What’s up Oilers fans and hockey fans alike? Here we are at the unofficial second half of the season, and wouldn’t you know it. Our boys in blue and orange are tied for first place in the Pacific with San Jose. Yeah, you read that correctly! Even if they played .500 hockey the rest of the way they’d still most likely make it into the second season. That’s right dude’s and dudette’s, the “playoffs”! It’s been a long time coming since we could all talk about post season dreams at the start of February. And these aren’t just dreams right now really, at this point the Oilers are almost a lock for the playoffs. Exciting times for sure! It’ll be something for Edmonton to just make it into the show, that in itself would leave a lot of the fans satisfied.
But me personally, I’m saying why not this year? Right? Why not make a hard run at it NOW? Look at the way McDavid, Talbot, and Draisaitl are playing for example. These guys are fired up beyond all hell! Then you throw in the strong play from the veterans, and the surprisingly great rookie, Matt Benning. This is a fantastic team, honestly. The Oilers have made more than just a great turnaround, I believe that they’ve put themselves into the conversation about “who is a threat to come out of the Western Conference this year”. Why not try and capitalize on a strong campaign from their young core group that is playing so well? The trade deadline is coming up and the Oilers should definitely be considered “buyers” going into it. I actually hope that they are one of the more aggressive players leading up to the deadline, without disrupting the balance of the team or throwing away the future. Which we all know can happen when trades don’t work out, like we’ve all seen with some deadline deals in the past. We need to hit “home runs” during the McDavid era. Easier said than done.
The Oilers definitely have some holes to fill, for example, nobody in the Oilers organization is 100% sure if Laurent Brossoit is ready to step in as the backup to Cam Talbot yet. He showed very well against the Flames, and those who know me, know that I am a HUGE Brossoit supporter. But I do believe that Edmonton will still be shopping for a veteran backup ‘tender (hopefully with playoff experience and on the last year of their contract) to shore up their goalie situation. But I do hope that Laurent gets some more games in before the deadline, and has some excellent performances to give the Oilers brass something to consider when thinking about the backup position. If they are to make a trade for a goalie (which seems inevitable at this point), Ondrej Pavelec is a name that comes to mind. They probably wouldn’t even need to give up much to acquire him as he’s fallen completely out of favor in Winnipeg. But I think that he’d be a massive upgrade over “The Monster”, and allow the inexperienced Brossoit to go back down to Bakersfield for more seasoning and to play top minutes. Talbot needs someone to take some weight off his shoulders down the stretch, the last thing that the Oilers need is for Cam to burn out or get injured. Look at last night’s game against Minny for example.
The other hole that the Oilers would most like to fill, is their third-line center position. Right now Drake Caggiula is filling that role, and although he hasn’t done a bad job, he is still a rookie. But given his versatility, he can easily slide over to the wing if they trade for a center. This is one area that I believe the Oilers will push hard to pursue a deal leading up to the trade deadline. Martin Hanzal’s name is out there, but the asking price is ridiculous (top prospect + 1st round pick + another draft pick for a UFA this summer). But if Edmonton somehow landed him without screwing up the long term, I think that would put them over the top in center depth and set them up for a nice playoff run.
Obviously, they still haven’t found a right-handed shot, power play specialist defenceman. But so far, their “defense by committee” approach has worked out quite well for them. Which gives me reason to believe that they won’t be over-actively pursuing the power-play genius RHD that we all dream of. But I’m sure that they’ll still be kicking tires on what’s available.
*cough Shattenkirk cough*
Another position of need is the right wing and a name that has been floating around as a potential solution is Edmonton native, Jarome Iginla. Yes, that Jarome Iginla. The one many of us know so well from the well renowned “Battles of Alberta”. Only he was on the “other team”. Would that not be the ultimate troll on the Flames, if they were to land Iggy? HAHAHA! I’m not against the idea even though Iginla isn’t really having a great year (but neither is his entire team), and I think he’d fill out the Oilers third line quite nicely. I highly doubt that it would cost a whole lot to pry him away from Colorado either, maybe David Musil or a 3rd/4th round draft pick? I’m sure the asking price isn’t too high, as they wouldn’t be trading for former perennial 30+ goal scorer Jarome Iginla. But an incredibly valuable pickup nonetheless.
