This week, we’ve examined the current state of the team and possible moves to improve. This has resulted in some of the most negative posting on this blog, ever. I was dm’ed last night and asked ‘why now?’ and thought it might be an idea to explain my thoughts. Here’s the deal. Do you remember that list I used all last summer? Let’s have a quick look at it and see how things turned out.
MACT’S SUMMER 2013 LIST
Top 4 defender(signed Andrew Ference) Sign Sam Gagner to a multi-year deal that has begins with a number in the 4′s(3 years, $4.8M cap hit) Find a 2line L who can complement Gagner-Yakupov(it was David Perron) Get Paajarvi signed and then find a role that suits him(it was David Perron) NHL goalie(LaBarbera was the choice) Find a 3line C(Gordon an ideal fit) Find a 4line C(Acton external, Lander internal options) Find a 3line R(It was Hemsky) Deal Hemsky for immediate help(best trades sometimes are the ones you don’t make) Deal Horcoff or slot him into the 3line job for which he is actually ideal.(Set him free) Better blue depth(MacT signed Belov and Larsen, plus Klefbom/Fedun/Marincin) AHL #1/NHL #3 goalie(Bachman)
It’s interesting to see how many things connected—solving 2L with Perron by also solving the Paajarvi question—and we should assume the same thing this summer. Except, the things Edmonton had a year ago to trade are not here now. Magnus Paajarvi, Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, they’re all gone now. The men Edmonton may have to offer this season are younger fellows, some who the team should be keeping, others the team should be waiting to deal. Sending away Sam Gagner today, or Nail Yakupov, is exactly the kind of thing a bad team does every summer.
How then, do the Oilers solve this year’s problems?
MACT’S SUMMER 2014 LIST
- A veteran top pairing defenseman, one who can play 25 minutes a night in all three disciplines.
- A 2line C with experience and the ability to play a two-way game. He needs to score 40 points and do some heavy lifting. He also needs to be mentor to Yakupov, as needed and that might be the entire season.
- A legit two-way winger who can score 12-15 goals, kill penalties, and mentor young up and comers as needed.
- Find a way to get value, or make use of, Sam Gagner. This does not include time at center.
- Improve the bottom 6F’s.
- Retain as much of the young cluster as possible, understanding that the player who represents #1 on this list might cost a young D who will one day fill that role.
- Get Petry signed long term.
- Sign Schultz but DO NOT break the bank.
Well, it’s a shorter list, that’s good. On the other hand, the needs are for players higher up the food chain. Good news? Don’t know. Higher risk? Yes.
MY KINDGDOM FOR A PISANI
One of the key elements to Edmonton’s success in these next seasons will be finding and developing talent. We saw two ‘false starts’ this past season, and two examples of players who may be here for a decade. The ‘false starts’ were Tyler Pitlick and Anton Belov, as both players offered some promise but did not capture the jobs available. It would seem a better fate awaits Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom, who arrived, adjusted well, and showed enough to be strong contenders for NHL action this coming season. An ideal situation would have Klefbom going back to the AHL for half a season, but it’s doubtful Edmonton will have the kind of depth required to make it happen.
The big jobs, the 25 minute defenseman and the 2line C who can mentor Yakupov and fend off the pack of wolves in the Pacific, those jobs need to come from outside. Edmonton would be so much stronger if some of these AHL forwards, like Pitlick and Lander, could help in the bottom 6.
OILERS CURRENT 2014-15 ROSTER (signed and RFA’s)
- Center: Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Boyd Gordon, Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander
- Left Wing: Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Jesse Joensuu, Luke Gazdic
- Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, David Perron, Matt Hendricks
- Left Defense: Martin Marincin, Andrew Ference, Oscar Klefbom
- Right Defense: Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Phil Larsen
- Goal: Ben Scrivens, Viktor Fasth
Craig MacTavish has to make some moves, but there’s also real danger. Trading away a decade of Marincin for Ference 2.0 is a horrible possibility, but defensemen are at such a massive premium this summer, it’s going to be almost impossible to improve this lot via trade. There’s every chance one of Petry, Marincin or Klefbom is headed out of town.