In order to know where we’re going, it’s important to remember where we’ve been. The 2013 summer began with legit promise—new GM with fresh verbal, maturing 2010 cluster, our man Nail ending the season with a bang, and of course, tomorrow just around the corner.
A year later, it’s London after the blitz. It’s a hard candy Christmas. It’s turn this crazy bird around, should not have got on this flight tonight.
I wonder if Craig MacTavish believes the kids fooled him. I suspect the reason he hired a hardass like Eakins is he felt discipline and single-minded purpose was an issue. Either way, it was a disaster and the Ramsay hire suggests to me coach and manager want to create a more productive atmosphere. It won’t be available to everyone from last season though—MacT has to build a bridge for these kids, and some of those same kids are going to pay for that bridge with new addresses this summer.
The untouchables: Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Schultz. I don’t even agree with the list, but here we go.
THINGS I THINK I THINK
First, I have no affiliation with anyone involved or employed with the Edmonton Oilers. My insider stuff usually comes from roofers who worked on Katz’ Dad’s place in the 1960s, and they think Mike Babcock is coming here. I don’t write those things on this blog.
The following comes from years of observing this club, assuming the Oilers cannot for the life of them keep a secret, and reason. They are not rumors.
We could see the following:
- Nail Yakupov is or will be available in a ‘impact prospect re-set’ should the opportunity arise. Nail for NY Islanders No. 5 overall, as an example.
- Sam Gagner traded. If MacT is going to build up the middle, moving 89 out of there is job 1. After that, a move to wing is possible, but unlikely unless David Perron is vital to a huge deal.
- No. 3 overall available for the right price. Oilers would trade back, not out, of top 10 overall.
- Jeff Petry is in that exact spot where Oiler draft picks begin to get paid. Many get the bowling pin.
- Martin Marincin is the young defenseman most vulnerable.
- The Pinizzotto contract may end up being a bigger deal than we thought at the time.
- Fewer Grebeshkov-style bets—”hey, he was good 5 years ago and says he’ll get in shape”—a more focused summer ahead.
- Leon Draisaitl.
- Free agency: Mark Spector had a killer article up the other day, based on his and MacT’s verbal I would say the club might go hard after a center (Grabovski, Legwand) and a helpful winger (Kulemin, Winnik, Moss).
MACT’S SUMMER 2014 LIST
- A veteran top pairing defenseman. A real man, big time EV minutes and a history of successful sorties.
- A 2line C with experience and the ability to play a two-way game. This is the other vital piece.
- A legit two-way winger who can score 12-15 goals. The Pisani role. Mentor, calms the waters.
- 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.
I think we’re going to see a monster deal for a defenseman, and significant additions up front by this time next month. The list this season is shorter, but the cost in dollars and assets will be dear. I think we’re going to see bridge additions—Legwand/Grabovski and Moss/Kulemin—along with an established top 4 defender like Dion Phaneuf, Braydon Coburn or Dustin Byfuglien—coming to Edmonton in the next month.
I’ve read many voicing the opinion that MacT can’t accomplish all of this in one summer. I’d suggest the list is much smaller this year, and it’s extremely important he deliver a viable option on defense, center and wing. Based on the state of the team, and the anger in the marketplace, he doesn’t have any choice I can see.
Making this a very dangerous summer. There will be blood.