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Edmonton trades for Nikitin, signs him for 2 years, $9 million


AJgoal
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Said a bunch of it in the shoutbox, but I'll re-cap my impressions here.

 

-The contract is about where I figured it would be. He's in the $3.5M/yr range on most teams, but when you figure in UFA season coming up as well as the premium Edmonton has to pay free agents, $4.5M is right where you end up.

-That said, the hit is a little high for a player in his class. I'm much less scared by this because I think the term of two years is right.

-This pushes Andrew Ference down the depth chart, and keeps like Mark Fraser off the roster entirely.

-This allows the team to bridge the time between now and the NHL-readiness of Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse. Defense at the pro level is incredibly difficult to learn, and you should be having AHL experience before being flung into the deep end of the NHL. Klefbom performed very well for a rookie with brutal zone starts (and still had positive possession numbers) but why do that to kids that are barely shaving?

-The gives the Oilers another real live NHL player on their blueline (gasp!)

-This helps create internal competition for jobs rather than handing them over by right of succession, which has been happening for too long.

-I'm hoping this isn't the big addition of the needed puck mover MacTavish was talking about. It's not enough.

-Forgot: this give the Oilers something they were badly lacking: a PP point shot. Justin Schultz has a terrific wrist shot, but they didn't have a heavy shot on the point.

Edited by JR Ewing
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@JR Ewing

NHL defense is difficult to learn on the go, but I have a question for you, actually two.

 

  Do you think your Oilers are going to be competitive next year? I know every year is the year, but seriously, do you think the Oilers will be competive next year?

 

  Second question based off the answer to the first, if they are not going to be competitive why not allow Nurse and Klefbom to get a little on the job training?

 

  My personal opinion is that if they aren't going to be a playoff team, why not allow Ference to groom Klefbom and Nikitan to pair up with Nurse all year and let them cut their teeth at the NHL level? (keep in mind I haven't looked up lefty/righty, ect...just saying let them play with a veteran d-man).

 

  My personal opinion is that yes, the AHL is a great learning ground but I would put both of them in the lineup, 18 minutes a night, all kinds of situations, until they prove they cannot do it. If that happens than you send them down to Oklahoma City. I do not believe it would scar their psyche to any degree, I would allow both of them a little on the job training such as Schultz had and Dekeyser for the Wings. The defense is not exactly loaded with talent, Petry is okay, Nikitan was a healthy scratch often down the stretch for the Jackets, Larsen could not even make the Stars, Belov was a 26 year old rookie. I would stick the kids in and role the dice and hope for the best. Use Marincin as the 7th guy, pushing the other kids. 

  So what say you? Do you continue to role out the Fraser and Larsen's of the world or do you give the kids a chance?

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@JR Ewing

NHL defense is difficult to learn on the go, but I have a question for you, actually two.

 

  Do you think your Oilers are going to be competitive next year? I know every year is the year, but seriously, do you think the Oilers will be competive next year?

 

  Second question based off the answer to the first, if they are not going to be competitive why not allow Nurse and Klefbom to get a little on the job training?

 

  My personal opinion is that if they aren't going to be a playoff team, why not allow Ference to groom Klefbom and Nikitan to pair up with Nurse all year and let them cut their teeth at the NHL level? (keep in mind I haven't looked up lefty/righty, ect...just saying let them play with a veteran d-man).

 

  My personal opinion is that yes, the AHL is a great learning ground but I would put both of them in the lineup, 18 minutes a night, all kinds of situations, until they prove they cannot do it. If that happens than you send them down to Oklahoma City. I do not believe it would scar their psyche to any degree, I would allow both of them a little on the job training such as Schultz had and Dekeyser for the Wings. The defense is not exactly loaded with talent, Petry is okay, Nikitan was a healthy scratch often down the stretch for the Jackets, Larsen could not even make the Stars, Belov was a 26 year old rookie. I would stick the kids in and role the dice and hope for the best. Use Marincin as the 7th guy, pushing the other kids. 

