Hemmer Hurt

Among the things the Edmonton Oilers didn’t need to see this or any other season the photo at the end of this post. In last night’s loss to Chicago, Martin Lapointe went knee-on-knee with the Oilers’ offensive catalyst and suddenly the game and a win were no longer front and center for Oilers fans.

Quoting Joanne Ireland’s story in the Edmonton Journal, Craig MacTavish said “It was a dirty hit.” In terms of impact on the current regular season, it’s a massive hit. Losing Shawn Horcoff may have had a bigger impact, but it’s a good bet Horcoff’s offense will suffer and the fact is that those two are bookends on the Oilers best line (lately with Dustin Penner).

HF and other fanboards are alive with the sound of blame today, but I think it’s a somewhat simplistic argument to say that if Georges Laraque or another enforcer was on the team this wouldn’t have happened. It DID happen with BG on the team (everyone forget the Weight vs. Marchment episode?) and it WILL happen again.

Bottom line: dirty hit, should be a suspension. It may have a major impact on the Oilers’ season and beyond if Hemsky has a knee injury that becomes an issue season over season. We can blame Stortini or we can blame the Oilers one-trick pony offense but I think it’s one of those things that happens in a speed game on skates.

Sucks. Sucks big time, and from an Oilers pov it might obscure another disturbing issue: they can’t win hockey games.

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35 Responses to "Hemmer Hurt"

  1. dstaples says:

    It happens not because it’s a speed game, but because the NHL is so soft on crime, players know they can get away with this crap.

    As I said on my own blog, If the league doesn’t take matters into its hands, players will resort to vigilante justice, or perhaps some player will launch a lawsuit against the NHL and/or the perpetrator of the crime, Cheers, David.

  2. goldenchild says:

    What a shame, on a team that has been at the bottom or close to the bottom of the conference 83 is a reason to tune in every night. Hopefully he gets lucky and it isn’t serious, I don’t know what to think right now. Basically this sucks.

  3. HBomb says:

    My guess? He’s down for a month.

    Maybe an enforcer helps, maybe it doesn’t. This team, right now, is too soft, and opposition players KNOW that they won’t have to do anything other than hug Stortini for 45 seconds if they step over the line.

    The NHL being soft on this sort of crap only compounds the problem. What would be more appropriate than Lapointe being suspended until Hemsky is able to return to the Oiler lineup? Does such a system of suspension for violent, unnecessary acts make too much sense.

    A bunch of shootout wins are masking it: 7 regulation wins in the last 57 regular season games this team has played, dating back to the departure of Ryan Smyth at the trade deadline. And now likely without their offensive catalyst for an extended period.

    If there ever was a time for Lowe to do a 5-for-1 deal for an offensive stalwart like Brad Richards (if the deal is there to be had), now is the time.

  4. Black Dog says:

    With Tampa looking to be bought now I wouldn’t look for a Richards trade. Before Davidson found a buyer it was possible but not now.

    Fingers crossed on Hemsky but methinks its about to take a tuen for the worse. They’re looking a lot like they did in October – lots of try, not much in results, every mistake ends up in their net.

  5. Tyler says:

    If there ever was a time for Lowe to do a 5-for-1 deal for an offensive stalwart like Brad Richards (if the deal is there to be had), now is the time.

    Lowe doesn’t do the “5″ portion of these trades. He does the “1″ portion. I’m not picking on you H, but do you ever get tired of writing that now’s the time for Lowe to pull off some sort of complicated deal? I mean, the guy just hasn’t done it in 21 months. I’d argue that he’s never really pulled off one like you’re suggesting here. It’s a goddam pipe dream. This team sucks and it is what it is – there’s no fairy godmother who’s going to swoop down from the sky and fix Lowe’s MYRIAD fuckups.

  6. Lowetide says:

    David Staples: I can agree that the enforcer rule needs to be taken out, but you’re always going to have these things. Just are. During the Stanley run in ’06 did we really think the Raffi hit was absolutely clean? Would we have screamed bloody murder if they’d thrown a 10 game suspension?

    As for lawsuit, my understanding of player contracts is that there’s something in there that says whatever happens during the game (obviously not a Bertuzzi incident, but a hockey play) is under some kind of “you take the risk” umbrella. Is that not true?

    hbomb: This team is too many things, no doubt. I think it’s time the Oilers called up some guys who have been in the doghouse and sent out some who should be. jmo.

    tyler: This team could still improve if they just added a few NHL players. This club had fewer than a dozen established NHLers BEFORE the injuries hit and of course that’s not enough even if something goes wrong and something always goes wrong.

