Is the 2014 offseason the biggest offseason for the Edmonton Oilers in recent memory? Sure, every oiler fan since 2007 has said this in April or May. But the challenges that face the rookie GM and coach are steep, and patience in Oil Country is running thinner then my hair. The challenges are plenty, but I would like to touch on a couple today.
1. Probably one of the hardest decisions Mactavish is going to have to make as GM of the Edmonton Oilers is coming up at the 2014 NHL Draft. The biggest knock on this young Oilers team has been "Grit" and "Experience". Craig Mactavish came out during the season and said "we do not need another high end prospect in our system, we need proven NHL experience". Media all over Edmonton came to the conclusion that Mac T was trading the pick. However, with a disatoures season and two young men by the name of Ekblad and Draisitl in the picture, it looks to have put a bit of a wrench into the GMs plans. These two excellent young hockey players both address a position of absolute NEED for this oiler squad, SIZE up the middle and an Elite defencemen on the back end. Judging by all media outlets, one of these gents is going to be there at #3 when Mr. Bettmen calls on the Oilers to pick. But what will Mactavish do? As much as Oiler faithful think their loaded up front, I hate to admit it, the cupboards are pretty bare with young skilled centremen. Other then RNH, who is coming up the middle to take over that #2 pivot spot...and my god, do not say Arccobello. But at the same time, if Ekblad falls to #3 (which I don't think he will) how do you pass on a guy tagged to be the next Shea Weber...the answer, you can't! Or does Mactavish make one of his promised "BOLD" moves and move the pick for immediate help for one of the two coveted positons? Whoever does read this, I ask you, what would you do? And what is a realistic return for that #3 pick? Ahh how the opinions will vary!
2. What to do with Sam Gagner. The Oil have zero picks in the 2nd and 3rd round, both gone for Perron and Scrivens. Does Mactavish trade Sam and try and retain both of those picks? And before someone tries to roast me about him being worth more. I hate to tell you, his stock is low, extremely low. So in saying that, do you hang on to the former #6 overall centremen and see if he can turn it around to bring back his value or is this the offseason that the Oilers part ways with #89 and start changing the look up the middle?
I do not envy Craig Mactavish's job as the Edmonton Oilers General Manager, the decisions that have to be made and the holes that have to be filled are MASSIVE and can not be filled within this one off season. The one positive Oiler fans can look to is that their young core is gaining another year of experience and they have some very nice pieces coming along on the back end. It's now time for Oilers management to give these kids some help.