Do You Give Em One Last Chance? If So, To Whom?

We've been talking a lot about decisions lately. This time of year (more specifically for about a month starting today), the Oilers are going to make some real big ones.

Of course, many of these decisions will come under fire or scrutiny. None moreso than the 50/50 split bound to come from the result of having the first overall draft selection in a year where there are two prospects who stand out above the rest. Rightfully so as the debate over Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin is the type of fodder for gossip that doesn't come around all that often.

The Oilers decision making process has started with signings like MPS and other noteable prospects. The likely next steps for this organization will be the signing of one or two RFA contracts like Sam Gagner or Gilbert Brule; both of whom are key pieces in the Oilers future. Decisions will continue as the Oilers head to deals on draft day, their draft selections and July 1st and free agency.

Understandably lost in all this are three players that have gone for a large part undiscussed. Robert Nillson, Patrick O'Sullivan and Ethan Moreau are names that last season got a lot of attention -- mostly for negative reasons. Now, it seems their names only come up from time to time when people are making predictions over the coming season and who won't be with the Oilers.

Fans, media types, and bloggers like myself are quick to suggest Moreau, O'Sullivan and Nilsson simply won't be Oilers next season, but the fact is, getting rid of them won't be as easy as some people might suggest.

The likelihood that one if not more of these names will be in the Oilers opening line-up come the first game of the 2010/2011 season is strong. Their values around the NHL are low, they have contracts beyond what they've produced and other teams have their own issues to contend with without wanting to take on the 30th placed teams problems.

Knowing that, of the three players mentioned, who would you keep?

Do you take a chance on a gritty forward like Ethan Moreau? At one time Moreau was exactly what this Oilers team needed -- heart, grit and a willingness to get a little dirty. He was the perfect third or fourth line role player who could get you 10-20 goals and be counted on to stand up for his teammates. While he's the current captain, he also tends to spend more time in the penalty box than anywhere else.

Do you go with a top draft pick and offensive threat like Patrick O'Sullivan? O'Sullivan was highly touted and projected to be a better player than some of the bigger current stars of the NHL. He had strong rookie and softmore campaigns with the Kings, but has yet to produce the results for which many had predicted. Perhaps he has 20 + goals in him still, but his time in Edmonton has not been good outside of last years pre-season. His league-leading negative plus/minus record really stands out.

Of course Robert Nillson is known as the most inconsistent Oiler in years. He possesses some of the deadliest skill on the entire team and has flashes of brillance, but he just can't maintain it. He scores highlight reel goals and can manage offensive runs during times of the season where he looks like he could be one of the Oilers better players for a three or four game stretch. The problem is, he has stretches of sheer garbage too and acts as if he'd rather be anywhere except a hockey rink.

All three of these players are close to the same cap number with O'Sullivan just barely in the lead. All three of these players also have one remaining year on their current deals. All three of players also fetch you little in return as their value is likely at an all time low.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. The Oilers GM will likely be keeping somebody. Who do you keep?


Don't keep any of them. Buy all 3 of them out - it'll save space in the long run.

June 7, 2010 at 12:53 PM comment-delete

I think O'sullivan should be the one to go, he has shown nothing that merits a second chance and a valuable spot on the roster. While a month ago I would have said that Moreau has to go, I'm starting to think he could come back as captain for one more year. Not long ago, Ethan was an absolute warrior for the team and I think he can rebound for his final year with the club, in a limited role, and may even get us a 3rd at the deadline if he's played well. Same goes for Pisani and Nillson.

June 7, 2010 at 1:48 PM comment-delete

Patty O should be the one to move. The oilers team just isnt talented enough to have floaters. He wants to be a star that people work hard and dish him the puck but... this team you really have to work for possesion. Nilson and Ethan will put on a great final season. they are at the end of their contracts and really want to succeed and compete.

June 8, 2010 at 7:18 AM comment-delete

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