It's the NHL equivalent of Christmas morning as fans from all 30 NHL teams wait to unwrap all of their fancy new gifts and find out of they got the coolest toy of the season or if Santa leaves them a lump of coal.
Sticking with the Christmas analogy, it remains to be seen if the Oilers will re-load their entire roster today in one magnificent (or passable? Horrifying?) day full of surprises or if the gifts for Oiler fans will trickle in slowly over eight (or 10? 14?) crazy nights akin to a Hockey Chanukah.
No matter how quickly the changes take place, moves are most assuredly coming due to sheer attrition if nothing else.
Craig MacTavish has, simply by deciding NOT to re-sign existing players, laid waste to the 20
12/13 Oiler roster. Oilers from last season who will either be making their NHL homes elsewhere next season or be out of the league all together include Nikolai Khabibulin, Ryan Whitney, Theo Peckham, Ryan Jones, Lennart Petrell, Darcy Hordichuk, Marc Fistric, Jarred Smithson, and Yan Danis. He has also taken action to change some of the veteran leadership with Eric Belanger receiving a compliance buyout and is on the verge of dealing Shawn Horcoff to the Dallas Stars. Also not expected to return is veteran winger Ales Hemsky and Teemu Hartikainen has signed to play the next two seasons in Europe.
Based solely on the math, that is approximately 10 NHL roster spots on the team that are being turned over this summer. To-date, the team has added Anton Belov and expects to add depth defender Philip Larsen once the Horcoff trade is completed. With very few reinforcements coming from within the system other than potentially Anton Lander and Oscar Klefbom (both of whom would be better served to begin next season in Oklahoma City), the Oilers will need to be very active in the coming days simply to be able to ice an NHL roster in October.
What that means for Oiler fans is, the next few hours, days and potentially weeks will be a constant stream of contract signings, roster moves and potentially trades while the 2013/14 roster begins to take shape.
The day has arrived for Craig MacTavish to live up to his rhetoric. Whether the end result is good or bad, it will be absolutely fascinating to watch as it unfolds.
By the time the TSN and Sportsnet guys head home for the day after endless hours of filling live air time, will the Oilers have David Clarkson? Boyd Gordon? Clarke MacArthur? They have been linked to all of those names and many more...Or, will it be any one of endless other possibilities?
Join us throughout the day to offer your comments and opinions on the moves as the happen. Copper & Blue Staff will be active throughout the "Frenzy" to discuss the day's events and we'll have posts relating to new signings as the news breaks.