When it comes to truly dream-crushing quotes, Dan Tencer has the best set I’ve seen lately courtesy of Oilers’ assistant GM Kevin Prendergast.
I won’t give away everything, but here’s the money quote:
“I think we’ve given up hope on the Heatley scenario; but, I guess it’s not dead in the water. But, at this point, it looks like we’ll go to camp with the same team we finished with last year outside of a new goaltender.”
“I think at this point, it’s pretty evident what’s going to happen. But, we haven’t closed the door on the whole issue yet.”
Of course, when Prendergast says the ‘same team’ as last year, he means the same team as last year minus Ales Kotalik, Kyle Brodziak and Liam Reddox. Fun stuff.
Honestly, this quote is so ludicrous that I wonder all sorts of things. There are still players on the market who could shore up weaknesses – most notably the obvious lack of a qualified checking centre. The Oilers still have enough cap space to make a play for a guy like Manny Malhotra or Radek Bonk – and if they are truly considering moving away from Heatley than there is no reason not to sign a player of this ilk. Malhotra’s reportedly looking for a deal in the 2MM/season range, while Bonk would undoubtedly be cheaper even than that.
If we can believe that Prendergast is both a) completely aware of the situation and b) being honest with Tencer, than we should be concerned about the competence of the men currently making decisions for the team. Dany Heatley was never a sure thing, and there are an abundance of flaws with the team, so not having a Plan B is simply inexcusable.
The Edmonton Oilers may still improve; young players like Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano might take significant strides forward, the team might enjoy better halth as a whole (not that there were an inordinate number of injuries last season) and a better schedule could all help the Oilers be a better hockey team.
But there are any number of positive steps still left to Steve Tambellini and his staff, and not taking them would be a mistake.