Friday, September 25, 2009

Warming to Waging War on Wasted Wages with Waivers?

I certainly don't expect the Oilers to make much use of the waiver wire this week in terms of shedding multi-year contracts, but it would be interesting to see them try. Obviously with the three players to be mentioned one would attempt to get a positive return via trade before waiving them, but if that avenue didn't result in any offers, what would your opinion be of Edmonton waiving Moreau, Nilsson, and Staois? If not all three, which, if any, would you waive? Who would be expect to be picked up?

How much worse is the team this year if those three are all claimed, and how much better/worse do you like the cap situation next season if you move all three now? Is a better plan to hope they play their value up this year, and move them next summer? Or simply to keep them for the remaining 2 years on their contracts?

Is it worth the reduction in quality of team this season to open up 7.7 mil in cap room next season*?

* - assuming all three would be claimed, a big assumption to be sure.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Projecting the Opening Roster of the Oilers

Lineup and Roster for game 1*:


These guys still haven't played together much (if at all?) this preseason, but my hunch at this point is still that we'll see that line on the ice to start game 1. I'm guessing that Quinn has watched enough tape to know what he had in that line, and thus didn't really need to play them together in preseason until he sees if some other combination might allow for more team success.

That said, it's not hard to see why one would hope Jacques works out on the first line. It would be outstanding if Jacques could be a reasonably facsimile of the player Lowe imagined he was receiving when he signed Penner, since that would leave Penner for another line.


The chemistry between O'Sullivan and Comrie seems strong enough to keep together into the regular season. Combine that chemistry with the "instant chemistry" that has been Pisani over the past couple of seasons, and this seems like a line worth a look. Not terribly big guys, but all these players will battle for the puck and maybe that's enough.


Why not give it another go? All three players are older, see what they look like under a new coach, in a new system. If it doesn't work, mix things up.

I'm a bit surprised so many fans want to send Nilsson to the minors this year. While he may have been inconsistent last season, I still wouldn't mind seeing him with a new coach. How much is lost by seeing how he plays until December, hoping he works out with a new coaching staff? If he's not working out, maybe you waive or trade him at that time.

From a cap standpoint, it's pretty risky to waive him if you have any plans to recall him this season. Maybe he clears, maybe he doesn't, but if he does clear and you try to recall him he is very likely to be claimed, thus giving the Oilers a 1 mil cap hit for this season and next. Not a huge problem this year, but given the projected cap drop and the impending Edmonton cap problems for next season, wasting 1 mil of it on dead cap space seems like a pretty bad idea. It's not like you're going to do much better, in terms of quality of player, with the saved 1 mil in cap room replacing Nilsson than you would have done keeping Nilsson and hoping he rounds into form with a new coach, etc.

For all the complaints about Nilsson's two way game, only two Edmonton forwards have been plus players the past two seasons: Horcoff and Nilsson.

That said, given the coach's usage of Jacques in the preseason I wouldn't be very surprised to see him draw into Nilsson's spot. But Nilsson's been no statistical slouch this preseason, with 3 points in 3 games (before tonight's action).


Seems like a respectable enough 4th line, all of the players can play up the roster in a pinch. Of course I'm a huge Pouliot fan, I don't know if he's as physical a guy as Quinn might have in mind with Brule, but that's why you have the extra guys - switch them up if things aren't working.

Jacques, Brule

I wouldn't be willing to dump either of these players to hang onto MacIntyre, but it remains to be seen what the Oilers do.

Jacques seems to be playing well this camp, and is playing pretty high up the roster for a guy who won't even be on the opening night lineup, wouldn't surprise me at all to see him slot in. Same story for Brule, if they are looking for physicality vs. CAL in game 1; they may well feel Brule gives the Oilers more in that department than Pouliot.


Not much to say here, this seems to have been settled from the moment camp started.


* - the roster and line combinations, along with some of the writing, was done before tonight's game, so any performances from tonight's EDM/TB preseason game in Winnipeg haven't been considered.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Comrie signs with the Oilers

I can't say this is the most shocking event in Oilers history, but I'd have never believed you if you told me on June 29th that Comrie would be playing for the Oilers in 2009/10. Never a boring moment to be an Oilers fans since the lockout.

I will say that I think some fans are too concerned with the size of the forwards on Edmonton's roster - that the players are too small. I agree that one would prefer a forward to be 6'2" vs. 5'10", all else equal, but I think a team can win with small players up front, provided they are of a high enough quality. And quality, not size, is the issue most fans have with the Edmonton's roster; those issues are, unreasonably in my opinion, conflated by many.

So Comrie is another "small, skilled forward who doesn't throw his body around", but that doesn't make him a useless player. In terms of positives, Comrie's on a favorable, cap-friendly contract, a reported 1.125 mil. He's versatile, in that he can play C or the wing (LW at least, not sure how much RW he's played, if any). He may not be a PP star, but he's another guy in the mix, which, on a side note,doesn't help Schremp graduate to the NHL roster. If the team isn't looking good come the trade deadline, but Comrie produces, he'll carry at least some value on the trade market.

There isn't a ton of downside to this deal in terms of projected production vs. cost. You could make a reasonable argument that his money would have been better spent on some of the other available UFA's. Not that those players, necessarily, would be better value on average, but that those players fit Edmonton's perceived holes better than does Comrie. Additionally, it is possible that the addition of Comrie causes the Oilers to dump a player for less than he's worth, one that they'd have otherwise kept if they hadn't signed Comrie.

Obviously there's no crystal ball here, and I could hold a more concrete opinion if I knew this was the last move before the season starts. Without any other moves, there is potential for this signing to help the Oilers' 2nd and 3rd lines in terms of offensive production, provided Comrie can be a "50 point player", a step up on his most recent seasons but not a level he hasn't reached before. Overall, I am more for this move than I am against it, though I'm not convinced Comrie was necessarily the best option.