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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Edmonton Oilers "Moves or Non-Moves"? Pt 2

OK, the Sheriff has done it again and in less then a week. He has removed the man behind the 'strings' as far as the ice time goes. Was this expected? Was this a last minute change in direction for the Oilers? Was this a good move or bad move? Lots of questions but as the Sheriff has already said, there is lots more ahead.

We can debate on the Oilers decisions till the cows come home but the only fact we have in front of us is this team is NOT a playoff contender yet. Sure they may only be missing a piece here or there but in the end, someone needs to take a risk. Example...Ray Shero took some big risks in Pittsburgh. He brough in Morrow, Iginla, Jokinen and Murray to a team that had been winning without those guys. In the end, his All-Star team never did make it to Lord Stanley's Wedding. Think back to the New York Rangers on a few occasions. Trying to assemble a cast of all-stars does not work very often. Maybe that is the problem in Oil Country. Maybe we are so afraid to trade off a star in worries that we need only all-stars (Schultz, Eberle, RNH, Hall and Yakupov) and we will be set. Those players we have, I want! On the other I want a exciting team but one that wins.

All that being said, I am one fan who is hoping the Sheriff knows what he is doing. 'In MacT we trust'.

Having had a few conversations since earlier this week, in and around the Oilers brass, local and afar, I have gleaned some new insights that could turn out to be pretty interesting. In no way am I saying I have inside information from the GM and as we all know any info from within a organization is only information and is not legit until it actually happens and someone makes a decision or pulls the trigger. MacT has a quick trigger hand, so expect a few casualties along the way. I heard the nervousness in his voice but I also heard confidence to stand up and be accounted for. The nervousness we heard from was the human element. Nobody wants to fire someone (usually) on the other hand he is not afraid to declare it was HIS CHOICE. He will live or die with his decision.

Now to more potential Oilers 'Moves or Non-Moves';

1) Goaltending to compete for 1st string;
It is sounding more and more that the Oilers are looking for a established Goaltender. The European route sounds to be one of development they will go with. Train and develop in the AHL while working a draft pick goaltender with them on the farm. It is possible we don't pick up a goaltender until the third round. What are potential names for this year?

Let's look at possibilities of possible interest. Ryan Miller / Roberto Luongo / Marc-Andre Fluery / Ray Emery. Don't laugh! It's a very real possibility for the Oilers. Let's look at these Goalies closer into what they could potentially offer.
Ryan Miller - A #1 Goalie who still has lots in the tank and has been in several swirling rumours from the City of Buffalo, New York City, Carolina and even Florida. I have no qualms about Ryan and what he brings, it's his price tag and if he would even want to live in the cold Tundra of Edmonton. (Buffalo is not that nice of a place but he is at least a American). Would be my #1 choice should I be the one choosing.
Roberto Luongo - This is a mixed bag to Oilers fans. His contract is terrible but what do we care if it builds us into a winner. I believe Luongo still has 5 years left in him as a Top 10 Goalie in this league. It's hard to say if he would be ok coming here but on the other hand Gilles needs to make something happen as he will NOT be able to carry both Goalies going into next season or his job is lost. Luongo wants a chance to win and Edmonton may just be that place for him to do so. He would be my #2 choice. (keep in mind the comments from Bob Stauffer from last season should the lock-out had been shorter and a big move from the Oilers.)
Marc-Andre Fluery-A player with high pedigree who has lost incredible favour with his organization in Pittsburgh. Not playing him later in the playoffs and being swept in 4 by Boston is sending lots of subtle signs. Sometimes Goalies just need a change and could Edmonton be that change he needs. I know last years playoffs and this years as well has Oiler fans scared of him, but no risk? Little reward! You will NOT get a top notch Goalie by UFA or trade cause they are too high priced or won't get traded cause everyone wants them. People though Patrick Roy was going downhill early before being traded to Colorado. It's a risk, but no risk and you get the Dubynk's of the world only.
Ray Emery- Past his prime years now but could be a quality challenger to raising Dubynk's game. Likely not a permanent thing but a stop gap in the mean time.

NOTE: I know Oiler fans want the best Goalie possible, for the least cap dollars and a low amount of years to pay on his contract along with a guy who can be clutch and has performed well in the playoffs and even won a Stanley Cup. Can't have all of those things in one package. You get the bad with the Good. The closest in that group of Goalies is Ryan Miller. Clutch goaltending in regular season? Roberto Luongo, not playoffs maybe. Fluery has won a stanley cup and performed well during the regular season but last two playoffs has stunk out the joint. Emery? Been to a Stanley Cup final! It will be interesting where we go from here. MacT believes in building from the Back out, so Goaltending will be addressed I believe in a big move. Only time will now tell.

2) Coaching;
With Krueger gone and all the hype on Dallas taking his spot, you have got to believe it is his job and final paperwork is only left. The assistants won't be staying, it's clean house time and likely that extra coach will be Paul Maurice. Do I like Maurice in as the associate? Not really sure how much he has to offer but one can hope I guess. I would rather Dallas goes a little outside his circles but as long as no coach is 'old boys club' I am ok with the move. I expect by Tuesday afternoon everything is done including a press meeting.

No one can say it's boring in the off-season in Edmonton can we?

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