Report: Horcoff to a contender, Bowness turned down Edmonton

Jonathan Willis
June 09 2013 10:06AM

There were a couple of interesting items for Oilers fans during the second intermission of CBC’s broadcast of game five between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. First, Glenn Healy reported that Rick Bowness – a candidate to work as an associate coach to Ralph Krueger – declined a job offer, while Elliotte Friedman provided some information on a possible Shawn Horcoff trade.

The Horcoff Trade

Friedman suggested that Horcoff – who has a no-move clause – would only accept a trade to a contending team, as he has no interest in being placed in another rebuild scenario. It’s an understandable stance for Horcoff, aged 34 to take, but it does rather limit the Oilers’ trade options (Just to clarify: Horcoff's no-move clause does not end on July 1; it allows him to submit a 10-team list).

When we looked the other day at poor contracts the Oilers might accept in trade, most of them were on second-tier teams. It seems likely in such a scenario that Horcoff would slot in as the third line centre for whichever club accepted him in trade, and that the Oilers would eat a significant portion of his cap hit in order to facilitate a move.

Reading through the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, it seems that the Oilers can retain as much as 50 percent of the salary and cap hit on Horcoff’s contract, and that money cannot vary from year to year. As I understand it (with the caveats that a) I’m not a lawyer and b) I haven’t read the whole CBA cover to cover), the percentage applies evenly to both salary and cap hit: in other words, if the Oilers do decide to retain 50 percent in a Horcoff trade, he would count against their roster as follows:

  • 2013-14: $2.75 million cap hit, $2 million actual salary
  • 2014-15: $2.75 million cap hit, $1.5 million actual salary

He almost certainly will have value to various contending teams in the league at that cap hit/price point; the only question is what the Oilers will be able to get in exchange.

Rick Bowness and the associate coach position

Meanwhile, Glenn Healy passed on some news on coaching that takes on added significance with the firing of Ralph Krueger yesterday. According to Healy, the Oilers offered former Vancouver associate coach Rick Bowness the same position in Edmonton – and Bowness turned them down to work in Tampa Bay instead.

Had Bowness accepted the job, would it have prevented general manager Craig MacTavish from firing Krueger on Saturday? It seems unlikely that the Oilers would have offered Bowness an associate role while they were planning to axe Krueger, because that would have married the incoming head coach to a lieutenant not of his own choosing. If Healy’s information is accurate, than it really does suggest that the decision to fire Krueger was made quickly, and it would also indicate that Krueger was *this* close to surviving what is shaping up as a turbulent off-season in Edmonton.

Recently around the Nation Network

After some talk in Toronto of moving Phil Kessel, Leafs Nation's Jeff Veillette explains in careful detail Why You Don't Trade Phil Kessel: 

At the end of the day, the suggestion can be boiled down to this: The Leafs want to win, so they should trade their one superstar for either a centre who will need someone like him on his wing (instead of trying an already owned option), or a defenceman who will need several years to develop into what the Leafs need. But, this can't come at a steep cost, because the most appropriate use of the Leafs cap dollars is on players in between star level and replacement level, pretty good but not great. The Leafs need to work hard, and this player was considered to not be a hard worker four years ago. By the way, this is all because of two minutes in a series that he was probably the team's best player in, despite all the expectation that he wouldn't. When you put it that way, it sounds like a bunch of nonsense. Because it is.

Click the link above to read the whole piece, or feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Racki
June 09 2013, 12:34PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Bruce Garriock mentions the Penguins will probably be cutting either James Neal or Chris Kunitz loose this summer. Pens are at nearly 57 mill and only 18 players signed.

Neal (left winger) is due 5 per for the next 5 yrs. Would you surrended the Oilers first in 14 for James Neal?

I would. James Neal has already proven to be a top NHL talent, and he has the size we need. Problem is, he has a limited NTC which allows him to pick 8 teams he won't be traded to... so if Edmonton is one of them, that deal can't be done.

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#52 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 09 2013, 12:55PM
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horndog77 wrote:

What if it was Ballard/ luongo for Hemsky and Horcoff

Nada, sideways move in my opinion, adding Ballard makes that deal even more difficult. Unless the Canucks pick up a significant portion of Luongos salary. 60/40 perhaps, Oilers picking up the larger share.

