Last night’s victory leaves Edmonton solidly in playoff contention (21.6% chance of making the post-season) and that won’t change between now and the deadline Wednesday aft. I believe the Oilers should be buyers.
In reaching this point in the rebuild, the Oilers have some options for the first time in years. They could offload, which has become second nature by now, and continue the talent bleed that has included Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert, Lubo and others since the Katz rebuild began around 2010 Jan. They could add help, not just for the stretch run but for next season and possibly beyond, giving Steve Tambellini fewer chores in summer and giving the organization a better chance to succeed during a vital off-season.
LET’S STAY TOGETHER
- Ladislav Smid: Oilers and Smid are reportedly in talks as we speak, this is an important deal for all kinds of reasons. Keeping Smid is extremely important because Edmonton has little depth on the blueline, but keeping him at a reasonable price is also a big item. Steve Tambellini will need to get this contract at a friendly number, and he needs it this week.
- Ales Hemsky: I’ve come to the conclusion Hemsky’s cross to bear is being overlooked as a great player during his career. That known, I don’t think the Oilers will get close to value for him–which is fabulous, meaning he stays.
- Sam Gagner: Haven’t really heard his name, but with the need for centermen at the deadline he might be in play. That would be a mistake.
SAIL ON, SAILOR
- Ryan Whitney: I think the Oilers may decide to keep him, but the return for veteran D is so large this deadline they should pull the trigger.
- Mark Fistric: With D values high, this is the guy to move.
- Ryan Jones: Teemu Hartikainen won’t clear waivers next year, and Jones will want at least as much as he’s making now. This is the prudent time to deal him.
- Nikolai Khabibulin: I don’t know if there’s a market, but if there is trading NK at the deadline is a no-brainer.
- Ben Eager: Minimal value, included on the list because he was mentioned in a Jokinen deal this week.
- Eric Belanger: injured, unlikely to go.
- Theo Peckham: he hasn’t played in so long can’t imagine a team trading much for him.
- Mark Streit: If he’s available, and that is not certain, Edmonton is likely to push hard for his services. Short term move, but they could sign him before July 1 if things work out well.
- Ben Bishop: Why not? Oilers would have two solid goaltenders approaching their prime heading into next season. That’s the kind of long term thinking championship teams employ.
- Frans Nielson: Incredibly, he is apparently available. Nielson would be a perfect fit for the Oilers and improve them up the middle in a big way.
- Curtis Glencross: Making right an earlier wrong may only take a draft pick.
These are not only short term moves, but could benefit the Oilers next year too. Glencross has another year on his deal, Nielson is signed long term. Bishop is rfa this summer and Streit is a guy the Oilers have mentioned in the past and there’s no reason he couldn’t be signed.
The Oilers CAN address need at the deadline and reduce their laundry list of things to do this summer. I know it seems early to be trading draft picks and prospects for immediate help, but when that immediate help hangs around for next year and beyond, it seems reasonable to spend some of the future.