In the photo above, some of Ethan Moreau's fine handiwork is on display. Moreau upends Mike Weaver behind the Blues net.
The Oilers' captain Moreau is one of many players rumoured to be on the way out of Edmonton. It appears that even the players have no idea what is going on, even leaning on media guys like Robin Brownlee for trade rumours.
Strange days in Edmonton.
Fernando Pisani is rumoured also to be leaving Edmonton but truthfully we could use more players like him. His injury history may be a serious consideration but Pisani is reliable in every zone on the ice.
Will the Oilers be able to replace defensively reliable players like Pisani—or will the defensive bleeding only get worse?
There are also rumours that the Oilers master rebuild is going to start by acquiring two Czech nationals, one who was a former NHL star and one that the Edmonton brass are hoping will be the next big NHL star.
It's no secret anymore that I'm talking about Jaromir Jagr and Roman Cervenka.
Cervenka, listed at 5' 11" and 187 pounds, would fit right into a lineup already criticized for its lack of size. He is pretty average height-wise by any means. But on a roster that has players such as Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Mike Comrie, Robert Nilsson, Gilbert Brule, and Patrick O'Sullivan who are listed at 5' 11", 5' 10", 5' 10", 5' 11", 5' 10", and 5' 11" respectively, the Oilers are not very tall at the forward position.
And we're not talking about generational players like Martin St. Louis who are so good that they overcome any height disadvantage. We're talking about players who still haven't really established themselves at the NHL level as full time players.
Would bringing in Cervenka change this culture or cement it?
Not to mention that the skilled Linus Omark is also rumoured to be heading to North American next year. Omark has proven to be an SEL and KHL superstar but he is listed at 5'9" and 168 lbs.
And then there's Eberle.
The story never ends.
Thus, it would only be fit that the Oilers acquire some sizable role players. You can teach skill—but you can't teach size.
Cervenka would be a good addition if, and only if, the Oilers' dealt with the plethora of poor contracts and small forwards prior to his joining the team. Then he might be effective as a depth scoring winger on the second or third lines of the team.
Oilers' March 3 Wishlist
- Acquire draft picks for players with duplicated skills or pending free agent status
- Remove detrimental contracts that have large cap hits
- Move excess defensemen for good young prospects or decent draft picks, if available
- Find takers for Ethan Moreau and Patrick O'Sullivan, two players who are under-performing their contracts
Oilers' Offseason Wishlist
- Acquire sizable role players: these are your energy line players and guys who can be slotted into a second-line role for the sole purpose of wrecking havoc (see Scott Hartnell)
- Faceoff specialist: there's no point moving towards a puck possession game if you can't get out of your own zone
- Value contracts: sometimes it doesn't hurt to sign stopgap players if your skill players are learning on the job
- Deal with Nikolai Khabibulin
The Oilers need to start dealing from positions of strength to shore up positions of weakness. To continually acquire the same players despite obvious weaknesses elsewhere in the lineup is akin to ramming your head against the wall until you knock yourself unconscious.
There is hope in the system though.
Two-way-centers such as Riley Nash, Chris Vandevelde, Anton Lander and Teemu Hartikainen have been playing well. Hartikainen has been playing more wing than center as of late. Other players in the AHL, such as Ryan O'Marra, Geoff Paukovich, and Colin McDonald are also on the verge.
These young players will be solutions down the road but not right away. Not next year.
They'll need veteran role players to show them how to do the job.
Now it's up to the Oilers to acquire those kinds of players.
Is Jaromir Jagr that guy?
I don't think so.
Jagr didn't even outplay Patrick Thoresen during the Olympics.
Here's hoping the Oilers' do the right thing and don't get trigger happy with the trades. It's the right thing to do in the long run to run with what you have than create more problems where there weren't any before.