Now What? A Look at the Oilers After Kevin Prendergast Speaks...

“I think we’ve given up hope on the Heatley scenario; but, I guess it’s not dead in the water. But, at this point, it looks like we’ll go to camp with the same team we finished with last year outside of a new goaltender.”

“I think at this point, it’s pretty evident what’s going to happen. But, we haven’t closed the door on the whole issue yet.”

Not exactly the words a number of fans were hoping to hear from the Oilers. Since it's coming from Oilers Assistant GM Kevin Prendergast, we can safely assume this isn't some media speculation to keep the story alive. This is a fact as the Edmonton Oilers have come to realize it.

So now what?

Well, outside of the fact that the Oilers don't actually have the same roster as last year due to the losses of Ales Kotalik, Liam Reddox and Kyle Brodziak; this team is not terrible and needs some simple touch-ups.
Our depth chart as is:

Penner/Horcoff/Hemsky
Nilsson/Gagner/O'Sullivan
Moreau/Cogliano/Pisani
JF Jaques/Brule/Stortini

Pouliot and MacIntyre as extra forwards

Our take?

Move Cogliano off of centre and make him your second line winger in place of Nilsson (or at the very least interchangeable). Cogliano can pot you 25-30 goals if you give him the ice time, and he's a terrible face-off player so why ask him to fill that role? Use him where he can still utilize his speed and bring in a 3rd line center. Moreau can be moved to a 4th line checker role if there is no other useful place for Nilsson.

The Oilers are still $6 million away from the cap which is plenty of space to go out and get a Malhotra (even if overspending has to take place), Peca or Bonk (face-off specialists) then worry about moving your spare parts for picks if need be, after you've landed what you need to fill your roster the right way.

I'd like to see the following, and consider it very realistic:

Penner/Horcoff/Hemsky
Cogliano/Gagner/O'Sullivan
Moreau or Nilsson/Malhotra/Pisani
JF Jaques/Brule/Stortini

Move Pouliot or keep him as your 13 forward in case of injury and MacIntyre as your in and out of the line-up guy based on match-ups and this is a fairly strong team, which can contend for a play-off spot despite not adding Heatley.

Obviously if a trade becomes an option and a Nilsson, Penner or Pouliot can be bunched for a Gagne from the Flyers, a Frolov from the Kings or a Kris Versteeg from Chicago; I jump all over it. For now, we'll assume Kevin Prendergast is correct in that we'll see a similar roster and that trade options have been explored, but aren't likely.

What we do know, is that the players on this roster as is, will have to achieve their potential for the Oilers even to have a shot at the post season.

3 comments:

Not liking the idea of going into next year with that group. I hope there are some moves to be made yet.
Agree on Cogliano. I thought I'd heard/read somewhere that he didn't want to move from centre, not sure if that's true or not.

Jason
July 18, 2009 at 2:55 PM comment-delete

I've yet to hear he doesn't want to, but that may be true. I would suggest he'd feel nervous about playing out of his natural position, but might welcome an opportunity for more ice time and a chance to use his speed to up his production; especially in an RFA contract year.

I see Cogliano possibly getting 30 goals.

July 18, 2009 at 4:04 PM comment-delete

I like that group - and hope to develop some chemistry with the young guys. I am also convinced that the face-off success is a learned skill and one can practice and do much better - ala Adam Oates a few years ago, when the young players (Stoll, e.g.) learned and excelled.

I think Nilsson will have a break out year under new coaches. And Gagner will be consistent, as well.

Jim
July 18, 2009 at 8:25 PM comment-delete

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