We’re at a point now where paying attention to the truly connected (like Elliotte Friedman) is required reading because Oilers management are about to awake from a long winter’s nap. The names going? The ones we’ve discussed, plus another one.
Friedman’s article is here, great read as always. Quoting Friedman:
- Ryan Whitney is getting traded for sure. What’s interesting is it doesn’t seem like there’s been much conversation with UFA-to-be Ladislav Smid. The defenceman is just 27. The only other free agent who will be younger than him and really plays is teammate Mark Fistric. I’m a little surprised they haven’t talked much, because that position is a weakness for Edmonton.
- Edmonton won’t get a ton for players who are about to be free. That’s why you’re probably going to hear Ales Hemsky’s name again, but I wonder about Shawn Horcoff. I stress this is just me talking here, but would the Oilers and/or the player consider it? (He has a no-move clause through this season.) The pros: teams covet competitive centres. Horcoff is certainly that. Check out his contract — two years left at declining numbers, as almost $26 million of his $33 million is already paid. That’s manageable. The cons: They need his defence and face-off work. They are also hurting for veteran leadership.
Friedman correctly points out that it is surprising that the Oilers have not discussed contract with Smid, and of course it is a weakness for Edmonton. Just like the Gilbert trade a year ago, Smid’s “impending exit” suggests the Oilers probably have a plan of action in place to replace him.
Hemsky’s name is out there every spring, but Horcoff is a fascinating name. Edmonton would be badly injured by losing Horcoff from the C depth chart, but if they plan on moving in someone (like Taylor Hall) from the wing then perhaps this is their line of thinking.
I think if we combine “Hall to center” with Woodguy’s “Jack Johnson is in play” we might be able to build a template for this summer.