Balance of Power in the West Skewed Even More

It looks like a truly awful team will make the playoffs from the NHL’s Detroit division this season. The firesale in Nashville started today with the Preds sending Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen to the Flyers for the first round pick sent away for Peter Forsberg.

The Flyers paid a fairly small price (relatively speaking) for the chance to sign both players and they did (although the dollars indicate they paid in full for the opportunity).

I’m not overly concerned about the impact it will have on Edmonton, since the Oilers needed way more than one or two players via UFA or trade to make it happen (playoff wise) in the next 12 months. If they played in the Detroit division, we might be able to talk about post-season, but in the wild wild NW there’s not much room for error.

As we stand here today, the Oilers have under contract this list of players who have played at least 50 NHL games:

  1. Ales Hemsky
  2. Shawn Horcoff
  3. Fernando Pisani
  4. Raffi Torres (RFA)
  5. Joffrey Lupul
  6. Jarret Stoll
  7. Ethan Moreau
  8. Marty Reasoner
  9. Marc Pouliot
  10. Patrick Thoresen
  11. Robert Nilsson
  12. Jason Smith
  13. Steve Staios
  14. Ladislav Smid
  15. Matt Greene (RFA)
  16. Dwayne Roloson

This list needs has #1 quality starting goalie, 2 defensemen who can help you win and about 6 guys up front who have proven they’re capable of helping win on some level.

Adding Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen isn’t enough imo, even to make the playoffs. After all, the Oilers don’t play in the Detroit division.

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11 Responses to "Balance of Power in the West Skewed Even More"

  1. Jesse says:

    I think you’re being a bit too pessimistic, Lowetide. Sure, chances are the Oilers can’t turn things around in one year, but I think they’re closer than you give them credit for.

    I see the list of needs to get back into the playoffs for next year being more like a reliable backup goalie who can play 25-30 games, 3 guys up front (at least one of whom can play top line minutes), and yes, 2 defencemen who can help you win.

    That team wouldn’t be a cup contender, but depending on which players we’re talking about, I don’t think playoffs would be a stretch.

  2. Asiaoil says:

    Look LT – if you add Redden or Pitkanen and Tarnstrom the defense is settled. Substract Lupul Schremp and one of the young dmen not named Smid (say Gilbert) plus picks as necessary.

    At center we have no issues but if Scott Gomez showed up I would not be disturbed – one of Stoll or Horcoff would have to ship out (Stoll would be a better but less popular choice since Horcoff could support Gomez better by eating tough minutes).

    On the wing you bring in a couple of solid ES wingers like Johnson for the bottom 6 – no big deal. The only tough spot I see is the top line LW – but Kariya would be OK until a young guy develops.

    Kariya Horcoff Hemsky
    Torres MAP Pisani
    Moreau Stoll Johnson
    Nilssen/JFJ Reasoner xxx/Stortini

    Redden Smith
    Smid Staios
    Tarnstrom Grebs Greene


  3. Dennis says:

    I’d say they need two dmen who can really play and they needs guys who can’t, ie Smid, to be no higher than 5 or 6. They need an outscoring winger and someone who can drive the PP. And yes they need a backup.

    And even with all those components, they need one of the other divisional foes to suffer major injury problems and then and only then would they have a chance to make the playoffs.

  4. oilerdiehard says:

    So if I understand correctly you are saying even if you sign guys like that to multi-year deals it does not help up make the playoffs in the future? Or are you signing guys long term but only thinking about next season?

    I do think you are being a little pessimistic but you could be proven right. I guess we will see how things unfold.

  5. Asiaoil says:

    Dennis said “And even with all those components, they need one of the other divisional foes to suffer major injury problems and then and only then would they have a chance to make the playoffs.”

    …happens every year to at least one or more teams – last year was our turn.

  6. Lowetide says:

    The problem with making the playoffs this season is you’re not going to get all these pieces for just picks and prospects. Someone the Oilers need to sustain (or move forward) is going to have to be dealt in a deal for Wade Redden, so even though you’re improving the team it isn’t a clear step up.

