Many years ago I had a boss who used to “blue-sky” things. He’d need an idea for one thing or another and call a bunch of us together for a think session. Plans good and bad would be hatched but nothing ever came of it and eventually the company changed the code on his entry card and we never saw him again.
The thing is, you’re only the captain for so long. Kevin Lowe is secure now, but with new ownership the clock certainly is ticking and his “blue-sky” days won’t go on forever. This past weekend saw very little activity and since the team hasn’t made the playoffs since Britney Spears started wearing underwear there has to be some sense of urgency.
Kevin Lowe has identified skill and toughness up front as his shopping list for the summer. Some of us feel he’s laying in the weeds a little and will add a veteran defender but let’s take things at face value and look around the league for skill forwards.
UFA skill forwards.
Let’s pick 8 possible UFA signings and see how things go:
- Marian Hossa: Put him with Hemsky and the dog-faced boys from the Mexican circus can play center and score 40. It would be a dream come true for the Oilers to grab a talent like this off the free agent tree, and it would also mean Lowe imported a player of elite talent to somewhat replace Pronger. This would be the proverbial ‘big fly’ for Kevin Lowe this summer. My guess is they go hard for Hossa and come up short because of the agent (Ritch Winter).
- Daymond Langkow: Hell yeah. I keep reading the Flames have signed him or that they have a gentleman’s agreement but until he’s signed Langkow would be at or near the top of the signing list. A top 2C of Lankgow-Horcoff would give this team some exceptional roster maneuverability. My guess is Captain Emoto signs him but he’d be a wonderful Oiler.
- Brian Rolston: Those of us who watch NW games with any regularity know this guy could score from the moon. Silly-good hockey player, there’s no way in hell he’s coming to Edmonton but we can dream. Could score 50 with Hemsky.
- Teemu Selanne: What a hockey player. 50 goals in his last 108 NHL regular season games, Selanne popped a dozen in 26 games last season. A beauty player who really should have been an Oiler. My guess is he retires or comes back one more time for the Ducks.
- Jaromir Jagr: He’d be a great trigger man for Hemsky, although his powerplay goal totals have fallen off in the last two seasons (since the lockout, by season: 24, 7, 7). He’s aged but those powerful legs should keep him in the game at an elite level for another three or four seasons. My guess is the Rangers bring him back for one more try.
- Kristian Huselius: Played in ideal circumstances with Calgary but delivered nice results. I don’t know if there’s any clear indication he’s a better bet for the 2line than any of the kids playing the soft parade but this is a player we could see signing with the Oilers.
- Michael Ryder: Interesting player. Ryder’s EV goals totals the last three seasons (12, 11, 13) tells us there isn’t a tremendous production dropoff in this area. So it’s the PP and of course the time on ice is a major item in that scenario (goals are 18, 17 and 1 on the PP in the last three seasons and the TOI for each season is 363 minutes, 318 minutes and 148 minutes). A new home address might be just what the doctor ordered and my guess is Edmonton would have a chance if they came calling.
- Radim Vrbata: Played in ideal circumstances but delivered too. Vrbata is something of a late bloomer and his established level of ability trails others due to lack of consistency. My guess is he would be available to a team like Edmonton.