Having recently gotten back to a .500 record, the Edmonton Oilers have had a mediocre season thus far.
Sure the NHL overtime shootout rule is working for them, they own an 11-2 record with Matheiu Garon and Sam Gagner leading the charge, but that won't be enough if they plan on making the big show.
Usually, being only five points out of a playoff spot is pretty good, but with the way this season is shaping up, things could’ve been a whole lot worse.
With the likes of newly rejuvenated Phoenix Coyotes, still potent Nashville Predators, more sound Columbus Blue Jackets, and high-flying St. Louis Blues all fighting for the same eighth spot in the West, this could be a lot harder than a mere five-point differential makes it out to be.
So how could the Oilers, a team that can’t string together a winning streak longer than its current four wins in a row, get to that next level?
Well, there's always the simple solution that players who have been laying dormant will wake up and grab the bull by the horns.
But usually the extra push comes from the upcoming trade deadline.
So what would the Oilers give up to get someone decent in return?
There is always the plethora of young prospects floating around in Springfield, or even some down in the ECHL, such as Marc Pouliout or Robbie Schremp.
Another option are some role players who have been thrown around as trade bait for the past few seasons such as Raffi Torres (which isn't happening now that he is out), Steve Staios or even Joni Pitkanen.
But the Oilers' defensive depth is not what is in question. They need to boost up its offense and be more consistent.
General Manager Kevin Lowe is attempting to work another "trade deadline miracle" as he did back in ‘06 when he snagged Samsonov, Spacek, Tarnstrom and Roloson within weeks of each other.
Hopefully, Lowe will be able to deal for a scoring-winger to play with Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff.
Of course, to get someone like that we will need to put together a pretty package—something that we may not be able to align.
Some names that have been connected to the Oilers since the off-season include Marian Hossa, Jaromir Jagr, Glen Murray and even Eric Staal, but all four of these guys would come at a hefty price. Hopefully, Kevin Lowe knows what he is doing.
Then there is always "get more for your dollar," a method the Oilers can use to its advantage.
There is a lot of cheaper offensively talented players out there; some
wingers we could acquire for prospects or picks. This would enable them to bolster its second and third lines and take the pressure off guys such as Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll.
Some names that I wouldn't mind us inquiring about include Vaclav Prospal, J.P. Dumont, Martin Gelinas, Ryan Malone, Mike Ryder and maybe even Miro Satan.
Again, I have no connection to the Oilers organization, so none of these names may even be on the radar of K-Lowe, but they are just suggestions I could see added to the roster. Thus, I suppose all that is left to say is In Kevin Lowe We Trust!