When the Edmonton Oilers dealt for Jerred Smithson at the trade deadline in the spring, it was no surprise to Oilers fans. Sure, the name might have been worth a raised eyebrow (the price was steep) but the club addressing a need in the middle was a well known fact.
At this point, the Oilers pro depth chart at the position looks like this for opening night (RNH isn’t included due to injury):
- Taylor Hall
- Sam Gagner
- Boyd Gordon
- Will Acton
- Anton Lander
- Mark Arcobello
- Andrew Miller
- Ryan Martindale
- CJ Stretch
- Travis Ewanyk
- Jujhar Khaira
Sure thing in bold, pushing for jobs underlined, the rest are also-rans. Folks, that’s not a great depth chart and the Oilers have addressed need everywhere–except at center. I’ve cried wolf over “balance” and “they’re going to make a trade” since the day this blog was born, and I don’t blame you a bit if you snicker or roll eyes or guffaw.
I believe the Oilers will procure a player who can play center. It makes too much sense. If the NHL team is (for instance) Hall, Gagner, Gordon, new guy, Acton, that’s 5 players who can play NHL center and are on the roster. It leaves the OKC Barons with a depth chart of Arcobello, Lander, Miller and then Stretch versus Martindale for the 4 job with Ewanyk trying to push his way into the everyday lineup (and Khaira off to the American Northwest).
Don’t know. Maybe it’s Ottawa’s Jim O’Brien from the waiver wire or maybe it’s Ottawa’s Zack Smith via trade. Maybe it’s Justin Abdelkader, or maybe it’s someone we know and wouldn’t name if we rolled out 100 names. I just keep looking at that depth chart and not being impressed by the depth beyond #3 C.
And it bugs me. Because Craig MacTavish has addressed defense and goaltending (at the pro level) and even added wingers even though some of us felt there was enough of them. At center? Sent away Horcoff and VandeVelde, brought in Gordon and Acton.
It makes too much sense. Based on his previous actions, Craig MacTavish will add a center. Maybe not before opening night, but before too long. Logic and reason reside in the Oiler offices.