    If the Oilers had merely been at 45 contracts and stayed awake when the waiver wire started to print they’d have more wins than they do now.

  7. Andy Grabia says:

    What shocked me was that nobody went after Lapointe right after the incident occurred. I don’t know if the players missed it, but usually a scrum ensues after that sort of stuff. Hell, scrums seem to ensue after perfectly legitimate hits nowadays. I don’t know if it’s fair to say that reflects poorly on “team toughness,” but I know I noticed it and thought it strange.

    The enforcer debate is interesting. I certainly am biased towards having Le GG back here, but his comments with Stauffer about MacT not wanting him to fight comes back to me (by the way, Le GG scored a beauty last night, and set up Roberts on another. They looked great together). If there is a “problem,” is it a problem of player personnel, coaching personnel, or completely irrelevant? I don’t think Le GG’s presence last night would have mattered because that play happened so quickly. It wasn’t like Lapointe was pulling a Regehr, chasing Hemsky around looking to hurt him.

    The cynical side of me believes Lowe will use this injury (as well as others) as an excuse all year long, when really even with a full roster this team was going to be middle of the road at best. They just don’t have enough quality NHLers. But now Lowe will get the free pass, when the question should be why do they have such a thin roster in the first place? Salary cap, not much room for error, blah, blah, blah. Just win, baby.

  8. HBomb says:

    If the Oilers had merely been at 45 contracts and stayed awake when the waiver wire started to print they’d have more wins than they do now.

    Better than that, LT, you know what Sheldon Souray’s 5.4 million and a couple less minor pro signings could have got them this summer, by my count?

    - Jan Hejda for a 3 or 4 year term at 1.5 million per season, giving them a more legit shutdown pairing of Staios and Hejda.

    - Josef Vasicek for 750K (signed with the Islanders for this amount)

    - Martin Gelinas for 1. 25 million (signed with Nashville for this amount)

    - Mike Johnson for 750K (signed with the Blues, and a two-way deal at that.

    By my math, that’s 4.25 million, leaving enough room for the acquisition of an enforcer of the Jody Shelley variety.

    I have very little issue with how Souray’s played so far this year, but I wonder if maybe, just MAYBE, the money could have been spent more effectively if Lowe had checked his ego at the door (or if the EIG checked theirs) and went for some 2nd and 3rd tier UFA’s instead of being hell-bent on landing one of the “big hames”.

    Do this, and the team is probably better to the tune of giving Anaheim no better than the 10th overall pick when all is said and done. Right now? I have a serious fear we finish bottom five, Anaheim wins the draft lottery, and the center combination of Getzlaf/Stamkos gets that arrogant prick Burke 2-3 more Cup rings over the next decade.

  9. HBomb says:

    hbomb: This team is too many things, no doubt. I think it’s time the Oilers called up some guys who have been in the doghouse and sent out some who should be. jmo.

    At some point LT, they’re going to have to decide to lose with Jacques and Pouliot on the 4th line instead of Reasoner and Sanderson. I don’t think they’re there yet, but if Hemsky’s done for the season (God forbid), get a jump on the trade deadline insanity and start “trimming the fat”, so to speak.

    tyler: Yeah, I get tired of it, but for some reason I have blind faith that Lowe knows he has to make such a deal to get the team down to 45 pro contracts and add another high-end skill guy. Richards seems like the perfect fit (imagine the line matching options if Richards/Horcoff were a 1-2 punch at center, or if MacT wanted to, the potential ability to move Horcoff to LW and run out an absolutely bitchin’ power vs. power trio of Horcoff-Richards-Hemsky). But that Hossa guy could also work (Hossa-Hemsky-Pisani down the right side would be quite a badass trio of RW’s).

  10. Dennis says:

    I dont think this is such a big deal that 83′s out. I mean, “VISH” has done such a marvellous job of rebuilding this team, this injury won’t keep us down!!

    At the end of the day, this is what your God has brought you. Everyone with a brain knew that you wouldn’t make the playoffs on shootout wins and that this team is built for 2010 at the very earliest. The question is why the longview is that long and why people support it.

    As for the latest losses, the whole problem with this team, besides it’a direction, is lack of secondary scoring. A lot of that falls on 14 and 16 but now it’s falling on 12-89 as well which tells you everything you need to know about what kind of a job Lowe has done. I think Penners gonna pan out BUT we couldve had Penner, Smyth and Hejda instead of Penner and Souray so look out Jack, but there’s a clue.

