Every year Scott Cullen of TSN breaks down each NHL team. The successes and failures of the season, contributions of individual players, and then lastly creates a mock roster for what the team could look like going into the next season.
In the spirit of being lighthearted I've decided to take a look at what he has suggested... and promptly rip it to shreds.
Here are the three main points Cullen brings up.
1.) Acquire prospect/veteran depth at forward for callups.
2.) Signing Patrick Marleau in Free Agency
3.) Acquiring Travis Hamonic (presumably for Jordan Eberle)
While the Oilers have some potent options up front, they are below average around the league when it comes to forward prospects. That might have something to do with the fact that most of their first round picks in the last 5 years are already playing.
The names that Cullen has brought up don't really do anything for me but we have seen that Chiarelli is a big fan of college players and I won't be surprised to see him add another player with that pedigree. Obviously the biggest name that Oiler fans are hoping for is winger Spencer Foo who if acquired could make the team out of training camp.
If you asked most Oiler fans what they thought the teams biggest need was going into this summer I am betting the first answer wouldn't be "another overpaid left winger." The best way to build a successful team is not through the wing (*see 2010-2015 Oilers).
Marleau is a player I would potentially consider as a deadline option but a whole year of a player who is steadily declining? Pass.
The Hamonic rumours last summer became so oversaturated that most people had written his name down in pen for the opening night roster. This time there is a new wrinkle to the Hamonic rumours due to the expansion draft. The Islanders will protect Leddy and Boychuk, the third name comes down to de Haan and Hamonic. Simply put, this means that if the Islanders want to move one of these defensemen, it will be before the expansion draft.
While Hamonic would be a great defenseman to have on the second pairing, his addition would come at a new cost. The Oilers would have to go the 4-4-1 route which would put players like Maroon, Kassian, and Letestu at risk for being claimed. Trading Eberle for Hamonic seems like a good trade to me. Trading Eberle and losing Maroon for Hamonic would be a bit tougher to swallow.
End of the day I respectfully disagree with Mr. Cullen's assessment. While he addresses the definite need for a different option on the second pairing, other issues such as lack of proven right wing depth, a veteran third line centre (I think we've seen enough of Caggiula in the middle), and a proven backup goaltender are still left up in the air.
Thanks for reading!