Robert Tychkowski has been producing a ton of articles over the last week, and today he goes all Jim Matheson on us and throws out everything that could be happening, largely based on a conversation with Kevin Lowe.
First up, the Old:
The Oilers are nearing a fork in the road with UFA Curtis Glencross. The two sides aren't all that close in their negotiations (Glencross is asking for something close to $1.8 million) and the Oilers need to know if he's going to be in the fold or not before they consider trading the likes of Torres.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again, we liked the way Curtis finished the year, we like his enthusiasm, he's a great kid," said Lowe. "But we're piecing the puzzle together. Curtis at some point is going to have to make a decision. If his mindset, or his agent's mindset, is taking a kick at really hitting a (contractual) home run, he's probably going to end up doing it in free agency and not necessarily with us at this point.
"We'll find out in the upcoming weeks if Curtis is going to be here or he's going to be elsewhere."
Bottom line: either the Glencross camp caves, or he walks. I'm willing to bet that he walks, and as much as I like the player, it might be best for both parties. Lowe, Olczyk and company are showing great judgement here.
Lowe said that UFA Marty Reasoner might still be in Edmonton's plans for next season despite the log-jam of younger players at forward, but it depends on the numbers after all the dealing is done.
"I like Marty Reasoner, he's been a very good player for us and still has a lot of hockey in him," said Lowe. "He provides an element to the team that is certainly valuable and, let's face it, he comes at a reasonable price.
"It's my hope that he's part of our team, but it's not an automatic at this point."
Hopefully Reasoner returns on a 1yr/800K contract. He isn't worth much more atthis point, but the things he brings to the table (PK, faceoff, savvy) are worth the price tag of a 4th line forward. Even if he's not an everyday player, at 800K I would love to see him return. I'm going to guess that Lowe's comments are made mostly to show the Reasoner camp that he likes the player, if the price is right.
Finally, the surprising:
"We have too many bodies right now, especially given the way Marc Pouliot played last year," said Lowe. "We'll try to do something."
Marc Pouliot, a shoe-in for a spot with the big team next year? Excellent news! Hopefully he comes into next season like he finished last season; I'm not sure why this has been a problem in the past, but it can't be a problem this year.
Lastly, Lowe also mentions his desire to acquire a top-6 forward:
"We wouldn't mind trying to get another top-end forward," said Lowe. "If we can add to our team by maybe upgrading our scoring a little bit, adding some toughness, we have the assets to do it. We don't have to rely on free agency to do it."
Based on the Tychkowski article, I would guess the team starts something like this:
Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky
XXXX - Gagner - Nilsson
Torres - Cogliano - Pisani
Moreau - Pouliot - Brodziak
With Glencross walking, Stoll out the door with some combination of picks or prospects, and the second line spot being filled with a player acquired for the aforementioned combination. Jacques and Schremp are probably on the way out unless two of Torres/Reasoner/Pouliot don't return.