The Oilers’ Monday Moves

Well, yesterday was a bit of a Twitter shit show wasn’t it? All of the know-it-alls letting us in on a little secret, that they could be better GMs than Peter Chiarelli and also that even though the Oilers are two points out of owning 1st place in the Pacific division, Chiarelli is still incompetent…

One follower of mine put it best,

OILERS FANS BE BEING OILERS FANS… 

I might add another hashtag to my growing arsenal… #HereComeTheOilersFans

 

Can you be a fan and criticize the team, its coach, players, or GM?

Yes, but don’t make that the only thing you do when following the team. You come off as a huge jaded dick. My favorites are the ones that seem to know all the answers and can’t wait to judge Chiarelli everytime one of his moves has a hint of failure coming on. The bitterness shown towards the Oilers’ GM for making that ever-so-wanted BOLD move by trading Hall for Larsson is ridiculous. It’s as if the Oilers made a mistake by moving Lowe and MacTavish and firing Tambellini.

No, by all means. We should’ve kept them because they were doing an excellent job of sitting on their hands and doing f*ck all.

Now, Peter Chiarelli isn’t immune to critique but if you’re going to sit there and nail him dry for signing Gustavsson, leaving Puljujarvi in the NHL, or trading Hall; could you do yourself a favour and check the standings, then take a short trip down memory lane and remember how the Oilers got to where they are now. They ate shit for a decade, that’s how. After you’re done remembering how bad the team (as a whole) was, check out how players like Pat Maroon, Matthew Benning, Cam Talbot, and Leon Draisaitl are turning out. And if that’s not enough for you, look at the hockey demi-god that the Oilers have playing for them in the pic below.

May the McDavid be with you!

 

THE MOVES

1. Jesse Puljujarvi gets sent down to Bakersfield

From what I can gather as to why it took the team so long to send him down, there are a few possible reasons:

– Lack of depth on RW
– Pending trades or negotiations that involved one of the Oilers’ forwards or more specifically one of their RWs.
– A disconnect between Chiarelli and McLellan on how to deploy the big Finn.

Now as we know, as soon as Puljujarvi hit the 40 game mark, the Oilers burned a year off of their control of him. Instead of being able to become an unrestricted free agent at age 26, he may now have that option at age 25. At least that’s my understanding and I could very well be wrong. Let me know in the comments below if I’m off base here.

I’m of the belief that Pulju could’ve been sent down a lot earlier but then Pitlick got hurt and that threw a wrench into some trade negotiations for the Oilers. Remember that Matt Hendricks was supposedly going to the Wild? I know, Hendy plays LW but not having Puljujarvi around if that deal did go down wasn’t a risk the Oilers wanted to take because it was unlikely that a winger was coming back in that deal.

I also believe that Chiarelli wanted McLellan to be playing Puljujarvi a whole lot more so that he could evaluate him a bit better. Reminded me of the scene in Moneyball when Billy Beane and Art Howe couldn’t come to an agreement as to who would play at 1st base. I’m glad Chiarelli didn’t feel the need to trade any of the other RWs to make a point to McLellan though… Not that Eberle hasn’t been a feature in the Oilers rumour mill this year or anything… Still is… (Montreal/Washington I hear. More below.).

While Puljujarvi is in the AHL, he’ll be a top-line player and I might try to catch some of Bakersfield’s games online to see how Puljujarvi acclimatizes himself to that league. I’d expect him to be on a line with Khaira and Laleggia or Beck AND to get some cherry minutes as the go-to guy on the PP.

As for the language concern. He’ll be fine in Bakersfield with fellow countryman Jere Sallinen plying his trade for the Oilers farm team as well.

I reckon that Puljujarvi will be back with the Oilers this season and that seems to be a common sentiment amongst the pundits. They’ll send him down in hopes that he finds his game and when the time comes, Chiarelli will call him back up with said game in tow.

Lastly, Puljujarvi was barely 18 when he started the year and he’s not the first highly drafted 18 year old to have struggles scoring in the NHL (Thornton, Stamkos, Seguin, and Draisaitl come to mind), Remember that.

2. Gustavsson hits the waiver wire

I’ll just ask this question to the know-it-all bloggers off the bat, how is Jonas Enroth doing this year?

On Jason Gregor’s show last night he explained to us the reason that Chad Johnson wasn’t an option (because he’s the next player that fans/bloggers bring up in the backup goalie debate) for the Oilers. Chad Johnson wasn’t going to sign with a team that wasn’t prepared to give him some real ice-time and with Cam Talbot being the no.1 guy in Edmonton, Johnson wasn’t going to get that wanted TOI.

