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Fix the Defense - Check?
Let's get right to it. It wasn't bad enough that Boston traded Hamilton to a team not named Edmonton, but it was Calgary, and they accepted less from them than what we supposedly offered. It was good to see that Chiarelli was right in the mix, obviously identifying what most fans already knew: we need a top defenseman. Unfortunetly, what he did next with those picks does not solve that problem, at least not immediately.
With picks 16 and 33 the Oilers traded for Griffin Reinhart and while sitting at The Pint, on my second team pitcher, I waited for the "and." Unfortunately it did not come and we traded essentially two first round picks, in supposedly one of the deepest drafts in years, for a prospect defenseman.
Albeit a potentially very good defenseman, and it's that potentially word that has many fans confused. Blame the media, bloggers, etc who kept pounding out that the Oilers should be able to use those picks to bring in an established guy.
Not that Reinhart is a slouch. At 6"4, 205 pounds, Reinhart is known as a strong on the puck defenseman, who isn't afraid to go to the tough areas, and a cannon of a shot. While he is a left shooting defenseman he is known to also play the right side.
Later in the second day, Chiarelli was on the move again and acquired bottom pairing defenseman Eric Gryba, essentially in exchange for Martin Marincin. While I have been a big Marincin fan, and feel he got the short end of the stick; the reality right now is Marincin has been pushed down the depth chart, with guys like Nurse, Klefbom, and now Reinhart in the fold. In Gryba they have a right side, physical guy who will be an asset on the PK.
So here is the kind of chart we are looking at right now:
In short, still not good enough. I'm not going to start panicking yet, let's make a couple quick changes and imagine what we could have after July 1st.
Will that happen? Probably not. Erhoff is coming offf a rough season, but should he bounce back, he would be a solid offense guy paired with a defensive guy like Fayne. Franson is another interesting player. While he had great production in Toronto, it fell off immensely when he went to Nashville. If both guys could be had on reasonable contracts with a reasonable price (which I doubt) I could see them as great stop gap guys, until Klefbom, Nurse, and hopefully Reinhart are ready to round out our top 4. As for Schultz and Nikitin: buyout Nikitin, let Schultz walk or trade him for what you can.
Still plenty of summer left.
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