Picking over the Bones

In a thread below NBOilerFan says “I was also hoping you’d offer your take on what Tambellini will/should do. Perhaps you still will in time.”

I don’t like to do this sort of thing because it’s much more interesting to talk about what the coach would/will do in my opinion. I’m a fan, you’re a fan, and although we’re beyond the “he sucks” or “he blows” mentality the fact is that we don’t really know which team wants Sheldon Souray or Dustin Penner and we also don’t know who is a bad clubhouse guy or who parties a little too much.

So–one time only–an offseason indulgence: what I’d do if they elected me King.

The first thing I’d do is decide which kids to keep, and it’s going to be way fewer than in previous seasons. One rookie: Peckham. That’s it, that’s all. Deslauriers is a possibility in net but we’ll see how these paragraphs roll out.

Next, I decide which veterans (and costly young players) to deal. My list would be Sheldon Souray and Robert Nilsson. It should be mentioned I like these players, but the cap forces Edmonton to cut costs somewhere and this is the area I’d choose.

So, we have no goalies, a D group that includes Visnovsky, Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Smid and Peckham and a set of centers that has Horcoff, Gagner and Cogliano in the group. My left wingers are Penner, Moreau and O’Sullivan and the RWers are Hemsky, Pisani and Stortini.

On the fringe of show business are Marc Pouliot, Kyle Brodziak, Steve MacIntyre, JF Jacques, Liam Reddox, Rob Schremp and anyone I’ve forgotten about in the process. The roster might look like this:

  • G-None.
  • D-Visnovsky (5.6M); Gilbert (4M); Grebeshkov (3.2M-est); Smid (1M-est); Staios (2.7M); Peckham (.585M)
  • C-Horcoff (5.5M); Gagner (1.625M); Cogliano (1.133M)
  • L-Penner (4.25M); O’Sullivan (2.925M); Moreau (2.0M)
  • R-Hemsky (4.1M); Pisani (2.5M); Stortini (.700M)
  • Total Players: 15
  • Total Cost: 42,018,000
  • Cap Room: 13,982 based on 56M cap.

I want to add 4 distinct veteran elements to this group: a starting goalie; a nicely priced veteran D to round out the top 4; a veteran offensive forward to throw onto the top 6F; a two-way F who can both help with the tough minutes and penalty kill/help with faceoffs. I have my bait (Souray, Nilsson plus my fringe players and about 14M) and my shopping list.

  1. The goalie: I’d go after Jaroslav Halak of the Habs. I’m horrible at these trades but would suggest that a flip of first round picks plus perhaps Robert Nilsson (or one of the fringe guys) might get it done. If not, I’d move off of Halak as an option and look toward someone like Nittymaki. Halak is about NHL average in terms of SP and has a .775M cap hit next season. And since he’s not an established NHL veteran, let’s also sign Jason LaBarbera for 1M via free agency.
  2. The defender: I’ll say the Oilers sign Minnesota’s Kurtis Foster because he appears healthy and had some nice numbers in 10 games plus a nice career previous to the injury. Edmonton is brilliant in this area and one of the joys of summer comes from finding out who they’ve signed for D. In fact, one of the turning points for MacT was his slow recognition of Jan Hejda, so this individual will be important for the new coach. Let’s say they get him for 1.3M (he made 1.025 and is coming off an injury).
  3. Offensive forward: This is where the money will be spent and I’d target Marian Gaborik. What would it cost? 6 million? 6.5? Let’s say 6.5 million–he’s got question marks but he’s also a thrill a minute and is more available imo than someone like Havlat (or Hossa).
  4. Two way forward: The deeper you get into these things, the less likely the moves will make sense on all levels. For instance, in dealing Sheldon Souray for a checking forward my preference would be to add Christopher Higgins. Although he isn’t a faceoff man, Higgins did play against reasonable opposition in terms of difficulty. I also think this might help the Halak trade seem more reasonable, plus it forces Pouliot to center and I like him.

The big summer deal for me then is Souray + Nilsson + 10th overall pick for Jaroslav Halak + Chris Higgins + 18th overall. You are welcome to slay me in regard to the fairness/unfairness of this trade, I’m guilty. Then again this is the one day a year I do this so what the hell.

My roster is now complete.

  • Goal: Jaroslav Halak (.775M); Jason LaBarbera (1M)
  • Defense: Visnovsky (5.6M); Gilbert (4M); Grebeshkov (3.2M-est); Staios (2.7M); Kurtis Foster (1.3M); Smid (1M-est); Peckham (.585M)
  • C-Horcoff (5.5M); Gagner (1.625M); Pouliot (.825M); Cogliano (1.133M); Brodziak (.900M-est)
  • L-Gaborik (6.5M); Penner (4.25M); Higgins (2.2M-est); Moreau (2.0M); Jacques (.525M)
  • R-Hemsky (4.1M); O’Sullivan (2.925M); Pisani (2.5M); Stortini (.700M);
  • Total Players: 23
  • Total Cost: 55,843,000
  • Cap Room: Change.

It isn’t what Tambellini will do, but the skill level is beyond belief. If Pouliot can’t handle the 3line job then deal for Reasoner or another checking C. My preference is to give him one full season to prove himself in the role.

Hammer time. Go your best.

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