On the Cult of Hockey podcast, Staples and McCurdy discussed Gustavsson and length. Bruce McCurdy, who was a proponent of the signing for Edmonton (I didn’t know this. I didn’t know anybody was okay with it.), explained how Gustavsson’s career SV% at that time (.909) wasn’t that far off of the NHL’s average SV% (.915) from the year previous.

So there wasn’t this supposed extreme risk for Chiarelli in signing the Swede. He’s got a winning career record to boot and he signed for relatively cheap. Brossoit was going to be in the minors on a one-way deal, so if Gus didn’t work out, Brossoit was already there.

But this year has been quite unforgiving for him (1-3-0-1, 3.10 GAA, .878 SV%) and I support the decision of putting him on waivers with the intention of sending him down to the minors. As far as I’ve been told and Rishaug echoed this on Gregor’s show last night, Gustavsson will most likely never play another game for the Oilers unless something drastic takes place. Meaning an injury is the only way he will suit up for the Oilers again in 2016/17. I guess McLellan was pretty steamed at his performance vs. Ottawa and that lead to this move being made.

A lot of speculation is being bandied about as to who the Oilers will get to replace Jonas Gustavsson now and the 1st name that came up was Columbus’ back-up, Curtis McIlhenney, because he was put on waivers as well yesterday and his numbers don’t look too shabby either (2-1-2, 2.39 GAA, .924 SV%). But that loss to the Rangers scuffed up the shine on him.

Another name is Laurent Brossoit but he’s not lighting up the AHL right now. So I’m not too sure with regards to an AHL goalie coming in.

Other goalies that have been connected to Edmonton recently:

Jaro Halak, Ondrej Pavelec, Reto Berra, and Michael Neuvirth.

Oilers aren’t taking on Halak due to his contract’s term, but those other three are viable options. I like Neuvirth the best to be honest.

I don’t believe that the Oilers will make a claim on McIlhenney because they are sitting at 48 out of 50 contracts and going into the trade deadline with only 1 contract spot available could make negotiations quite tight. But I could see the Oilers sending over a LHD prospect in return for McIlhenney.

Gustavsson may very well stay on the roster until the time comes too. He doesn’t have to be sent down for another 30 days or 10 games after he clears waivers… So don’t get too ancy as to why he’s not being moved to the AHL if it takes some time.

3. Anton Slepyshev recalled!

AWESOME!!!

I’ve been a huge fan of Slepy all year and, in my opinion, he brings all the right tools to Chiarelli’s renovation party. He hits, he skates, he shoots, he’s a creative passer, he’s young, he plays a very gritty game, and he’s such a hard worker.

It’s going to be good to watch him again.

FUTURE MOVES

I know that the Oilers had scouts in Montreal watching the Habs/Caps game. There was some chatter online talking about Montreal having interest in Jordan Eberle and I guess Chiarelli likes Lars Eller but I can’t see either team moving on either player.

Edmonton can’t trade Eberle right now with that super funk that he is in. They’ll get taken to the woodshed Miroslav Satan-style. Not saying that the Oilers couldn’t use another Barrie Moore and Craig Millar but… No, I’m saying that. But if he doesn’t find that scoring touch by the deadline… Things could get some interesting.

The Caps paid a pretty salty price for Lars Eller, can’t see them moving him. Marcus Johansson on the other hand…

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • Joe

    BLH,

    Chiarelli is surely a better GM than the previous. His small and moderate moves have been excellent on the whole. Where he has not been so competent is on the big asset ones — Hall and Reinhart.

    Yes, the Oilers are better now. But isn’t it mainly because (1) McDavid, Klefbom, Eberle, and RNH are not injured, (2) the young skilled guys are each a year older, stronger and wiser, (3) McLellan’s sound coaching has taken root so he no longer talks about process and changing the culture and more about shaping the lines and game concepts, and (4) the Oilers have a critical mass of heavy forwards?

    Every GM as the option of going into some form of crazy ‘win now’ mode. In that mode the GM trades future assets for ‘win now’ assets. A totally wild and crazy GM depletes cap, the prospect pool and several years of 1st and 2nd rounders for ‘win now’ vets, for whom he likely overspends in contract and term.

    In 2015 the stars were aligned for the Oilers to nab not only a generational player but also two more 1st round grade prospects at 16 and 33. Chiarelli didn’t play for the future. He went for a quick fix at huge expense and missed badly. From this fan’s perspective one of Barzal/Connor/Samsonov plus Brandon Carlo should be Oilers or Oiler prospects right now instead of what we got. Regarding Hall, everyone outside of Edmonton sees it as a fleecing; if you trade Hall you’ve got to get back a Haul, and he didn’t. He acted in desperation to improve the RD now.

    So, yes, the Oilers are better now, in more games now, probably make the playoffs. But in seasons to come they could have been great, probably dominant, and that’s the hurt and for this fan the root cause for being critical of Chiarelli’s big moves.