There is no secret as to what Steve Tambellini’s number one priority this offseason has been: acquiring a goal-scoring LW, namely Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators.

It isn’t possible to argue that the Oilers don’t need some more offensive punch; they scored 152 even-strength goals (7th in the WC) and their powerplay clocked in at 17.0% (10th in the WC). Neither of those numbers is overly respectable.

That said, with the Dany Heatley situation currently on hold (and Eugene Melnyk making noises about him possibly coming back with the Senators), there’s no reason not to take some time to deal with other matters as well. To his credit, Steve Tambellini has made some minor housekeeping moves (sending Sestito to New Jersey, adding AHL players) and didn’t leave the goaltending situation unresolved. There is however, more to be done, something evident from a couple of statistics I pointed out last week:

Penalty-killing Percentage: 77.5% (14th in the West)
Faceoff Percentage: 47.9% (13th in the West)

Other teams are making moves. The only team in the Western Conference weaker than the Oilers in both of the above categories was the Phoenix Coyotes, something that Don Maloney acknowledged in an interview published today:

MONIQUE: What do you see as the biggest areas you want to improve?
MALONEY: Penalty kill, power play and faceoffs. We picked up Fiddler for those reasons. Vern is 54% on the faceoff and plays big PK minutes. We need to improve those stats in order to have success next season. Our goaltending has to be better.

In addition to bringing in Fiddler, Don Maloney also signed Adrian Aucoin, who was Calgary’s second most-used penalty killer last season.

These aren’t big, headline generating moves, and I don’t think the Phoenix Coyotes are a model to emulate in most cases, but I do know this: a couple of lower-profile veterans to shore up the Oilers weakest points (faceoffs and penalty-killing) would make me feel a lot more at ease about this team.

Some players off of the following list might be of interest:

  • Andrew Alberts (D): 2:28 SH TOI/GM, 157 hits, 133 blocked shots
  • Blair Betts (C): 2:59 SH TOI/GM, 93 hits, 49.3% faceoffs
  • Radek Bonk (C): 59.9% faceoffs, 6th in QualComp in NSH
  • Chris Gratton (C): 2:05 SH TOI/GM, 58.5% faceoffs, 37 hits (in 24 games)
  • Mike Grier (RW): 2:29 SH TOI/GM, 147 hits, 1.61 EVGAON/60
  • Manny Malhotra (C): 2:49 SH TOI/GM, 74 hits, 58.0% faceoffs
  • Marek Malik (D): 2:45 SH TOI/GM, 3rd in QualComp in T.B.
  • Travis Moen (LW): 2:21 SH TOI/GM, 171 hits, 5th in QualComp in S.J.
  • Dominic Moore (C): 2:19 SH TOI/GM, 75 hits, 54.1% faceoffs
  • Scott Nichol (C): 2:40 SH TOI/GM, 79 hits (in 43 games), 54.6% faceoffs
  • Rob Niedermayer (LW): 3:09 SH TOI/GM, 1st in QualComp in ANA
  • Martin Skoula (D): 2:39 SH TOI/GM, 126 blocked shots

There aren’t a lot of guys out there left; the lower-tier veterans are slowly being signed away, and Edmonton needs to pick up one or two – either via free agency or trade.

  • Hippy

    @ Chris:
    I sure hope they think that Brule and Pouilot can get it done. This is worse then last year. Moving Reasoner and Stoll killed us, now they move another center and think that now Pouilot will step it up?

  • Hippy

    @ notcomingagain
    Is this the farewell tour we are forced to witness? Good lord man, do you regularily walk into someone's house, slap the host and then park your arse on the couch? Or perhaps you are just extending your drive-by douchebagery by turning your cousin/ wife's car around for another hit. Either analogy, just live up to your moniker.

  • Hippy

    charlieangels wrote:

    Lupal said on Team 1260 that Edmonton now has the reputation of a team/city players do not wish to go to or wish to leave early.

