The Edmonton Oilers have some tough decisions to make this summer. Example: their 8 wingmen. Add up  the NHL contracts, the solid prospects knocking on the door and the #1 overall pick and something’s gotta give.

As spring gives way to summer, we can talk about things like moving Taylor Hall to center–and that may become the plan sooner than later depending on how things go at the draft. Having said that, this team has a lot of talent on the wing, so much that it is likely the club deals off a player or two before fall.


  1. Taylor Hall
  2. Jordan Eberle
  3. Ryan Smyth (UFA, but they are talking contract)
  4. Ales Hemsky
  5. Nail Yakupov (#1 pick according to most sources)
  6. Ryan Jones
  7. Ben Eager
  8. Lennart Petrell (UFA, but could return)
  9. Magnus Paajarvi
  10. Teemu Hartikainen

Plus of course the team will want to add an enforcer to the group and there are 5 centers in the mix for next year (RNH, Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger, Lander).

The Oilers may also want to add a veteran 2-way RW in order to free Hemsky and Eberle for the offensive work. There are a lot of options in-house, including Paajarvi and Hartikainen who are doing good things in OKC.

We should also allow for the possibility the team runs with 8D next season, meaning only 13 forwards.


Time to wish him well in his new city. Omark’s timeline was not a match for the Oilers, and despite doing some nice things during his one season in Edmonton (10-11) the club felt better options were available. The best case scenario has him being traded to another NHL team and find a home in the world’s best hockey league.



Ideally, the Oilers could trade Ben Eager and or Eric Belanger over the summer. The depth chart at forward might look like this:

  1. RNH
  2. Hall
  3. Eberle
  4. Gagner
  5. Yakupov
  6. Hemsky
  7. Horcoff
  8. Smyth
  9. Jones
  10. Lander
  11. Petrell
  12. Paajarvi
  13. Hartikainen

I don’t think that will happen, though. And we’re assuming the club signs both Smyth and Petrell, and don’t add another veteran winger. Someone is likely heading out of town, my guess is Gagner for blue.

Which would open up center, possibly for Taylor Hall.


The Oilers are a conservative bunch. Betting on the song remaining the same is probably the right thing to do. Meaning the club will choose between Hartikainen and Paajarvi with the extra man finding his way to OKLA CITY in 12-13.

Nation Radio is back on the air at noon today, Team 1260. We welcome your questions and comments on this blog, via email and you can send me a tweet @lowetide_ if you like. Scheduled to appear:

  • Julie Veilleux will help us understand the season past in Montreal and what the Habs are doing about it. Montreal’s ownership over the years has been mostly stable. The current group (Molson again) appears to be reaching into their own past with Serge Savard’s recent emergence and we’ll explore some of the similarities between Edmonton and Montreal in this area.
  • Gabriel Desjardins from behind the net. Gabe will be by to talk about the Jets season, the electric start to the playoffs and answer your questions about advanced stats, etc.
  • Corey Graham, voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings. We’ll talk about the incredible run for this gifted young team and discuss another long layoff. We’ll also discuss some of the prospects eligible for this year’s draft.
  • Tom Lynn is a player advisor, agent and attorney, certified by the National Hockey League Players Association. He has acted as General Manager and Assistant General Manager of the Minnesota Wild and we’ll talk about the playoffs, the draft and other subjects. I’ll also ask your questions so make sure to pass them along.

Hope you tune in, should be a fun day.

  • Stack Pad Save

    this just shows the deep depth of the current roster when it’s suggested that a 40+ point player like Gagner does not fit into the equations.

    Remember the object of hockey is to outscore the other team.

    The defense will come along in due course, for now the Oilers should focus on scoring as many goals as possible.

    • TLHansum

      On one hand i agree with you wholeheartedly.

      On the other hand, there’s the postseason, where outscoring your opponent while they beat the crap out of you physically works for a few games until the injuries start adding up.

      Everyone is focused on getting to the playoffs, but you’ve got to take into consideration winning a few rounds.

      Unfortunately the NHL rulebook caters to the (clean) hitter. You can knock someone out for the season with a clean hit, have everyone pounce on you immediately, and walk away with a powerplay. Which is retarded. If i was the other team id be going around looking to line Eberle up for a massive (clean) hit. I might be able to hurt Eberle AND score a big powerplay.

      I don’t want any of Hall RNH Eberle having to defend the other with fisticuffs. Yakupov Gagner and Hemsky same same. Gagner is the only one out of those 6 that fights, and usually gets his bacon handed to him.

      Which leaves the defense. Ideally you should have someone on the D on the ice at all times with the aforementioned 2 lines that can give physical retribution. Two problems with that. 1) We don’t have those kind of defensemen (other than Pecks who will probably not be here next season, and 2) For the reason i outlined above, players will throw big hits against talent regardless.

      The Solution: Draft only bigger players, or, Mark Messier. Some of you might remember Mark’s first couple years in the league. He got a lot of elbowing penalties. If someone tried to run him, he got the elbows up. In his 20+ year career he got run for the first 2ish and then everyone learned and he got left alone for the rest of his career. Hall needs to be running around the ice like a chicken with his elbows up whenever someone lines him up. Let him take a few dozen elbowing penalties over the next few years. People will stop running him and try grinding instead.