Saturday, May 31, 2008
Well then its about time I posted about the Oilers, I guess. While LT and Jonathan have been posting regularly about the Oilers I have been watching the playoffs here and there and not really thinking about the Edmontons. Crosby.
With only a week left in the season, max, and the draft and free agent frenzy only weeks away, the Oilers are about to swing back into action as they prepare for next season, hoping to build off their unexpected rush for a playoff spot in the spring. So, here's what I am thinking.
The Smythe is in flux. Vancouver is in disarray (Rest in Peace Luc Bourdon, what a terrible tragedy). Colorado has some nice young talent but some question marks, especially in net and with Joe Sakic. The Wild have some bigtime parts of their team heading for free agency. The Flames are in some cap trouble and look to be running in place. Do I expect the Oilers to make some noise? Why not? Hey, optimism always reigns in the summer, right? They aren't going to be in there with the heavy hitters from Detroit and the Pacific yet but I think this club could contend in the Northwest.
I can't believe I just said that.
Things I am expecting to happen. I think Roloson gets moved somehow. The Oilers now have Fisher, Pitton, Dubnyk and Deslauriers under contract and I think they are going to give JDD a shot at the backup spot. I don't think that is going to be a move that will help them win games but I think they want to give Garon the heavy workload and sign him if that works out and I think they want to see if JDD can play as a backup in the NHL.
The back end is flush with young players with potential. I trust LT's instincts on Hrabel and he joins a crew that includes Wild, Peckham, Chorney, Plante and Petry. Throw in speedbag Mathieu Roy, wealthy Tom Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Smid, Greene and Pitkanen and there be plenty of young Dmen in town to play with vets Staios and Souray. LT is stumping for another vet back there (where have you gone Jan Hejda, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you, whoo whoo whoo) but after a couple of years with too many kids, what's another? All kidding aside I think they bring in a guy like Rourke as insurance, Roy is the seventh man and they move someone, likely Smid, this summer. They will want another year to evaluate Grebs, Joni and Greene and then come 09/10 they will keep who they think will make them a contender, ship out the guys they don't like or don't want to pay, and then fill those spots with a couple of kids. So Smid goes and when Souray goes down Roy will replace him for a couple of shifts and when they stretcher him off we will see Rourke II, Hrabel or Peckham.
Up front the first domino is Glencross. I don't blame a kid who has barely made it for looking for his payday and while I like him a lot I'm not up for paying fourth liners 2 million and up. The Oilers already have too many bottom sixers making too much dough and while that is not Curtis' fault, let him get that money elsewhere. They already have over nine million sunk into Torres, Moreau, Pisani and Stoll. Enough already. I like him but not at the dough they are throwing around.
So if they sign Glencross you can expect that Torres will be moved but if Curtis is a goner then its a LW of Penner, Nilsson, Torres, Moreau and Jacques and when Moreau goes down in TC then the big Frenchman will step in and lets hope he watched a little tape from last year because Jean Francois? Allo? See what that Glencross guy is doing? That's all you need to do. And methinks you have it in you.
RW is Hemsky, Gagner, Pisani, Stortini and maybe Reddox or a surprise although who, I have no idea. Maybe Brodziak moves to the wing and Pouliot plays centre on the fourth line.
Up the middle - Horcoff, Cogliano, Stoll, Brodziak. I think that's how it shakes out. I think they sign Horcoff because even if Stoll rebounds he's also going to get paid next year and the only thing he has on Horc is age. In every other facet of the game 10 is a superior player. Without Torres going Stoll would be the guy you figure would move and it still might happen but I think they hang onto him. If they can't sign Horc they will need Stoll going forward. If he has a rebound year and they sign Horcc then they can move him when he has some more value. I think everything points to him staying unless Lowe makes a move for a top six guy to play with Nilsson and Gagner and drops Cogliano to the third line. Then Stoll is expendable.
Or they might sign Horc this summer, move Stoll and go Horc, Cogliano, Pouliot and Brodziak. Risky but again I think this club is looking to two years from now to start making that push. Having a couple of young cheap guys up the middle in the bottom six - not a bad idea. Lets see if Pouliot and Brodziak can do the job.
Should be less interesting of a summer then the last two, which is ok by my books. Stay the course, tweak a little and see if this past spring was a mirage for some of these guys. Sign Horcoff. Move a couple of more kids in and trim a few guys who aren't going to be part of the future. Smid. Schremp. Roloson. Then see if a playoff spot is in the cards and decide who is part of this team once they really begin to contend. Pitkanen or Grebeskov? Stoll. Torres. And so on.
Posted by Black Dog at 3:33 PM