    Interesting, considering that Lupul has gained the reputation as a player who is only effective when the games mean nothing.

  • Hippy

    I would have liked to see this team as is under the new coaching regime, Penner will score 30, Cogs will have 25. MacT was the problem here, will he ever get another coaching job in the NHL? has he had any interviews with all the coaching changes that had happened this year? Can any one confirm if he had? did he talk after his FIRING? Dan Tencer you were in love with him, you should know. Tambil, stay PAT(Quinn)with the team, we don't need baby Heatley and lets see what this team can do with a real NHL coach.

  • Hippy


    @ notcomingagain:
    You poor bugge,no matter what you posted you're now hooked on this site. I know your exact train of thought, you changed your name to notcominagain, then went on a rant about what a bunch of d-bags we are.

    After a while your curiosity took over and you had check out how everyone responded to you post. Of course, people did respond… your pride took over, and you made another post to stick up for yourself. Names were called, then you made fun of Brownlee and thought f*ck it, I am done with this sight; then you had a rum or two. The booze took effect and you wondered how Brownlee replied; HOLY SH!T HE DID REPLY, crap Brownlee is talking to ME, I have to come up something great now… and the rest is history, you're hooked now muthafuucka.

    Let me be the first to welcome you to ON.

    PS don't f*ck with Brownlee he is the best damn sprotswriter this city has, and this site lucky to have him.

    Also this site is revolutionizing the blog; pretty soon none of these writer will be considered bloggers, you will be proud to say you part of this site before it hit it big.

    Or you can just f*ck off and leave us alone, in a 1-2 years or less you can read about in the news.

  • Hippy

    @ Bingofuel:

    Well you might as well delete my stopcomingagain comment also… without the previous comment to lend context: I just end up looking like a douche.

  • Hippy

    Sorry I missed all the hilarity, kids. And mad thanks to Willis for removing "notcomingagain"'s asinine comments.

    I got a good chuckle out of the name and the first comment. It's a shame so many people in the world lack a sense of irony.

    Oh well, I had a good laugh. Hope you did too. Remember, folks, don't feed the trolls. This is a classic case of how it only encourages them.

    <3 your friendly neighbourhood site administrator

  • Hippy

    Chris wrote:

    Yes I have a hate on for small players… unless they are super skilled, I see them as nothing but filler… I’d like to see the Oilers play hockey the RIGHT way for a change; the way they used to play; even after the dynasty ended.

    That whole post might have been the most compelling thing i've ever read from you. Good stuff. I like it. I still think theres a place for the Sykora's of the world even on the Oilers. The problem is there needs to be less of the O'Sullivans and Nilssons taking up space on the roster.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    No I ment #157 where I called for Bingofuel to ban notcomingagain immediately after his completely inappropriate post… Then you guys removed the post and now there doesn't appear to be a reason for my vitriol…

    I think people can read between the line now….
    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    but I thought it still made sense,

    Really. *wipes tear*

  • Hippy

    @ Archaeologuy:

    Thanks Arch. I like aggressive hockey and always have. The Penguins were able to win four out of five against Detroit by turning the series into an all out brawl along the boards… The formula can be simple: dump, chase, recover, score. This doesn't mean the hockey has to be boring and predictable… nobody dumps the puck during an odd man rush; every once and awhile the carrier can put on a move instead… Last season the Oilers simply weren't able to compete along the boards, and it showed during the "must win" games. This is why I get so emotional when guys want to bring in more Sykora's or move Cogs to the wing… This kind of thinking won't help us regain our identity. The dynasty Oilers were big (one of the biggest teams in the NHL) The dynasty Oilers always finished their checks. The dynasty Oilers put the puck deep, and cycled it. The dynasty Oilers skated guys like Smenko with Gretzky, not just as a body guard, but to create open ice… To use a football analogy: what good is a skilled quarterback without a solid o-line?

    What is so shocking to me: is that Kevin Lowe was a big part of those teams… How could HE have forgotten the formula?