For those who don’t remember, Steve Tambellini waited all summer so Dany Heatley could say no to the Edmonton Oilers. This continued a galling trend by the Oilers (dating back to pre-lockout) to leave the airdock out of balance and risk crashing on takeoff.
One year it was goaltending (and they made the finals); the next year it was defense (crashed) and now it is a combination of specifics (centers, defensemen) and structure (not enough NHL players).
Last summer, Steve Tambellini gave us his list:
- A #1 goalie
- A top 6F
- Players who were tough to play against
- Grit and size
And here’s what he did:
- Signed Khabibulin
- Tried to deal for Heatley (and then signed Comrie)
- Dealt Brodziak for crimes real or imagined in the “tough to play against” department and attempted to sign Chris Neil.
- He (and possibly Quinn and other members of the organization) may have felt that Stone and Jacques gave them enough in the grit and size department. Either way, he did nothing to add actual NHL players in the “grit and size” category.
This summer the Oilers have holes everywhere. In goal, there are questions about Khabibulin’s health and which of the kids to employ as a backup (Matty suggests the club will shop JDD because he’s got a more proven track record); on the blue, there’s Gilbert, Whitney, Smid and question marks; at center, Horcoff is apparently working out like a demon (and a healthy Horcoff is a valuable thing) plus Gagner will be another year older. The wings boast Penner, Hemsky and a bunch of hopefuls, also-rans and never-were’s. Here’s my shopping list for the Oildrop this summer.
- At least two of the small forwards will be gone (I’d guess Nilsson and O’Sullivan).
- Moreau is flushed.
- Sheldon Souray will be traded for a lesser defenseman.
- A veteran RH center comes to town and settles the middle up front.
- They bring in a big winger with some skill (possibly the new Isbister).
- They sign one of those monsters Stauffer is always talking about on his show.
- Oilers will deal one of the young goalies (I hope they keep DD).
When they break camp, I’d suggest the team depth chart might look like this:
- Goal: Khabibulin, Dubnyk
- Defense: Gilbert, Whitney, Souray-the-lesser, Smid, 2 mid level “Kurtis Foster-Marc Andre Bergeron” free agents, Peckham
- Center: Horcoff, Gagner, veteran RH center from the Boyd Gordon tree, Potulny
- Left Wing: Penner, Hall, Ryan Jones, Cogliano, Jacques or another Coke Machine, Omark
- Right Wing: Hemsky, Brule, Pouliot, Stortini
MPS and Eberle might push Omark or possibly the club trades Cogliano for a stronger 3rd line option. Pouliot might end up at center but I think he’ll be top 12 if he stays. The depth chart above represents a lot of turnover (3 new D plus Peckham; 1 new center, 2 new LW’s) and if anything this should be a conservative estimate.
The Oilers finished last with this bunch, they can finish last without them. Let’s See Action! And please don’t tell us how you’ll address things in mid-season, because the new NHL isn’t built for that sort of thing. Work toward roster balance. It’s the right thing to do.