It’s easy to forget the Edmonton Oilers haven’t dressed their 20 best men in any game this season. Nuge is back, Gagner is closer but Hall is out and could be gone for some time. Damn Sam anyway. Among the things Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins are faced with today is replacing Taylor Hall on 1L. Sure they’ll dress Ryan Jones, but replacing Hall in the lineup (1L) is a tall damn order.
That’s the short term solution. Jones draws in (I know many want him with Arcobello-Perron but I like this better, at least to start) for the first game but I can’t imagine that’s going to be the long term solution. The Oilers are versatile enough at the top end that we can look for any forward (even a center) for callup. That means the house wines are:
- Linus Omark: Leading scorer in OKC, he might/should help the PP and if you’re not going to give him a chance now it’ll never happen. He is not a good defensive winger, and that’s a consideration.
- Anton Lander: Although a center, Lander has NHL experience, can help on the PK and might be a better solution for the 3line than Jones right now.
- Tyler Pitlick: I’d say he is more of a 4line option and you’d like him to have a long period of success in OKC (he hasn’t had that yet) but this might be a good time to have a look when they’re using live ammo.
- Ben Eager: Eakins has been fairly consistent in how he’s going to use his 4line types, but maybe he feels Eager can handle a 3line role.
If it’s long term, I think the Oilers are going to have to make a deal. I’m hopeful it’ll be for a Nikolai Kulemin type–a 2-way winger who could step onto that 3line and make a difference right away. I also think a long term injury will mean a tweak for the 4th line. They could also use the waiver wire while they’re down here, although the Oilers traditionally claim thumpers when going that route.
MAKING THE BEST OF IT
If the Oilers do make a deal, one area that may be attractive to other teams is NHL defensemen. I’ve listed Ladislav Smid as a trade option so often it’s become something of a running joke, so instead of doing that let’s approach it this way. If an NHL team approached the Oilers with a trade offer but wanted a veteran blueliner in return, how could the Oilers replace a veteran defender?
Well, they have AHL options (Taylor Fedun, Martin Marincin, etc) and a few guys who are injured (Corey Potter) or going back between EDM and OKC (Phil Larsen). However, is Marincin (as an example) ready to step in and play at a higher level (top 6 NHL minutes)? Is Klefbom? I don’t think they are, or maybe it’s better to say they haven’t clearly established that they are ready.
Is Potter a worthy replacement? Larsen? I don’t know the answer but it is not a clear yes or no, and that’s not a good thing.
If all of that is true, then the Oilers don’t have the horses to trade for a Kulemin at this point in time WITHOUT using a needed NHL asset to satisfy it, and don’t have the farm workers to cover the loss.
In other words, robbing Peter to pay Paul (using a very old phrase).
Tomorrow night’s game is a big one. If the Oilers return from the road trip 3-6-1, the trip (2-3-1) will have been a difficult but not disastrous completion of the first 10 games of the schedule. There are good things happening, this club has enough veterans on it to compete if they can stay in the hunt. That’s really what I want from this season: a trade deadline where we’re not discussing sending out Hemsky, and I don’t want to know the draft quality in November. That would be nice.
Oilers will probably update us on Taylor Hall in the next 30 hours, I’m going to think happy thoughts and listen to the top 40 until we hear something. Lalalalalalala. It’s the only way to go. Dallas Eakins will have them working on the powerplay, I suspect MacT will be trying to add someone (might be a defenseman). I still believe in this team, and maybe that’s the big item here. The loss of Taylor Hall would was devastating in past seasons, but the depth is better this year. Let’s not kid ourselves, though. A 3-week timeline for return should be considered a gift from the Hockey Gods. Taylor Hall is this team’s best player.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A lot to talk about this morning, 10am on TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow from mc79hockey. We’ll talk about the Hall injury, the road trip, the Swarm and more.
- Jeff Krushell from Krush Performance. We’ll talk about knee injuries, and recovery timelines. And baseball!
- Travis Yost from Hockeybuzz. We’ll talk about the Senators season so far, the Oilers win Saturday and what isn’t going right for the Sens.
- Arif Hasan from the Daily Norseman. I’ll ask if Bud Grant is going to go with Fran Tarkenton.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide on twitter.