No 1 item for Oilers–looking for an offensive defenceman
Last year, the Edmonton Oilers’ rallying cry was “where’s the face-off man?” but this year it’s “where’s the puck-mover?”
Without Ryan Whitney, it’s painfully obvious that the Oilers No. 1 need is somebody to get the puck to Taylor Hall and Co for the quick breakout. There are too many Oiler defenceman into the double-clutch mode, not willing to risk a headman pass even if the worst thing that happens is an icing and a face-off in their end.
There are two offensive blueliners looking for work right now–Chris Campoli (Chicago) and Bryan McCabe (Rangers)–but for now the Oilers are staying with what they’ve got and that’s ample grit. They’ve got Theo Peckham, Andy Sutton and Ladislav Smid but they could certainly use a fully-ready NHL offensive defenceman who can put up more than, say, 25 points.
Without Whitney, still nursing a sore right ankle, they are very thin of players to get the puck up up the ice and into the attack. They do have Cam Barker, the former third overall pick in the 2004 draft, but the jury’s out on him because this is his third team. Jeff Petry showed promise last year but he might not be ready for top 4 minutes. Martin Marancin had 56 points in his first year of major junior last year in Prince George but he’s not ready for the AHL, never mind the NHL.
They need a transitional puck-mover for a year or two. Campoli finished last season with the Blackhawks but they didn’t resign him. McCabe finished with the Rangers, but they didn’t want him back, either.
Campoli is younger at 27, McCabe is better.