gagner – Stortini

Souray – Visnovsky
Grebeshkov - Gilbert
Smid – Staios

Khabibulin

In season key additions:
March 03 – Ryan Jones claimed off waivers from Nashville.
March 04 – Lubomir Visnovsky traded to Anaheim for Ryan Whitney + 2010 6th Round Pick

Quotes from the Oilers organization following the Oilers 2009-2010 season:

    “No doubt the chemistry had deteriorated to the point where are team was like teams that I use to look at that I just despised in terms of the attitude in the dressing room...” – Kevin Lowe

    “You don’t win. It’s hard on people, it’s hard on people. The positive side is you get to find out a lot about people. Not only when you win but when you don’t. And you see the people that can hang in there and stick with and be professional be prepared and be a good teammate.” – Steve Tambellini

    “What happened this past season, made it very clear to me that now is our opportunity to rebuild, when I say rebuild, this is a major rebuild.” – Daryl Katz
In essence, following the dismal 2009-2010 season, sparked the rebuild in its entirety, on and off the ice. Over the summer Kevin Pendergast was fired and a sideways move sent former head coach Pat Quinn to front office with Tom Renney assuming the duties of head coach. Earlier in the year the organization had established and relocated their AHL team to Oklahoma City and Katz wasn’t afraid to put money into the team.

2010-2011 Season

The 2010-2011 sold “H.O.P.E.”, icing an opening night roster of:

Penner – Gagner – Hemsky
Hall – Horcoff – Eberle
Paajarvi – Cogliano – Brule
MacIntyre – Fraser – Stortini

Whitney – Gilbert
Smid – Foster
Vandameer – Peckham

Khabibulin

In season key transactions:
February 28 – Dustin Penner to Los Angeles for Colten Teubert + 2011 1st Round Pick (#19 Oscar Klefbom) + Conditional 2012 Third Round Pick

Even with the youth and hope that the management was selling the Oilers finished 30th overall yet again, although this year the silver lining appeared to be much thicker.

The Oilers were fairly busy this past offseason acquiring some grit, depth and attempting to fill a few other holes. (Eager, Hordichuck, Belanger, Barker, Potter, Fedun) They also sent Cogliano to Anaheim with a 2013 2nd Round Pick coming our way. Most notable was probably the return of Ryan Smyth, which sent Colin Fraser and a 2012 7th round pick to Los Angeles.

The Oilers added two first round picks this past off-season in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom.

2011-2012 Season

For the 2011-2012 season the Oilers iced a team of:
Smyth – Horcoff – Hemsky
Hall – RNH – Eberle
Paajarvi – Lander – Omark
Petrell – Belanger – Jones
(Hordichuck)

Barker – Gilbert
Smid (Injured?) – Petry
Sutton – Peckham
(Potter/Chorney)

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Injured Opening Night: Gagner, Eager, Smid, Whitney

Even with a questionable blue line the Oilers surprised, or at least should have, surprised everyone coming out of the gate. The Oilers have iced a team this year with a young and dynamic offensive core however much of their roster still seams incomplete, especially when it comes to the blue line. How was this team suppose to compete for playoff contention with having a questionable defensive group and shaky goaltending coming into the season? Even though they started off with a superb record the on ice woes are more than glaring now. There are still bright spots, hell possible shining stars in the making, but this team still has a bit to go yet.


Edmonton:
2004 – Pick #14 Devan Dubnyk
2006 - Pick #45 Jeff Petry
2007 - Pick #6 Sam Gagner
2008 - Pick #22 Jordan Eberle, #163 Teemu Hartikainen
2009 - Pick #10 Magnus Paajarvi, #40 Anton Lander
2010 – Pick #1 Taylor Hall
2011 – Pick #1 Ryan Nugent Hopkins, #19 Oscar Klefbom

Key Trades: Whitney, Smyth,???
Key FA's: ???


It’s hard to call the Key Acquisitions (Trades/FA’s) listed above as so because I would consider these players helping us at least contend for a playoff spot but you can argue, at least with the Key Trades that Whitney (when healthy) and Smyth have made an impact and positive contribution to this team. As for the free agents I would list Khabibulin, Belanger and Eager as notable but I wouldn’t quite list them as “key”. As for our organization and prospects in our system I say the Oilers are fairly wealthy on this front and it’s been some time. Listed above are players I think will most likely be here and have an impact on our future of this rebuild.

