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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Summer Trade Bait

I wrote back on Dec. 3 that Robbie Schremp was looking more like a real NHL player, and maybe even with shades of Ryan Smyth to him. He was interacting with fans, crashing the net, and finishing his checks. Hell, he was even backchecking.

The consensus was that when he was sent back down to Springfield that he pouted about it and this is why he never was really given a second chance with the club this year. I would be pretty peeved too if I had gotten 3 points in 3 games and was sent back down to Springfield.

Would I pout? Depends on what you define as pouting. But I think it would be silly to suggest Schremp went out of his way to show his discontent, unless it was really explicit. Schremp is not the only Falcon that has struggled this year.

Wild, Trukhno, along with Schremp and others, suffered until the coaching change happened. And afterwards too. I think unless the Oilers do a major overhaul and reconceptualization of how the farm team is run, it will be hard to get a streamlined supply of young guys to fill in for injured players on the big club.

The fact that DesLauriers was has not played that much this season with either club hurts the team as well, since this is the same situation as years past despite the organization's obvious commitment to this player. In the past, it was about DesLauriers sharing space on other NHL farm teams and thus not getting his fair share of net time. This year, even with the departure of Garon, the Oilers playoff push coupled with his waiver eligibility has effectively shut out DesLauriers chance of getting some playing time - again.

On top of that, pretty much all of the Oilers farm goalies have struggle this season. Though Dubnyk had some good stretches he too has struggled with consistency overall. It's true what they say though, it takes time to build chemistry and it has been a few turbulent years in the Oilers system both on the NHL team and on the farm team. I think it would be wise to make limited changes to the overall makeup.

Limited, but effective changes.

Summer Trade Bait

Edmonton Oilers

Robert Nilsson - gone
Jason Strudwick - gone
Denis Grebeskhov or Tom Gilbert - gone
Marc Pouliot - gone
Ladislav Smid - resign him long-term or trade him
JF Jacques - resign him long-term or trade him
Liam Reddox - back to Springfield
Steve MacIntyre - back to Springfield
PP/PK - hire new Special Teams strategists for the love of God
Dwayne Roloson - resign (at discounted rate - it's a bad economy!)

Tom Gilbert is my favorite D-man besides Visnovsky, on this team. However, it is inevitable that the organization will either deal one of him or Grebs or else the team will have to cut some of the prospect D loose. The latter possibility is unlikely (or should be unlikely) to happen. Grebs has huge upside but Gilbert is pretty consistent and is signed long-term to a pretty good price. It could go either way. As for Smid, the time has come for the team to either commit to him or trade him.

For what we're paying Robert Nilsson, I'd rather keep Penner at a few million more because he contributes way more to this team than Bobby. Robert has flashes of brilliance but after his long stay here he still has not shown that he is a full-time hockey player because he disappears for long stretches of the season.

As for Pouliot and Jacques - it's time to ship them off to Montreal. We have what they need: grit and toughness. They have what we need: PP specialists. It will take more than these two throwaways to entice a deal but it's a start.

Springfield Falcons

Rob Schremp - gone
Mathieu Roy - gone
Ryan O'Marra - gone
Glenn Fisher - gone
Bryan Young - call up
Theo Peckham - permanent stay
Dany Sabourin - resign (at discounted rate!)

Schremp and Roy deserve better, much in the same way as Smid. They have reached the point where playing limited minutes is not helping them more than it is hurting them. It is time to find out just how much they have to offer. If the Oilers feel what they offer is higher on the market than on the roster, then save them another year of roster confusion and send them to a team that needs that kind of depth. Schremp especially is the kind of guy that teams are looking for. He falls into the Nokelainen and Grabovski category of players that are good 2nd-3rd line players on rebuilding teams that have lots of offensive upside and an attitude to improve their defensive standing. Good on them. Plus, if Schremp has been edged out by the Brule's, Eberle's, Omark's, and Gagner's, the organization has already made an anti-commitment to these players. Roy has shown some offensive ability and lots of grit as D-man. Roy is a good D-man if he could keep his head up.

Bryan Young can't play LW, but not everyone that MacTavish played at that position this year was necessarily proficient at it. That goes without saying, I guess. I think Bryan Young can effectively fill that Strudwick role and maybe exceed him considering he's still relatively young. Peckham is ready for full time work and I think it's time to promote him to the big leagues.

Glenn Fisher isn't an Oiler prospect anymore and he's still eating up room for our other goalie prospects - Sabourin, Dubnyk, and Pitton. Time to cut him loose.

As for O'Marra and other guys like Geoff Paukovich and Colin McDonald - the time is now or never. At the upcoming prospects camp they need to make waves or else they will be passed by an onslaught of younger, skilled players on this team. Their niches are cheap, role-playing 3rd and 4th liners with "some offensive ability" considering McDonald has always had something of a good wristshot. Paukovich is a big man and he could maybe fill that 4th line center role allowing Brodziak to fill the middle permanently between Pisani and Moreau.

Where Kotalik and O'Sullivan fit in next year depends on what the team decides to do with Penner, and how they evaluate Omark and Eberle. Chances are that Eberle and Omark start the year in the AHL and tear up the league; most likely, Kotalik resigns in the Eastern conference.

I want to resign Dany Sabourin because at Roloson's current age, who knows how long before playing all these games every season does him in. He is 39 and not exactly a spring chicken anymore. He can still play well like Dominik Hasek did when he came back to the league - but the clock is ticking and having insurance doesn't hurt, especially if Dubnyk has shown that he's nowhere close to taking the next step.

Jay Bo Rumours

There are rumours of Jay Bo coming to town. There is speculation about whether or not he wants to play here. I will ignore that speculation.

Unless there is some sort of major movement on the blueline, I don't see why signing him would make sense. It's true that you always take the best player available and then work from there - but would signing Jay Bo make this team better? If it means the Oilers are perennially pushed up against the cap due to over-commitment to 4 D-men - I would say NO to the question of whether signing Jay Bo makes us a better team.



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