Well Oiler fans, Pt 2 today in my series of blogs on 'hope' for the Oilers in the future has one area we will talk about today. trades...(we will discuss coaching tomorrow)
Before we begin, with the news that big Russian Valeri Nischuskin has stated he will NOT play in Canadian Jr hockey and/Or the AHL. He states that 'why' should he play in AHL when he can play in the KHL and in his homeland. While that is a fair comment, it is not a attitude that the Oilers will be high on. Let's say , I will go on record and say with those comments (provided the information is not false of his statements) that the Oilers 100% will NOT be drafting Big Valeri even if he is available. They will either take someone they feel is just as good or they will trade down in the draft as a possibility. Enough said on that front, carrying over from yesterday's blog.
Yakupov will NOW stay on the RW, he showed the coaches and Management that he fits better on the right side and is most comfortable there. He will be 1st or 2nd line RW. That puts Hemsky in play. Ales has been a wonderful Oiler and always (usually) had a good attitude. He wants to play top 6 but does not look like it will be in Edmonton. My best guess is Ales Hemsky will be traded at the draft table and if they don't find a suitor they will move him sometime in the summer. Possibly going out with a draft pick and or a prospect.
We know Paajarvi is looking good and liked in Edmonton. He showed well this season as things moved forward, however what Magnus showed us was he can be a big body (not a banger) and win the battle in the corners in the offensive zone. Magnus will play the 3rd line LW. He could very well start the year on 2nd line LW, IF the Oilers can not find themselves a top 6 LW via trade market or Free Agency. It is possible if the Oilers were offered a consistent top 6 LW who is a big power forward for Paajarvi and a draft pick or prospect, he could be gone.
Gagner is liked by several coaches (outside our organization as well) as well as management. As long as Sam does not price himself too high , he has a chance to remain another season at least with the Oilers.
Jones if his contract can be reasonable, will most likely be back and the Oilers will honour Ryan Smyth and his last year of his contract. (Sorry Smyth haters) Belanger will not start the season next year with the Oilers and neither will Smithson. Horcoff will NOT be bought out and like it or not will still be with Edmonton next year again.
Hartikainen is still only potential, making him possible trade bait for a big winger like himself who is more established possibly. Chances are lower but the NY Islanders have had interest in Teemu before and could potentially again? We will have to wait and see. Petrell will likely not be back again unless he is ok with 13th forward position with Brown. Mike will be kept as he showed he had game even if for a smaller tough guy.
Where does that leave the forward lines currently? Lines currently would carry the look like this...
? / Nugent-Hopkins / Eberle
Hall / Gagner / Yakupov
Paajarvi / Horcoff / Jones
Smyth / Lander / Hartikainen
Now those lines have some flexibility but most that roster is likely filled with the exception of a TOP 6 big power forward on LW.
On defence Whitney is gone (we all saw it coming) as well as Peckham which leaves...Smid, Petry, J.Schultz, N.Schultz, and Mark Fistric and Corey Potter as your 6th and or 7th defencemen.
It is likely Klefbom will have a chance to make the team out of camp but they will be trying their best to bring in a top 4 LH d-man for camp.
Currently our line-up starting next year could potentially look like...
Smid / Petry
J.Schultz / ?
N.Schultz / Klefbom
In the end, the Oilers need a TOP 4 D-Man who is a LH shot.
In Goal, Dubynk is not being given #1 spot but this will be his last chance to show staff he is ready to take the reigns. They will be bringing in a goalie along the lines of Mike Smith or a Ben Bishop.
In my estimates the Oilers need Top 6 LW Power forward and a Top 4 LH Defencemen and a 1a or 1b Goaltender in net.
I do believe the Oilers will answer 2 out of the 3 shortfalls this coming season, but there could be a couple potential surprises and how the Oilers do in this years draft could change everything.
Who is potential to go? Paajarvi, Eberle, and maybe Belanger. Likely only first two are even tradeable. Before I am crucified for my suggestion, there is only 1 trade that makes Eberle tradeable IMO....Milan Lucic COULD be had but it will take a high price to get him. That high price could very well mean Eberle and a prospect and/or pick. I don't believe MacT would want to offer that and it could be possible they offer up Paajarvi and Hartikainen plus a switch of draft positions in a later round. This potential trade would only up the ante around the league and I think other teams would offer more, pushing the Oilers to include Eberle if they want to get him.
As Oiler fans, I realize we dont want to touch our elite talent but to get top players almost always means you need to deal top players. I can guarantee you that if Edmonton is not trading Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yakupov and or J.Schultz, they will NOT be picking up a top 6 forward or Top 4 d-man via trade. Free Agency will be there only option. The only potential other possibility is if they are able to offer up their #7 draft pick and a top prospect like Paajarvi? If something is going to change, it will mean Paajarvi or Eberle will be gone IMO.
One last potential thought on a trade could be with Columbus. They have 3 draft picks and could use a Ales Hemsky, let your thoughts wander now...hmmmm!! In regards to a Goalie, I can very well see MacT signing a Free Agent Goalie this summer. Could it be expensive? Absolutely! That's the cost of getting a good goalie.
Anyway that is some thoughts to ponder from here at OilersJambalaya.com
Cheers everyone, looking forward to Wednesdays opener in Pittsburgh as the Penquins take on the Islanders. Go Pens!