The to-do list is now down to a manageable number for Craig MacTavish, but the items left are the things that will shape his early career in the GM’s chair. A misstep and you’re waiting five years for the end of the contract, and a home run and you’ve vaulted your team into the second season.
- Sign Sam Gagner to a multi-year deal that has begins with a number in the 4′s
- Get Paajarvi signed and then find a role that suits him (suspect it’s 3line).
- Find a 2line L who can complement Gagner-Yakupov with puck retrieval, blocking out the sun, etc
- Find a 4line C
- Deal Hemsky for immediate help (even if its a checker).
Let’s see if we can figure out what MacTavish was trying to do in free agency but was unable to because of dollars and sense.
So, that’s one Frank Mahovlich and one tough 2-way winger with some skill. I’m not going to count Ryan Jones (who was signed later) as the Nystrom and so let’s go to market and see if we can come up with a few names that resemble these fellows. Now, one thing. There are no Frank Mahovlich’s, so instead of a big, strong, gifted scorer who could take and make a pass and drive to the net while also winning board battles we’re going to accept guys who have some of those qualities. It’s not completely fair, but it beats staring at a blank page.
- L Tomas Vanek. I understand, he’s expensive and they’re not going to give him away and then you have to sign him and and and. If you’re looking for a solution to the top 6F problem, Vanek is a great one. No worries about fighting through traffic and he has a scorer’s touch.
- R Blake Wheeler. Big guy and skilled, the Jets must love him but they’re also interested in getting better and dealt for Setoguchi so maybe they’re done (Jets don’t do much). He’s a nice fit though.
- L David Perron. Like him, think he’s available and wrote about it here.
- W Nikolai Kulemin. Love this player. I think he’d be able to play anywhere on either wing and be the Pisani until Paajarvi takes over. Wonderful talent.
- L Curtis Glencross. Overpay will be required, but if the Oilers are serious about improving the team Glencross would be an outstanding addition.
- L Vinny Prospal. Old as the hills and twice as dusty, but he qualifies under several of the stated requirements. A fine player forever.
- L Dustin Penner. I know, and I know. However, if you’ve missed out on Clarkson and need someone to play with Gagner and be big and skilled, who not go with someone who has been successful with Gagner and can be big and skilled? I know.
- R Joel Ward. Big contract and the offense can sputter, but this guy can also win battles along the wall.
- L Brendan Morrow. I know he’s close to done and he wasn’t much in Dallas, but he’d be playing on a skill line in Edmonton and should cash at .5 per game or thereabouts. The big thing is he has no speed at all. I wonder how much faster he is (if any) than Smyth?
- R Adam Cracknell. Big guy, decent hands and would certainly bring some attitude to the bottom 6.
- C Peter Mueller: He’s no tough guy, but does have size and skill. Concussions a concern, but he was fairly healthy this past season.
- R Colby Armstrong. Always liked this player, he’s battled injuries and bad timing. Worth taking a chance?