What should Edmonton be looking for this summer?
I think our needs are getting clearer. We need a scoring, right-shooting D as well as another solid, right shooting D. A solid 2nd line or 3rd line C would be a bonus. I think Gagner is an above average 2nd line center, but someone competing for his spot would be healthy. A solid goalie to compete with Dubnyk for the starting position with potential to be our future starter. I think our wings are in a good place at the moment. We'll see how training camp pans out before we know what direction we need to go on the wings. I really hope we don't go after overrated older goalies like Fleury, Brodeur or Luongo. We should have learned our lesson with Khabibulin.
1. Justin Schultz - the latest is that we're in the final 2 or 3 short list. We should hear this afternoon. We've made a valiant effort with MacT, Hall, Gretzky and Coffey all contributing.
2. Beyond Justin, I'm not sure who else we should be looking at.
1. Goalie: Jonathan Bernier looks like the best goalie looking to move. If Bobrovsky is a good comparison and rumours that the Kings are looking for a 1st round pick, I'd say go for it. Offer a 1st round pick next year or maybe Omark and a 2nd round pick. Other goalies out there that could be acquired without giving up too much: Jack Campbell in Dallas, Jacob Markstrom in Florida, Robin Lehner in Ottawa, Jhonas Enroth in Buffalo, Jake Allen in St. Louis, Allen York in Columbus or Jussi Rynnas in Toronto. But I think Bernier, Lehner, Enroth and Markstrom are the four marquee talents that are stuck behind star goaltenders on their respective teams. 1st round or 2nd round and Omark would be a great trade for any of those four goalies. It's doubtful that either Lehner or Enroth could be pried away, but Markstrom and Bernier may want out. Florida has signed Clemmenson and may be going after Luongo. When the dust settles, they may look at moving Markstrom. Bernier wants out of LA and doesn't want to be stuck behind Quick forever.
2. Defence: After the Schultz circus, I'm not sure who is out there. If we're looking for talent on the cheap. Our left side D is quite deep on "players" and prospects: Smid, Whitney, Sutton, N Schultz, Peckham, Klefbom, Marincin, Musil, Gernat. Let's not add more left D's. On the right side we only have one "player" in Petry along with Teubert, Potter, Fedun. There are a few teams with multiple great, right shooting defencemen prospects: Jonathon Blum and Ryan Ellis in Nashville; Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie in Colorado; Cody Goloubef and David Savard in Columbus, Jesse Blacker in Toronto, Jared Cowen in Ottawa.
3. Center: A number of teams have multiple center prospects. I think our 1-2 punch of Nugent-Hopkins/Gagner is going to be as good as most in the NHL. Adding a big talented center to challenge Gagner or play on the 3rd line would be great. Victor Rask and Nick Bjugstad stand out from the pack and are on teams with multiple center prospects. Florida has Jonathan Huberdeau, Rocco Grimaldi and Nick Bjugstad. Carolina just acquired Jordan Staal and they also have Zac Dalpe and Victor Rask in the system and they may already be moving natural centers Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner to the wings. Toronto has Nazem Kadri and Joe Colborne. St. Louis has Jaden Schwartz and Philip McRae. Any of these players could compete for a spot on the roster and wouldn't require the Oilers to give much up.
I think most of our vets should be available as trade bait, but we've overpaid for many of them, making them hard to move. The following should be on the block: Hemsky, Horcoff, Whitney, Khabibulin, Omark, Barker, Sutton, Potter, Petrell, Peckham, Montgomery, Plante, N. Schultz, Belanger, Jones, Eager, Hordichuk, VandeVelde.
Outside the obvious, I would hate to see the following players traded: Gagner, Pajaarvi, Lander, Reider, Hartikainen, Zharkov, Reider, Pitlick, Martindale, Klefbom, Marincin, Gernat, Musil, Teubert, Roy, Bunz.
On second thought, after the Gilbert fiasco, maybe I should mention the obvious untouchables too: Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Yakupov, Smid, Petry, Dubnyk.