I love lists. I mean, who doesn’t like reading a list? Easy to write, easy to read; makes for conversation…
It’s time for a little day dreaming. In the words of Borat, “why not?” The last few days of July have been hot and lazy here in Alberta; perfect weather to lie on the grass on your back, and stare up at the clouds. Perfect weather to play pretend Oilers GM.
If I was The Man for the Edmonton Oilers, and if this was a perfect world where everything could go the way I wanted them, here’s 10 ways I’d improve this team. Oh, one thing before I get into this – Of course, I could say ridiculous things like, “I’d trade Smid for Crosby,” but that’s just silly. Everything I will be suggesting is at least somewhat feasible. This is already a goofy enough blog without me adding impossible possibilities.
Improvement #1 – I would officially kill the Dany Heatley saga. Do I need to explain why? Between Pronger, Hossa, Jagr and Heatley, the fans in Edmonton have been tortured enough already.
#2 – I would start pushing harder for a new rink. Edmonton has one of the oldest facilities in the NHL now, and the ice has went from the best in the league to almost one of the worst. Plus, a new rink could likely seat 4,000 more fans, and be an important part of improving Edmonton’s downtown. Or maybe the new rink and parking could be located where the City Center Airport was? It’s time to move ahead with this, with Katz and all three levels of government ponying up the doe.
#3 – I would find some sort of legal way to go after the scalpers. Anyone who has looked for Oilers tickets on Ebay knows what I am talking about here, and it is disgusting. It should be fans buying season tickets, not jackasses looking to rip off the fans. I’d hate to see what this problem would look like if the Oilers were cup contenders.
#4 – I would give Rob Schremp and Gilbert Brule a real shot at making the NHL this season. There is no nice way to say this, but Robbie was a cocky jerk the first year he came to camp. I think he’d even agree with me. He needed an attitude adjustment, but MacT and the coaches went overboard. Of course he had a lousy season last year in Springfield; his confidence and drive must be zero after the way he has been treated. During the four games he did play with the Oil, he had three points and looked dangerous on a number of shifts. Give the boy a chance already. And we’re not talking 5 games either. Give him a season to play in the NHL. As for Brule, this guy has all the skills. Stick Brule, Schremp and Stortini on the fourth line and leave them together for a while. Let’s see what happens.
#5 – I would find a place to hide Pouliot and Jacques. No offense boys, but you don’t belong in the NHL. Why, oh why did the Oilers insist on playing these two last season? Same thing with Matty Roy. Might be the worst defenseman I’ve ever seen. The time has come to send them both to Springfield, and let their contracts run out so they can go as UFA’s to whomever is brave enough to chance it.
#6 – I would give Jordan Eberle a real shot at making the team this fall. Eberle just has too much talent and drive to be ignored for long. Ask yourself this question…would you rather see the talented but disinterested Robert Nilsson on the second line, or the motivated-to-win Eberle? Aside from him having some spark, Eberle can also put the puck in the net, which is something they desperately need.
#7 – It is time to officially promote Gagner and Cogliano. Shawn Horcoff is a great guy, but he is no 1st line Center. His role should be playing with Moreau and Pisani, to form one of the best shutdown lines in the league. Gagner always looks great when he plays with Hemsky, and Cogilano needs a chance to be a Top 6 forward. Would it hurt to start the season with Penner-Gagner-Hemsky, Eberle-Cogliano-O’Sullivan, Moreau-Horcoff-Pisani, and Stortini-Brule-Schremp as the forward lines?
#8 – Robert Nilsson is not on my list of lines. There’s a reason for it. The Oilers need to move at least one defenseman (see point #9), and Nilsson should be a throw in to any deal if he can not be traded by himself. At a $2mil cap hit, he is a waste of money and ice time.
#9 – Move one or more defenseman. The Oilers Top 6 forwards as I have them listed is weak. Ideally the Oilers would move Visnovsky or Souray, plus a combination of players, prospects of draft picks to bring in a Top 3 forward. There are a number of options available, as there might be as high as 10 teams dealing with cap issues at this time. Philadelphia, Ottawa, the Rangers, and Chicago are all potential targets. Teams like LA have shown an interest in Souray too, and they have some assets that could be moved to Edmonton. Bottom line is, the Oilers need help up front (especially in the form of a winger who can score and hit), and they need to find a way to get Chorney and Peckham into the line-up. Smid will be dealt; that seems certain. But one of the current Top 4 could be moved to bring in some serious offensive assistance.
#10 – If all else fails, sign Petr Sykora. Sykora and Hemsky had great chemistry. There are two UFA’s still available that could help the Oilers: Mike Grier and Petr. My Spidey Sense tells me part of the reason UFA’s avoid Edmonton was due to the MacTavish factor…you know, the always changing line combinations, the playing favorites ahead of talented players, etc. Now that there is a new coaching staff, both former Oilers could return and be welcome additions. However, some salaries would need to be moved for this to happen. Gotta love that salary cap.
So there are ten ideas. Do you have some? Add them to the list!