Before I get started here, I'm going to apologize for my last blog. for some reason, it didn't register any paragraph separation when it posted. I will try to make sure the format of this one is proper before I post it. Again, my apologies. On with the show.
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish has wastes no time making his mark on this franchise. He has already replaced the head coach, opened the possibility (or certainty) of further changes to the coaching staff, and all but guaranteed that veterans Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky are on their way out. More changes are on the way, and for those of us who have followed this team for years, it's music to our ears. Time to cut the fat, and move some of the quality assets for players to fill the gaping holes in the roster. These are some of the guys who could find themselves in an Oilers jersey in September.
One of the big fish in the UFA pond this year. He's pretty much exactly what the Oilers are looking for in a top 6 forward. Big, gritty power forward with plenty of skill and experience. It was reported last week on Boston sports radio that the Oilers were prepared to offer big dough to Horton when he hits the market, and they will have to pay big to get him. Horton is having a hell of a playoff run, currently placing second in team scoring behind David Krecji. The Oilers will be far from the only team bidding on him and that means an overpayment if you want him in orange and blue. Think somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5 per on a four or five year deal.
He's a left shot, puck moving Dman, and the Oilers covet that. He's on the older side (36 in December), and he won't hit anybody, but he is an upgrade over most of the blueline in Edmonton. When Ralph Krueger was still coaching, I put Edmonton near the top of the list of suitors for Streit because of their history on the Swiss national team. Now that Krueger is gone, it seems more unlikely he signs on to come to North Alberta, but you never know. I'd go as high as 5.5 per on a 2 year deal, but that's it, and I'm not sure that gets it done.rnrn Sean Couturier rn The Flyers are DESPERATE to improve their blueline, and word is they would be willing to give up one of Couturier or Brayden Schenn to get that upgrade. While their preference is probably something more immediate, it is believed that Philly is crushing over rugged Sault Ste. Marie defenceman Darnell Nurse. It is projected that Nurse, who just happens to be the nephew of former Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, will be drafted around 7th overall (where the Oilers pick). Couturier would cost more than just the #7, but a package deal could bring him to Edmonton.rnrn Tyler Myers rn It remains to be seen whether Buffalo would make Myers available, but he hasn't yet turned out the way his Calder trophy winning rookie season made it look. He's an expensive cap hit at 5.5 per for the next 6 seasons, and the ongoing overhaul in Buffalo may want that cap space back. Dallas Eakins has a reputation for developing young defencemen, and would look great on the Oilers buleline if Eakins can improve his game. Myers is still young and promising, however, so it will likely cost Sam Gagner to get him.rnrn Tyler Bozak and Stephen Weiss rn Both UFAs. Both good fits for a 2C/3C. Both likely to command over 4 million per on a multi-year deal on the open market. Signing either of them makes the most sense if Gagner gets dealt, as both will likely make sure whoever signs them guarantees top 6 minutes. That being said, they both are more prototypical second line centers than Gagner, and both are more defensively responsible. rnrn The Oilers bottom 6 will have huge change over, and depending on who MacT decides to keep (if any), he might also look into the likes of Boyd Gordon, Kyle Chipchura, Jordin Tootoo, Marty Reasoner, Matt Frattin, Matt Hendricks, and Vernon Fiddler in either trades or free agent signings. rnrn Welcome to the MacTavish era Oilers, where the possibilities appear endless.rnrn Thanks for reading!rnFollow me on Twitter @J_Ouellette1808