What history tells us is that the Oilers will most likely be active around the trade deadline this year and we may be able to use it to judge where the team is and are heading in the rebuild. Are we going to move players to acquire more draft picks or are we going to acquire players who are going to take on a roster spot and or make an impact in the very near future? These types of moves can tell us a lot where the team is and where the Oilers are heading. Even though the Oilers are most likely going to be getting another top five pick this season the deadline may give us a hint in what direction the team will be heading this offseason what we may be gearing up for next fall. I don’t think rebuilds should judged based on time but by how much an organization matures.

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The Rebuild Part 2: Trade Deadline - Coming Soon.

I was hoping to ask POTF staff if they would post this on the main blog but at this point I'd just like to see it up. I've been working on it for quite some time today and I apologize if there are spelling errors or any errors for that matter. At this point I just wanted to slap an image on it and get it on somewhere. Hope you guys enjoy!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:50 am
awesome post, out of interest who do you see being part of a contender team in terms of players currently on the team.

quick example:

X - RNH - Eberle
Hall - Gagner - X
MPS - Lander - Jones
X - Belanger - X

X - X
Smid - Gilbert
X - X

X
X

I think in terms of Forwards we're in a pretty good position when healthy, but with Whintey's injury problems, and lack of solid depth players the D isn't great. And goaltending is going to be an issue.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:30 am
I'm off to the airport now to drop the g/f off, but when I get back I'll read it more thoroughly. Had a quick skim and looks great, and my first thought was "geez, he should have let me know so I could put it on the blog!". I'll still do that... there'll just be two places where people can comment, I guess.

Great work!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:26 pm
Fantastic as always Zackman!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:35 pm
http://puttingonthefoil.com/2012/01/the ... roduction/

Agreed with Chucker!

And just as a note, you are always welcome to write articles for the blog. Just let me know when you do have something in the works or ready to go. You actually already have contributor access there, which should allow you to write articles... I just have to give the approval to post (which wouldn't take long so long as I know it's waiting).
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:23 pm
Thanks for the compliments guys! I spent quite a bit of time on it yesterday even though it's pretty much stuff we already know.

Alan-NottsUK wrote:awesome post, out of interest who do you see being part of a contender team in terms of players currently on the team.

quick example:

X - RNH - Eberle
Hall - Gagner - X
MPS - Lander - Jones
X - Belanger - X

X - X
Smid - Gilbert
X - X

X
X

I think in terms of Forwards we're in a pretty good position when healthy, but with Whintey's injury problems, and lack of solid depth players the D isn't great. And goaltending is going to be an issue.


In terms of players who I see could be part of a contender, that are currently at the NHL level, it's tough to say because of possible trades that could occur/acquisitions and guys moving up the depth chart. The players who I could see on a contending team would be:

Forwards: Hall, RNH, Eberle (who wouldn't want these kids on their team, I doubt management will touch these guys the way they are progressing - which is awesome, top tier second liners at very worst *knock on wood*), Smyth, Jones (workhorses and veteran presence -valuable in multiple situations) , possibly Paajarvi (I'm still rooting for him and I think he has the potential to be a 20G scorer) and one of, maybe two of Gagner/Lander/Belanger (I think at least one of them will be traded and we still need a second line center and I think once one is present on our roster one of these guys will be moved out). Plus I don't think once Belanger's contract is up he will retire. Hemsky and Eager are on the fringe there's a chance they could make it and there's a chance they wont. If we can sign Hemsky cheap to a shorter contract then I say do it because I'm not sure how much he would get us in the market right now. I think its safe to say that Hartikainen will be knocking on the door of opportunity next fall.

Defense: Smid, Gilbert, Petry and Whitney (if he can return to his healthy offensive self then he'd be an asset to any team but like you mentioned he's become a little bit injury prone but the Oilers organization will wait for a guy like this to heal. If we acquire that covet number one d-man I think Smid or Gilbert have the ability to play on the top pairing however I could see Smid and or Gilbert and or Petry in a deal to acquire that number one D. Then we have Potter or possibly even Fedun becoming our seventh man.