    Merry christmas from truthsville, Lain:)

    PS: Staples is your acoylete so make sure you give him directions to my quaint little hamlet;)

  11. mc79hockey says:

    I have blind faith that Lowe knows he has to make such a deal to get the team down to 45 pro contracts and add another high-end skill guy.

    Well there’s been no move on to 45 pro contracts despite ample opportunity to do so. LT’s top 20 the other day, he could barely fill it out – can we not assume at this point that the rest of those guys are filler, and bad filler at that?

    As for these 5-1 trades…well, time will tell. I don’t think that Lowe has the cards to make one and substantially improve his team. He’s got too many 3rd/4th liners and they don’t add up to a first liner, no matter how many of ‘em you got.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: All is not lost, you know that. :-) I suspect it’ll be difficult for Lowe to spin the ANA draft lottery pick, but at this point it looks like enough will be heading out of town that another team’s first rounder may be coming back (after all, they’re at 50 contracts).

    Should Hemsky be hurt it’ll be a loooong winter because he’s always worth watching.

    Some questions for the faithful in the new year:

    1. If they can’t sign Pitkanen long term in the new year do they deal him at the deadline?

    2. Does Staios go?

    3. Is there a market for Roloson?

    4. Sign Gilbert.

    5. Can Stoll recapture enough to make his contract a worry?

    6. Does Ethan Moreau still play hockey?

    7. How much pressure will the media put on Kevin Lowe for giving up Doughty (read: Denis Potvin) for Dustin Penner?

    8. If Katz does get control of the team, will he buy out the required contracts? I would include Roloson and Souray, possibly Penner.

    9. 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?

    10. Will the Oilers return to the old days of rational roster decisions?

    11. Will they for once begin a season with balance on the roster?

    Lots of great questions moving forward. Fun times to be a fan. MAN I wish the Oilers had their first round pick in 2008.

  13. Bruce says:

    As for the latest losses, the whole problem with this team, besides it’a direction, is lack of secondary scoring.

    Too true, Dennis. The figure filberts who said the high shooting percentage couldn’t last were right, 5 goals in 4 games. But after the first line the Oil don’t have a single player with more than 6 goals after 37 games.

    A lot of that falls on 14 and 16

    Would that be the 16 with all of 3 goals, a 3.8% shooting percentage, and a team-worst minus -13? That 16? I’m still hoping his brain might clear after this calendar year is finally over, but for the immediate future I am not counting on him at all. For anything.

    Let’s hope the Hemsky injury isn’t serious, but as they all seem to say these days, it is what it is.

    Enjoy the break, people.

  14. toqueboy says:

    wow…now, what an opportunity to look at what team building really means. as much as i hate to be the armchair quarterback, i think there are a few things in common with a conventional hockey draft and creating a proper team.

    i’m in a 20 person draft where we go 15 people deep on average. My philosophy going in is to have “games played” by everyone i pick and then i have a set number of points i’d like to have from each draft position…ie)100 points from my first round, 90 points in the 2nd, 80 in the 3rd and 4th and on down.

    While a hockey pool mentality simplifies the shit out of “real” ockey parameters, i believe that the basis I use is reasonably effective when looking at team creation as regards to the Oilers.

    I’ll argue, that a decent team who expects to make the playoffs should be built with all top 6 forwards scoring at least 50 points…the third line should be a ‘plus’ line and the 4th line should have your ‘projects/intangibles’.

    as i see it, we started the season with 4 guys in the top 6 who would have to play lights out to get 50 points. we had no strategy for a ‘plus’ third line…

    to top that off, we’ve made injury gambles with all of our veteran players in moreau, souray, etc.

    my guess is that Lowe does really bad in hockey pools.

    with gagne’s and cogliano’s bonuses, we’re not saving money playing them and they’re not going to be as productive as a mid-rung 30 year old like hbomb suggested.

    there’s a reason buffalo has a new stalwart in the line up every year…because they use their minor system so effectively…the only player we’re currently doing that with is Shremp.

    with hemsky down, the season is over. make effective developmental strides down the stretch.

    i say we send down cogliano, smid, stortini and anyone else we might see as being a reasonable part of this team in 2-3 years.

    let’s bring up rourke and add some waiver maturity as it’s available.

