The Oilers already have their Jacks and Kings on the wing rolling over the next decade. They lack 6’s and 7’s and could use a complete defenseman and a workhorse 2-way C of the future. If they are to trade Hemsky and Penner, Steve Tambellini should be looking for a very specific return–young NHL players with a wide range of skills.
- GOALER: Oilers have Devan Dubnyk and he is enjoying a solid rookie season. They also have Nikolai Khabibulin under contract through the summer of 2013. However, goalie values have never been lower (there’s an adequate goalie on almost every street corner) so picking up a goaler–even a highly touted one like the kind they grow in Washington–is probably an inadequate use of assets.
- DEFENSE: The Oilers should have a couple of capable men from each of the veteran (Whitney, Gilbert) group and the department of youth (Peckham & Petry). Smid is a a dependable player (for the most part) who falls into the middle ground, meaning there are 5 names Tom Renney can look to next season. If they add Adam Larsson he’ll get a long look, and the minor leagues/juniors boast some nice talents in Plante and Marincin. Kurtis Foster could also have a rebound season if the Oilers don’t ship him off this week or in summer. Could they use a defenseman? Sure, but those young blue (like Bogosian) are so hard to acquire and the mid-level guys (like Teubert) aren’t any more certain as prospects than guys like Peckham or Plante. Oilers already have those guys.
- CENTER: This is an area where the club could really help themselves this week. The current big league roster boasts Horcoff, Cogliano, Gagner, Reddox and Fraser up the middle. A team that comes calling for Hemsky or Penner could be successful if they are able to offer a young C with a nice range of skills. Someone in the entry level contract but already an NHL player. Maybe someone who can win a faceoff and has a mean streak.
- LEFT WING: Oilers look well set on LW. Hall, Pääjärvi, Jones at the NHL level and talents like Teemu Hartikainen and Curtis Hamilton on the way. Oilers might have to pick up a checker during the summer, but again that’s an abundant talent. Edmonton looks good all day on LW. They could use some sandpaper here too.
- RIGHT WING: If they trade Hemsky, this is immediately an area of concern. Jordan Eberle is gifted but very young and lacks experience; Omark is gifted but has not yet completely earned the confidence of his coach. Brule could help here but I’m not certain the organization can count on him for next season (based on this season’s difficulties). You can move Ryan Jones over, but so what? If–as rumored–Wayne Simmonds is coming over from LAK then the depth chart on RW looks better (Eberle, Omark, Simmonds). If they draft that kid Landeskog then the position will be a strength in no time, but it would likely be a season of painful growth in 10-11.
That’s the way I see it. If the club deals Hemsky, they need to replace him on the depth chart with an actual NHL right wing. Futher areas of need include a complete defenseman (or someone who will grow into that role); a quality 2-way C (or someone growing into that role now) and grit throughout the batting order.
Wide range of skills. Two-way players. They don’t grow on trees, but then again neither does talent like Ales Hemsky.