This is Bobby Hull with hair and a Stanley, so we know it’s 1961. The Edmonton Oilers have had more than their share of truly exceptional hockey players since 1979 but LW collective has been less impressive than the other two forward slots.
Esa Tikkanen, Ryan Smyth, Craig Simpson. Anyone else? And you can’t really count the time Messier spent at LW because it was trumped by those years at center.
Left Wing on the current roster is pretty strong save for injury (Moreau), attitude/confidence (Torres) and conditioing (Penner). There’s also Jean-Francois Jacques and Sam Gagner who played there (and effectively) late in the year.
First things first: I don’t think they can count on Ethan Moreau next season. He’ll be 33 in December and despite three more years on his contract ($2M cap hit each season) there’s no reason to believe he’s going to play more than 50 games. If healthy, he can bring a physical element to the game, supply quality penalty killing while chipping in 15 goals and of course he’s the captain. On the downside he takes a few bad penalties every season and of course it’s 2M large spent on someone you can’t count on.
So, let’s organize them in some kind of rational order:
I think the Oilers need to have an NHL calibre left winger for the 4line aside from Moreau for 08-09. That means keeping both Torres (2.25M cap hit) and Glencross (I’ve pegged his price tag as 1.8M, others believe he’ll get less than one million) unless they truly believe Jacques can step up and play a role.
On the subject of the Glencross contract, I wanted to post an item from Robin Brownlee in his “Around the Rink” blog: Curtis Glencross was a nice fit on the fourth line after coming from Columbus, but if he wants close to $2 million a season, and I’m told he does, he’s over-pricing himself by $600,000 to $700,000.
I don’t think there’s any doubt Glencross could get a better UFA deal than some of the numbers being tossed around by Oiler fans. If Kevin Lowe can get him to sign a contract anywhere near 1M he’s Sam Pollock. If the Oilers keep Glencross (and deal Stoll as was discussed when we dealt with center) things might look like this:
- Moreau as an extra
Is that a better lineup than booting Glencross and keeping Stoll? That lineup might look like this:
I think it comes down to Glencross V. Stoll and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.
NEXT UP: RIGHT WING