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#53 TDSM31
June 09 2013, 12:55PM
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@Oilcan

"If a GM wants a player from another team and isn't just kicking the tires then he will make a trade for that player if it feels like it makes his club better (on;y reason GM's make moves)."

That's still a wildly inaccurate statement....did you mean, "...he will make an OFFER for that player..." ??

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#54 etownman
June 09 2013, 01:10PM
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This is so like the media to pass on information that 'Bowness turned down the Oilers' without confirming that information from a reliable source like Bowness himself? But it has the affect on fans the author is looking for & that's all that matters I guess!

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#55 Racki
June 09 2013, 01:10PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Nada, sideways move in my opinion, adding Ballard makes that deal even more difficult. Unless the Canucks pick up a significant portion of Luongos salary. 60/40 perhaps, Oilers picking up the larger share.

I wouldn't touch that Luongo contract with a 10' pole. I think he's a great goaltender and would love to have him here, but I just don't like that he's signed until infinity at such a big cap hit (not a bad one right now, but it could be eventually). I think the best thing we could do to Vancouver is to be one team that doesn't free them from that bad contract (now if they take some salary, that's a different story).

And I know you are against it, but one thing you didn't mention is while the salary/cap per year might be close enough, the lengths aren't anywhere near the same. Ballard has two years left, like Horcoff (off the top of my head), but Luongo has NINE years left, unlike Hemsky who has 1 (again, off the top of my head, so pardon me if that is wrong).

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#56 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 09 2013, 01:16PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

How about two D men?

Petry and the pre july 5th rights to Ryan Whitney. Jeff is on a bargain contract when you consider there's 2/3 potential in a couple yrs. Have to think Whitney may already be on the Flyers radar.

I think you and Racki are on to something here....this idea has more merit than most of the trade suggestions that get posted here......also, I read an article by a Copper and Blue writer/analyst who pointed to rumours of a Couturier/Schenn for Dmen trade possibly with the Oilers.....but it did not identify specific Oiler players by name.

Petry makes sense given his value contract and Phillies cap situation and your right that Whitney could also make sense if he's willing to sign at a bargain price in an attempt to re establish himself after getting cut loose by a bottom ranked team.

JVR really found his game after being traded out of Philly....there's an above average chance that Couturier or Schenn could do the same.

The Copper & Blue article mentioned the two flyers as potential 3rd line centres. But one would think that Couturier could play his way into a second line center role.

Couturier was a top ten first round pick....is he currently playing up to his potential?......

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#57 Racki
June 09 2013, 01:18PM
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Word is that the Flyers are after Keith Yandle, so MacT would have to act fast.

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#58 madjam
June 09 2013, 01:22PM
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Oilers defence could soon look like this : Transition gamers - J.Schultz , R.Ristolainen , J.Petry ,O. Klefbom . Stay at homers likely Belov , Smid , N,Schultz , UFA 2013 .

Horcoff and /or Hemsky could help L.A. with more speed and scoring . Likely return would be J.Bernier and draft choice of note .

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#59 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 09 2013, 01:25PM
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Racki wrote:

Word is that the Flyers are after Keith Yandle, so MacT would have to act fast.

Shows how little I know about the value of Couturier......is he worth a Keith Yandle??

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#60 DieHard
June 09 2013, 01:28PM
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Racki wrote:

Word is that the Flyers are after Keith Yandle, so MacT would have to act fast.

Thought Flyers had a cap problem?

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#61 Racki
June 09 2013, 01:32PM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

@DieHard

The rumor came from The Fourth Period (good source). It mentioned either of their young centers as the centerpiece, but also said they're expected to buy out Briere. There is probably more to the deal than just straight up, but who knows.

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#62 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 09 2013, 01:32PM
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madjam wrote:

Oilers defence could soon look like this : Transition gamers - J.Schultz , R.Ristolainen , J.Petry ,O. Klefbom . Stay at homers likely Belov , Smid , N,Schultz , UFA 2013 .

Horcoff and /or Hemsky could help L.A. with more speed and scoring . Likely return would be J.Bernier and draft choice of note .

Ristolainen would take two or three years......no?

I'm a Hemsky fan and I just don't see a fit in LA....he doesn't seem like the type of player LA has been loading up on........unless you think LA might change direction a little to try and compete better against Chicago?

