Over at Shutdown Line, Corey Sznajder explores a big dilemma facing the Carolina Hurricanes in the upcoming season, too much centre depth:
What do Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty, Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu, Jeremy Welsh, Nathan Gerbe, Riley Nash and Zac Dalpe have in common? They're all natural centers and only three of them have stayed that position throughout their careers. There's a good chance that at least 50% of the forwards currently in the NHL have played center at one point in their careers and most teams like to stock up on guys who can play this position.
Emphasis mine. Most teams. The Oilers counter with an injured Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Boyd Gordon, left wing Ryan Smyth, Anton Lander, Mark Arcobello, Will Acton and Andrew Miller. Or they can move Taylor Hall to the middle and wreck their left wing depth. Back to Sznajder:
The point here is that having a lot of centers gives your team versatility and that's never a bad thing.
Depth is never a bad thing at any position, but the Tambellini-era Oilers were frightened of depth. Craig MacTavish has made a number of moves, but he hasn't strengthened the centre position enough to be competitive in the newly-formed Pacific Division, especially if Nugent-Hopkins is not legitimately healthy enough to start the season. There are still options on the table, cheap ones at that, and the Oilers have just enough cap room to add one more player.