Is There Anybody Out There?

We’re at a point in the free agent season where teams are either set or almost there. A few stragglers will sign, but it’s on to arbitration and then we’ll see you at camp for most of the league’s 30 teams. Do the Edmonton Oilers have any business to finish? Are there any UFA’s who could help? 

The Oilers could use a goaltender, either to push the top 3 on the depth chart (Dubnyk, Khabibulin, Danis) or to force young Olivier Roy down to the ECHL (where he could play every night and find the range as a pro). Glenn Hall (in photo) is the best available free agent goalie, but coaxing him out of retirement in the 60’s was difficult–by now it would be close to impossible.

Steve Tambellini has some nice options at the position. Ray Emery posted a .926SP for the Anaheim Ducks a year ago after coming back from hip surgery. Emery should be considered a solid gamble for a building team like the Oilers, and reports suggest Emery has matured over these years. At 28 years old, he’s certainly young enough to hang around awhile.

On the blue, Scott Hannan remains available and would certainly improve this club’s top 4 defensive depth chart. His boxcar numbers aren’t anything special but the secondary (read: Desjardins) numbers show someone who can still play. Hannan and Ryan Smyth played together in Colorado for a couple of seasons, perhaps the Oilers can recruit Hannan for the Oilers using a former teammate. There are lots of interesting players, like Jack Hillen (not qualified by the Islanders) but if the Oilers were to line up with a top 4D of Whitney-Hannan, Smid-Gilbert I think we could agree that things are getting much better.

Adding Ray Emery and Scott Hannan would be considered huge moves at this point of the season. They would also advance the cause mightily and give the Oilers an opening night lineup that could look like this:

  • Gagner-Smyth-Hemsky
  • RNH-Hall-Eberle
  • Horcoff-Paajarvi-Omark
  • Belanger-Eager-Jones
  • Whitney-Hannan
  • Smid-Gilbert
  • Peckham-Barker
  • Dubnyk (Emery)

Could that team make a playoff push?