Sometimes things appear to good to be true. However, every once in awhile you come across something so beautiful, so powerful, so impressive, you know in that instant this is special. Oilers fans were blessed with such an event 30+ years ago; what will it take for it to happen again?
We learn from history that youth is wasted on all the wrong people (source: It’s a Wonderful Life). If you’ve passed your 30th birthday, then you’ve left someone from your influence group behind for good reason. The current NHL CBA makes it very difficult for teams to extend their window of opportunity beyond a few short seasons (the exception is Detroit).
With the Oilers having such an enormous group of talents graduating as we speak, what else do they need to reach the promised land that is the Stanley?
- Kids in the Hall group: The group that includes Hall, Eberle, Pääjärvi and extends through Gagner will form the heart of the team during the ’10s. If Hall can become an impact player and the rest in the group improve to the point where they’re consistent outscorers, the Oilers will have plenty of offensive firepower. Those are some big "ifs" but the group is making progress.
- Deep 6 the bottom 6: The club made a fine trade when dealing for Curtis Glencross, but the organization chose not to keep him. The current group that makes up the bottom 6 (Cogliano, Brule, Colin Fraser, JF Jacques, Steve MacIntrye) have been inconsistent. The two players who have been solid (Ryan Jones, Zack Stortini) might have the makings of a solid 4th line but coach Renney doesn’t like Stortini. I think the Oilers need to start by picking up a quality, veteran C who can play 3line minutes, check, impact the PK and help in the FO circle. I know Tambellini tried for Malhotra last summer but there were other men available. He chose Colin Fraser, and he chose wrong. ST has been given most of the top 6 by Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor and the scouting department, surely he can find a checking center somewhere on the planet?
- Improve the blue: Tambellini made a beauty trade when acquiring Ryan Whitney for Lubo. I’m also prepared to buy in to Kurtis Foster having an period of adjustment (he should be better) and that Theo Peckham’s progress is for real. Those three–added to finesse defender Tom Gilbert–make for 67% of a useful defense. Ladislav Smid may or may not be top 4 worthy. What Tambellini needs to do is find out if Jeff Petry, Shawn Belle, Alex Plante and or Taylor Chorney can help the team until Marincin arrives. If they can’t, job one is to find a defenseman who can play big minutes. I think ST hurt his own cause with the Souray solution.
- Goal: If Devan Dubnyk is the future in goal the club needs to play him more than once a week.. If he isn’t, then the club needs to find that goalie and right soon.
The hard part is over. The Oilers have the scorers and the skilled men up front, and Whitney, Gilbert and Peckham are nice pieces to build around. The problem? The problem is that 3line RH C, the blue and the goalie of the future have been a problem since 2006 summer!!
Yesterday I wrote an item here at ON about Oilers fans and their increasing nonchalance in regard to this team’s success. We’re going from dying of thirst to indifference in 60 seconds here. I think we should enjoy the ride, but I don’t think management has the same luxury.
Steve Tambellini is the current General Manager. Steve Tambellini takes his time. I understand that. However, if we can agree that Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Pääjärv and, Sam Gagner are part of the future then there are going to be some things that require change. Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky are a veteran trio with real skill. Should the Oilers keep that line together and run with Gagner-Hall-Eberle as suggested by Bob Stauffer this week?
What then is to be done with Pääjärvi ? What about Omark? The Oilers are quickly becoming a team with lots of future jacks and kings, and very few 6’s and 7’s who can check and kill penalties.
A GM armed with veteran skill players should be able to address need along the blue and on the checking line. Right? The Oilers sent away Kyle Brodziak a couple of years ago and haven’t replaced him yet, let alone Mike Peca. The current group of talent is quality, but the bottom line is that the club needs some role players immediately.
Tomorrow is very promising for these Oiler kids. Steve Tambellini is the current GM. The scouting department has enjoyed a ripping 36 months. Steve Tambellini has done some nice things but he has to address these glaring (and long term) issues.
Steve Tambellini is the current GM.