This week, Steve Tambellini will be very busy in all kinds of areas as the most important week in his Edmonton GM career hits the blacktop.
Let’s review the ‘to do’ list for this summer.
- A top pairing defenseman capable of delivering big minutes at evens and at least one of PK and PP. 20+ overall.
- A better Renney.
- Justin Schultz or similar.
- A reasonable goaltending option for the Khabibulin free fall.
- An established 2-way winger to mentor the young players who will compete for bottom 6 roles (Lander, Hartikainen, Pitlick, etc)
- Ryan Smyth or similar.
- Get the rfa’s signed.
Let’s look at possible options.
- Rumors have Keith Yandle in the mix at the high end and Marc Methot at the low end.
- Ralph Krueger looks like he’ll get the job as early as tomorrow. I’m not certain he’s a clear upgrade but there are things to like about him. I’d rather have MacTavish as coach, gotta say.
- The Schultz story will roll out this week and the experts seem to the Edmonton has a chance. It would explain the weekend inertia but I’m thinking we should take a cautionary stance on this and not expect to be the winning club. The Oilers did not deliver “the future” via the draft.
- The Dubnyk-Khabibulin pairing in goal looks set in stone. We’ll know how impressive Steve Tambellini’s survival instincts are when the AHL starter is signed. He better be good.
- Nothing so far, although the team did sign Lennart Petrell just to make sure the entire 4line disaster had the chance to return next season. There are some second tier free agents who might fit this description.
- I have always felt Ryan Smyth would return and have to say it is insane to let him walk. If Holland were GM this would have been put to bed miles ago.
- This is a no-brainer for Gagner, Petry and Dubnyk but the contract numbers will be important. As always, expect Oiler fans to be outraged with Petry’s number and begin the process that will see the young defender become wildy unpopular despite quality play.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- L Taylor Hall
- R Jordan Eberle
- C Sam Gagner (RFA)
- L Ales Hemsky
- R Nail Yakupov (unsigned)
- C Shawn Horcoff
- L Ben Eager
- R Ryan Jones
- C Eric Belanger
- L Lennart Petrell
- R Teemu Hartikainen
- R Magnus Paajarvi
- C Anton Lander
- C Chris VandeVelde (RFA)
Oilers might have to give up someone good to make room for everyone, especially if Smyth signs. Jones? I expect it will be Eager.
- Ladislav Smid
- Jeff Petry (RFA)
- Nick Schultz
- Ryan Whitney
- Corey Potter
- Andy Sutton
- Theo Peckham (RFA)
- Colten Teubert
- Taylor Fedun
- Alex Plante (RFA)
- Martin Marincin
- Brandon Davidson
Oilers badly need two NHL defensemen here. It’s so obvious it hurts. If Steve Tambellini, Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish plan on making this team competitive anytime soon this week will be a lot about defense and mostly about NHL defensemen.
I’ll be watching with interest to see what kind of impact MacT’s presence has on the summer. As the summer wears on one would think more Dvoraks and fewer Barkers will be the result.