a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

Welcome to Oil Acumen. All Oilers, all the time... Occasionally other stuff.

Friday, 10 June 2011

06/10/11 11.5 Odds & Ends: Hemsky Trade Rumor, Drury, Calgary's Coaching Staff

Chris Drury

It seems like everyone in the NHL is doing something except for our beloved Edmonton Oilers. Philadelphia is busy acquiring the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov (and apparently ignoring his dismal playoff performances over the years); Winnipeg is absolutely bustling with activity in selling season tickets, finding a new GM and deciding (STILL deciding) on a name for their newly minted team. Toronto, St. Louis, and Montreal are among teams who have signed some of their own talent to extensions.

And the Oilers are still patiently waiting for their time in the sun at the draft on the 24th. It's incredibly inconsiderate of Oilers management not to give us all something to talk about in the Oilogosphere, so we'll just speculate and talk about everyone else for now.


- It was announced yesterday that the New York Rangers are planning to buy out Chris Drury once it becomes possible on Wednesday. Drury struggled mightily this season, scoring just one goal and four assists in 24 games and battling injury. The Drury buyout will save the Blueshirts $3.3 million against the cap next year, and Sather will finally be rid of his two huge free agent blunders from 2007 in Drury and Scott Gomez.

Could the Oilers sign Drury? It sounds crazy, but it might not be. Part of the strength of a rebuild is not only the players that a team acquires, but also the transitional players that are part of the team when it sucks. Drury is a former Stanley Cup Champion, NHL rookie of the year, and Olympic silver medalist. That's the type of player that young kids should be around when they are learning the ropes.

Drury wouldn't bring a lot of scoring punch, but he doesn't have to. Doug Weight scored just 53 points in 107 games with the Islanders, but the team kept him on because of the leadership and knowledge that he could impart to their kids. There aren't many ways in which one should emulate the Islanders, but this could be one. Over the past four seasons, Drury has won an average of 53.8% of his faceoffs, and that alone would be worth signing him if he could teach the kids. In that same span, Oilers faceoff afficianado Shawn Horcoff has won an average of 51.4% of his draws. It doesn't sound like much, but 2.4 percent is a pretty big improvement when it comes to winning faceoffs. Also, a fresh perspective wouldn't hurt when it comes to teaching the Oilers' youngsters how not to get destroyed in the dot.

If the organization treated Drury as a reclamation project and signed him for only one year, they could probably pay him somewhere close to what Alex Tanguay got in Calgary at $1.7 million. If he has a bounce-back season, trade him at the deadline. If not, no harm, no foul, and hopefully the kids came away with some veteran leadership advice that they can use throughout their careers. At the very least, it would give the Oilers the ability to leave Nugent-Hopkins in junior for another year.

- This article came out on Thursday, which is claiming that the Columbus Blue Jackets are interested in pursuing Ales Hemsky. I hate to say I told you so, but there it is in black and white; two days after a certain article went up on this blog. Clearly it was a stroke of unbridled genious and intuition. That, or somewhat obvious if you think about it. Will the Oilers make the move for the 8th pick? It's impossible to tell, but another interesting question arises from the fact that the Jackets are interested in Jeff Carter:

What is to become of all of Columbus' centers? Surely there isn't space for Vermette, Carter, Brassard, Pahlsson and Johansen. Even if Johansen doesn't make the team, that's still a bit of a log jam. Would Derick Brassard be in play for the right price? Brassard is 23 years old but he's only played 201 games. In 2010-11 he had career highs in goals, assists and points with 17-30-47 in 74 games.

Craig Hartsburg
 - Brent Sutter made some additions to his staff earlier this week, hiring Craig Hartsburg as associate coach. Supposedly (according to Calgary GM Jay Feaster) this was Sutter's hire, and it's now Sutter's staff. Still, one wonders. Two seasons ago, the Oilers hired Pat Quinn as head coach with Tom Renney as associate coach, not assistant. After the season Quinn was sacked and Renney was given the top job. Last year, Calgary hired Jay Feaster as assistant General Manager, and when Daryl Sutter's team flopped he was sacked and replaced by Feaster.

Is it good for current Flames coach Brent Sutter to have an associate who has been an NHL head coach before? If you were him, would you hire an associate coach that could easily replace you if need be? How about if your team had underachieved in the eyes of management and missed the playoffs the past two seasons? It's either a veiled attempt by Flames management to hedge their bets, or a very stupid decision by Brent Sutter to hire a guy that makes him expendable.

- As hard as we all try to cheer for Vancouver, it just doesn't happen. The only good reason to cheer for the Canuckleheads is that they are Canada's team, but as this article points out, there are more Canadians playing for the Bruins. Let all those reservations about cheering for Boston wash away, and join the ever-growing contingent of hockey fans uniting under the call:

Go Bruins Go!

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