Oil City Thoughts
Martin St-Louis, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Spezza, Olli Jokinen, Jordan Staal and more. Who should the Oilers be looking at?
The Edmonton Oilers head into the trade deadline as neither a real “buyer” or a real “seller”. The club’s only UFA’s are G Dwayne Roloson, F Erik Cole & D Jason Strudwick. If the club has any intention of competing the rest of the season, then Roloson (arguably the Oilers best player this season) cannot be moved. It’s also believed the Oilers and Roli will come together on a new contract to keep the netminder in Edmonton next season. Strudwick should be back in a depth role as well.
Cole on the other hand, is not expected back at this point. And although losing him for a prospect or pick would hurt, it probably wouldn’t kill their playoff hopes. The feeling is the Oilers would like to move him for a roster player that could help. The thing with Cole is optics. If you look back at the lineage of trades that brought Cole to Edmonton, you’ll see that he was brought in for Joni Pitkanen, who cost you Captain Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul, who came over in the Pronger trade. So forgive me for thinking that they cannot hold on to him for the stretch and lose him in the summer. Pronger-Lupul-Pitkanen-Cole-NOTHING?! They have to move him. Many teams have been rumored to be interested in him, including Boston, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Buffalo, Montreal, NYR & New Jersey. Expect Cole to be on the move come Wednesday.
So now lets take a look at what the Oilers need – a Superstar! Someone to play with Hemsky. The Oil have been snake-bitten in the free agent market. Marian Hossa this past summer and Michael Nylander the year before(how bad does it feel when one of the ugly chicks doesn’t even want to dance with you?). Edmonton fans are now starting to get an inferiority complex. Why won’t any free agents come here, they ask. The desires of Oiler fan include a big-ticketed star player.
Marian Hossa is potentially available this summer. If he makes it to July 1st, I’d expect the Oilers to make a substantial offer, similar to last summer. But indications are that Hossa wants to stay in Detroit, and contract negotiations are on-going. So Hossa may not even be available.
Here are some names the Oilers may have interest in at the upcoming deadline, draft, and free agent season (in no particular order):
Jason Spezza – Top calibre forward would likely create magic with hemsky, Spezza could be available, if not now, then draft weekend. If they haven’t found their man by then, Spezza could be an option.
Scott Gomez – Lowe’s relationship with Sather could lead to a deal… it has in the past. If the Rangers are looking to shed salary, Slats might want to make a call to E-town. Lowe and Tambellini will get their man. And if they have to trade for that man rather than sign him as a free agent, then so be it. Gomez could come at a reduced price for the added cap relief. I can see Dustin Penner in a Rangers jersey now (lol). And being from Alaska, maybe he wouldn’t mind Edmonton. Maybe.
Olli Jokinen – The big power forward will be moved at the deadline or at the draft. Jokinen has been playing center for the last number of years, but he was a winger at one time and some feel he may be better suited as a winger anyway. Where would the Oil play him? Centering Hemsky or left wing with Horcoff and Hemsky? Either way, Jokinen could be a nice pickup. Could the Gretzky-Lowe/Tambellini connection hook up for a deal?
Daniel Briere – The Flyers may look at moving Briere this summer for cap relief. If the Oil are still hunting for their man, Briere could come cheap. The Oilers have the pockets and if they want to make additional room, they can.
Martin St-Louis – Tampa has publicly stated they won’t be moving St-Louis, but anything is possible down there. St-Louis would be a pretty nice fit for the Oil. He could shift over to the left-side to play with Hemsky.
Vincent Lecavalier – Why not? Rumors had the Oilers in the Vinny sweepstakes at the all-star game, so if Tampa looks at moving him, expect the Oilers to be involved… if Vinny has any interest.
Dany Heatley – 50 goal man on Hemmer’s wing. That would be nice. However, Ottawa doesn’t look like they’re interested in moving him. If that changed, could the Oilers out a package together. I think so. Heatley has final say though.
Ilya Kovalchuk – The Thrashers look like they’re going to lose him after next season, so he may be available this summer. Should the Oilers be willing to move out some of their promising youth?
Jason Arnott – Former Oiler would have looked good in Oiler silks the past number of years. Would Nashville be willing to move him? I don’t know.
Marian Gaborik – Too injury plagued for my liking. No thanks.
Jordan Staal – With rumors of the Pens looking to move him for cap reasons, would Staal be a good fit centering Hemsky. Possibly. If it cost you one of Gagner or Cogliano, are you interested?
Jay Bouwmeester – The Oilers haven’t had a great recent history with local kids. But Bouwmeester has played in Florida for 7 seasons. Perhaps he’d welcome a little pressure. Lowe/Tambellini would love to add him, and could look to move D Lubimor Visnovsky for help up front.
Which names should the Oil consider? And would you risk losing some of the lesser names on that list while you wait for the big fish? Or take the first one that becomes attainable? Is there somebody I missed or somebody you’d like to see in Oiler silks?