We’re at a point in the spring where the subject matter reaches a low ebb. I don’t do a prospect ranking until the day after the draft, and the Oilers haven’t signed a Euro ala Belov yet this May (though we remain hopeful). The rumor mill has Alex Edler being added to the possibly available blue (Phaneuf, Ehrhoff, etc), and MacT is raving about Mitchell Moroz. So, we’re in a period where real news is at a significant low.
In the last two days, we’ve established that (as a group) we want Craig MacTavish to be very active this summer, adding NHL players (say, five) in an effort to turn north. He has to do it without trading significant assets, though. Easy! We’ve also established that we are a house divided on Sam Gagner, with some wanting him moved to wing and others preferring a similarly bloated contract in exchange for 89. We don’t agree on much, but are clearly NOT in favor of any profiles of Connor McDavid at this time.
I did this last year, let’s see if we can find anything this spring.
- Who will they take at the entry draft? Aaron Ekblad or Sam Reinhart. If both are gone, Leon Draisaitl. I wouldn’t rule out a big trade between Edmonton and Florida, seems to me there’s a fit of some sort there.
- How will they improve the defense? I’m thinking they will sign a free agent (Matt Greene?) for depth and then try to make a deal for a defenseman. I’ll say Dmitry Kulikov, but would think they are aiming higher. It’s going to be difficult, everyone wants a blue.
- How many rookies on next season’s blue line? I’ll say one, Nurse or Klefbom. Suspect Nurse gets his 9-games (still 9,right?) if he shows well, and they’ll call up Klefbom if the 9 games expose some weaknesses. They may try to sign a significant free agent, if they don’t get Kulikov or similar, but may settle on a lesser player. Edmonton might begin the season Marincin-Petry, Kulikov/Tallinder-Schultz, Ference-Nurse-Klefbom-Greene, something like that, my guess is they try to get a Phaneuf-Edler-Ehrhoff and fall short.
- What will C look like? I think there’s a better chance a center breaks loose this summer. Grabovski and Bolland are available, but likely require too much and too long, so I’ll suggest Vern Fiddler as a useful two-way guy who can help out in a variety of areas. If one of the kids or Arcobello grabs that 2line job, or Gagner stays, Fiddler will be able to impact the bottom 6F and help on the PK. That’s a nice signing.
- What about a winger? I think MacT gets a good one, maybe David Moss. They are available this summer and defense is the area where teams are going to blow their brains out. Kulemin would be nice, and if the Oil can get him and Grabovski, music! Suspect it’s too much to hope for in one summer.
- What will be the big splash? The draft, and I think they’ll deal Gagner which will make news. I think it’s going to be for futures though. Or a big contract like Umberger that comes with its own troubles.
- Is there a chance Gagner is here in the fall? Yes. I don’t think it’s a good one, though.
- Which RFA is most vulnerable to trade? Jeff Petry.
- Will the Oilers add a 2nd or 3rd rd pick? Suspect so.
- Will we be disappointed? Probably. This summer doesn’t set up well for Edmonton, for the draft or for the deals. The Dallas Eakins era has impacted the value of assets across the board.
- What’s on the Lowdown today? We’re only an hour, so it’s Dennis King at 10:05, someone from the Oil Kings broadcast afterward and then GO CANADA!