The great thing about being an Oiler fan is you can actually feel hope fade as early as June. Jim Matheson gave us chapter and verse about the Oilers inability to be a player during free agent week in the Sunday Journal:
(Oilers) have about $46 million committed to players for next season and have to sign Denis Grebeshkov, Ladislav Smid, Gilbert Brule, Liam Reddox and Jason Strudwick, plus bring back Dwayne Roloson at a good buck, or sign a free agent, or trade for Josh Harding.
I figure Grebeshov will cost $3.2M or so, Smid should come in around $1M and Strudwick at half that number. That’s $50M and they have to fill out the roster with cheap guys and get a goalie too, so at some point I think we can agree that Edmonton won’t be a major player.
Unless they move an expensive roster player, Edmonton will probably need to shop in the $2M or less bargain bin. Which is no damn fun, so let’s go:
- Marian Gaborik: Oh doctor! It’s like mailing yourself 1985′s Pavel Bure. Averages 36 goals per 82 games.
- Mike Cammalleri: Smart, smart player who can find seams quicker than you can say Steve Shutt. Undersized forward, he averages 30 goals per 82 games.
- Martin Havlat: Stop it, you’re killing me here! Skill, speed, responsibility. A wonderful hockey player and he appears to be healthy again. Averages 29 goals per 82 gp.
- Petr Sykora: I still don’t know why they let him go. A nice player who has quietly scored 300 goals in the big leagues. Averages 26 goals per 82gp.
- Steve Sullivan: Small man with exceptional skills and a nose for the net. Averages 26 goals per 82.
- Alex Tanguay: A smart, clever player with all kinds of offensive skills. Expert passer, he’s also averaged 24 goals per 82 games.
- Todd Bertuzzi: Hey don’t laugh he has some of the things this team is looking for summer 2009. Tough to play against (and look at), he’d join Ethan Moreau in the “parade to the penalty box” many nights during the year. Averages 24 goals per 82 games.
- Ales Kotalik: Big winger who showed some chemistry with the real Ales during his time in Edmonton. Averages 22 goals per 82 gp.
- Mike Knuble: Big man who can also penalty-kill, he’s a solid scorer and despite age is healthy every winter. Averages 22 goals per 82/g.
- Robert Lang: Old as the hills and twice as dusty. Extremely skilled and comes with a powerplay guarantee. Averaged 22 goals per 82 games in the NHL.
- Nik Antropov: Huge Russian had some success with Pat Quinn in Godtropolis and seems to be getting better. Averages 21 goals per 82 gp.