Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Edmonton Oilers 'Moves or Non-Moves'?


Today being just another day in the life of Oiler fans, it was a good day for a blog that raised some thoughts and or questions for some of the greatest hockey fans the world has seen or heard.

The hockey world does not always make sense. Sure, eventually what goes around, comes around, but that does not stop the pain suffered by Edmonton Oiler fans since the devastating Game 7 loss in the 2006 Stanley Cup. It's like the pain never stops. Just when there looks to be hope at the end of the tunnel, WHAM! Right in the gut once again. Kind of reminds me of growing up in elementary school and facing the big bully each day that wants your 'yummy' lunch your mom sent.

I must say, the Oilers organization should be credited with some good work being 'spin doctors'. Seriously, think about it. Ever since the 2006 Stanley Cup run, the Oilers have found a way to spoon feed us some good hope that this team will eventually return to make a solid run at Lord Stanley's Cup. A feat few teams ever get close to , let alone actually accomplish.

Having said all that, there is the newest Sheriff in town and his Name is 'Sheriff MacT' and he is ready with guns loaded to run the bad guys out of town! Ok, if I am going to make that analogy, I better describe who the bad guys are right? Wrong! I am going to leave that up to you incredible and knowledgable fans. What I am going to do is walk through some possibilities moving forward and what I think is going to happen. I have mentioned this before and will reiterate it again, you can read between the lines if you pay close attention to the subtle things being said. There is always the local gossip rumour mill and of course there is occasionally some insights learned from things said by the Oilers brass that gets passed on through those 'casual get togethers' in the community. So having said all that here are some of the 'Moves or Non-Moves' that could possibly be on the horizon in Oil Country in the coming weeks and months.



1) Horcoff; Will be moved out but a trade will be the way MacT tries to move him out. I know he still has a couple years left on his contract but to the right team this could make sense. There are likely about 5-7 teams who may have interest , while maybe 2 or 3 have more interest. The possibilities? A team on the verge of making a run at the playoffs and/or a team who needs to reach the cap floor. I do not believe Horcoff moves via a buyout as that likely will be used on Belanger if he can not be traded which most believe he can not be moved any other way. The Oilers will not use both their compliance buyouts this year so expect a trade or Shawn will have one more year playing Center in Edmonton.

2) Smyth; I know many fans who want him gone but Ryan has lots to prove. He will have extra motivation this year to make up for the worst year of his career. Ryan will be settling for 4th line duty this year, maybe 3rd line in the case of injuries once again but 10-12 minutes a night of TOI could make him a valuable asset in played in right circumstances.

3) Belanger; See comments under Horcoff




4) 2nd Goaltender; Yes, fans wanted the latest and greatest finish Goalie but there are a couple other options lying out there. Don't write off a move for a top notch Goalie. The Oilers making a play for Luongo is still not out of the question (like it or hate it). In addition, Miller could be in play from Buffalo. Like him or not, Miller even with a bad season in Buffalo still makes the clutch saves, his SP remains close to the same year after year as does his GAA. (Something to be noted of what is a indicator of a consistent and good goaltender is that his SP and his GAA remains much alike year after year) There are exceptions when playing behind a terrible defence that changes year after year but it's a good mark of a great goalie. Unfortunately a terrible playoff record year after year falls into that same category. It may be neither goalie but look for a move along those lines as a possibility if not this year absolutely next year.

5) #7 OV Draft pick 2013; The greatest likelyhood is keeping the pick. I would think the likeliest pick will be Monahan and or Darnell Nurse if they keep the pick and with who may be available. If they can, MacT will make a push to get MacKinnon but that would be a absolute gift if he can pull that off. It's not happening but we can dream. There is a possibility they do press to move up a few and get Barkov. Some talk suggests to move up to the 4 or 5 spot to get Barkov will mean giving up this years #7, 2014 1st OV selection and a roster player of significance. What I can say is I do not believe the Oilers will take Lindholm and/or Zadorov as some suggest they can. Nurse is a much better skater then Zadorov, is more mobile, has a better 1st pass out of his zone and is still close to 200 lbs already. I do believe if they can not land MacKinnon (Highly unlikely) Barkov (slim chance) or Monahan (50% chance) then they will try to trade down with Columbus and land Lazar and/or Horvat. Lazar is underrated IMO and if they can not land those earlier three centres I mentioned I do believe Lazar is next on their list. NOTE: I do believe the Oilers like Pulock as well should they have a opportunity to trade with Columbus for their two higher picks for their #7 slot. Would Ryan Pulock (Captain, over 200 lbs, has a slapshot already over 104 mph) with Lazar be acceptable? It's a chance there is a possibility there. Should be a much more interesting draft for us then previous years.

6) New associate coach; It will happen, they need someone with NHL experience who can help with technical skills. MacT has indicated with subtle hints that coaching needs to be more rounded and after hearing rumours circling Oil Country, I am prett certain we will see such a thing happen.

7) Klefbom; Contrary to some people's opinions if he is healthy, he will make the Oilers out of training camp I believe. I understand why people say he needs time in OKC but how do they know? Until you see him play in training camp and a few per-season games you can not make that judgement unless as fans we know better then coaches. Rushing him to the NHL means he was not ready, him playing cause he is better then the other players in camp does not mean rushing at all. I have high expectations of Klefbom and believe he will make believers out of alot of fans this coming season. Only question will be. 'is he fully healed up'? I expect our defence to be Smid/Petry/J.Schultz/N.Schultz/Klefbom/UFA or TRADE

Thats a few random thoughts for today. Next blog we will continue with some more Moves or Non-Moves in Oil Country.

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