    At any rate, we’ve been hooped since anson went down at training camp. which isn’t to say he was the ‘solution’ but i’d rather have anson score 15 and coast than have cogliano feel the pressure and work his ass off to get 10 goals.

    our lack of NHL forward depth is embarassing. if Zherdev or Afinegenov went down, those teams wouldn’t be shitting their pants…so why are we? oh yeah…beause we’re so thin.

    next year i’m inviting klowe to my hockey pool…i think it’ll be easy money

  15. Lowetide says:

    toqueboy: I did that one year, drafted Jody Reed for $1. 550 at-bats, .244BA. He killed me. KILLED ME!

  16. toqueboy says:

    LT: his description on the back of one of his baseball cards: “Jody is a dangerous bunter.”

  17. HBomb says:

    LT: Buy out Penner? Seriously?

    The guy started slow, but has been getting continuously better. He certainly has the looks of a 30-40 goal a year guy to me….

    We can’t judge the guy based on what they gave up for him, or we can at least try not to.

    As for Souray and Roloson, I think there will be opportunities to move the latter, but I would have to think Souray’s here through 2009-2010 until his NMC disappears…..

  18. danny says:

    Buy out Penner?

    Ok sure… get right on that Lowe.

    If you are game LT, I’ll place a $100 bet on the table. Penners worst stats to date (this seasons end) is better than any of Anaheims picks in his rookie contract.

    I mean after that, Anaheim, if their pick is worth talking about at all will be making $4M+ by 2012…

    Take the bet, I don’t like your odds. Not sure why that pick is so paramount to you really, its dividends are just fine and we havent even made a selection yet.

  19. Lowetide says:

    I think Penner is not close to being worth the money. If Lowe has a chance to add Bouwmeester but can’t unload Roloson or Souray, would you consider buying out Penner?


    I’m not arguing that he’s useless, I’m arguing that he isn’t worth the investment when other, more attractive options are available. Lowe has himself up against the cap and there’s not much wiggle room (even if the cap goes up).

    So, it’s an option. Unlikely, but it’s there (as is the possibility of trading him).

    Danny: Done. Easy money.

  20. toqueboy says:

    no bet if a dman is drafted i’m assuming? or goalie?!

  21. Lowetide says:

    Well let’s be clear on this because I want your money. If the EDM choice (I don’t want to lose this bet on a technicality) ends up being used by ANA or any other NHL team AND:

    this player signs a “large” contract after their three year entry level deal,

    then you owe me $100.

    Is that fair? I have to warn you though if the pick ends up being Stamkos (30 goals in the OHA in 32gp this season), Doughty (ridiculous defenseman)or Pietrangelo (a hair below Doughty) I’ll probably just ask for the money in June.

  22. rickibear says:

    Lt: The conversation Tencer had just before the CHI game was interesting. (Played after the game.) KLowe said brief discussions had occured between he and the agents for the RFA critical to sign Pitkanen and Gilbert. He would deal with those two right after the Jan.1 signing period. He said Stoll was a diffrent story because of the poor showing this year.

    Lt: Buy out Penner? The guy is still not in full shape and already starting to generate at a goal every 2nd game in the last ten games he projects out to 35G for the year and if you use his current numbers he still scores 23-25G for the year. He conntinues to be top 25 in scoring for LW making his salary fair. What media pressure you can start to see them backing off already. Intresting to se how many goals he scores in a season after California training.

    We need to dump Torres and Stolls Salary and Target ufa’s Brunette (9M/4YR),Jason Williams (10M/4yr), and J.P.Dumont(6.5/2yr) next year.

    Yes we need to dump Staios and Roloson if Ethan Moreau does come back. It allows for leadership of Moreau C, Horcoff A, and Hemsky A, next year.

    Next year our defensive base should be:


    Last night Klowe stated we miss Greene’s physical presence on the D. At 1.15M he is not going anywhere.

  23. Bruce says:

    Hey LT, I don’t know why you’re so down on Penner. He has overcome an admittedly slow start and already leads the team in +/-, powerplay goals, shots on goal, hits, and body mass.

    Forget about the potential cost, or at least divorce that to-be-determined-much-later cost from Penner, and pin it on Lowe. And forget about the first 20 games and check out the dominant big man that seems to be emerging, the type that we’ve been dying to have since forever. He’s played 18+ minutes in 10 of the last 12 games, and seems to spend a lot of his time in the other team’s end (he also leads the Oil in Fenwick number). All in all, he’s a pretty useful guy to have around.

