Ralph Krueger’s exit interview Sunday gave us some clues about what direction the team will be headed next season. Based on word and tone, I think we’re going to see some major changes, and probably at least one big name heading out of town. All of the quotes below are courtesy Edmonton Oilers twitter:
- Krueger on the roster: “We will be a better team next year and there will be some personnel changes, we all know that.”
- Krueger on Dubnyk: “He took another step but he’s still far away from his full potential, which is exciting.”
- Krueger on 5×5 play: “You need to combine grit with skill.”
- Krueger on his shopping list: “A puck moving, powerplay, left-handed shot defenseman”
This falls in line with what MacT said last night and what we’re hearing. Dubnyk is progressing but they’re not completely satisfied–explains the interest in Ben Bishop and opens the door for further Luongo rumors. The item about combining grit and skill suggests we’re going to see an NHL winger with size airlifted onto the roster (probably 2line LW). Someone in the Milan Lucic-Curtis Glencross-RJ Umberger family would be my guess.
And the last item is Mark Streit family.
So, if you’re going to get a big winger with size, skill and attitude who is also an actual NHL player, there are three things that have value:
- Picks and prospects
- taking on cap dollars
- Oilers roster players
The Oilers have:
- a top 10 pick this year and several prospects of note
- cap room
- players who may be available
My preference would be for the Oilers to trade some cap space for a useful winger who can actually play. That may or may not be enough. If they’re adding a player to the top 6, then someone is heading out of town or moving down the depth chart:
- Taylor Hall: foundation centerpiece
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: major building block
- Nail Yakupov: See Nuge
- Jordan Eberle: I cannot see them trading the guy. He’s part of the cluster of youth, it’s too soon to break up the band.
- Sam Gagner: leaves a hole at center, can play with these supremely skilled wingers and deliver points.
- Ales Hemsky: Remains an effective player when healthy, his health, price tag and impending free agency may impact value.
- Magnus Paajarvi: Had a very nice season, solidified his place in the NHL and can slide up and down the batting order. Probably doesn’t have enough value to get desired return on his own.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
It means we’re probably going to be surprised, shocked, nonplussed, stunned, agog, when the trade goes down. Unless the Oilers can use the cap room, the first round pick or prospects and secondary moderns to pluck a PF out of an NHL city, then we’re talking one of the cornerstones of the cluster being changed out for a new man. An extremely dangerous way for the new GM to begin his regime.
If we’re looking for clues, Sam Gagner not making Team Canada for the WHC’s might be one. Kevin Lowe is part of the management group, and Gagner had a much better season than Matt Read (who is on the team). Could be nothing, maybe Gagner was injured or done (he was off his pace down the stretch, 14, 1-6-7 -3 in April). I’m hoping they keep Gagner.
We wait, secure in the knowledge there’s something on the horizon aside from crickets.
I may have suggested this is the past, but there is one other idea that could work: the 3-for-1. Unlike the urban legends ‘three scoring lines’ and ’50/50 winner is Lowetide’ the three for one HAS been seen in my lifetime: Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lynch for Chris Pronger.
The Oilers could gather up some nice things for the PF: say Paajarvi (I know, I know), Marincin and a 2012 2nd rd pick for one of these NHL power forwards? Or, 1st rd pick, Hartikainen and something.
Three for one. It’s time has come.
THE LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
This morning at 10am Edmonton time it’s a brand new show–”The Lowdown with Lowetide”–on the TEAM 1260. The show will focus on hockey but we’ll tackle other sports (especially during the off-season). The format will be very similar to the Saturday show, and I hope you can join me. If not, and you’d like to hear the show after it airs, all programs are downloaded into “podcasts” on the TEAM 1260 site (there’s a prompt on the home page) within minutes of show’s end.
Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow from mc79 hockey. Tyler’s approach to advanced stats produces outstanding works and thought provoking results. He’s been working on the Oilers season recently and we’ll talk about his latest work–Oiler fans will be very interested in what he has to say.
- Jason Gregor from the JG Show. We’ll talk about the Oilers, Whitney and Krueger’s comments from yesterday and MacT’s state of the union (which is today).
- James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail. We’ll discuss today’s draft lottery and the NHL playoffs that get underway this week.
- Kent Simpson from Team 1260′s Oil Kings broadcasts. Kent will update us on the Oil Kings as they get ready for the G7 against Calgary.
- Evan Daum from the Edmonton Journal. We’ll talk Oil Kings and the upcoming CFL draft.
Now, we’re going to try a call-in segment on this show, I’m hoping some of you will call in with intelligent comments. I’ll also read emails and tweets (I can’t remember which segment is open line) and look forward to it. Hope you can tune in!