Coming off of one of the most disappointing seasons on recent memory, the Edmonton Oilers are in quite the conundrum. Do they take one of their major pieces on forward and try to upgrade their defense in a big way or do they tinker with the roster and add little pieces without disrupting the team?
Oilers fans, I’m here to tell you that this is a time where you need PATIENCE more than ever. The team has just gone through one of its worst, if not THE worst, injury ravaged seasons of its existence and they still made up 40 goals in its scoring differential. Not only that but the goaltending has been sorted and the team finally has a forward group that will compete with the best teams in the league. What would a healthy roster be able to do?
Brenden Ullrich, who is taking over for Bob Stauffer this week, was talking to Mark Spector on yesterday’s Oilers Now and they were speaking to how the best teams in the league have THREE quality scoring lines and the Oilers are so bloody close to having that!
Hall – Draisaitl – Eberle
Maroon – McDavid – Yakupov
Pouliot – Nuge – Parenteau
Hendricks – Letestu – Pakarinen
What about adding a PA Parenteau to that 3rd line for say $2M. He’s 32, a UFA, and has proven to be a quality player playing that floating role on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche in recent years.
Within that top 9 are players that can easily flow from line 1 to line 3. Take Hall out of that for a dman and you’ve got a huge hole there that would probably be filled by the 18-year-old that the Oilers end up drafting this June. Take Eberle out for a defender and you’re out 25-35 goals. Deal Nuge and you’re centre depth is gonzo.
Now you might say they Oilers could replace them in free agency but that is a mighty big gamble if you ask me. Sure you could overpay someone to come in but there’s no guarantee they’d perform nor is there a guarantee that anybody would even sign in Edmonton. The only guarantee the Oilers have right now is that the players they have now are signed and they’ve set the bar as to what we can expect from them.
There is one option that wouldn’t hurt the team all that much that would allow the Oilers to trade a RWer like Eberle or Yak OR a LWer like Pouliot or Hall. Moving Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the wing for the entirety of next season. This would give the Oilers the option of signing a 3C along the lines of Riley Nash or Frans Nielsen without leaving a gaping black hole on the wing in the top 6.
I’m not a huge fan of it but if a healthy Oilers defense is THAT bad, then I suppose this is a viable option I would support.
The defense only needs one piece really though. And to be honest, that’s all they’re probably going to get this summer. Maybe that piece is Vatanen if Anaheim doesn’t re-sign him. Pretty good for the no.4 slot I say
Klefbom – Sekera
Davidson – Vatanen
Nurse – Fayne
There’s no need to blow up the top 6 with either a huge trade or a mega-overpayment on a free agent when just tinkering with this team would benefit it greatly. The Oilers don’t have to trade Hall, Nuge, Eberle, or Yakupov. Look at that roster above with only 2 minor moves made. This is a competitive roster and the Oilers are not in the position to be nit-picking over how many RH’d dmen they have (Vatanen and Parenteau are RH’d by the way).
When it looks like the team needs to make a change in the most desperate of ways and it’s most important players and draft picks are rumoured to be in play, that is the exact time that the ownership, the GM and the fans need to display patience because if they don’t, that is when mistakes are made.