Among the things we talked about on the various Oiler blogs today was the question of this team being a playoff club.
Are they better? I’d say they’re different.
Are they a playoff team? I’d say they are if they can stay (somewhat) healthy.
Health was the big issue for me at the beginning of the day, specifically left wing. I think bringing in Erik Cole (and sending away Raffi Torres) addresses this and although this club clearly isn’t finished yet you can see what the plan is on left wing:
I don’t know that they’ll play in that order (and the Kid Line isn’t represented) but it would seem to me that if we pencil in who is going to get the most TOI that’s the pecking order. Cole for the tough hauling and time on the PP, Penner for softer minutes and PP time too, and Moreau in the PK rotation with RW Pisani and C’s Cogliano, Brodziak and possibly Pouliot.
A few other points about today:
- I suspect Denis Grebeshkov is going to be very important to this defense. With Sheldon Souray and Ladislav Smid playing LD, Grebeshkov is likely to be the top option at EVs and will be paired with either Staios, Viznovsky or Gilbert. Another D should be on the shopping list.
- There is very little sandpaper left on this team. I’m certain Lowe will address this in the next few weeks too, and because of the need for more grit up front skill prospects have had their chances of making this team impacted by Kevin Lowe’s sending away Stoll, Greene and Torres. Tim Sestito has a better chance of making this team than Rob Schremp.
- I’d rather play Cole on a super outscorer line with Pisani and possibly Brodziak. Keep Horcoff between Penner and Hemsky, keep the kid line (Gagner, Cogliano and Nilsson) together and then for the 4line roll Pouliot, Moreau and Stortini. Extras might be UFA signee Marty Reasoner and a physical role player who looks right now like he might be named Tim Sestito.
There’s a long way to go and today’s trades were a mixed bag. Picking up Erik Cole for Pitkanen is an upgrade in a position of need with the only negative being that Cole is UFA one season from now, and picking up Gilbert Brule improved their “flawed prospects from other organizations” list and gave MacT another project but it cost them grit, skill and an EVs warrior in Raffi Torres.