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#63 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 09 2013, 01:40PM
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You know another guy I have very little idea about his value.....is Zach Begosian in Winnipeg......someone....I think maybe Bob Mackenzie...or maybe even Fourth Period linked him to trade rumours with the Oilers........what's your take on Begosian?? What is he? A 3 - 4 ? Is he still young enough to have first pairing potential?

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#64 Racki
June 09 2013, 01:47PM
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I'm aiming my sights pretty high here, but the Blues also apparently are looking for a 1st rounder. It would take more than #7, but I wonder if we could somehow swindle Pietrangelo (preferred) or Shattenkirk away with the #7 pick plus a chunk more. They also do have some other pieces that we could use from them instead too such as Chris Stewart. I wonder if a big deal between the two teams could be made. Just floating ideas out there, not that my words on a blog make a world of difference to what will happen. :P

@Old Retired Guy

Bogosian definitely could be a top pairing guy here... even a very solid 2nd pairing. He's one guy I wouldn't mind going after if possible.

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#65 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 09 2013, 01:51PM
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Besides the obvious Oilers stuff.....it's going to be fascinating to see what some of these compliance buyouts go for on the open market.

What Is a Brad Richards worth? Briere? Etc.

If I'm not mistaken, the Dallas stars got Jagr for nothing last year (UFA at 4.5?) and then moved him to Boston at the deadline for two second round picks...Are their others out there who could bring similar value at the deadline and who could be added now at no cost?

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#66 a lg dubl dubl
June 09 2013, 02:13PM
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I know Iginla wants to win now, but I wonder if he'd like to come here to finish out his career, curious to know what he'd want $wise.

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#67 a lg dubl dubl
June 09 2013, 02:17PM
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Racki wrote:

Word is that the Flyers are after Keith Yandle, so MacT would have to act fast.

I heard the Flyers and Coyotes were talking at the deadline about a Yandle and another player for Coutuier and another guy, sorry I cant remember the 2 players I cant remember but I heard it on 1260 on Thursday and my memory cant remember that far back lol

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#68 a lg dubl dubl
June 09 2013, 02:20PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

Id like to see Hemsky,Petry and one of the 2nd round picks for Bogosian, any clue on what he wants for $ being an RFA

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#69 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 09 2013, 02:34PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

Id like to see Hemsky,Petry and one of the 2nd round picks for Bogosian, any clue on what he wants for $ being an RFA

Have to think he's shooting for maybe 20'ish over the next 5 yrs would be in the ballpark.

Make it known he's an offer sheet canidate, and see if there's something that can be worked out. He could turn out to be a step up from Willy Mitchell.

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#70 Walter Sobchak
June 09 2013, 02:46PM
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Oilcan wrote:

Haha clearly I touched a nerve.

If a GM wants a player from another team and isn't just kicking the tires then he will make a trade for that player if it feels like it makes his club better (on;y reason GM's make moves). I am saying MacT saying Hemsky and Horcoff need change and he will try and move them doesn't do much because you just need a GM that wants one of them and make a trade that makes sense.

Making trades in the NHL is hard enough so I find it hard to believe a GM is going to "pinch pennies" on a trade because the GM verbally said he is looking at moving them (will obviously try to start like any GM would do but if that GM thinks either of those players will make his club better in the trade then he will do it). How else would trade talks get started, so instead of Mac T making 30 phone calls he says it in the media....no big deal in my opinion.

You never touched a nerve, and I hardly ever get pissed.

You make valid points and its a good discussion.

But....If I can make a counter point, it's the Pronger trade, once word got out he wanted out that diminished his return, now. It worked out in the end , but at the time Lowe got fleeced.

Horcoff and Hemskys value is so Low right now I doubt very much they will lead to anything substantial.

Keep in mind Hemsky may score 40- 60 points, do you honestly think MacTavish will get a positive or equal return now that he's mentioned he's available?

I doubt it very much.

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#71 Walter Sobchak
June 09 2013, 03:02PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Because MacT wants a coach who doesn't just roll 4 lines? Because he wants a coach who will actually match lines? Because he wants a coach who will implement a D-zone coverage that actually works? That'd be my guess.

Match lines with what?

To have defensive zone coverage you need actual defensmen! You need centers who can win battles down low.

You need defensmen who can break a cycle, and make quick transition with the puck to the forwards.

