Just over a year ago around this time the Edmonton Oilers came just within one win of the biggest trophy in professional hockey. Three weeks later they were saying goodbye to superstar Chris Pronger, and a few other key players Michael Peca, Jaroslav Spacek, and Sergei Samsonov.
So who replaced these players, because obviously you need to replace such key players. Well Kevin Lowe signed unrestricted free agent Petr Sykora, great choice to replace Samsonov with. The Oilers also signed UFA Daniel Tarnquist. Wait a second is this who is suppose to replace number 44. Nope no one can replace Pronger, but Lowe thought it would be a great idea to have everyone step up a level, maybe even some of the defence prospects can step up too. Lowe said lets wait and see what happens, then we will attend to this problem. Ok us Oiler fans wait, wait and wait patiently. Ok it is trade deadline coming up now, woohoo I am psyched, lets grab someone big so we can make a last minute run to playoff berth. First deal we trade our leading offensive defenseman M.A. Bergeron in points for a guy that isn't even playing in the NHL, he is over in Russia, unsigned. Ok don't criticize Lowe yet, maybe he is making cap room for something big. Give it time folks, be patient. What??? Ryan Smyth for prospects and a draft pick. Ok is our team a seller now?? We were always lead to believe coming up to the trade deadline we would be buyers not sellers. Ok at that point I knew we were throwing up the white flag and entering "rebuilding mode". Took me sometime to cope with things, but eh we got three first round picks to bargain with, we will be ok, lets look forward for next season.
Yay, it is finally draft day, can't wait to see what Lowe does. Maybe we can just use our first round draft pick, and trade the other two since expert scouts say it is a very weak group this year. Well to all Oilers fans it was a disappointing day, sure our team in three to four years got better, but we want it now! Kevin Lowe said it wasn't from any lack of trying, but maybe his price was too steep, you gotta give a little to get something in return. Ok Oilers fans, be patient July 1st is a little over a week away, we will be ok. We have 29 million dollars commited to next years salary, the salary cap was increase to over 50 million, our team budget is around 45 million. This that mean we become buyers at this free agent frenzy???? Wow, since the team has started we have never been know to shop heavily on July 1st. However this year we have around 15 million dollars to go on a shopping spree with. Very nice, I am so excited. First day no big names, but we traded our captain Jason Smith and local boy Joffrey Lupul to Philadelphia for up and coming defense superstar Joni Pitkanen and veteran Geoff Sanderson. Unlike most Oiler fans I loved the deal. We needed that powerplay querterback, because lets face it, games today are won by powerplays. Yes, some luck finally hit us, we landed one of the top centres, Michael Nylander. I was jumping in circles, just wondering how he will do playing with Hemsky. Ok maybe we will sign someone good the next day. Wait a second, Michael Nylander signs multi year deal with the Washington Capitals. Huh, how could this happen, I thought he was an Oiler. I guess we were screwed yet once again.
Lets face it Oiler fans, since that 2006 playoff run we've had some terrible luck. Things went from great to worse, however I don't think they can get worse, lets be patient one more time. Give Kevin Lowe a vote of confidence, he has lots of money to spend, perhaps we save some money for next year, the free agent market will have a lot more key players available. I don't know about you guys but as a loyal Oiler fan since I was just old enough to learn how to skate, I can't handle any more disappointments. Lets be patient though, give Kevin Lowe time to make this team a contender, maybe give him until September, because we need a winning team in Oil Country, a losing team just does not belong in the city of champions.