    The Edmonton Oilers don’t have enough NHL players, which sucks when you play in the NHL.

    One summer isn’t enough time to add 6 guys AND count on development from Pouliot, Smid, Greene, etc.

    Young players rarely go in a straight line. They improve, have setbacks, get injured etc.

    That blueline has scared the BeJesus out of me for a year now, and getting Redden but losing Smith/Staios is a clear upgrade but they need to keep them all.

    And sign Hejda for crying out loud.

  7. Devin says:

    LT- the only reason I can think of that they don’t sign Hejda is that the injury he sustained was more serious than we know. Maybe his shoulder is in Ethan Moreau or J. Jagr territory – where it will be the new year before he can make full use of it.

    I saw an article about Tjarqvist possibly needing another surgery, and the Oilers not making an offer on him. Both he and Hejda were reliable top-4 guys who could be signed for under 2m/each, so it’s a no brainer to sign both of them. There has to be some other reason they haven’t locked up Hejda yet.

    One last possibility is that Buffalo paid close attention to his excellent play this year and whispered in his agent’s ear that they want their man back at a price that Lowe wasn’t willing to pay.

    Oh, and, I guess there’s the possibility that Lowe is so out to lunch that he’d rather pay Greene similar dollars on a 3-yr deal (to UFA) than take Hejda off the market. Maybe he thinks Grebs will be as good as Hejda and has plans for a minute-eater in a trade. Doesn’t sound like good strategy to me (ie. your top6 will clearly be better with Hejda in there instead of Greene for the next 3 years).

  8. Barry says:

    My immediate response to the news was why didn’t Lowe do this? Upon reflection, I don’t think the Oilers wanted to do this deal. I am not sure it was an option anyway. I guess Timonen wanted to play with his brother. Those two contracts are inflated in terms of time and money. Philly is paying $10+ million a year for potential.

    The bad news about this deal for the Oilers is that it has inflated the price for free agents and arbitration. Maybe Smyth at $6.5 million will look to be a bargain in a month from now?

    I assume Hejda is not being signed as Lowe has plans to sign a #1 D man. If that guy is going to play 25 minutes + a night, Lowe might feel the defence is fine. Assuming continued improvement from Greene and Smid (in #4 and 5 roles), some help on the PP from Grebs, and some backup from Roy and Gilbert, I think this is reasonable.

    Sykora has been left on the shelf too.

  9. Dennis says:

    I don’t think Lowe did something like this Holmgren move because for all their bluster, the Oilers aren’t really prepared to pay big money to lure FA’s.

    You don’t haggle with 94 over those reported monies and then go out and shoot a major wad for Hartnell.

    It’s a new world, supposedly, for an Oilers fan but so far Edm has paid past 5 mill for one guy, ie Pronger. They dicked around 94, putting him at the back of the line when new contracts were doled out, and that didn’t work out. Hemsky and Horc cut them very good deals and I think Lowe either thinks he’s gonna get everyone done like that OR he just has these magical lines in the sand set that he won’t pass.

    You’re not gonna soley build a team on FA’s alone but when you’re already fucked your team to the extent that Lowe has, well, you’ve got to spend some real money to get back in the game or else you have to find two or three HUGE bargains.

  10. Doogie says:

    Of course, the alternative to a shit team making the playoffs out of the Central (though St. Loo might just be decent enough next year to earn it on merit — things were looking up at the end of last year) is another good team making the playoffs out of the Northwest. If Nashville falls below the cut, Colorado looks pretty good to make a return.

  11. Dennis says:

    Four teams made it out of the old Patrick Division last year, right? I guess the common denominator was having a doormat like the Flyers to keep up your point totals, ie I know that Pit picked up 8 “wins” off them.

    So, with the Oilers being potentially so young/bad/cheap, yeah, we could see four coming out of the NW and Col making it back. I know the Preds are gonna be missing some offensive with Kariya and Hartnell but I think they’re deep enough that they won’t be enough of a doormat for the Blues or Hawks or Jackets to signifigantly profit.

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