Two weeks into the free agent silly season and Oiler fans appear to have come to a collective conclusion about the Oilers moves.
Smyth, Belanger get a thumb’s up, Barker and Cogliano are mixed reviews and it’s difficult to find anyone who sees the acquisition of Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk and Andy Sutton as a positive.
I have a question: why?
Why have we decided that the decision to sign Ben Eager was a poor one? Coach Tom Renney has shown a clear preference to have enforcers available to him, going back to his days as a NY Ranger coach.
So, with that in mind Steve Tambellini offloaded Steve MacIntyre, Zack Stortini, JF Jacques, Jason Strudwick and Jim Vandermeer (among others) and brought in new hires. Almost without exception (I think you can argue Vandermeer is a better hockey player than Sutton) the new hires are better actual hockey players than the ones sent away.
So my question is this: do you object to the presence of so many enforcer types, or do you think the Oilers should have kept Jacques, Stortini, MacIntyre and the rest? Knowing that the head coach wants these role player types?
I’m with you on roster makeup. Ideally the Oilers would have an extreme powerplay than severely punished evildoers everywhere. And I understand the idea of each player being able to handle themselves, and someday that may be the case.
But I’ll say this: As much as I liked JF Jacques as a prospect, his injuries made him a lesser player by the time he made the NHL. His inability to make a crisp pass or cradle one was so galling it was the most difficult thing for me to watch in a long, difficult season (seriously); Steve MacIntyre had similar and more severe problems. Jason Strudwick was routinely beaten off the rush left and right to the point where he became a nightly “also in photo” candidate.
I dream of the day when the Oilers have 12 forwards who can play the game skillfully, but it’s not going to happen. The Boys on the Bus had their enforcers and this team of young skilled kids will also have them.
So why do I get the feeling most people hate these signings/trades for more able bodied men who fill a role the coach wants for his team? Isn’t the issue more roster makeup than about these players?
Understanding that these men were on the shopping list and are clearly better than what the Oilers had a year ago, how does one blame Steve Tambellini for doing the job asked of him?