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.
- Taylor Hall
- Jordan Eberle
- Ryan Smyth (UFA, but they are talking contract)
- Ales Hemsky
- Nail Yakupov (#1 pick according to most sources)
- Ryan Jones
- Ben Eager
- Lennart Petrell (UFA, but could return)
- Magnus Paajarvi
- 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.
WHAT ABOUT OMARK?
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.
HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM
Ideally, the Oilers could trade Ben Eager and or Eric Belanger over the summer. The depth chart at forward might look like this:
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.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.