One of the things we can do while biding our time is check out possible acquisitions for summer. Niklas Hjalmarsson (Chicago player in photo) is a 21 minutes a night defenseman who has a reasonable CorsiRel considering his zone start (most severe) and qual comp (toughest). He has nice boxcars (45, 2-8-10 +14) for his player type and at $3.5M and a year from free agency maybe he’s a guy MacT can pull out of Chicago.
I admit to watching Winnipeg a little these days, a little melancholy about missing out the heartbreak of a season’s effort falling just short. One of the things these lottery seasons rob from us is the connection to the prime time of the sport–the period where the games become important and winning is life and death. For Oiler fans, that season is a distant memory, something we can barely remember.
The lottery seasons have brought us Hall, Nuge, Yak and the others, but it’ll be nice to see spring with games that matter someday soon.
If we could steal Stu MacGregor’s laptop (please do not steal his laptop, sure as hell a google search gets them here and I’m off to Bowden for the summer) the top of the board might look like this:
- Seth Jones
- Nathan MacKinnon
- Jonathan Drouin
- Sasha Barkov
- Sean Monahan
Right now, the Oilers are slated to draft 6th overall:
- 1st Florida
- 2nd Colorado
- 3rd Tampa Bay
- 4th Nashville
- 5th Carolina
- 6th Edmonton
I think it would be noxious for the Oilers to win the lottery (seriously, the league needs to do something about their draft rules if the Oilers grab a 4th first overall selection), but on the other hand I’d love to see the MacT era kick off with one of those five.
One team MacT could steal ideas from are the New York bloody Islanders. You talk about moneyball, Garth Snow (himself a moneyball type GM pickup) has been a waiver wizard over the years and the team’s depth has improved because of it.
Among the names claimed by NYI are Michael Grabner, Thomas Hickey, Evgeni Nabokov. They’ve also signed several minor free agents like Colin McDonald who have found their way on the Island.
Tambellini passed on some useful pieces this year, and now he’s sitting in limbo.
One time years ago my friend Louise and I were at Oilers training camp (don’t remember the year) and went to the Coliseum Inn for lunch between scrimmages. We can talk all damn day about the Oilers and in the middle of the conversation MacT and his coaching staff walked in and sat down to do the same thing.
I always wonder about the two conversations. The coaching staff has all kinds of things that make them more qualified to assess talent, and of course inside knowledge about which players are mature, which ones have injuries that could shorten their careers, etc.
However, the topics and tone are probably similar. Edmonton has a pretty damn intelligent fan base and the problems can be seen from miles away, especially after so many years of failure.
I would suggest most of us feel the Oilers need:
- A quality, veteran NHL defenseman to play with Schultz the younger
- A legit C to play behind Nuge, Gagner and Horc. This player should be able to slide up the depth chart, because we know injuries will impact the position.
- A veteran winger (probably portside) to go with Hall-Eberle, Paajarvi-Yakupov, ????-Hemsky. I think the Oilers could get by with Smyth-Hartikaien as the 4line options next year.
- A solid backup goalie.
Now that’s my list, your mileage may vary. Four additions, that’s fewer than last summer and the kids will be a year older. If MacT could add Hjalmarsson, Boyd Gordon, Stalberg or Torres and Khudobin? I’m just doing blue sky here and you probably have your own names, but the point is made. The Oilers are a few well chosen players from being good enough to contend:
- G: Dubnyk, Khudobin
- D: Smid-Petry; Hjalmarsson-J Schultz; N Schultz-Klefbom; Potter
- C: Nuge, Gagner, Horcoff, Gordon, Lander
- L: Hall, Paajarvi, Stalberg, Smyth
- R: Eberle, Yakupov, Hemsky, Hartikainen, Brown
Let’s say that’s what Louise and I decide on during our lunch (this is my list and Louise is a smart cookie with her own opinions so I’m sure there would be “tweaking”), these are your Edmonton Oilers 2013 fall.
What about the coaching conversation? I have a feeling they are looking at goaltending a little more than we are (we’ve talked about this, the Bishop and Luongo discussions), and suspect MacT is going to add a bigger name on the blue. The rest? Suspect it’s close.
Bottom line: Oiler fans know this team pretty well, and MacT is a very smart guy. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to see these moves develop and compare them to our own lists.
What’s your list?