The Edmonton Oilers have some very nice young forwards in their employ currently. NHL history can tell us a lot about what has to be done for this group to succeed over the next decade.
By 1967 summer, the Boston Bruins had a pretty good idea about their defense. Bobby Orr was ready to go super nova and they had a nice group of NHLers like Ted Green, Gilles Marotte and several “bubbling under” blue who could fit right in. They enjoyed so much goaltending the Bruins couldn’t keep it all, losing HOFer Bernie Parent and fine G Doug Favell in that summer’s expansion draft.
The Bruins also had some good to very good wingers (Johnny Bucyk, John McKenzie, Ed Westfall) but they were not strong up the middle. Boston needed size and skill; some of it would come from Derek Sanderson, a rookie (of the year) in 67-68. The rest would arrive via what is likely the most lopsided trade in history: Chicago acquired C Pit Martin (an undersized but quality 2-way C), defenseman Gilles Marotte (a big time hitter new coach Harry Sinden wasn’t fond of) and goalie Jack Norris for centermen Phil Esposito and Fred Stanfield and big winger Kenny Hodge.
The Edmonton Oilers don’t need wingers, but they sure could use a center, two defenseman and a goaltender. How are they going to get it?
The original Pronger trade might offer us a clue. That deal sent a young but experienced Eric Brewer, former 1st rd pick Jeff Woywitka and a solid prospect who had come through an injury filled season (Doug Lynch) to St. Louis. Now, I know the tumblers all fell into place and am not suggesting that the Oilers will score the Rake 2.0 for a package of a young defenders, but maybe there’s a trade out there that allows Edmonton to ice 4 dependable defensemen?
I don’t know, maybe it’s a trade for the right to negotiate with a Tim Gleason (in photo above) before free agency. Whatever it is, the Oilers are giving back too much this season due to the breakdown on the blue. I’ll blame the Whitney injury and Cam Barker’s signing, you may have other reasons for the poor performance. Goaltending is another issue. Edmonton still doesn’t know if Devan Dubnyk can play 50 games, but I will give credit to the organization for using him more lately and we should know about his performance over 35 games by the end of the season.
I don’t think Steve Tambellini has shown the ability to pull off a trade like the one Edmonton badly needs to address without poking a big hole in the other side of the boat. If they sign the current GM, there’s little doubt he’ll make the trade to address defense–ready or not–this summer. I believe the lottery pick and pretty much all of the prospects might be in play, plus a youngster like Magnus Paajarvi or Jeff Petry.
The wild card in all of this is Daryl Katz. Is he a quick learner? Does the fact that Steve Tambellini is without contract (as has been reported by many) mean that the owner has another plan for phase two of the rebuild?
I guess we’ll cross that road when we get to it.