At his end of season press conference, Craig MacTavish was asked if there could be six to eight new Oilers, and he said “I think that’s fair.” With the moves so far this summer, the team is now in that range.
The full quote:
I think that’s fair. There’s going to be some significant and meaningful change for sure. I think in today’s era, even when you win there’s significant change, and when you’re in the situation that we’re in at this stage of our development as a team there’s every reason to expect there’s going to be at least that many, 6-8 new members [of the Oilers].
The depth chart above is my personal view of where things are right now, and assumes no changes. Reasonable people can disagree on the order, but that should be a serviceable list.
Assuming that Ryan Hamilton, Philip Larsen and Richard Bachman all end up missing the team, that makes six new Oilers to the starting roster; if Hamilton and Larsen make the team that takes the club to eight.
I expect that we will yet see a trade that ships out Ales Hemsky, but maybe that doesn’t happen. Bob Stauffer hinted in his show yesterday that Ales Hemsky could be back with the team if MacTavish can’t find a return that satisfies him, and MacTavish has always left himself that out. I’ve never been a guy who believes a player has to be a prototypical third line player to play on the third line; just because EA Sports calls it a checking line doesn’t mean it must be devoid of offence. Certainly, Ales Hemsky’s ability to get the puck out of the defensive zone without losing possession is something that wouldn’t hurt a third line taking primarily defensive zone minutes, and having a little bit of counterpunch is always a good thing.
I also would not be surprised to see a player like Nick Schultz moved, since as things currently stand the Oilers will either need to push one of Nick Schultz or Anton Belov out of the top-six or slide a left-shooting defenceman over to his off-side.
But even if that doesn’t happen, MacTavish has delivered on his promise of off-season change.
Recently around the Nation Network
At Flames Nation, Kent Wilson opines on the Flames’ contract talks with defenceman T.J. Brodie. Why does it matter? Because in doing so, Wilson spends a bunch of time reflecting on the general nature of so-called "bridge contracts" – like the one-year deal Sam Gagner got last season. Wilson cites another example of the bridge contract ending badly:
Namely, that the player will get drastically more expensive to retain in the near future. On the one hand, there’s the concern associated with committing dollars and term to a player who turns out to be mediocre or worse. On the other hand, there’s the possibility the player will be able to hold a team over the barrel a few years down the road. A recent object lesson in the pitfalls of bridge deals is PK Subban – the Canadiens played hardball with the young defender this past off-season (and lock-out), resulting in a contentious negotiation that eventually ended in a lowball two year deal worth $2.87M per year. Of course, Subban won the Norris trophy this season, so you can be certain Montreal will be paying out the nose to keep their young star once his bridge contract expires after next season.
Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here: