Friday, September 01, 2006
THN has the Oilers finishing behind the Canucks, the Kings, the Coyotes, the Blue Jackets, the Wild and the Stars.
I can't see it and here's why.
At the turn of last year the Oilers were fighting for first place in their division.
This despite shoddy goaltending. (Ty Conklin replaced by Dwayne Roloson)
Terrible third pair on D. (Cross and Ulanov replaced by Greene and Tarnqvist)
No Spacek, Tarnstrom or Samsonov. (all acquired later on)
Mike Peca a 4M per faceoff man.
Add to this team Joffrey Lupul (28 goals) and Petr Sykora (22 goals in an off year).
Subtract Chris Pronger.
Now, I am not naive. The Oilers don't get back to the Finals with their team as constituted presently.
I do think they get to the playoffs, even with this bunch.
And if October proves that Smid is not ready, that Bergeron will never be better then third pair material and that Hejda should have stayed in Europe, then does anyone really believe Lowe will stand idly by and tank the season? (and I know that all of these are very possible)
Unlike many of his rivals (Canucks, for example) he has a pile of prospects and young players and the salary cap room to make a deal.
Would it be comforting if they had another top four Dman or two? Absolutely. Should they have gone out and paid 5M per year for four years to get Pavel Kubina?
If the present bunch is not up to it, Lowe will add a Dman or two.
And this team will be in the playoffs. And it won't be a squeaker either.
That's all I'll say about that for now.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:33 PM