    Buy him out? After what we paid for him? (and now I am talking about the draft choices)


  24. Lowetide says:

    Let’s say the cap is $54M next season, Katz buys the team and wants to spend to the cap. Let’s say Lowe convinces him to leave 2M for cap room. Current roster with all the “for sure” guys plus people we probably won’t see leaving town because they make too much:

    Roloson (3.667M)
    Garon (1.1M)

    Souray (5.4M)
    Staios (2.7M)
    Greene (1.15M)
    Smid (.786M)

    Horcoff (3.6M)
    Gagner (1.625M)
    Cogliano (1.133M)

    Penner (4.25M)
    Torres (2.25M)
    Moreau (2.00M)

    Hemsky (4.10M)
    Pisani (2.5M)

    Okay, that’s 36.261M for 15 players. They have a few RFA’s to sign, we’ll say they get Pitkanen (4M?), Gilbert (2.9M?) and Stoll (2.4M) under contract and also sign Nilsson (1.5M).

    Are those numbers fair? I admit to being wrong on this stuff by quite a bit but they seem reasonable. Okay, if those numbers are close to correct we’re up to 18 players and $47M. That’s for 2 goalies, 6 defensemen and 10 forwards.

    Roloson may not be tradeable at that price and current performance. Souray has a NTC for the first three years or some such, right?

    So, who do you trade? Staios? Really? I’d want a defender back who could play tough minutes.

    Torres? Maybe, but he does some things too.

    Bottom line is the Pronger and Smyth money has been spent on Souray and Penner.

    26.6% of a 50M salary cap is going to be spent on Souray, Roloson and Penner next season.

    How would you solve the problem? The Oilers CANNOT enter fall 2008 with this lineup.

    I think dealing Penner is an option and if they can’t then they need to buy someone out. Penner would most certainly not be the first option but he sure as hell is one of them.

    One final question: how many rfa’s next summer would you consider to be better than Dustin Penner?

  25. danny says:

    LT thats not what I said.

    I said that this draft choices chances of doing anything greater than Penners first year as an Oiler while hes making anything less than $4M (essentially his rookie contract) are sketchy at best. I’d take those odds in a heartbeat.

    Beyond that, I’m not sure why you are so hell bent against giving up that pick for a very good young player, and can only assume its your prospect/draft love that could encourage you to mutter something about buying Penners contract out.

    Sure you forego a shot at a) a superstar or b) a player that outperforms his contract for a couple seasons… but those are few and far between in the draft, and I like that the pick yielded a 20+ goal scorer even before we had a chance to step up to the podium.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Okay, so we’re clear: IF any of the draft picks outperforms Penner’s numbers in 07-08 during the three year entry level contracts each will sign, then the money is mine?

    I’ll take the bet, but will request good faith in regard to pure stats.

  27. Lowetide says:

    And for the record, I don’t dislike Penner. He’s impressed the hell out of me and some of his goals are ridiculous.

    However, you have to know that the Oilers are going to be saying goodbye to some really good players during the life of the Souray/Penner contracts because they cut so deeply into the cap.

    Let me ask you something: suppose Pitkanen goes ape and has a 15-35-50 +20 season by the end of the year and we’re looking at a big payday. Suppose he wants to sign but it’s impossible because of contracts already signed.

    Would you accept a Roloson buyout?

  28. Pat H says:

    Personally, I’m sorta with LT on the Penner thing. In my mind, it has relatively little to do with Penner, personally, and much more to do with the deal itself. I actually like Penner, and thought he played his best game last night, but I’m far from being convinced that it justifies the cost. For us to win this RFA raid, the bottom line is this: Penner must prove to be not only worth the 4.2/season, but also worth more than the combined value of the 3 picks we give up to acquire him. To be sure, this is something that won’t be judged in finality in the near future. But as LT alluded to in the context of his proposed ‘bet’, if the 1st rounder turns out to be a Stamkos or Doughty, then I think it’s fair to say that we are in trouble.

  29. Pat H says:


    I agree completely with your comments at 3:48. Those two contracts have the potential to wreak havoc in the future. It certainly does nothing to enhance my faith in Lowe’s long-term vision. The Pitkanen situation really worries me. But if we move a few years down the road, assuming that Penner/Souray are still here, we’re going to have a situation where guys like Gagner and Cogs are due for negotiation. What happens then? A long ways away, sure, but food for thought.

  30. danny says:

    I was thinking the 1st pick, but I’m not really going to lose sleep over the odds on the 2nd and 3rd.

    Whats the combined salary of those 3 picks anyways? ;)

    2005 draft. 2 first rounders have equalled or bettered Penners rates this season. Ones name is Crosby, the other two are surefire allstars ( Kopitar, Stastny).

