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MacTavish made moves, but was he ‘bold’ enough?

Aug 15, 2013, 11:27 AM EDT

Craig MacTavish. AP

When Craig MacTavish was named the new general manager of the Edmonton Oilers in April, he called himself an “impatient guy” prepared to do “bold things” in order to “move the team forward in a rapid fashion.”

The Oilers, without a playoff appearance since 2006, have certainly made changes under his watch. New players include David Perron, Andrew Ference, and Boyd Gordon. They also have a new coach in Dallas Eakins.

Whether any of those moves, or the moves as a whole, qualifies as “bold” is a matter for debate. Some would look at all the turnover and say yes. Others thought the club might do something even bigger, like trade one of its many talented, young forwards — see: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle, and Sam Gagner — for help in other areas.

The back end, for example, remains a major question mark, with much depending on the continued development of Justin Schultz, 23, and Jeff Petry, 25.

“We’ve got a lot of depth on the back end now. It’s going to provide for a lot of competition. Everyone, including myself, has got to come ready to camp to make this team. It’s going to make us better,” Schultz said recently. “I’ve been training hard the last couple of months, enjoying my time off. I’m really excited for the season to come here. I’ve had enough of summer. I’m ready to go.”

So too will goalie Devan Dubnyk need to make strides. The 27-year-old had good numbers in 2013 (.920 save percentage), with only five other netminders in the NHL being forced to make more saves.

BUT…if the Oilers don’t break their playoff drought this season, MacTavish might feel the need to get really bold.

  1. 19to77 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    2010 – 12-13-0 2.71 .916
    2011 – 20-20-0 2.67 .914
    2012 – 14-16-0 2.57 .920

    Y’know, considering how putrid Edmonton is defensively, Devan Dubnyk is actually a pretty good goalie. His GAA would be 2.30 on a team that can actually comprehend the defensive zone.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Maybe it’s just on Hockeybuzz, but over there I see Oilers fans complain about this guy all the time and I don’t get it. Save % is more indicative of the player himself, while GAA leans more toward the team. A .920sv% on that team is frankly, remarkable. He may be the most underrated goalie in the league.

  2. davebabychreturns - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    To answer the question posed by Brough, no.

  3. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    With around 1.3 mill in remaining cap space, the opportunity for any bold moves” is pretty small.

  4. ray2013 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    MacT did it to himself, imo. He promised “bold” moves, and every time he failed to live up to the expectations he created, he’s taken criticism. Had he been able to secure a trade for Schneider, like he tried and failed to do at the draft, he could have claimed a “bold” transformation of the team, especially in conjunction with the rest of the moves that he made.

  5. phillyphanatic77 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    It’s an obvious no. MacTavish painted himself into a corner with that comment. But I can understand why he felt the need considering the apparent nepotism going on within the revolving door of the Oilers “family” in the front office. Oilers fans wanted a bold move to bring in a qualified, new GM (a la Jim Nill). Instead they got a retread who’s been a part of the futility of the past two decades (excluding 06). And an obstinate/arrogant Kevin Lowe can’t get out of the 80s. Perron was a nice pickup but hardly earth shattering. Ference is a steady defender but not the top-pairing guy they needed. And Boyd Gordon is grinder who’s excellent in the dot, but not worth close to 3mil/per. His best move was dumping Horcoff, and they’re still at the cap. If I was an Oilers fan I’d be seriously disappointed with this offseason, including the hiring of MacT to begin with.

  6. LampyB - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Those moves are anything but bold. Took sloppy seconds on them. You think Ferrence and Perron are going to turn your club around? Hahahaha

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