Picking over the Bones (Pt 1)

Today’s the day I’m supposed to post on Jason Strudwick’s season but I’m not in the mood. I thought it might be a good time to post Picking over the bones, a chance for all of us to play General Manager for a day. Last year, I suggested the Oilers acquire Halak and Higgins from the Habs. It involved trading down from #10 to #18, and as it turned out Edmonton picked up a lottery calibre player in MPS. So this isn’t so much a case of “these idiots can’t do it, here’s what they should do” as me blue skying some ideas. I hope you throw your thoughts in the comments section, that is the key to this blog. Here’s what I would do if they elected me King.

The first thing I’d do is tell Daryl Katz that some of his money is going to Oklahoma City. I don’t understand the idea of buying out people in their 20’s; if they can’t make the team, send them to the AHL and recall when needed. If they are lost on waivers (or recall) then so be it. Next, I try to find a team willing to take on Nikolai Khabibulin (with overpay). This might be a sticky issue with some, but for me there could be a market for this player and would be a big part of my off-season. Sheldon Souray and Ethan Moreau need new addresses, we need to part with some prospects and suspects and it would be nice to improve up the middle (G, D and C).

Here’s how things start in terms of depth chart and cap:

  • G: Khabibulin (3.750M)
  • D: Souray (5.4M); Gilbert (4M); Whitney (4M); Smid (1.3M)
  • C: Horcoff (5.5M)
  • L: Penner (4.25M); O’Sullivan (2.925M); Moreau (2M); Jones (.975M)
  • R: Hemsky (4.1M); Nilsson (2M); Stortini (.700M)
  • Total players: 13; Total Cost: $40,900,000
  • Cap for 2010-11: $56M (est)

This is a terrible team. Overpaid men include Khabibulin, Souray, Horcoff, O’Sullivan, Moreau and Nilsson. Lordy. So, with that group in mind (and my willingness to send as much as 7M to the minors if necessary) I look at my rfa group with a jaundiced eye:

  • G: JDD (1M); Dubnyk (.800M)
  • D: Peckham (.700M)
  • C: Gagner (3.0M); Pouliot (.850M); Potulny (1M)
  • L: Cogliano (1.45M)
  • R: Brule (2.25M)

I’m not pursuing a contract with the following: Ryan O’Marra, Bryan Lerg, Slava Trukhno, Josef Hrabal, Geoff Paukovich, Liam Reddox and JF Jacques. If I can sign some of them (especially Reddox, possibly Jacques) that’s fine but the Oilers need to cull the herd and holding on to Ryan O’Marra doesn’t seem to be helping them. So, I’ve added 8 rfa’s at a cost of $11.05M. As for costs on these contracts, I’ve estimated and some may be low while others are high. A very established member of the media called me the last time I posted my cap numbers and suggested changes on a couple of the estimates, so I’ve tweaked some of the numbers. Either way, we’re up to 21 players and a cap hit of $51,950,000. Which means we have about 4M for two more players. Here they are:

  • UFA: Ryan Stone (.900M); Mike Comrie (1.1M)

I’m saying goodbye to Pisani, Strudwick, Colin McDonald, Chris Minard, Aaron Johnson, Dean Arsene, Charles Linglet and Matt Nickerson. I’d love to have Pisani back as a training camp invite, plus may consider Johnson and Linglet later on in the summer.

Which puts us at 23 players (3 goalies, 5 defensemen and 15 forwards). At this point I want to list my new contracts and minor leaguers who might be in the 2010-11 mix:

  • D: Alex Plante (1.075M); Jeff Petry (1M); Taylor Chorney (.942M); Johan Motin (.875M)
  • C: Chris Vande Velde (.850M), Milan Kytnar (.563M)
  • L: Linus Omark (.875M)
  • R: Jordan Eberle (1.1875M)

This increases our roster pool to 3 goalies, 9 defenseman and 18 forwards. Next, I sign this summer’s group of kids who can turn pro. They are: Magnus Paarjavi-Svensson, Teemu Hartikainen and Philippe Cornet. I certainly try to sign Riley Nash as well, but if the young man wants to finish his career at Cornell we’ll sign him next summer. He’s a priority.

Next up: executing the plan. We need to improve at G, D and C, plus see if we can offload Khabibulin, Souray and Moreau. And we’re not going to get a free agent defenseman like Michalek or Hamhuis, so this is going to involve trades and low level free agent bets.

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