Sunday, January 22, 2012

The To-Do List At Trade Deadline

After another dreadful season, its time to start the purge. If this was my team, I would be talking to all kinds of hockey folks today. Another tough year is almost in the books.

Potential hires for GM:
- Bob McKenzie. A guy with no GMing experience but also a guy with a ton of hockey connections. We've all seen his schtick on TSN, he's a guy that knows his stuff. Whether or not he'd want the gig is another issue, but its someone I'd be pursuing. He understands the game enough where he knows what works and what doesn't work. He's one of the people in the world where I take his opinion seriously.
- Pat Quinn. I'd call him back, say I'm sorry and hope all would be well. This team is long on skill but short on grit. Pat Quinn would know how to identify this. I'm sure Pat Quinn is cursing out the managment for not giving him the chance to work with Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. Instead we gave him Robert Nilsson, Patrick O'Sullivan, and J.F Jacques.
- Mark Messier. A sentimental choice. Once again, someone with no GMing experience, but someone who has a strong passion for winning. This one is a tough call because, it could either the way of something wonderful or something the way of Kevin Lowe. After the way Kevin Lowe has run the team over the years, I personally rather someone from the outside. The '80s were a long time ago.

Potential coaching hires:
- Marc Crawford. Notoriously known for epically bad decisions, but also has a Stanley Cup ring to his credit. Someone needs to bring accountability to this team and Crawford isn't afraid to say whats what. He's known for leading teams that play an "under your skin" type offensive game. The Oilers need some "swagger" and he would help instill that in the young Oilers. This Oilers team is "too nice" and "too by the book".
- Todd Nelson. Nelson would be a nice hire, but he is having so much success with the Oklahoma City Barons that you would want to have him see it through the end of the year. Nelson has his team playing hard and playing with very good defensive structure, something the current Oilers team is devoid of. If the Oilers wanted to bring in Todd Nelson, it would likely mean Tom Renney would last the year.
- Derek Laxdal. Laxdal has taken the Oil Kings by storm. After taking them to the playoffs last year, this year he has them on top of the Western Conference of the WHL. He has done a nice job of implementing a pro style team. Solid defensive play, heavy forecheck, and a "take no guff" style that makes them very entertaning to watch. I don't know if Laxdal could implement that on this current team. He would need a lot of help from his GM.

Trade Bait:
- Ales Hemsky. Him being a UFA, lacklustre play and having an abundance of smaller, non-physical players makes him prime trade bait. I'd be looking for a Dman in return. One of Ryan Ellis, Dmitri Orlov or Slava Voynov would be a perfect return. I'm expecting a better return than the 1st rounder and Colten Teubert we got for Dustin Penner. Not sure we'll get it but I'm hopeful. Hopefully, there is enough of an auction created to get a decent return for him.
- Nikolai Khabibulin. Khabibulin has played well enough for some team to at least take a peek at him. Potential suitors could be Florida, Toronto, or Chicago. I wouldn't expect much more than a 2nd or a 3rd plus one of their goalie rejects back. With Nabokov and Harding still on the market, Khabibulin is a 2nd or potentially 3rd option at this point.
- Sam Gagner. Time to move the influx of smaller forwards out and bigger forwards in, even if they are less skilled. I can't see young Sam getting another pay raise out of the Oilers. I'd be looking at a future goaltender in return. Perhaps a Jonathan Bernier, Matthew Hackett or Braden Holtby. Sam Gagner could help someone in a playoff push. Need to address the D first, otherwise any goaltender coming in will be facing the firing squad.
- Cam Barker. As long as he is healthy, I'd be looking for some kind of return for him. Maybe a 3rd or a 4th rounder. I know Dmen are in demand at the trade deadline, but Barker's play of late has been subpar at best.
- Theo Peckham. Hate giving up on him, but there is no room for him. In the game of musical contracts, Sutton and Potter got one while Peckham can't even get into the lineup these days. Tough times for Peckham. This reminds me of the Matt Greene situation all over again. Would be a nice sweetener in any deal.
- Shawn Horcoff. I'd be putting all kinds of proposals out there for this player. It's time for him to move along and I'm sure he'd waive his NMC to do so. Isn't providing much leadership these days. I'm not sure you can move him, but I'd be at least trying anyway.
- Ryan Smyth. Only if he wants to leave. If he wants to stay, I'd keep him and work on 1 yr deals until he falls apart or retires. By the way he's been playing lately, the end could be this year. If he wants to leave, I'd accomodate him. He's been a good soldier this year.

Needs for the Oilers going into next year.
- Top 4 Defenseman, preferably right handed. (Dennis Wideman)
- Power forward top six winger, preferably one that shoots right handed. (Shane Doan)
- Young Goaltending, otherwise, at least a stop gap. (Jonathan Bernier)
- Bottom six winger that can hit and skate. Agitator type. (Jordin Tootoo)
- Veteran center. Preferably one that shoots right handed. (Adam Burish)

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