BUT!!!! Let me bring up another possible solution to finding a right winger, why not try and bring Jaromir Jagr to Edmonton? Right? How awesome would it be to see Jagr and McDavid line up together on the PP? Historical, that’s how awesome! But in all seriousness, why not Jagr? As of right now, Florida is five points out of the last playoff spot, and the race in the East is insanely tight. Florida is a mess this year, and that’s a huge understatement. They’re in shambles from top to bottom right now, even though their play has picked up a bit as of late. But as it stands right now, they are most likely missing the playoffs this season. Everybody knows that Florida’s front office is almost entirely analytics-driven now, especially since the infamous Gallant firing. So that’s why I have this possible proposal to Florida: Since “analytics darling” Benoit Pouliot has fallen out of favor in Edmonton, and Florida LOVES their advanced stats. Why not ship him off to Florida for Jagr? Florida gets Pouliot (who is signed for 3 more years after this) for long-term help, and the Oilers get Jagr to bulk up for a LONG playoff run. Or heck, how’s this for a deal: the Oilers trade Pouliot, Davidson, and a 3rd round pick for Jagr, and Mark Pysyk (RHD). That way we clear out a LHD in exchange for a RHD to help balance out our left-heavy defence core. Now I am totally unsure what implications that this would have on the upcoming expansion draft, but I wouldn’t expect it to really be any different than the current concerns. So what do you guys think, could a Pouliot for Jagr deal work? And do you think that Florida would even consider moving the fabulous follicles of Jag’s? Or would Jaromir even consider going to the Oilers?
Either way, if that happened it would be a union of my two favourite things in hockey, the Oilers and Jagr. Seriously, I love that dude.
BEING AN OILERS FAN IN MEXICO
The last thing that I want to touch upon is something amazing in my personal opinion. As most of my readers know already, Kosmic Burrito is ALL ABOUT psychedelic quests, funky trips, and all around fun times. Well around two weeks ago, my wife, three sons, and I went on a trip down to Mexico. We also went with my wife’s parents and mine as well, and we all stayed at Sandos Caracol in Playa del Carmen. We were right along the Mayan Riviera, and the resort is actually an “Eco-Resort” which is built into the jungle. There were animals running around the resort like crazy, it was so gnarly. My whole entire family had a blast, especially my boys. They’ll remember this trip for a long time, that’s for sure. I highly recommend the resort to anyone, especially those with children. There was so much for the kids to do.
Unfortunately, we were down there when the nightclub shooting’s happened, but we were nowhere near the shooting’s when they took place. It was a somber moment when we were notified about what happened from friends at home in Canada. My heart certainly goes out to those families whose lives have been affected by this tragic event.
But something else also happened when I was down there, I literally met at least 20+ fellow Oilers fans during the week down in Mexico. It was insane, “we” were everywhere! Everywhere! Now, remember, I live 45 minutes outside of downtown Toronto. So clearly I’m surrounded by Leafs fans, it goes with the territory. It was amazing! The only other time’s that I’ve been around so many other Oilers fans, is when they come into town to play Toronto. Also, those who know me, know that I have a massive amount of Oilers gear in my wardrobe. For example, I have about 15 Oilers hats and 10 t-shirts alone (don’t get me started on jerseys). So the Oil go, wherever I go. I was getting compliments on my hats, shirts, etc. People would shout “OILERS!” and raise their first in the air, while whizzing by on those golf carts that they zip you resort’s on. It was freaking cool! Lots of Oiler love. Apparently, I missed a pretty cool moment that my boys caught, we were sitting/standing in the resort lobby having a few drinks and talking. I was wearing one of those jersey shirts, that had “McDavid 97” on the back, and a little dude around 6 or 7 was walking by and wearing the same shirt as me (don’t worry, we were wearing our own age appropriate version haha). I guess he stopped right beside me and pointed up at my shirt to show his father. Too bad I missed the little dude, but awesome pick buddy, wherever you are haha! But my favourite Oilers fan interaction of the week was when another guy who was also wearing an Oilers hat, walked up to me and said,
“It’s ok now, it’s safe to wear our Oilers gear proudly again!”
As always ladies and gentlemen, you can chat, debate, and follow me on Twitter or Instagram @kosmicburrito