  So what say you? Do you continue to role out the Fraser and Larsen's of the world or do you give the kids a chance?

 

Good questions. My personal opinions:

 

-I do not think the Oilers will be competitive next year. Improved, but outside of the playoffs. The west is BRUTAL.

-Given that answer, then why not let Nurse and Klefbom learn on the go?

 

a] Generally speaking, I prefer a model which challenges young players to demonstrate that they've learned much of what there is to be taught at a given level before moving them up to the next one, unless they clearly show the apprenticeship isn't required. Using Nurse as an example, he has demonstrated that he can excel at junior. Next up: AHL. Let him go there, play against quality pros until he demonstrates that he handle that level. Once he does that, move him on up to the NHL. For every Drew Doughty, who can play in the NHL at 19, there are huge numbers of kids that just aren't up to the task, and I think there's a risk at bringing them up when they're clearly not ready.

 

b] That said, if they come to camp and outplay the men on the roster, at least give them a try. Last pre-season, Nurse looked very good for a player of his age, and he had a great year in the OHL to follow it up. He specifically said that being cut and told what to work on helped him as a player, and gave him some perspective he'd not had before. He could be ready; I don't know. My point is that I don't want it handed it to him.

 

So, it's not that I want roadblocks put up before them. If they can play, let them play. But if there's clear learning which is needed, let them learn it at a level which challenges them, yet doesn't crucify them. Also, ELC deals, etc, etc, etc.

Edited by JR Ewing
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@JR Ewing  A+B....great answers, we should just sticky that to the top of the forum to take care of any "should we call him up threads". Really though, if your line of thinking was applied in the case of Justin Schultz, he would have spent some quality AHL time, learning how to play in his own zone better. I'm thinking he was in a position of strength being a UFA, and might have included a guaranteed roster spot in his demands, cause he could have really gained a lot more confidence in this overall game playing at the AHL level. There is also the willing to let him learn on the fly theory because if Schultz is not running the Oilers top pp, who is? This may be a case of willing to accept defensive gaffe's to get his offense into the game (even though his totals were not earth shattering last year).

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@JR Ewing  A+B....great answers, we should just sticky that to the top of the forum to take care of any "should we call him up threads". Really though, if your line of thinking was applied in the case of Justin Schultz, he would have spent some quality AHL time, learning how to play in his own zone better. I'm thinking he was in a position of strength being a UFA, and might have included a guaranteed roster spot in his demands, cause he could have really gained a lot more confidence in this overall game playing at the AHL level. There is also the willing to let him learn on the fly theory because if Schultz is not running the Oilers top pp, who is? This may be a case of willing to accept defensive gaffe's to get his offense into the game (even though his totals were not earth shattering last year).

 

A couple of things:

 

-I think that things are, perhaps, a bit different with college players. In that case, you're not dealing with teenagers, but players that are 22, 23, etc, years old, and are much closer to finished products. Elite players skip college, and opt for junior and earlier pro money, but college players can be quite refined. This can cut down on the need for AHL apprenticeship, imo.

 

-As it pertains to Justin Schultz, he spent time in the AHL during the lockout, and was thoroughly dominant. He won the Eddie Shore award as the league's top defenseman, and despite playing the rest of the year in the NHL, still led all defensemen in scoring. This would be a case of being a good time to promote a young player to the NHL. I think he could have rounded out his defensive game, but it will never be the hallmark of his career.

 

-Schultz HAS been running the Oilers PP, but doesn't have a big shot or, a least, doesn't opt to one-time the puck very much. His offense certainly wasn't earth shattering last year, though he had the 19th best Pts/60 among defensemen, and in 2013, he finished 13th among D in scoring as a rookie. There's some offense to be had, but he's more of a rover than a defenseman. Cheats ALL over the ice.    :(

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