The mind can play tricks on you, especially when advanced age comes to town. I remember the Oilers deploying Stan Weir and Ron Chipperfield at center early on, and then graduating to names like Matti Hagman and Laurie Boschman before landing on the Gretzky-Messier-Linseman-McClelland group that won Stanley in 1984. There were a bunch of auditions between 1979 and 1984 that I’d forgotten before looking at Leafs trades the other day. Oilers haven’t found a No. 3 center since Strome left for Manhattan. You know what? That Strome trade is less than two years old. Edmonton has tried Ryan Spooner, Sam Gagner, Jujhar Khaira, Gaetan Haas, Riley Sheahan and others since. I think Tippett believes in Khaira as No. 4 center. Are there any good options for No. 3 center?
Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.
- New Lowetide: How close are the Oilers to deploying two formidable scoring lines?
- Jonathan Willis: Can the Oilers find value picks among the 2020 NHL Draft’s impressive Russians?
- Lowetide: 10 free agent targets for the Oilers this offseason
- Lowetide: What if the Oilers went scorched earth in front of 2020 free agency?
- Lowetide: Examining Matt Benning’s future with the Edmonton Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 Prospects, Summer 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Unqualified RFAs could be top offseason targets for the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Legendary Oilers PA announcer Mark Lewis discusses his temporary comeback
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s bet on Andreas Athanasiou and how Oilers will proceed
- Lowetide: Lessons learned from the ghosts of Oilers’ draft weekends past
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘We’ll learn and grow from it’: Connor McDavid’s tune different compared to last year
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Who stays? Who goes? The most likely players to stay with and leave the Oilers
- Lowetide: A rational approach for the Oilers at the 2020 draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What’s holding back the Oilers? Superstars’ defence and team’s depth under focus
ROSTER NO. 1
I like to try these ideas out and see how they shine. CapFriendly’s roster game is great fun, usually end up making some ridiculously favourable trades just to get where I want to go. In this case, I bought out James Neal, traded Kris Russell to Winnipeg for Mason Appleton, dealt Jesse Puljujarvi and Alex Chiasson to Florida for Henrik Borgström and Lucas Wallmark, while signing Mike Hoffman, Jesper Fast and Anton Khudobin. I have $1,338,001 in cap room.
Is this realistic? Hell no! I wanted to point out what I see as the vital acquisitions over the next year or so: A two-way winger for McDavid’s line, a scoring winger for McDavid’s line, a third-line center and a 1B goalie. That’s a lot, and cap is an issue, thus offloading of Kris Russell. So, when you need Hoffman, Fast, Khudobin and Wallmark and can’t afford them, what do you do?
ROSTER NO. 2
This is a far more long-term approach, signing Bear to a long contract and going short term and inexpensive everywhere else. I made a couple of trades: Kris Russell and Dmitri Samorukov to the Winnipeg Jets for Adam Lowry and Mikhail Berdin. Lowry plays tough minutes but did struggle in 2019-20 and has just one year left on his deal. He also had a poor offensive year but averages 25 points per 82 games. I also dealt Matt Benning to Florida for goalie Chris Driedger, who has been posting good numbers for the last two seasons. A UFA in one year, he and Berdin are stop-gap measures who didn’t cost a lot. Both could play. Signing Athanasiou and Ennis also fits the ‘safe mode’ feel of this group.
What is your preference? Bold moves in a time of uncertainty or a quiet offseason with small tweaks?
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy day gets started at 10 on TSN1260. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will guide us through the Saturday hockey broadcasts. How should the networks handle the re-start of the playoffs? Matt Iwanyk pops in at 11 for point-counterpoint, we’ll talk Oilers, NFL and the Jays. We’ll also chat ‘Matt Cook Foundation’ 24-hour game that starts tonight at 6! 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!