The NHL trade deadline is April 3. Edmonton traditionally sends away their veterans on that day, going back to the Ryan Smyth to the Islanders trade. There was a time–2006–when Kevin Lowe added some wonderful things to a game roster. We’re far too early in the season to even think about the deadline, but there are some interesting things to discuss:
- With Theo Peckham back and close to ready, will the Oilers trade one of their defensemen? The club has Smid-Petry, Schultz-Schultz, Whitney-Potter and Fistric-Peckham currently. That’s eight, one too many and the only one who can be sent down without waiver worry is Schultz the younger. I suspect a lot of it has to do with the coach’s preference, but with four UFA’s (Smid, Whitney, Fistric, Sutton the done) this summer maybe they move the one they don’t plan to sign?
- I wonder if Hartikainen and Paajarvi have a chance to push Eager and Hordichuk down the depth chart and (eventually) off the roster. The Oilers have three F UFA’s this summer (Ryan Jones, Lennart Petrell and Hordichuk) and after this year they won’t be able to send either Harski or Paajarvi to the minors without clearing waivers. Honest question: where do you rank the kids (out of 5) when compared to the UFA’s?
- Khabibulin is healthy, but I wonder for how long? I’m not sure what the Oilers expect to get out of him this year they couldn’t get out of Danis. I guess the only real answer is “some of their money’s worth.”
- I find this Oilers team a lot of fun to watch, but the media stories surrounding them are as dull as dish water. “They can’t score 5×5″ and “Yakupov is wildly inconsistent” are banal to the extreme. Why not talk about the way Ralph Krueger is using his lineup? Its really interesting and different than Tom Renney or Pat Quinn, plus it doesn’t take a lot of work to see the differences. I’d like them to look into the Gagner line, see if RK can keep it together long enough for chem to develop. Right now they are drowning at evens despite playing softer opponents (according to behind the net. WARNING: its early and these numbers will go up and down wildy for a few weeks).
- OR they could speculate about where Ryan Jones fits when he returns. Here’s my suggestion:
- Line 1: Gagner-Hall-Hemsky
- Line 2: Nuge-Yakupov-Eberle
- Line 3: Horcoff-Hartikainen-Paajarvi
- Line 4: Belanger-Jones-Smyth
- Extras: Petrell, Eager
Anthony Mantha, Val -d’Or
Bob McKenzie’s Top 30 Prospects Show goes tonight and I’ll be interested to see where Anthony Mantha ends up on the list. Mantha is 6.03, 200 and has scored 38 goals in 47 QMJHL games. He also has 55 pims in those games and a couple of majors, so there’s some PF skills on the resume.
- Corey Pronman: “Mantha is an intriguing package of tools as he is 6’4” with good speed, a heavy shot, and offensive instincts. I wasn’t all that sold on him last season, but he has developed well over the last six months or so”
Just gathering up info for the entry draft, Oilers should have three picks in the top 50 (their 1 & 2 and ANA’s 2) and dealt their 3rd rd pick for Mark Fistric. In reading about this draft, looks like it could be 2003. Which brings us to the obvious question: CAN they find Pouliot again?
I bet the Oilers grab a goalie in the draft this season, and Eric Comrie and Tristan Jarry are two possibles. Would love to know how much input the goalie coach has on things.
Jonathan Willis has a draft article up, check it out.
I think this road trip will be a large test for this team, and I am uncertain that Ralph Krueger has the answers he needs. They play in Phoenix tonight, in San Jose tomorrow night and at Colorado on Saturday. I think it is reasonable to expect a 1-2 road trip.