Hi everyone, Paul here. "I’m back everybody!!
Sorry for not posting many pieces lately, but I have returned with a lot on my mind about our beloved Edmonton Oilers. We all know that this past season stung more than the 30th, 30th and 29th Place seasons because we expected more out of our boys in Orange & Blue. We expected a real Playoff Push. What did we get? We got a team that collapsed under pressure, a team with no fight, a team that earned us the nickname "The ‘Maple Laughs’ of the West". How sad is that?
So, how can our fearless leader, GM Craig MacTavish get this team back on track? Well, the first thing to do is to Buyout Eric Belanger & Ben Eager. Not only will this relieve the Oilers of deadweight, but it will also create Cap room. The second thing to do is beef up the Defence Corps. We have enough at the Forward positions regarding skill, now we need to focus on Defence & strength throughout the roster. MacTavish can do this two ways. Free Agency or, go the trade route.
1) One player the Oilers should look at RFA Offer-Sheeting is Kevin Shattenkirk. Shattenkirk may be out of the loop in St. Louis, as the Blues will need to move someone to make room to re-sign their other top studs. Shattenkirk is just what the Oilers need on the Blue line; at 5’11" 207 pounds he’s not huge, but he’s bigger than some of the guys we’ve got. My offer to St. Louis is; 7th Overall Pick, Jeff Petry, Colton Teubert for Shattenkirk.
2) Secondly, MacTavish should look at trading for Raffi Torres. Torres is a tough, hard-nosed player who, as we’ve seen lately, isn’t afraid to make a BIG hit. He will bring a physical aspect back to Edmonton that this team hasn’t had for a long time. My offer to San Jose for Torres is a 3rd Round Pick or, Ryan Martindale.
3) Thirdly, I am a big fan of Dustin Byfuglien from the Winnipeg Jets (That still sounds weird to say), and I think he would look great in an Oilers uniform. He’s played Forward & Defence in the NHL, so he’s a versatile player. I’m not sure what Winnipeg will want for him, but I’m guesstamating that they’ll want a Forward with speed & a scoring drive. The closest that Edmonton may be willing to give up for him may be either a Sam Gagner or a Magnus Paajarvi. I really don’t know about that one.
4) Another thing the Edmonton Oilers need to get is a backup goalie. Nikolai Khabibulin is getting up there in years, & his All-Star NHL career as a player is coming to an end. I don’t see him coming back to Edmonton next season. Who do the Oilers have in the system that could replace him as the legit backup? The answer is no one. So, this makes the Oilers need to look around the NHL & perhaps the AHL for a suitable backup for Devan Dubnyk.
This may sound crazy, but Tim Thomas is a Free Agent this off-season, & Craig MacTavish had better take a loooooooong look at courting him. He hasn’t played for a year, so his asking price shouldn’t be too high when he looks himself in the mirror. A big drawing point to Tim Thomas for the Oilers is that he has recently won the Stanley Cup, which shows that he knows what it takes to win in today’s NHL, and would be a great mentor for Devan Dubnyk & all of the other young Oilers. He would push Devan Dubnyk every day, which is something every young goalie needs, and Dubnyk would push him to play his best everyday as well. I would offer him $3.5 Million for 3-4 years to come to Edmonton, as he is currently making $5 Million for NOT playing at all.
Another name that has come up here in Oil Country has been Fredrik Andersen who is currently in Anaheim’s organization. However, I believe he would need conditioning in the AHL, as he has been playing in his native Denmark since he was drafted in the 3rd Round, 87th Overall by Anaheim in 2012, so that option isn’t really viable for next season. Jose Theodore may be a good fit here in Edmonton, provided the Oilers don’t give him more than $1.5 Million at the MOST. Theodore is a goalie that has seen just about everything in the NHL, and would be a great mentor for Dubnyk. He is reliable to put in net for the odd game but, I do not think putting him in net on a regular basis would be what’s best for him, Dubnyk or, the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club as a whole. I would offer him a 3-year deal at $1.3 Million. He is currently making $1.5 Million in Florida but, I do not think he is worth that much as a backup. Yann Danis is also going to be on the market, but I believe the Oilers will re-sign him & send him to OKC, as he doesn’t have what it takes to be a regular NHL backup anymore.
So, there will be lots happening in Oil Country surrounding our team this off-season and, it will be interesting to see what Craig MacTavish will do to improve the Edmonton Oilers.
By Paul Neumann