The other day we were discussing the Oilers without Ales Hemsky and how difficult the season would be without him. He’s ripping up the finals in the Hot-off currently which comes as little surprise to those of us who always felt he would one day win a major award.
I said a little prayer for Ales at Christmas Mass (along with a passionate plea for no further hair loss and more nights alone with that woman who was crazy enough to marry me) because it can’t hurt, right?
Anyway, during the discussion I decided to make a list of things we can talk about when the playoffs become a distant bell (I’m baiting Dennis with that sentence) .
- If they can’t sign Pitkanen long term in the new year do they deal him at the deadline? I’m a little unsure about the arbitration rules. I believe Philly offered him arb last summer before he was dealt, so it may mean the Oilers can’t do that this summer. Bottom line if they can’t get him signed the Oilers need to trade him for another NHL player. No picks, no prospects. Real, honest-to-God NHL players.
- Does Staios go? No. If they sign Pitkanen and Gilbert, keep Staios and add them to Souray, Greene and Smid/Grebeshkov (plus anyone I’ve missed), then it’s those guys and people like Taylor Chorney who will attempt to make the team out of camp. With Staios it’s a mess, without him it’s a lost cause.
- Is there a market for Roloson? I don’t think so, at least not enough to pull the trigger. They may end up doing a “Roloson and our 3rd for your 2nd” kind of deal but based on his age, play and contract for 08-09 his value is not high.
- Can Stoll recapture enough to make his contract a worry? Probably not. Stoll was never a world beater at EVs and since his PP time has been reduced (4:45 per game 06-07 to 3:33 per game this year) his stats would be off even if he was playing well, or even playing just poorly. As it is he’ll probably have to sign a “running in place” one year deal and hope to turn it around. That would be my guess, 1 year at around $2M.
- Does Ethan Moreau still play hockey? Yes and he probably will give this team a boost upon returning. However, Ethan rifles has some miles on him and is unlikely to past many 82′s in the GP column moving forward.
- How much pressure will the media put on Kevin Lowe for giving up Doughty (read: Denis Potvin) for Dustin Penner? Probably none. Hell, I can’t even work up a good lather amongst my fellow Oilogosphere comrads. In fact, it seems to be a one man army right now but don’t worry it still pisses me off no end. If we were watching Calgary do this we’d be giggling like idiots and if Toronto did it we’d all smile in a smug, knowing way. It’s a bad bet folks.
- If Katz does get control of the team, will he buy out the required contracts? Yes. Katz is a hometown boy and will want to make an immediate impact. When Lowe shows him the cap number and says “we’ll have to wait until next year” Katz will pull out his pocketbook and sign off on a Roloson buy-out. One of the best things about being an Oiler fan with Katz as owner will be deep pockets, followed closely by the “owner’s ego” which apparently is enormous too. Let the good times roll.
- If he does free up money, will he allow Lowe (or the new GM) to spend it on Spezza, Bouwmeester and other quality rfa offer sheets? Of course. Best player available. I haven’t seen a complete list but Bouwmeester would be a beauty option. There’s apparently a rule that states teams can only sign one rfa per two seasons, and if that is the case then Lowe can spend the money on a UFA or another team’s salary dump ala Michael Peca.
- Will the Oilers return to the old days of rational roster decisions? I have no idea what they’re doing now but do know that they’re throwing wins away by choosing Grebeshkov over Hejda, etc. It seems as though MacT and Lowe have decided to bite the bullet while they train the army to remain calm while gunshots fire over their heads. Frankly, it looks like a lost cause, or at least a 40% return. When does this work, and why wouldn’t the traditional way (bring ONE of these kids along per year) not be the better option? We can talk all we want about poor play by some of the veterans but when you’ve got a kid who can’t shave on your flank and a Russian diviziya about to roll over you I’m sure it’s hard to save the day every damn shift.
- Will they for once begin a season with balance on the roster? No. The Edmonton Oilers seem absolutely devoted to developing the NHL’s 2010-2020 defensemen in a three year window. I have no idea where Ladislav Smid will play the heart of his career, but basic training is underway in Edmonton, Alberta.