There was a time in Edmonton when a Billy Ranford would fall from the sky. An established star (Moog) would force his way out and Glen Sather would turn him into something better (or at least he was spring 1990).
If we could return to those times–even just one time–the Edmonton Oilers would be in a better position than they are today. The old Kansas City Royals of the early 1970′s taught all losing teams a valuable lesson the day they plucked Amos Otis from the New York Mets. Otis was struggling badly trying to learn a new position at the major league level (3B, he was a beauty CF), and the Mets sent him away in the winter of 1969 for a spent 3B.
I read an article years later about the Royals, and their franchise building template was always try to acquire players who–if they do work out–could fill a hole for a decade. The general idea was if you could find 2 guys every winter to fill a hole for one decade, you’d be made in the shade by year 5 and pushing for the pennant soonafter (and damned if the Royals didn’t do exactly that).
We’re in the land of free agency at mid-20′s now and of course that cuts into the plan, but the idea still has a very strong pull. If you have a hole, why not put someone in there who can fill that role for a long period instead of plugging it up one year at a time. This wouldn’t apply to a team close to winning it all (the Oilers at the ’06 deadline is the only recent example and it’s a bit of a stretch) but for Edmonton it makes a lot of sense.
Signing Dwayne Roloson is a fine fallback position. He can play here for another year and put this team in a good position to make the second season. However, I hope management at least takes the time to pursue the idea of a Josh Harding.
Find a goalie miles from UFA status who can fill the role in 09-10 and be a better man the following winter. It’s certainly not an easy task, but this team has the freedom to experiement a little with the goalie position. The only road block is Jeff Deslauriers who is once again (incredibly) unproven talent.
I think the Oilers should be shopping for two goalies this summer.