    2004 – 3 players would win you the money.

  31. Lowetide says:

    Pat: agreed.

    Danny: This isn’t an ordinary draft, and it was known before Lowe signed Penner.

  32. danny says:

    I’m calling unfair practices in slapping the Souray decision together with Penners. FTR, I would never have m,ade that contract offer considering the teams position.

    Penners i’d do again tomorrow.

    The value on those picks are pretty darn good right now, and money isnt an issue IMO because the only way you get an NHL contributor on your roster making less than that is if you land the 2 or 3 out of 30 that outperform their rookie contracts.

    beyond that, 20+ goal scoring first rounders wont be making anything worth talking about below $4M on their 2nd contract.

  33. Bruce says:

    I’m calling unfair practices in slapping the Souray decision together with Penners.

    I’m with Danny on this one. Penner’s already beginning to deliver the goods, less than 10% of the way into his contract. Judging by the rate he has improved over the course of this season, he hasn’t exactly peaked yet, and his contract will remain at $4.25 MM throughout. From 2009-12 he will be the third highest-paid player already under contract (behind Souray and Hemsky). I don’t think he will be the third-best of those players, do you? So look elsewhere for a buyout.

    One final question: how many rfa’s next summer would you consider to be better than Dustin Penner?

    Doesn’t matter, we’ve already spent the draft picks on Penner, it would make no sense to spend more to replace him. Besides, isn’t there a rule that you can only dip into the RFA market every two years? (I vaguely remember reading something about that) Whatever, Oilers bed is made with Dustin Penner tucked under the sheets for the foreseeable future. From where I sit we could have done a hell of a lot worse. For one thing, it never hurts to have a Stanley Cup ring in the room.

    Besides, as we found with Vanek, RFA’s come with, uh, restrictions. They can be on the market without being available. And the way these guys are being signed, there may be precious few left by July 1. It could be argued that Lowe set the bar here, with both the Hemsky deal (one of the first to extend a young player far beyond his UFA eligibility) and the Penner steal (first major raid of a RFA) being early test cases of the new CBA. Whatever else Lowe may be, you can’t claim he’s not interesting.

    Best case scenario: Penner becomes a star, while Burke wastes his three wishes on Huey, Dewey and Louie and winds up ruing the day he forgot to qualify Penner for arbitration. It’s not impossible, and surely even all the Lowe-haters on this sphere might like to see an outcome like that.

  34. HBomb says:


    Penner getting bought out just opens up a hole at LW.

    Really, I think the salary clearing happens like this:

    - Stoll and Roloson are both dealt by the deadline. Perhaps as a package.

    - Staios might get dealt. The Oilers really missed the boat by not keeping Jan Hejda (at perhaps half the price per year to term) and not moving Steady Decline Steve along. It’s one thing to play tough minutes, but it’s another to get killed while doing it (yes, some of the blame has to go to the fact he’s playing with Smid, who probably should be in the AHL right now). I’d try and shop him.

    - Moreau, I’d look at moving him as well if the offer came along.

    - Sanderson, Reasoner and Tarnstrom are all gone after this year, methinks.

    To me, the big albatross against this team in terms of cap space isn’t Penner. It’s Souray. I haven’t minded his play, but that money could be put towards locking down 25/77 for the long haul AND towards adding a cheap reliable veteran or two to fill out the forward ranks. And you’d probably still have enough to go after bringing Hejda back as a UFA come July (although, truth be told, I’ll be shocked if Howson doesn’t lock him down for 3 years before then).

    Roloson, Staios, Souray, Stoll: these are the four guys I’d try to move to clear space. My core at this point is as follows:

    C: Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano
    RW: Hemsky, Pisani, Nilsson
    LW: Torres, Penner

    D: Pitkanen, Gilbert, Smid, Greene

    G: Garon

    The objective? Back in the playoffs in 2010, strong contender in 2011 and 2012.

  35. Lowetide says:

    HBomb: I agree to a great extent. The contract they probably buy out if they’re unable to deal it is Roloson’s.

    Souray isn’t going to be bought out and neither is Penner. However, if you take those three contracts and ask the question “will these men outperform their dollar amount?” I believe the idea of buying out Penner is a better option than losing some of these soon-to-be rfa’s and ufa’s.

    This year it’s Pitkanen and Gilbert, plus maybe Stoll. How long until Horcoff needs a new contract?

    Can the Edmonton Oilers improve their team enough without buying out one or more of these contracts?

    I think it’s a worthy question.

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