In terms of depth it would probably look something like this...

Hall - RNH - Eberle
MPS - 2C - 2RW
Smyth - 3C*- Jones
Hartikainen /Eager - 4C* - 4RW

*3C: Gagner/Lander/Belanger
*4C: Lander/Belanger

1D - 1D
Gilbert - Smid/Petry/Whitney
3D- 3D
(Potter/Fedun)


It's really tough to put a finger on our D-men, like I said before I think there's a good change Gilbert/Smid/Petry have an equal change of being packed up for a higher caliber D-man. I also think that Gilbert/Smid and of course Whitney (when healthy) have the ability to play on the top pairing, especially if we acquire that higher caliber #1 guy. Our third D-pairing will probably consist of a combination of Potter/Fedun/Rookie and a tough guy like Tuebert.

As for Goaltending, unless Khabibulin can be moved this season there is a pretty good chance that he'll retire/fizz out as an Oiler. I think Dubnyk will be in the long term plan but I'm not confident with him being our number one guy yet.

Come trade deadline the Oilers have quite a wealthy selection ranging from veterans to prospects to move so quite a bit could happen. I can't see a team who is competing to get in or go all the way give up a roster guy so don't hold your breath if we don't get our big d-man trade at the deadline, there's another opportunity at summer!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:46 pm
Hmm.. how many teams have $4M+ d-men on their 2nd pairing? Honest question. I haven't done the math yet (and maybe I will later), but I wonder if we can fit both Gilbert, Whitney and a home-run d-man in the payroll (Ex. Weber/Suter type).

If there are money issues with that, I'd ship Whitney out (only partly based on injuries.. I think when "healthy" the foot issues give him consistency issues). If not, then great... Whitney and big-money d-man for the top unit (probably), Smid and Gilbert for pairing 2, and a combination of Potter / Peckham / Petry on the bottom pairing should work fine.

Gotta do everything we can to try and ship Khabi off. In the off-season, aim higher for a UFA goalie that is around 30 (Ex. Harding).
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:55 am
http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ed ... 74091.html
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:43 am
http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ed ... 37486.html


I didn't want to start a new thread. This is a nice article by Jones on what is possible for the remainder of the season.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:07 pm
Yah, lots to kind of hope for as far as individual numbers (and the team showing at least a modest improvement). That's all I've been hoping for this season all along though was a sign of improvement, and a glimmer of hope/promise shown by the kids. To be honest, I didn't think any of the 3 would be doing as well as they are this year (save for Paajarvi.. dang). Sophomore jinx? What sophomore jinx (again, sorry Paajarvi)?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:33 pm
ok with Hemsky re-signed the top 6 looks a little clearer now for next year at least. If no offseason moves are made (excluding re-signings) next year we have this.

Hall (3.75) - Gagner (?) - Hemsky (5)
MPS (1.525) - RNH (3.775) - Eberle (1.158333)
Smyth (?) - Horcoff (5.5) - Jones (1.5)
Eager (1.1) - Belanger (1.75) - Petrell (?)

Whitney (4) - Schultz (3.5)
Smid (2.25) - Petry (?)
Sutton (1.75) - Potter (0.775)
Peckham (?)

Khabibulin (3.375)
Dubnyk (?)

Realisticly the only raise Peckham will get is his qualifying offer and Petrell may get a slight raise up to 1m, Dubnyk also will probably get a slight raise. That's the easy salary changes out of the way.

Smyth will be reducing his, probably quite significantly. I'd hope that it will be under 4m.

Which leaves only Gagner & Petry, who have both made big strides this year, making their raises much harder to predict.

I think Smyth's reduction will cover any raises on the current team pretty comfortably though.

Barker will probably be let go. Hordichuck could be retained at his current salary, and then you need 1 more forward for a full active roster.

Giving us a cap salary of 60m again

Obviously we have quite a few players on the fringes, Lander, Omark and Hartikainen are probably the closest to the NHL. But I think Omark will be traded to a team without much offensive depth for a mid round pick (or someone's rights) and many others who would need re-signing Chorney for example will be let go in order to free up more contract space, making deadline moves next season easier.
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