-For the last year I've been reading comment after comment regarding what the oilers need to do to improve and take the next step. "We need to get tougher" "Top 6 forward, #1 Dman and 2 bottom 6 gritty vets with size" "Were not going to be able to this and that because we wont move our younger core players".
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-For me, going into next season, I seem to have a much more positive outlook on the Oilers chances to make the post season. Maybe its the Homer in me, but I believe with 4 small moves (signings and trades) we can make a push for 6th-8th in the west next season.
-I'll start by posting what I believe each line looks like now and I'll add what I think it needs to succeed.
-Line 1: unknown-Nuge-Eberle: These two are tremendous talents; Nuge getting way too much flack for his weight. Does anyone grill Giroux for being 172lbs? What i'm trying to say is, Nuge doesn't need 30 lbs of muscle so much as he needs a Voracek/Hartnell to play along side him. He's got the skill on his right, give him speed and forchecking power on his left and I believe you could one see the leagues next great centerman.
From detroit: Justin Abdelkader- Morris. I tend to agree with this. He has an attitude and a nack for getting under the oppositions skin. He's fairly big and wouldn't have a problem moving up and down from 1LW-3LW. I would love to add him but what would it take?
-Line 2: Hall- Gags- Yak: All three will be 1 year more developed. Does anyone really think that these three can't play with any other top line out there? My main concern is Gagner and his faceoff capabilities. If the oilers ever want to be a cup contender, puck possession is Key and it all starts at the faceoff dot.
-Line 3: MPS makes the squad - Unknown - Harti: These two need to understand their role with the club. They need to be high energy players who out work and out hit the opposition, using their speed to drive pucks deep and out in front. While I don't like the contract Horcoff has, he fills a position that oilers aren't particularly deep in. So unless we need his contract gone in order to sign RFA's and UFA's I don't think its smart to move him. If he is gone, Stephan Weiss would be cool. He'd add a new dynamic to an already fast and strong line.
-Line 4: Smyth/Jones- Smitheson/Petrell/unknown-Brown: While most seem to pass over this line and say it doesn't matter. I see it as a line that has 8-12 minutes of ice time, where they still need to defend and grind down the opponent. So lets put some real thought into it. Are the oilers re-upping Petrell? Ultimately this line needs to be quick and hard on the puck. I'd really like to see two centerman with Brown on the right. How about Boyd Gordon and or Antoinne Vermette.
-D pairing 1: Unknown- Justin Schultz: JS needs a guy who can mentor him. He has the potential to be a superstar puck moving PP specialist and I would hate to hinder his development. Bring in Jay Bouwmeester! Arguably the best skater in the NHL. He's great positionally, has a very active stick, while he doesn't posses a mean streak he isn't afraid to take the body and win a battle, he's tall and is capable of logging huge minutes (27+).
-D pairing 2: Smid-Petry: Meh city. They'll both be a year more experienced and Petry just keeps getting better. I'm content with these two playing 21 minutes per night.
-D pairing 3: Belov-Nick Schultz: Nick will benefit from not playing against the toughest competition. I'll reserve comment regarding Belov.
-7th D man- Potter/Marinicin probably makes the oilers barring a UFA signing or an immediate trade for defensive help, but if that doesnt happen, he slots in next to N Schultz as Belov moves up. If the Oilers bring in immediate help, I can see Marincin and Klefbom both manning the OKC blue line to start next season.
-Goalie: Devon Dubnyk: He's really quite good and once we give him some support and reduce his shots per game to something manageable (like 26-29/game) I believe he will shine. Our backup could be anyone... I could see us bring in a brother, though. Emery is my first choice!
-Basically, I don't really care much for size so much as complimentary role players. We already have the important all world talent, we're just missing a few pieces. Now hand over the reigns to Hall, Ebs and Gagner.
-Side discussions- I think Hall is the next Capitan. I love his attitude and never give up attitude and the way he handles the media. Eberle is too soft spoken to anything more than an A. If not Hall, i say give it to Gagner!
-2013 draft pick is kept and the Oilers select Darnell Nurse. 4-5 years later he develops into Pronger lite but more tanned. #TonguesOut
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