October 01 2011 06:27AM
A young man's playing career is in jeopardy, the injuries keep piling up and the Edmonton Oilers aren't even at the starting gate. Is the story of the season being written before launch?
With Whitney, Smid and Chorney suffering various troubles and Fedun's future in doubt, the Edmonton Oilers are in a world of hurt along the blue. Chorney is a bubble player, but Smid's minutes along with Whitney's are a massive blow to this team. I say this every fall, but the Edmonton Oilers as they currently stand have an alarming lack of quality and quantity on the back end. Every Oiler fan finding out about the disaster in Minny will want the Oilers to make a move.
Tom Gilbert, Cam Barker, Andy Sutton, Jeff Petry, Theo Peckham, Corey Potter, and a recall of Colten Teubert. That's what things might look like opening night.
BLUE ON BLUE
Can the Oilers address the defense before opening night? Well, it depends on what the club is willing to give up. At this point, Edmonton does enjoy nice depth along the wing and improving depth at C; the club could procure a gem on D in exchange for any of Linus Omark, Anton Lander or Teemu Hartikainen.
The problem is that Steve Tambellini can't afford to be wrong in dealing one of the blue chippers. Should they send along Teemu Hartikainen to a team like Dallas for a young defender? What if Hartikainen becomes the big winger with skill we think he'll become? And what if the defender that the pro scouts like falters or is injured?
It's very dangerous--Frank Booth dangerous--to make a panic move. As painful as it might be to suffer another mind numbing season, perhaps Steve Tambellini (or his successor, the clock is ticking) can properly address the extreme weakness that has been the blue for many years now next summer. The price now will be extreme.
Perhaps a free agent signing or a waiver pickup is the better plan.
Someday the Oilers will ice a defense made mostly of homegrown talents. Complete skill sets, big men with speed and skill. Until then, staying the course is the better plan. Linus Omark is a player of interest around the league for a good reason, and adding an average NHL defender for such a talent is a loser's bet.
Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon on the Team 1260. Among the scheduled guests:
- Ian Walker from the Vancouver Sun will join us to talk about the health of Vancouver's NHL team, naked Canucks and how the NW will look this season. Predicting what Ian Walker will say is not possible, so tune in for the fun.
- Kent Wilson from the Nations Network. I'll ask Kent about the NW, about the Doughty signing and we'll discuss the new Flames whipping boy (Matt Stajan).
- Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun. Jones has seen a lot of training camps and a lot of phenoms, so should be able to give the best available estimate about this year's team. I'll also try to find out why he's so damn interesting on twitter, although I think it might have something to do with short attention span.
- Helene Elliott from the Los Angeles Times. We'll talk about the Doughty signing, the Fraser-Smyth ongoing saga and discuss the Brendan Shanahan's suspensions and their impact.
I have a couple of other lines in the water but can't confirm. Please tune in at noon and your calls and emails are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org