Should Oiler Fans Cheer For the Bruins?

If you're a hockey fan you might be watching the playoffs no matter which teams play each other. Perhaps you are a Canadian and Montreal or Vancouver are your teams of choice. My suggestion, is that if you're an Edmonton Oiler fan, perhaps you take just a moment to give a little nod to the hockey gods that the Boston Bruins get to the finals.

The catch? In the end, we need Boston to lose.

If the Boston Bruins can do everything except win the actual Stanley Cup, imagine what the mindset of the team, the GM and the fans would be knowing that perhaps they are just a mere nip and tuck away from winning the whole thing next season.

Take into consideration a few things that lead me along this line of thinking.

First, the Bruins already have the 2nd overall pick coming to them in this years NHL entry draft. They'll be getting either Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall. Who they get, is up to the Oilers.

That said, it's no secret the Bruins want Taylor Hall. They're deep at center and want a player who will make an impact sooner rather than later. Everything we've heard to date about Hall fits their needs perfectly and the Oilers hope to take advantage of the Bruins need for a winger and not a center. The Oilers need both so Boston shouldn't gamble on thinking they know who the Oilers will take.

Second, the Bruins have most of their core locked up for just one more season after this current campaign. Come 2011/2012, players like Zdeno Chara, Marco Sturm and Patrice Bergeron all hit the UFA market. The Bruins will be unlikely to keep that core in tact and for them to win, the time is either this year or next with the squad they have. Can they replace other peices down the road? Sure. Would they rather make slight improvements to what seems to be a winning formula? That's more likely.

In short, the Bruins are the exact opposite of a rebuilding Oilers team. Their attitude is win now, as it rightfully should be.

If Boston comes ever so close without winning it all, they'll have tough decisions after using available money to resign players like Blake Wheeler and possibly Miroslav Satan or Recchi on the cheap (if they can get them on the cheap both are having tremendous playoffs seasons and have likely garnered some attention from other GM's).

If Boston successfully signs these players and then whatever draft selection they take, they'll quickly use up much of their $8 million in cap space for next year and will contemplate clearing out space. Maybe they'll look to trade a player like Michael Ryder. Maybe they'll toy with not re-signing with a player like Denis Seidenberg. Both cut even more into the limited space available and might be seen as less than key ingredients in this current and future cup runs.

Part of the decision will boil down to whether or not players available to them in trade or free agency are a slight improvement over the options available to them currently. Free agency might be a stretch since Boston just doesn't have the space to pay the going rate. So too, free agency doesn't allow them to eliminate cap space while a trade or two would.

Enter the Edmonton Oilers.

Would Sheldon Souray be an improvement over Denis Seidenberg? Boston might think so. A one two punch of Souray and Chara has a nice ring to it and if in the process Boston could move Michael Ryder they'd consider it. I'd bet the Oilers would make that move as well, if for no other reason than to say goodbye to Souray and hello to a lesser cap hit for one year.

Maybe even more, the Bruins take interest in a fourth line grinder like Ethan Moreau. Moreau brings playoff experience, grit and leadership. He also brings a contract about to expire which could make Moreau more attractive to the Bruins when other teams have clearly shown no interest.

The Oilers would be happy to send an overpaid Moreau for an overpaid Ryder, if it meant they could get rid of an overpaid and unhappy Souray. Perhaps adding Souray means the Bruins move one more peice of the blueline and an experienced NHL defencman like Andrew Ference to clear more space? He sounds like a thrown in, but Ference is a legit experienced d-man who can help the Oilers.

In one swoop, the Oilers move Souray and Moreau while adding Ference and Ryder. The Oilers pick up $6.2 million in cap space and move $7.4. It adds $1.2 million to the Bruins current payroll, but nothing that hampers them to make other smaller moves and they improve their team for another push to finally win the cup.

Don't think Boston would do it? Consider this a lateral move at best? What if the Oilers offered up the 1st overall pick for the 2nd, thus guaranteeing that the Bruins get their man Taylor Hall and the Oilers draft Tyler Seguin?

The Bruins have Souray, Hall and Moreau while the Oilers have Ryder, Ference and Seguin. I don't see this as too big a stretch. The beauty is, this isn't the only combination of options that work between Boston and Edmonton. What would you do?


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