What a band. You could drive, fuck, drink, dance or get high listening to their shit.
So now where do the Oilers go?
Basically they have no cap space. This is on a club that missed the playoffs and is, at this moment, probably a little weaker then the one that finished last season. No Brodziak. No Kotalik. Khabibulin and Roloson a wash? Lets say Khabibulin is a little better, just for kicks, although we all know what Roli did last year.
And next season only Pisani comes off the books and Gagner and Cogliano need raises and the cap likely drops. Plus you have to replace Pisani (even with Pisani for less money) so its not like you get 2.5 to work with free and clear.
Oh man are they in a world of shit.
So lets look at who is left out there and see what we can make happen.
So here's problem #1, paying over four million bucks and your backup isn't even a proven backup and your starter usually misses around twenty games. Remember he didn't finish the playoffs.
Damnit this is a mess. They could have had Roloson (and yes I did not want Roli for two years but I'd rather that than Khabi for four) and Anderson for the same amount of cash or Clemmensen and Anderson for less and would have been out from under the contracts sooner. As it stands now if Khabibulin goes down I think that the season will be a writeoff. Unless they move some money they can barely afford a guy like Legace to act as a backup.
Too much money tied up here and they are talking about moving out one guy who might outperform his contract in Smid. Some nice options like Zanon and Montador are gone. I might be interested in Seidenberg to move into the top four.
Here is the problem and its not a bad one to have. They have a nice top six. Heck they have a pretty decent top four. But they have a lot of money sunk into it. Staios can't handle top four anymore and he's paid too much to be in the bottom pair so he really does have to go for starters. He can be replaced although there are not a lot of UFAs out there left that I like, even for the bottom pair. Maybe Bergeron will come back?
That's number one and number two is whether or not they should move one of the top four guys (and yes that means Souray or Visnovsky) to get cap relief. I'm already thinking about next year (how's that for pessimism?) but moving guys like Staios or Nilsson is like putting a bandaid on a gangrenous limb. You have to amputate the fucker or the body will die.
Now having said that the D is the only strength of this club from last year so if nothing shakes loose in terms of forwards then it might be best to stand pat. If JDD is going to be between the pipes then you had better have some decent defencemen.
What a disaster this is. Last season you only had two guys who could win a draw and who had a reasonable idea of where to go in their own zone and they turn around and trade one of them. So now they have Horcoff, a kid who cannot win a draw (worst FO% this decade, is that right?) or play D, another kid who is marginally better in both areas and a third kid who was in the minors nearly all of last season.
So if Brule is going to centre some sort of energy line and Horcoff and Gagner are centres 1A and 1B then the Oilers have four options remaining that I can see. Cogliano is the third centre again. Cogliano moves to the wing and O'Sullivan plays centre. Both of the aforementioned are on the wing and Pouliot is the third pivot. They go out and get at least one guy to help.
This is the one area where available guys remain who can help. Malholtra. Bonk. Moore. Peca. (again I keed)
If I were building the team I would have kept Brodziak myself but that ship has sailed. My second choice would be to sign one of the three just mentioned and then pick up Betts or Marchant or Sillinger to centre the fourth line and add some more depth. But I think that they have decided to go with Brule.
If that is the case then they need a veteran pivot to play heavy minutes who can handle both ends of the rink with a little bit of aplomb. Such a guy is going to put them over the cap or close enough to it that they have no room to manouver at all. So we come back to having to move some salary out.
If they don't find a veteran guy after last season's debacle, if they go into this season weaker down the middle then last season, which they are right now, then Tambellini should be fired right on the spot. Before camp opens.
Well first of all nix Heatley and you can pretty will forget every other high priced LW out there too unless they move a highly priced Dman or bury some salary in the minors. Even if Gagne were coming Philly is not taking any salary in exchange and I doubt Lombardi saw Penner that good to take on his salary for Frolov. Tanguay would be a nice option though he's not really a shooter and you would still need to dump salary.
Penner is problem one. You aren't moving him for nothing likely, you'll be getting a salary dump right back. Nilsson is problem two. Commenter Paper Designer makes the point that he is great value for a top sixer at 1.8 but the problem is he's in the pressbox half the time.
Quinn and Renney are expected to make the team perform better as a whole and I believe that they will be able to do that. I think the PP will be better because even MacT's most ardent defenders accept that MacT did not know the PP (cost us the Cup in '06, imo) and the PK cannot get much worse although this is down to personnel more then system, I think. Still even the coaching decisions with the PK last year were flighty.
But where Quinn and Renney will make their dough and prove the anti MacT faction right is if they can get Penner and Nilsson and Pouliot and Jacques and Brule to produce in whatever roles they are in. Not all of them will be Oilers but if those that are perform consistently then there will be plenty of I told you sos from Hunter and Traktor and others.
And in the end that might be Tambellini's only option after all. Go with the status quo. If Quinn does his job then the team will be better and these guys will have more value to boot. If he flunks out then these guys will be buried in the minors or moved. One year of Nilsson with his career on the line might be something a club chances.
Anyhow lets say for argument's sake that Cogliano goes to the wing. Well someone has to go and it would likely be Robert. He is easier to move then Penner.
I'd move Moreau and replace him with a guy like Fedotenko who brings more for around the same money or Moen who brings around the same but for less money. I'd keep Pisani because he can help and his contract is expiring. Why move him when he'll be off the books and will likely come back for less anyhow.
So you have your veteran line with Pisani and the veteran centre and LW, paid for by moving Nilsson, Moreau and Staios.
Your scrubs can be Jacques, Brule and Stortini with MacIntyre and Reddox or Pouliot if you like. I can't see why they keep MacIntyre around myself. Nice story but I'd prefer my players to be able to skate.
If you really want to make this team a little better dump Brule and Jacques and Pouliot and replace them with guys like Marchant and Pyatt and Betts. Add some guys who are established professionals, even if they are a little aged.
Forget about that Heatley fucker though. What a gongshow that is.
Anyway here is my team if I could do it - I think its pretty reasonable:
Someone other then JDD
Now by Sauer I mean a facsimile of such - a tough minutes defensive guy. McKee could be had for very cheap for the bottom pair I would think and would help the PK.
If Tanguay comes in around 5.5m or so, Sauer at 2M, McKee at 1, Fedotenko at 2 and Malholtra at 2 plus your backup at 1M your team is actually way cheap so for those who loathe the idea of dumping Souray, keep him and you're still a better team and cheaper then the present collection. The guys I'm thinking about for the fourth line are not going to cost much.
Staios, Moreau, Nilsson and Penner would all need new homes and that might mean Springfield but considering there is a Rexall pharmacy on every corner and Katz is willing to blow a wad on 'the Heater' (give him the heater, the high hard cheese), that bum, then I can't see the problem.
You have a nice PVP trio up top, your best kids are still here (and Peckham gets more seasoning) and you have a 'bottom six' that would be no fun to play against.