I'll start off by saying that this is my first blog and I hope to write more in the future.
Now most people when they talk about the Oilers in this upcoming season based on what moves they've done and the players they've lost so far they would think that the Oilers would finish somewhere from 11th to 15th in the Western Conference and I can see why. At the trade deadline last year they trade away their heart and soul in Ryan Smyth to the Islanders for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra and a couple of draft picks. First off if I were Kevin Lowe and my team was struggling as much as the Oilers were I would do whatever it took to re-sign Ryan Smyth. Secondly you have to look at who they got in return. Robert Nilsson and Ryan O'Marra are simply not enough in return. But I'm not taking Ryan Smyth's side on this because after I saw him crying his eyes out at the airport and talking about how Edmonton will always be his home and then in the off-season signs a long term deal with Colorado, I guess he doesn't like Edmonton that much. Then there's the draft where Kevin Lowe went into the draft with 3 first rounders and never even got a good trade out of it. They ended up taking Sam Gagner, Alex Plante and Riley Nash. Sam Gagner is going to be a good player in a year or two, but I never even heard of Alex Plante or Riley Nash before and I don't know why they didn't take Angelo Esposito or Alexei Cherapanov. Then there was free agency where Kevin Lowe failed to sign a big name free agent for the first week and a half until he signed Sheldon Souray. Then there's the Nylander story where the Oilers agreed to terms with Nylander in words and then he signed in Washington. Later on they traded their captain Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul to the Flyers for Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson. Now I neither like nor dislike this trade. Well ya Smith was their captain but I still don't think that he is a good overall player and then there's Joffrey Lupul who had a disappointing season with only 16 goals and 12 assists. Now Joni Pitkanen is a good young player who still has some room to grow and develop into an even better player.
But it might not be that bad. I'm not saying that the Oilers are are going to be 1st in the Conference I'm just saying maybe they could somehow make it into the playoffs. Signing Souray really helps them. Some of the keys to acheiving this are as followed:
1. Kevin Lowe needs to sign a couple more free agents, they don't have to be big name guys like Selanne or Forsberg they could sign some average free agents like Martin Gelinas or Josef Vasicek. He also needs to pull off 1 or 2 trades. There have been some names thrown around like Glen Murray and Erik Cole. Even Zherdev has been mentioned.
2. The Oilers need to stay healthy and not get as many injuries as they did last year.eg. Jarret Stoll (Concussion), Fernando Pisani (Concussion), Ethan Moreau (Separated Right Shoulder- surgery), Steve Staios (Sprained Knee), Ladislav Smid (Sprained Shoulder), Ryan Smyth (Fractured Thumb), Ales Hemsky (Shoulder). That's 5 of their top players. Not to mention a lot of day-to-day injuries.
3. They have a lot of young players in the organization and they could blossom at any time if they get the chance to play. I'm talking about players like Ales Hemsky who has the potential to be a future All-Star, Ladislav Smid, Joni Pitkanen, Mathieu Roy, Andrew Cogliano, Rob Schremp, Sam Gagner, Ryan O'Marra and Danny Syvret.
4. Dwayne Roloson has to have a better year after having a record of 27-34-6. You sort of have to give him a break because his defence wasn't giving him much help and the offence wasn't putting the puck in the net. This year if he needs a day off they have a better back-up goaltender in Mathieu Garon.
5. They have to come out of the gate swinging and start off with a bang, maybe going on a couple win streaks and absolutely no 20 game losing streak.
Now if they can do that they might manage to make it into the playoffs but might I add it won't be easy. But I think they can do it.