Oiler fans this morning are experiencing a lot of things: anticipation, hope, fear, anxiety, foreboding. Mostly though, they just want to be assured that this entire thing is headed in a good direction. For awhile now–maybe a week or two–we’ve kind of been getting an idea that MacT is going to blow this thing up.
I think it’s going to be the defense. It makes complete sense: Edmonton already has their offensive impact players–three first rounders, a quality RW in Eberle and a very good C in Sam Gagner. That’s 5 impressive F options, and we know that if the club throws a complementary player on the Nuge-Eberle line that player is going to score if he’s any damn good at all. We’re entering the era where pairs (Nuge-Ebs, Gagner-Hall, ???-Yak) may end up being the order of the day. If they can find options under $2M for the other three spots, maybe we’ll be looking at the unicorn offense (3 scoring lines) we’ve been reading about since I was in my 20′s.
DEFENSE (SIGNED OR RFA)
|N SCHULTZ||J SCHULTZ|
This is the problem, it’s been the problem since G7 SCF 2006. We can talk about center (and we did) and goaltending (and we will) but this group isn’t good enough by plenty. If the Oilers are going to get better–really get better–they are going to need a top pairing defender and he’s going to cost plenty in assets and money.
- Smid-Petry would be a solid 2nd pairing.
- The Schultz twins would be a good 3rd pairing.
Let’s go to the Vollman Sledgehammer and blow our brains out on a top defender.
EASTERN CONFERENCE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER
Interesting list, it gives us some less than ridiculous options like Sekera in Buffalo and Gunnarson in Toronto. The problem is those guys aren’t going anywhere, so we’re left with the expensive fellows (Phaneuf, Bogosian) who also are unlikely to move. Tough stuff this acquiring franchise defensemen. I’m also going to include Adam Larsson on the list.
WESTERN CONFERENCE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER
I’m intrigued by several names here: OEL, Zbynek Michalek, Pietrangelo, Tyutin, Nikitin, hell there’s some nice things here. I’d love to hear your opinion, but I’m going to assume the Oilers can find a way to acquire Tyutin from the Jackets. I’m not sure what EDM would have to give up, but Columbus does have more blue than forwards and if there’s a Howson connection maybe that can make things work. CBJ has no need for draft picks and that’s for sure.
|FEDOR TYUTIN||JEFF PETRY|
|LADISLAV SMID||JUSTIN SCHULTZ|
|NICK SCHULTZ||ANTON BELOV|
|OSCAR KLEFBOM||COREY POTTER|
|MARTIN MARINCIN||TAYLOR FEDUN|
Two questions: is that enough? Adding Tyutin and Belov to the top 6 should improve things, but is there a need to go get Sekera too? Thoughts?