Let me start by saying that I don’t think it’s wise to replace the coach again. A young man like Sam Gagner is on his 4th head coach as it is, adding a 5th so soon would once again push the re-set button. Sooner or later, you need to choose your commander and take the hill.
And yet, we saw so many things that made us wonder. Line matching (or lack of–even at home), zone starts, inability to figure out that 2line–there’s some things. When Craig MacTavish took over from Steve Tambellini, he made sure not to blame the coaching staff. However, it’s MacT’s job to improve the team in any way possible.
I think Krueger has a lot of good things, I’m not suggesting MacT should fire him. However, I do miss the logical, reasonable coaching of the MacT days (and don’t tell me about the Petersen usage–he didn’t have the horses) and do hope that the roster gets more balance and we see some really good decisions about roster makeup, lines, line matching, zone starts and a 23-man roster with 23 useful pieces.
If you’re advising MacT, and he asks you which of the available free agent forwards you’d pursue, would it be Nathan Horton? Viktor Stalberg? Brian Bickell? Clarke MacArthur? Ryan Clowe? Raffi Torres? I don’t know the order, but do feel there are enough solid options in free agency the Oilers should be able to grab one of them. Make the list, pursue the top option and then check down from there.
If I had to bet money today, it would be on Stalberg.
Now, about that bottom 6F.
I don’t think the club will be able to find a free agent defenseman at reasonable dollars. There’s simply too much demand for what will be available. We’ll see, but I’d bet a trade is more likely for the blue this summer. Fedor Tyutin level will cost a pretty penny, but they can’t go to war with that back end again, it just doesn’t work.
Sweet, sweet balance is on the way. A three-for-one is in the wind, I can feel it.
The Lowdown with Lowetide hits the air at 10 this morning on Team 1260. Guests scheduled to appear:
- Rob Soria from Oil Drop. We’ll talk about some of the free agents noted above, Shawn Horcoff’s future and Vigneault’s availability.
- Neal Livingston from Tend The Farm. We’ll talk Barons and recovery from the tornado.
- Nick Blevins from Rugby Canada. We’ll talk about the big match against the USA this weekend in Edmonton.
- Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus. Corey will give us his opinion of the Nichushkin news, plus his first round for 2013.
- Al Coates, from the Edmonton Prospects. Al’s an old friend, and I’m delighted he’ll be back on the air this summer on Team 1260. I’ll ask him about the Prospects, and the season to come.