MacTavish said year end, Ralph is not the problem, now all of a sudden he's the problem?

The organization is the problem! But then again maybe all 5 or 6 head coaches the Oilers have used are philosophically all bad including MacTavish!

That's all the Oilers are doing, guessing....guessing the next coach is the one!!

Guessing that yet another rookie coach will somehow yield a playoff position.

We as fans are just ready to eat up anything this organization tells us, we're so thirsty for winning we except what MacTavish is doing and saying is correct, but what has he done to actually to warrant anything but sheer scepticism?

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#72 Racki
June 09 2013, 04:42PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Match lines with what?

To have defensive zone coverage you need actual defensmen! You need centers who can win battles down low.

You need defensmen who can break a cycle, and make quick transition with the puck to the forwards.

MacTavish said year end, Ralph is not the problem, now all of a sudden he's the problem?

The organization is the problem! But then again maybe all 5 or 6 head coaches the Oilers have used are philosophically all bad including MacTavish!

That's all the Oilers are doing, guessing....guessing the next coach is the one!!

Guessing that yet another rookie coach will somehow yield a playoff position.

We as fans are just ready to eat up anything this organization tells us, we're so thirsty for winning we except what MacTavish is doing and saying is correct, but what has he done to actually to warrant anything but sheer scepticism?

It's good to be skeptical (I suppose), but the way see it, not changing anything (Tambellini's mantra) was a lot worse then coming up with an idea of what you want the team to look like and getting everything aligned with that. Krueger wasn't MacT's coaching choice, so part of it was he wanted a guy in line with his vision.

I think that's what it is... he has an idea of how he wants this team to look, having had coached this team for something like 8 years (oh sh--, I better stop there, this sounds like a "I think MacT knows a thing or two about winning!" speech).

As far as the holes you mention, I'm not sure Krueger would have done things any differently had he had those components. I liked Krueger though, so I'm sad to see him go.. but I am keeping an open mind and watching MacT paint his picture fully before I judge it.

I got really annoyed in the final years where MacT was coach here, but I always thought MacT was a very smart hockey mind. I think he'll surprise people. I don't think a new coach alone is going to come anywhere close to fixing things, however it's part of his whole plan. If you could tell me what Tambellini's plan was, I would be awe struck. We're already in much better hands, imho.

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#73 oliveoilers
June 09 2013, 04:43PM
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@John Chambers

Point taken, John. Of course I want Eakins to be hugely successful. But to play devil's advocate, what kind of disaster are we talking here? 30th, 30th, 29th, 24th? Can we call next season a success if we finish just out the play-offs, having given it our damndest? Time will tell I guess. To quote: "oiler domination to follow!"

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#74 Smokey
June 09 2013, 05:04PM
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@Walter Sobchak

I don't think we need to be too skeptical. But I understand why you are. There were better canidates out there, he had very little managerial experience, none from a winning organization. And there is concern he will recieve interference from above.

MacT speaks well, and has been honest. He's in fact been too honest, especially in regards to Hemsky and Horcoff. The handling of Kreuger and the coaching situation was bush league, but justifiable.

My question is will his lack of experience be made up by high hockey IQ?

I think hes is smart enough not to repeat 03', and hopefully draft the BPA. He just needs to take Nichuskin, Monahan, Lindholm, Nurse, or Ristolainen for me to be happy. I don't want him going off the board. If he traded down, then he should not go out of the top ten, cause if you could still get one of the players mentioned above and a roster player or low second rounder then I could live with that.

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#75 madjam
June 09 2013, 05:13PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Ristolainen would take two or three years......no?

I'm a Hemsky fan and I just don't see a fit in LA....he doesn't seem like the type of player LA has been loading up on........unless you think LA might change direction a little to try and compete better against Chicago?

As per Hockey Futures projection on Ristolainen : "High-level read (both ends of ice ) . Projected to be a top pairing defenseman . Best skill - hockey sense and does everything well . He could fast track to NHL quicker than a typical defenseman . He has already spent two seasons playing against men in a very good league " . Expected to be top 4 or better . No weaknesses and still such a young age with size and all the skills .

Not saying Horcoff and or Hemsky will go to L.A. for sure , but Sutter knows them both well , and afterall he just resigned Regher to a 2 year extention . Hemsky and Horcoff would do well with L.A. , as they could protect them instead of expecting them to be protecting our Oilers .

