Since the lockout ended, the Edmonton Oilers have done most of their summer’s business between draft day and July 15th. However, the activity from July 15th on represents some of the most franchise altering events in the team’s history.
LIFE ALTERING MOMENTS
- August 2, 2005: Oilers acquire D Chris Pronger from St. Louis for D Eric Brewer, D Jeff Woywitka and D Doug Lynch. Huge deal, probably the biggest for Edmonton in the post Stanley era. Ignited the fanbase and directly impacted the dream run spring 2006.
- August 3, 2005: Oilers acquire C Mike Peca from NY Islanders for C Mike York and a conditional pick. Another key move in the run, Peca took forever to adjust but personified ‘shutdown center’ when it mattered.
- July 26, 2007: Oilers sign Anaheim L Dustin Penner to a 5-year, $21.25 million dollar offer sheet. In early August Brian Burke announced the Ducks would not match, and Edmonton compensated with 1st, 2nd and 3rd rd picks in 2008.
These are massive transactions, the Pronger trade was the beginning of a 12 month ride we’ll never forget and is the one fantastic year that all of Oilers Nation can share (although I can’t watch it, G5 and G6 are the only ones I can take. G1 is a nightmare I’ve relived a thousand times, though).
Oiler fans will live those glory moments again. Soon?
THE SUMMMER 2012 STORY
The Oiler have already made 4 major moves this summer:
- Bringing back Craig MacTavish to offer clarity and another opinion, perhaps in some cases a tie-breaking opinion.
- Hiring Ralph Krueger to teach and inspire. He must be good, every time he speaks Oiler fans get excited about the future.
- Drafted Nail Yakupov, adding another gunner and proving that taking BPA is always the better plan.
- Winning the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, perhaps giving Oiler fans some of the swagger lost when Pronger pulled out of Dodge.
COULD THEY START THE SEASON LIKE THIS?
It would depend on Ryan Whitney’s health, but that aside yes the Oilers should be able to cobble together a roster with the players currently under contract. It might look like this:
- C: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins; Sam Gagner; Shawn Horcoff; Eric Belanger
- L: Taylor Hall; Ryan Smyth; Teemu Hartiakinen; Lennard Petrell; Ben Eager; Darcy Hordichuk
- R: Jordan Eberle; Ales Hemsky; Nail Yakupov*; Ryan Jones; Magnus Paajarvi
- LD: Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney, Andy Sutton; Theo Peckham
- RD: Jeff Petry; Justin Schultz; Nick Schultz; Corey Potter
- G: Devan Dubnyk, Nikolai Khabibulin; Yann Danis
Yakupov is highlighted because he is unsigned.
That roster has a stunning group of young forwards but the questions remain beyond that group. Hemsky, Horcoff, Smyth, Jones, Eager, Hordichuk and Belanger would seem to be locks for roster spots so added to the fab four that’s 11 of the 13 or 14 men who’ll start the season.
On defense, I’d say 6 slots (Smid-Petry and then Schultz, Schultz, Whitney and Sutton) are locks pending a deal. Peckham and Potter would appear to be the back of the roster candidates.
WILL THEY START THE SEASON LIKE THIS?
I don’t think so, for a couple of reasons. The Oilers have publicly stated that they’d like to add a top 4 defenseman, and the entire league has business yet to be conducted. There are all kinds of reasons–Parise/Suter took time to decide, Shane Doan’s status, hell for all we know the Oilers haven’t signed Yakupov because they want that new CBA 5-year entry deal Robin Brownlee mentioned here.
So there’s miles to go. For everyone.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Sooner or later, the Edmonton Oilers will take their guns to town and get some business done. Steve Tambellini’s calling card is ‘assess to death’ but the team needs are obvious to all and the desire to improve appears to be real. Taylor Hall’s entry level deal expires next summer: the time to take a step forward is now.