Due to this being a great idea and most popular demand by Oiler fans, today's blog will focus on how the Oilers can improve their bottom 6 FW.
When you look at the Oilers bottom 6 you currently have these 7 players...
3rd line: Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
4th line: Jones-Lander-Joensuu/Brown
To me that isn't a terrible bottom 6, but you definitely have a very weird and mixed up 3rd line... you have a vet in Smyth who has drastically slowed down, and will probably only play 60 games or so this season. We all adore Smyth and his heart for the game, but he's finished. Its too bad he's on an over 35 contract this season or else I think he would've retired.
Then you have newly acquired FA Boyd Gordon. At 3M/season, there's no way he's moving from that #3C spot. He's a total grinder who will get between 20-30 points in the ENTIRE season. Then you have Mr. Ales Hemsky. A dangling playmaking winger. He's what makes this 3rd line so wacky and in all honesty unworkable. You have a dangling playmaker who in all aspects when healthy should be a 2nd line player, playing with a slow, done veteran and a total grinder.
If this was NHL14 this lines chemistry would be a Z- if that's possible. If you put in a strong of Boyd Gordon + Ryan Smyth + Ales Hemsky it would not compute. You get the point.
So how do we fix this? It's quite simple actually.
Trade Ales Hemsky.
Many think at this point he's untradeable because of his cap hit, and well because he's made of total glass. But if you were to trade him to a team that needs a top 6 FW or top 4 W, say along the lines of Carolina, Florida, Phoenix, or even Washington who has Martin (frank)ing Erat as their #2 winger.
Carolina currently has $4,885,000 in cap space with ATLEAST 2 more players needing to be on the roster.
Carolina doesnt make much sense in my honest opinion. They dont have any gritty 3rd liners that Edmonton would want. So lets cross them out.
Florida: Yes they have a lot of good young FW talent coming... however the key word is COMING. They have nearly 12M in cap space, and thats with a 24 man roster, so obviously cap space isn't an issue.
The player i'd be looking at in a trade is Scottie Upshall, the perfect 3rd liner. However there's one problem: He's signed for the next 2 years at 3.5M. Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Justin Schultz, Devan Dubnyk, Jeff Petry, 4 FW (all 4th liners), and then 2 D (assuming Klefbom is on the roster) and a backup all need to be signed. They'd be in for tough pickings.
Of course, the Oilers still have 1 amnesty buyout remaining, and if they needed to they could buyout Upshall.
Upshall straight up for Hemsky. Injury prone for injury prone. Gives the teams what they both need. Hemsky's value isn't that high, and MacTavish knows that I hope...
Lets move on to Phoenix. Boy its 3rd liner heaven over there. So many to choose from!
You've got Kyle Chipchura, David Moss and Lauri Korpikoski over there. 3 players to choose from. Phoenix seems to like Korpikoski so lets cross him off the list.
David Moss has a 7 team list he can veto a trade to. One would think the Oilers would probably be on that list. If he does accept a trade, lets just again go straight up here. Moss for Hemsky. Plus Moss is a UFA at the end of the year. It's a win/win!
If it was Kyle Chipchura coming the other way, Phoenix would have to add in a pick, lets say a 2014 3rd. Fair? Ok lets move on to the last possible suitors: The Washington Capitals
I dont know if it's just me, but to me Ales Hemsky seems like a match made in heaven in Washington. He'd get to play alongside Alex Ovechkin, so the asking price here will be higher.
Jason Chimera is exactly what the Oilers would need and would fit perfectly on the Oilers 3rd line. However, he's getting up there in age, as he's 34. However, he can still skate, and he could still put up 30P on this 3rd line.
I would ask for Fehr, Chimera and 2014 1st, just because Hemsky would be getting to play with Ovechkin and Backstrom. Hell i'm starting to think this is a bad deal for Oilers, as Hemsky would likely pot 30 and get atleast 70P playing with those 2. I'd also bet Hemsky would re-sign there, because he knows he couldn't be a top line player on any other team.
If Hemsky was getting traded to Washington, the Oilers in my own opinion wouldn't be out of their minds to ask for Marcus Johansson and Chimera.
Before I get highly criticized here: think about it. Hemsky would get ATLEAST 70P if he stayed healthy played with Backstrom and Ovechkin, and I guarantee you he'd re-sign there due to the fact he's a 1st line player on that team. If the Capitals called, would the Oilers be out of their mind to ask for Johansson? I really dont think so.
And we're not even done yet. If the Oilers truly wanted to improve their 3rd line even more, say they only get 1 player for Hemsky, they've got to get another 3rd liner and move Smyth down to the 4th line
With Hartikainen leaving in the offseason for the KHL, the Oilers lost a perfect 3rd line player who came cheap. Joensuu or Brown aren't 3rd line players.
In the AHL for call ups for wing you've got Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton and Ryan Martindale. I really don't see any of those players as 3rd line players at the moment, but would it REALLY hurt to give one of the kids a tryout for the 3rd line wing spot? It couldn't hurt, could it?
Of course you could always go the FA route: Cleary, Sullivan, Hejduk, Larose, Kobasew as the top UFA Wingers available that the Oilers could fit under the cap.
I'll be straight up honest. I have no blazing hell of a clue what MacTavish is going to do, if anything. I think I've got a better chance of getting in threesome with Jessica Alba and Kate Upton than correctly 100% guessing what MacT is going to do with the bottom 6
My question to you Oiler fans is: What would YOU do to fix the Oilers bottom 6?
Thanks for reading! Please comment below!