Sail On, Sailor

We did this a couple of weeks ago but the Oilers road trip, injuries and zero talk about an Ales Hemsky extension get us here. The Oilers will be active from now to the deadline. Book it.

INJURY

The road trip was a disaster on all levels, but losing RNH, Gilbert and Eberle is especially cruel. Edmonton sent down Teemu Hartikainen and Josh Green after the game and it’s reasonable that they’ll recall two or three after that game (Oilers play Wedn, OKC doesn’t play again until Friday).

I spoke to coach Todd Nelson yesterday and he was strong on several players. He told me that Hartikainen had worked very hard in his time in OKC, that Magnus Paajarvi had done everything asked and was making things happen. He also took time to sing the praises of Ryan O’Marra, Tanner House and Chris VandeVelde and we discussed the key to Phil Cornet’s success (pretty much all of his goals are coming from in-close, those high traffic areas).

I’d estimate the recalls could come from that group depending on need, and don’t forget Gilbert Brule (although he is coming back from a freak injury and just getting into the swing of things).

STARE DOWN

Ales Hemsky hasn’t talked contract in awhile and in our hearts I think we know this is going a certain way. The return will be interesting, and Hemsky is the feature player for the Oilers deadline ’12:
  • Ales Hemsky: Dennis King mentioned yesterday that Los Angeles and Nashville would be good candidates because they have miles of defensemen and need offensive help. I think LA, but would add in Detroit because it makes so much sense. His value will be reduced, but my guess is that he’ll bring back a defenseman with some NHL experience and still on his entry level deal.
  • Andy Sutton: Laugh all you want, these are the guys who have surprising trade value at the deadline. Sutton has been riding an insane EV SP this season and has a solid CorsiRel against third pairing opposition, meaning he’d be a good candidate to move. I’ll guess the return is about two rounds above what we’re all thinking, so let’s make it a 4th round selection.
  • Nikolai Khabibulin: Jason Gregor said it best a week or two ago, if the Oilers aren’t listening to offers on him then the club isn’t doing due diligence. NK could garner a high draft pick (late first, early second) or perhaps a quality prospect in return. That might seem like a high price, but ask Tbay about the importance of goaltending.

THE FUTURE

  • RNH, Horcoff, Belanger, Lander
  • Hall, Smyth, Paajarvi, Eager
  • Eberle, Gagner, Jones, Hartikainen
  • Smid, Gilbert
  • Whitney, Potter
  • Peckham, Petry
  • Plante
  • Dubnyk

It’ll be a summer devoted to blue and (if they trade Khabibulin) goaltending. This is where things usually go off the rails (Souray, etc) so we’ll see. I wish we were talking about signing Ales Hemsky but we’re not doing that today.

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