Well here we are again ladies and gentlemen. Your bellies full of turkey, pajama pants on (or no pants, I don't judge) and watching the World Juniors to get a chance to actually see some wins and decide what players would look good in copper and blue next season.
The Oilers are a train wreck. I think if anyone told you that this team was going to be worse than last years you would have been laughed at. Sure at the beginning of this season there were holes, some quite alarming, but last years debacle? No, nein, couldn't be possible. But bless this team they always find ways to surpass even our lowest expectations.
It's already the time to look ahead to next season. I'm out of town visiting family and I've got a lull in the festivities so decided it was time to play some armchair GM. Without further adieu here are my hopes for next season.
Number one at the top of my list is our fearless leader, Mister 6 Rings himself goes. Will this make any changes for the on ice quality we see? More than likely no, but it sends a message through the entire organization that mediocrity will not be tolerated. From that point we could see a chain reaction go through the organization. The entire philosophy of the Oilers needs to change. Maybe this means that Nicholson steps in, maybe an outside party, or maybe they will just do away with the position as other NHL teams have.
Let's say Nicholson is the guy, then let him decide if he wishes to keep MacT as GM, and then if a new GM is put in place, let him decide who his coach will be. There are plenty of actual veteran coaches that could fit here. Bylsma, DeBoar, Maclean. All could be good choices.
Next are the behind closed doors conversations I hope happen. This is the first year we've truly seen the trade Hall rumors come into play. Whoever the actual "core" of this team ends up being, they need to be taken aside, apologized to, and let them know this team is going to be built around them correctly. If the rumors are true and these players are fed up with losing, ask them for one more year to show improvement. Tell them they need to work their butts off and be leaders and see where they stand at the end of the season.
And now for the roster. First and foremost centre depth must be addressed. If the Oilers continue on this train of suckitude I don't doubt we could see them with a 30th place finish. However because I truly believe the NHL won't let McDavid fall to the Oilers I think we could still see Eichel be selected by this team. I am also going to go back to a rumored trade earlier in the season of Anisimov for Perron. I love what Perron brings to the table but it looks like he has soured on the organization and is one of the players I see having the most value as an asset. Looking at the forward core you could see a roster like this
Where is Yakupov? Here's where things get depressing for me. Phoenix is another team that is full of young end talent, but missing some key components. While Phoenix has plenty of defensemen, they lack any true scoring potential. I could see a deal that would send Yakupov and Petry (if Petry would resign) to Phoneix in exchange for Yandle and let's say Korpikoski. Toss whatever draft picks in to balance but Edmonton would get a veteran top defenseman and a solid third line player, and Phoenix gets a solid top 4 defenseman and a potential elite player. How much is potential worth, who knows. However Gagner and Yak did always show chemistry, and with a defense to help their obvious defensive deficiencies that could be a tempting solution.
Let's look at the UFA market now, let's pluck Lee Stempniak, Marc Methot, and Andrej Sekera. If we are very very lucky, we also get Antti Niemi
This would be your 2015-2016 Oilers
Some notable players left out of this. I see Nikitin as being bought out, Arcobello, Schultz, and maybe Marincin traded, whether for picks or as part of the trades I suggested. Eichel and Drasaitl would be interesting as both could see time at centre while the other plays at wing to learn the game better.
Is this a playoff team? Under the right direction quite possibly. The top 6 is still too small and not enough physical push to compete in the Western Conference. The defense involves some defensemen having to switch to their opposite side but it does provide some size and some actual offensive output.
Well that was a fun use of my time, now if you'll excuse me I'm going to look at this roster while I ride my unicorn away...
Thanks for reading!