Mac-T's Next Move?

Some people are upset, some people are suggesting Craig MacTavish is a miracle worker. Either way, MacTavish did one of the things he'd said he was going to do in moving Shawn Horcoff out of Edmonton and onto other pastures and he did so without keeping any form of buyout or retaining any of Horcoff's salary.

So now what?

Edmonton has zero healthy centres ready to play. Nugent-Hopkins is still rehabbing a shoulder surgery, Sam Gagner is not yet signed to an extension and Eric Belanger is being bought-out. That leaves only Anton Lander, a very unproven NHL player on the Oilers depth chart down the middle. Mac-T must have another move. He can't be that blind that there isn't an Ace up his sleeve?

Mikhail Grabovski

This guy has some elite skill and he makes those he plays with better. Grabovski just finished venting his frustration at Leafs coach Randy Carlisle for mis-using his skill-set and Grabovski is free to test the market without much fear of a huge salary, since he's one year into a five-year contract for which he was just bought out by Toronto. At $3.5 million for 3 years, he's a great fit.

Stephen Weiss

This guys got game, but he's going to have a list of teams including the Leafs interested and I think he's simply not got quite enough to offer for what he'll bring. Weiss has overpayment written all over his next contract and the Oilers just rid themselves of one of those contracts in Horcoff.

Manny Malholtra

No one is talking about Manny except Manny who believes he can still be a useful player despite his injury history. Vancouver is refusing to let him play, but another team might take a chance and he could be a steal on the 3rd or 4th line if he can stay healthy.

Maxime Talbot / Sean Couturier / Brayden Schenn

The shoe's about the drop in Flyer-land. Holmgren, despite his lack of cap space keeps making moves. It's like he can't help himself. It's going to force his hand and while Braydon Coburn is the public piece that the Oilers have been talking with the Flyers about, there is a very good chance we could see a bigger scale trade, the variety of Boston/Dallas, that sends a defenseman and a centre to the Oilers in exchange for draft picks, prospects or cap relief. The Oilers could answer a number of questions in one trade if the Flyers are willing to dance.

What about Magnus Paajarvi, Nick Schultz, prospect David Musil and the Oilers first round pick in 2014 for Couturier, Coburn and a 3rd rounder? Seems like an underpayment by Edmonton, but it sheds the Flyers of almost $3 million in cap space. We hear the Flyers are after Ray Emery and Emery will command at least $2 million allotted to wherever he lands.

Boyd Gordon

Can play 4th line centre, potentiall moving up to third line centre when needed. 57% faceoff man. Sound two-way game.


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Nurse a Pick of Character - the best bedside manner?

The Edmonton Oilers have taken big defenseman Darnell Nurse at the #7 spot.

So far, the reactions are mixed by Oiler fans. Many love this pick and many feel that Edmonton mistakenly passed up on Valeri Nichuskin - a big, heavy potential top-six forward.

To me, it was always down to two choices for Edmonton. Monahan (who Calgary selected at #6) or Nurse. Both of these players were considered high character guys and natural leaders that a team can lean on or rely on to compete each and every night for his team. They fight to the bitter end and Edmonton is well aware that this is a culture they need to embrace. I believe the Oilers felt that Nichuskin was a gamble to provide that.

With Nichuskin, there were questions or his commitment to the NHL (possibly unwarranted). It's likely that while the forward had more upside, Edmonton wanted the safer pick they knew could be a great locker room guy who also has upside when he grows into his frame.

Nurse brings 6.04 inches and 185 lbs that is only going to get bigger and bigger as he fills into his body. He was ranked as high as 6th and low as low as 9th by the major scouts, so not only is he a safe selection, but if you listen to him, he embodies what would and can handle the fish bowl that is playing in Edmonton.

He likes to hit, which Oiler fans will love. He likes to impose his will and style of game onto his opponents and he does more than just play tough. He can skate well for a big guy and will make that good first pass.

Nurse won't play right away, but that he could be a player that sees some time with the Oilers in the 2014/2015 season.


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