After a busy day of free agency (Oilers signed SIX players!) our attention turns to things like roster makeup and balance. We know the roster still has many tasks before completion but it does seem we’re arriving at a picture we can comprehend.
Craig MacTavish likes NHL players, and he likes strength ‘up the middle’ and those things are going to get a lot of attention this summer. He also wants a physical player who can play a complementary role in the top 6F and those things are on the ‘to do’ list.
- Craig MacTavish: “three small players with similar skill sets seldom create the synergy that you need to have a dominant line.”
- Craig MacTavish: “the good thing is we don’t need to add the high-end skill, we need the complementary pieces now. I know those pieces are easier to come by. They’re still difficult, but they’re easier to come by.”
That’s what yesterday (and today) is about for me, gathering those valuable NHL guys who you can flat out count on with 28 seconds left in the period and your rookie defenseman losing his shit. You can laugh about Andrew Ference all you want, and yesterday’s thread was rife with putdowns and piling on, but Andrew Ference is an actual NHL player. Full stop. So is Boyd Gordon, so is LaBarbera. More please.
I expect this is how Craig MacTavish felt after the Clarkson fail (thank baby Jesus for it btw). Big wingers were flying off the shelves to the point where even ‘mid July’ guys like Benoit Pouliot were gone by midday. Crazy. However, there are probably some options out there today and the trade route is also available. Among the interesting names in the category:
- R Peter Mueller: Big player with skill. A solid option.
- R Matt Halischuk: Just average size but physical and has some skill.
- L Jesse Joensu: Oilers already signed him. MacT said he’s different than Harski and IsMental, suspect it has a lot to do with the play not dying with him and making and taking a pass.
- L Guillaume Latendresse: Big, thick player with skill, footspeed the issue.
- R Jack Skille: From the ‘looks like a hockey player but doesn’t really do much’ family, but he’s got some things.
- L Dustin Penner: I know.
- R Chuck Kobasew: Injuries have impacted him but there’s a player there.
Or they could just trade for Beau Bennett.