I was reading a blog post by Adam French over at HockeyBuzz.com today. Crap on Eklund as much as you want, some of the bloggers he has assembled offer some good commentary on teams and players.
French posted this blog: http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Adam-French/Can-Phoenix-Develop-Forwards-Properly-The-Case-of-Mikkel-Boedker/155/38781. In it, he basically calls out the Yotes and specifically Dave Tippett for ruining some of their young prospects by refusing to play them material minutes, using Mikkel Boedker as a prime example. He however notes Maclean and now Turris as other players hitting a glass ceiling under Tippett.
So, assuming this is true, and that these young players want out, and there is some evidence of this - like Turris demanding a trade - then there is a potential window of opportunity here.Turris, a former contender for first overall, is a complete wildcard, but the potential upside says there will be bidders interested. He could be a strong second line option. Two key questions remain: (1) How much would be required to get him in a competitive bidding process; and (2) will Maloney even trade him or will he dig in his heels?
But Boedker is a different animal. Likely to be as frustrated as Turris, Boedker is another potential target. Drafted 8th overall in 2008, he has the look of a strong second line winger about him. Some of French's comments on Boedker include:
- He was still pushed off the puck too easily but his creativity and defensive play had finally caught up to the pro level.
- His defensive game was fine and he looked stronger on the puck than he had ever had before yet Tippett never used him.
- Boedker is ready for big minutes.
So, Turris may or may not be in play, depending on Maloney's mood. Boedker and his agent may be watching the Turris saga play out to see what it means for Boedker. Maloney may also want to avoid a second Turris situation. Opportunity.
What's in it for the Oilers?
They already seem to have a log jam at centre. RNH, Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger and Lander are all vying for spots. Well, the first question the Oilers need to ask themselves is, is Turris a potential upgrade from Gagner? Does he offer a more complete game? Can he win a face off and play a little defence while still potting 40-55 points while staying healthy? Is his ceiling higher? If so, then the Oilers should enter the race. Is Omark the chip they throw Phoenix's way? Pitlick? Or Gagner for Turris and a draft pick, given that Gagner has the stronger track record?
On Boedker, the question is equally complicated, and probably is tied to the club's plans for Hemsky. If Hemsky is to be dealt for defensive help, then how about Omark, Hartikainen, or Pitlick for Boedker? That would leave a right side of Eberle, Boedker and potentially open a spot for Hartikainen (if Omark is the one going the other way).
Picking up either player (or both but wow, that would be a deal) would allow the Oilers to grab players that should be a little further up the learning curve and potentially further the club's depth upfront.
Sooner or later the Oilers are going to have to deal a forward for a defenseman, so if the opportunity is there to stock up and increase the team's options before jumping into the d-man trade waters, why not?
Personally, I would be interested in a line up that featured:
Hall - RNH - Eberle
Smyth - Turris - Boedker
Paajarvi - Belanger - Hartikainen
Horcoff- Lander- Jones
Whitney - Hemsky trade return
Gilbert - Peckham
Petry/Barker - Smid
They might get killed this year, but that’s going to happen anyway with the defence Tambellini has assembled. But 12 months from now under Renney’s coaching, that could be a really, really good group of forwards. 12 months from now you could also bundle up Belanger and Peckam or Smid for a better d-man if needed with Lander moving into the third line centre spot.
Notes: the top line might need to be protected some. Smyth and Paajarvi could flip lines. Horcoff could float around to cover injuries or replace RNH if he's not ready for prime time. Horcoff and Hartikanien could also flip. Not really sure how to pair up those defensemen, even with a reasonable return from a Hemsky trade.