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Four centre's MacTavish should target

When I look at the Oilers roster and within their system they have some weaknesses. They need someone who can play a solid 2 way game for more than a limited minute role. They need someone big as the current Oilers have limited size. They need someone that will initiate contact. They need someone to be able to wins face off in their top 2 lines. They need someone who is not going to break the bank as the current Oilers roster already boasts 6 million dollar contracts to Hall, Nuge, Eberle and will need to sign Yakupov after next season. They need a veteran as the current Oilers top 6 is full of kids.

This is a long shopping list for a forward. If they can get this right the Oilers will be able to not only shelter Nuge but the entire top line. It also narrows the list.

Martin Hanzal.
Hanzal is big. 6'6" 236 pounds of big. He is 26 years old and playing in his seventh season. So far this season he has 14 goals and 36 points in 52 games. Playing 19:01 a game and winning 55.3% of his draws. He has delivered a 164 hits and plays a solid 2 way game. Hanzal has played under the hard working Dave Tippett and could help Ference out by bringing some good culture to the Oilers system. Hanzal also has a very attractive contract as he is signed for$3.1 million until 2017. I don't believe Phoenix would be completely unopened to trading him but they are definitely not going to give him away. An interesting side note is he is from Czech Republic, same home country as Ales Hemsky. Trading one of Yakupov or Eberle is an overpayment but perhaps there is a defenseman in Phoenix that could help balance the trade scale. This would then allow the Oilers to resign Hemsky and give us another year of trading Hemsky blogs.

Brandon Dubinsky.
Dubinsky has good size. 6'2" and 216 pounds. Dubinsky is 27 years old and playing in his seventh season. He has 12 goals and 36 points this season. He logs 18:48 a game and is winning 54.9% of his draws. Is also not afraid to mix it up giving out 162 hits. Known for his solid 2 way game and is part of the leadership group in Columbus. An interesting side note he is not from the Czech Republic so.... But Centre is a position of strength for Columbus with the emergence of Ryan Johansen, Artem Anisimov and Boone Jenner. All big, all centre man and all younger than Dubinsky. He has one year left and $4.2 million before he is an unrestricted free agent. So from an assets stand point his value may never be higher than between now and the June NHL entry draft.

Ryan Johansen.
Although not quite filled out Ryan stands 6'3" and weighs in at 203 pounds. Enjoying a break out year with 24 goals and 46 points in 58 games. Despite being a younger player he is quite good in the face off circle winning 52.3% of his draws and has laid 79 hits. Ryan does not quite fit the mold I laid out earlier as he is only 21 years old. He is also an RFA at the end of the season and is probably in Blue Jacket plans for a long time. Getting this player would cost us one of our players we have plans for but we must change the mix.

David Backes.
6'3" 221 pounds and mean. 20 goals 42 points in 52 games played and probably in the Selke conversation. His face off stats are a little low by his standards at 50.4% and has 179 hits on the year. Getting Backes is probably a pipe dream. He is the captain on a very good team. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will be among the stars. Too bad we don't have Omark for trade bait anymore.

I was going to include Crosby on this list but he is to hard to play with. If we can give our young stars the right support we may have a very dangerous team tomorrow. Lander is maybe our only current prospect ready to make the jump. Problem is, is that he has been jumping for so long we think he is a jack rabbit. Any other prospect that we have is skeptical that can even make the jump and if they do it is in a limited role years down the road. A second line centre than can complement Nuge and the rest of the team should be first priority.

At least on defense we have solid prospects in Nurse, Klefbom, Marincin and with a little luck Ekblad. With solid prospects you never know when they can make a real contribution to your team. With four shots in the barrel lets hope at least one can hit the target next year. Moving heavens and earth or tying up way to much cap space for way to long could hurt the long term success of this team.
Filed Under:   Hanzal   Dubinsky   Johansen   Backes  
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