Offseason Changes in Store for Edmonton Oilers

David PonichContributor IJune 29, 2009

OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 21: Steve Tambellini and Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks photographed during the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place on June 21, 2008 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Two days away from free agent season, Steve Tambellini and the Edmonton Oilers coaching staff are getting ready to make the big deals.

As of right now, the Oilers have 21 players under contract. There are still many issues that will have to be dealt with going into July such as finding one or perhaps even two big name goal scorers.

Also the Oilers need to get Dwayne Roloson under contract and even maybe make some room on the roster for up and coming prospects like Jordan Eberle and Alex Plante.

Last season, the leading scorer on the team was Ales Hemsky with 66 points in 72 games. This included only 23 goals which is much lower than what is needed. Certain big name goal scorers on the market include Marian Hossa, Dany Heatley, Alexei Kovalev, Mike Cammaleri, and Nik Antropov.

The Oilers have already shown a considerable interest in Dany Heatley. To  acquire a player of this caliber the Oilers would most likely have to give up a first or second line player, a top four defense-man, and a prospect. A projected trade like this really is possible for Tambellini, it is just a matter of just who Brian Murray wants.

I also believe that Tambellini will give Marian Hossa a big offer again this year depending on exactly what is done with the salary cap.

Another possibility is Jaromir Jagr coming over to play sometime this season, if some sort of deal can be worked out between the Oilers and Avangard Omsk, his team in the KHL.

The Oilers have to land one of this big names this summer if they even want a hope of improving their play from the past few seasons.

The Oilers also have a few of their own players in free agency that they should not want to lose. The biggest name is surely Ales Kotalik who finished off a strong end to the season with his Czech buddy Ales Hemsky.

Another UFA is Jason Strudwick who won over the heart of Oiler fans with his outstanding effort and dominating force in the fight circle.

The Oilers also have a few defence man in the RFA column such as Denis Grebeshkov and Ladislav Smid. Both players started for the Oilers this past season and followed through the entire year. However it seems likely that one of these defence man will have to be let go to make room for the young talent of Alex Plante.

The goal-tending situation in Edmonton this year seems to be much better than it was around this time last year. Tambellini will mos likely work out a one year deal with Dwayne Roloson sometime soon.

It is though that Jeff Deslauriers will receive much more playing time this season so that perhaps he can take over the number one job in the 2010-2011 season. However for this season, that job will play host to Dwayne Roloson.

I am sure that there are a few free agents that the Oilers have that they will just let go. This needs to be done because of some of the aspiring young talent that the Oilers have. There are two prospects who have probably the best chance of making the team this season and they are Jordan Eberle and Alex Plante.

Eberle, the Canadian junior hero, finished off the season in the AHL with Springfield, showing a strong performance and demonstrating that he can play with the big boys. Edmonton Oiler fans would be very excited to see this extremely talented kid in an Oilers uniform this fall.

The Oilers other young talent is Alex Plante, drafted fifteenth overall in 2007. At six foot four inches, 225 pounds, Plante could become a dominant force on the blueline which is exactly what they need.

It is no doubt that this summer will be another exciting and packed event for the Edmonton Oilers. It seems to be that with Tambellini and the new coaching staff, by the end of the summer, the Oilers could be best that they have been, in a long time.