As we get closer to the trade deadline, we’re going to hear more “Oilers scouts at Washington game” tweets and stories. The Oilers are extremely unlikely to trade part of the future for help immediately, but I think they are probably looking to add some pieces long term if they are available. Things like:
- A tough forward who can play on the skill line (Brouwer family).
- A LH 2-way defenseman (Bouwmeester family).
- A solid goaltender who can push Dubnyk without being miscast as backup (Bishop). Sens are looking btw.
Beyond that, I don’t really see the point in making a deal. All other spots either have an internal option or Edmonton would be better served in waiting until summer.
Summer is also a better time to offload impact players with term like Hemsky, but I’ve included him here because you never know and 83 is unlikely to be here for the long term (his replacement–Yakupov–is here). I suspect the Oilers will make a decision on Hemmer around the draft. Among the current Oilers who either have term left on their deal or will be RFA this summer, I can see the following being dealt:
- Ales Hemsky (UFA 2014): The Oilers were not getting strong offers for him a year ago (the rumored return was a 2nd and a 4th from Nashville).
- Ben Eager (UFA 2014): One year left at $1.1M and the concussion issues are a concern. Plus he’s been on waivers.
- Eric Belanger (UFA 2014): Makes $1.75M and might fill a need for a 4line C, faceoff guy and penalty killer.
- D Theo Peckham (RFA 2013): Forgotten man among the Oilers, but he’s a defenseman with NHL experience and that has value.
And here’s my UFA list:
- Ladislav Smid (UFA): Edmonton hasn’t signed him yet and that might mean there’s a gap between agent and team in terms of zero’s on the contract. Smid is going to get paid, the Oilers have to figure out if they want to be the team to pay him.
- Ryan Whitney (UFA): Defensemen always have increased value at the deadline, Whitney is a veteran and a team with depth who could play him on the 3rd pairing plus PP might want him for that role. My guess is they surprise everyone and get a 3rd rd pick for the veteran.
- Mark Fistric (UFA): I think the Oilers sign him in the next few weeks, it is clear they like Fistric plenty. However, if a team came calling and management were of a mind to trade him I doubt the club would get less than the pick they gave up for him (3rd rd pick).
- Ryan Jones (UFA): He’s coming off an eye injury, but his wheels are fine. An NHL team might want to increase their offense in the bottom 6F and have a guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, either.
- Nikolai Khabibulin (UFA): Hasn’t played in awhile, extreme longshot to play in another city at this point. Will the Oilers re-sign him?
Eric Belanger remains on IR. Story here.
Krueger unleashed part of his philosophy on the game yesterday, Terry Jones has the story here. I won’t quote the entire article (it’s a worthwhile read) but did want to grab two passages:
- Krueger: “You need leaders physically. That is a skill that is not considered a skill by many people. For me it’s a huge skill, to be able to play physically, to be a physical presence, to wear down the other team’s defence.”
I have no argument with that statement, but the Oilers have employed physical players who can’t do many of the other things that contribute to winning: passing, taking a pass, staying in the proper defensive position, not taking dumb penalties, not getting out of position to make a big hit–those sorts of things.
One of the best things about the Krueger is that he’s culled the herd–Hordichuk and then Eager on waivers and in OKC–and credit too should be passed along to the Lowe trio for adding Fistric and Brown. Both appear to be better versions of a player type Edmonton feels they need in order to win. We’re a long way from Steve MacIntyre.
- Krueger: “ There are things that are unmeasurable in statistics. Consistent gapping of the opposition Taking away of space. All of those things make the identity of what the Edmonton Oilers want to be.”
I think you’d be able to see positives in Corsi results over time, no? Either way, I understand the point he’s making and it certainly offers insight into his reasoning re: Yakupov in the third period. Read the situation, remember where you’re supposed to be.
Ralph Krueger is a man with a plan.
Two Oiler prospects who have emerged this winter–Jujhar Khaira and Dillon Simpson–will be the subject of an upcoming blog. Simpson turned 20 a month ago and is having a terrific year. When we discuss players turning pro, I think we can safely include him as a possibility based on merit.
San Jose has been struggling for awhile now, this would appear to be a winnable game for the Oildrop. I’ll tell you this: if they win tonight the standings have a chance to look a lot better in the morning:
Colorado, Calgary and Nashville have the look of teams falling away, but a quick to game winning streak for any of these teams changes everything. The Oilers are 3-0-1 in their last 4, and if they can grab 10 points in their 7 games before the deadline (not too hard a task if they’re serious about making the post-season) they should arrive at the deadline in playoff contention.
I spoke with Jason Strudwick on the radio show last weekend about the deadline, and he told me adding a player at the deadline gives a club a tremendous lift, while offloading a key part of the team is difficult to overcome (obvious, but he put it in very specific terms–worth a listen).
Will they add a Ben Bishop? A Mark Streit? A Troy Brouwer? I think we’ll see the Oilers import and export between now and the deadline. No one can argue this team isn’t making every effort, and no one can suggest they are not getting results:
Come on, Tambellini. You owe it to your Oilers to make a deal that improves their chances. God knows you owe it to the fanbase.