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Oilers Still Have Needs

Does management even notice?

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Press Conference
We might do something stupid
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

As day two of free agency passes and the Oilers have done next to nothing, it is hard to see how Chiarelli can possibly be happy with the roster. They need another defensemen, another right wing, and getting a backup goalie couldn’t hurt. To make things easy, I’ve decided to put together a list of dos and don’ts for the next few days. They already didn’t listen when I suggested they let Russell walk, but maybe they’ll take other ideas.

Good Idea: Sign McDavid and Draisaitl. Just do it.

We know there is limited Cap Space for the next few years because the savings from the Eberle trade were completely wasted the same day. It would be greatly beneficial to see the exact number we’re working with to add better players to the line up. We have the parameters of 13.25M for Mcdavid and somewhere between 8 and 9M for Draisaitl, just make it official.

Bad Idea: Assume that you can fill your lost production and Sekera injury from within.

The free lunch isn’t typically attainable. Sometimes miracles happen and a player you’ve already had jumps production through a new off-season work out or changes equipment and just becomes a really good player, but it’s not a realistic thing to expect. As of today, the Oilers are a worse team than they were just six short weeks ago. Going in having stood pat is a bad, bad plan.

Good Idea: Take a look at value free-agents

Outside help is definitely needed, and there are options. Jagr is worth taking a peak at, Brian Campbell can be a nice stop-gap on the left side, Markov still has a year left in him, and if swinging for the fences, Radulov is the best of the bunch. A few of those players might be more costly than expected, but if the deals come short it shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not until next year that we’ll be in cap hell.

Bad Idea: Paying for intangibles

GMs make this mistake all the time and it rarely ends well. Andrew McDonald, Dave Bolland, David Clarkson, and Brad Stuart have all fallen into this category. I know, I know: Leadership, Integrity, Winning Mentality, What you want in a locker room, Pro’s pro and various other ape noises are sometimes alluring; However, if you’re paying for something other than the on-ice product, you may as well be asking fans to pay for something other than that too. Spend for those intangibles on a coach, psychologist or just about anything else. If a good player has those traits, great, but they aren’t a substitute for talent.

Really Bad Idea: Jarome Iginla

He’s one of the all-time greats, about the only player you could respect while he was with the Flames, a sure 1st-ballot Hall-of-Famer and has over 600 goals. Problem is, he is well passed that level of play. I had the displeasure of watching him play for the Avs’ last year. In his prime, his two largest attributes were his shot and his speed. He no longer has either. He is slow in all areas, can’t get his shot off quickly, and has a hard time getting anyone off the puck. The game has passed him by, it was a great career, and I’d personally rather not see him finally come back home only to have the city turn on him. There is a reason he was traded for a fake 4th round draft pick at the deadline.

Good Idea: Get a good back-up

Talbot put together a really strong season last year. He says that he likes to play a ton of games and he doesn’t get pulled often. It would be nice not to be biting my nails every time he needs the occasional night off, though. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot to choose from after yesterday. Bernier would have been nice, Elliott could have worked, even Pavelec would have been suitable in small doses. This one isn’t going to be easy to find now, but luckily goaltenders often come out of no where. Maybe Brossoit becomes extremely reliable this year — he was acceptable at times last year, anyway. I’d rather see a competition for the backup job, but there are worse places to be.

If Chiarelli can contain himself and follows those guidelines, we should have a pretty decent team last year. Not as good as if we’d not traded Eberle and not signed Russell, but still good enough to compete in the playoffs. Just ask yourself before doing something: Is this a Good idea or a Bad idea?