It seems this summer whenever I mention the word rumor, I have to talk Sheldon Souray. Well what more do you expect, I mean he did ask for a trade and he is still an Oiler. Do not worry, I will touch on Souray in just a bit. For right now, lets look at other things the Oilers might do this summer.
Oilers fans everywhere have been waiting for a real 3rd line center to enter the Oilers lineup. After the 2005-2006 season Mike Peca left Edmonton to play for the home town Maple Leafs. Since then, the Oilers have yet to have a PK and faceoff guy that plays on the third line. Shawn Horcoff could be the guy, but the Oilers keep trying him in a top six role.
Two names have been connected to the Oilers according to rumors, John Madden and Eric Belanger. Belanger has more offense to him than Madden, but Madden is the better defensive forward. Madden also has three cup rings, including the won he got with this years Blackhawks. Both Madden and Belanger do a great job on the PK and both can win faceoffs. The Oilers can't go wrong by signings one of these guys.
If it was up to me, John Madden would be signed by the Oilers. He is a leader and could really help the young kids. He could also help Gagner and Fraser better themselves in the faceoff circle.
On to the next rumor!
The Oilers currently have three goalies with 1-way contracts to them. The Oilers don't want to have another 3-headed goalie monster in net this season. The Oilers will not make a move between the pipes until after we know what happens with Nik Khabibulin. Khabibulin goes to court on August 27th, that is when we will know if he will be at camp, or wearing an orange jumpsuit.
If the Oilers have Khabibulin going into camp, and he is healthy enough to play, they will try and trade a goalie off. The top candidate for trade, accoridng to a source is Jeff Deslauriers. Deslauriers is a good young goalie, but probably will never be the #1 that the Oilers figured he would be. JDD could get the Oilers a draft pick via the trade. The only advantage teams have in trading for him Vs. signing a UFA is that he is young and still could develop.
It appears the Oilers will go into the season with Khabibulin as the team's starter, and young Devan Dubnyk as the backup. The Oilers also have a young future number one goalie in Oliver Roy in their system.
There is also a rumor out there that the Oilers could sign Niemi to a contract. Niemi was let go by the Blackhawks yesterday after the team declined to take his $2.75 M arbitration award. Marty Turco was signed shortly after for smaller money. My take on this is simple, Niemi is a good young goalie who is a star now, and will be for many many years. The Oilers right now have too many goalies under contract, and I will have to say the Oilers should pass here. Niemi will be asking for too much money, and the Oilers would have to clear out two goalies, which is easier said than done.
IF the Oilers wanted Niemi, they would have to wait until August 27th, and use the morals clause to get out of Khabibulin's contract. On top of that they would have to trade JDD to a team willing to take him on. I just don't see it happening, but I wouldn't be upset if it did.
On the topic of goalies, the Oilers plan seems to be very simple. Come October, Nik Khabibulin will be the Oilers starting goalie, and Devan Dubnyk will be the backup. Jeff Deslauriers will either be traded or waived. If he is in fact waived, he will probably bot get claimed and will start in OKC.
The Oilers are also looking for a goalie that will be the starter for OKC and nothing more. There are tons of UFA goalies out there right now, but one problem, no one wants to take an AHL contract right now. The Oilers will sign another goalie to play in OKC this coming season, there is no doubt there. There are no names right now that the Oilers have shown big interest in, but once I hear something I'll be sure to post it up.
Finally we get to everyone's favorite rumor, SHELDON SOURAY!! Now here's the deal with Sheldon, teams are interested in him, but are not interested in taking on his contract. Teams like the Islanders and Coyotes could be landing spots for Souray at this point. The fact here is that we will know nothing about Souray until he is actually traded from Edmonton. Many people think he will have to play for Oilers to get interest up, I disagree and think he will be traded by training camp. At this time though, there really isn't a clear picture of what teams are in on him, and what the Oilers could be get back for him. I guess we will have to just wait and see on Sheldon.
Its August now, and the role players are gonna start getting signed, we should see the Oilers become active once again, and we very well could see them make a trade, or two if we are lucky.
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