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#76 Walter Sobchak
June 09 2013, 05:28PM
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@Racki

@ Smokey. @ Racki

I agree with most, if not all your guys points.

I myself was not sold on Krueger, I found it odd and short sighted that he completely changed the "system" in a shortened season.

I also agree that Tambellini was a terrible GM and what MacTavish is doing now should have taken place over the three year period instead of all at once.

I don't blame MacTavish for doing these changes, I'm not even all that upset he got rid of Kruegar.

I just don't get the sudden love in for MacTavish? Or the sudden change in coaches?

What has he accomplished other then pinning himself in a corner, and decreasing his bargaining power with two important players?

I think this sends an extremely bad message to the other players in the league, I think players look at the Oilers and see such instability in the orginization that you would be crazy to sign here.

This is why I'm sceptical. This s why I have no confidence in the draft or the players they may trade or trade for. I am at the show me and impress me stage, no quarter from me going forward.

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#77 Greg Stink | ESPN
June 09 2013, 06:36PM
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Mr. Common sense wrote:

Interesting development yesterday, I'm not one to cry for any coach or player, the only calculus that matters is winning and MacT is sure projecting a confident tone. I wonder however what the players are thinking, they seemed to have liked Ralph a lot, any intel that contradicts this? Ahl coaches historically don't so well in their first gig in the big leagues, wonder what blew MacT away with Eakins, perhaps Ralph was equally if not smarter than MacT and he felt threatened? Ralph have leadership lectures to world leaders at the World Economic Forum and I recall J. Schultz and Yak specifically saying he was a persuasion master. So...strange move

I think he was done after the CBC Panel razzed him about the cover of his book on After Hours. Lost all credibility...

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#78 Oil can
June 09 2013, 07:03PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

You never touched a nerve, and I hardly ever get pissed.

You make valid points and its a good discussion.

But....If I can make a counter point, it's the Pronger trade, once word got out he wanted out that diminished his return, now. It worked out in the end , but at the time Lowe got fleeced.

Horcoff and Hemskys value is so Low right now I doubt very much they will lead to anything substantial.

Keep in mind Hemsky may score 40- 60 points, do you honestly think MacTavish will get a positive or equal return now that he's mentioned he's available?

I doubt it very much.

Ya I know what your saying and every situation is different, I think if Lowe waited he would have received a much better return. I don't think hemsky or horcoff are worth much to begin with so I think it's going to be a bad contract swap with horcoff either way and hemskys case I believe is an obvious trade of excess in an area skill RW that some teams may want. I guess I'm saying its a little different with a GM saying he will trade a guy then a player requesting a trade.

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#79 Hair bag
June 09 2013, 08:56PM
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madjam wrote:

As per Hockey Futures projection on Ristolainen : "High-level read (both ends of ice ) . Projected to be a top pairing defenseman . Best skill - hockey sense and does everything well . He could fast track to NHL quicker than a typical defenseman . He has already spent two seasons playing against men in a very good league " . Expected to be top 4 or better . No weaknesses and still such a young age with size and all the skills .

Not saying Horcoff and or Hemsky will go to L.A. for sure , but Sutter knows them both well , and afterall he just resigned Regher to a 2 year extention . Hemsky and Horcoff would do well with L.A. , as they could protect them instead of expecting them to be protecting our Oilers .

Why would LA want either???? Do you think Horcoff is a better third line centre than Stoll? I don't think so......

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#80 madjam
June 09 2013, 10:05PM
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Hair bag wrote:

Why would LA want either???? Do you think Horcoff is a better third line centre than Stoll? I don't think so......

Speed to compete better against speedier teams . Horcoff better than Stoll for speed , rest they pretty much even out . We kept Horcoff and let Stoll , Torres and Greene getaway basically because of one lackluster season . Mind you the whole team was off that season with Horcoff being the exception . Still like them all but Torres never really seem to take off .

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#81 Lochenzo
June 10 2013, 09:44AM
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If the Red Wings fail to sign Val Filpulla (he's asking for $5 mill plus which is too rich for the Wings), then I could see the Red Wings being interested in Horc for around $3 mill. Tom Renney leaned on Horc quite a bit during Tom's tenure here. Maybe Tom will sell the virtues of Horc to the Red Wings' brass.

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