Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Potential Targets Come July 1

Given the events of last weekend, I am almost ready to give Steve Tambellini a round of applause. Almost that is. He'll get it if he can add useful pieces to this hockey team. From what I can tell the Oilers need to add a 3rd/4th line Centre, a useful top 4 D man and probably an enforcer type 4th liner. Who should fill these roles? It can't just be anyone, it has to be players, not necessarily guys on the wrong side of 30 either.

For example, Boyd Gordon is a UFA and according to CapGeek, he has the highest faceoff percentage of any UFA who took more than 600 faceoffs, at 58%. What does that mean for the Oilers? Well it would mean that we would have a Centre who was actually able to win more than half his draws for the first time since 1982.

Another player who could fit that role as well as the enforcer type 4th liner, would be Zenon Konopka. He isn't the biggest guy(only 6'1") but isn't afraid to drop the gloves(572 PIMS over the last 2 seasons). Oh, and did I mention that he also won 57.7% of his faceoffs last year too? Imagine having both guys on the team? Instant success. I know, I know we'd have to figure out what to do with Cogliano and we have Lander and VandeVelde almost ready for NHL action but it's a good problem to have.

Other forwards I would look at to fill these needs would be Eric Belanger, Vern Fiddler, Marty Reasoner and Scottie Upshall.

The other area of need is on Defense. We need someone who is a useful top 6 guy, and doesn't leak goals. Currently there's a lot of scuttlebutt on the Twitter about the Oilers claiming Cam Barker after he was placed on waivers by the Minnesota Wild today. I would have no problem with this acquisition, but I would try and move Sheldon Souray to Minnesota in exchange for Barker. If the Wild balk at this, then I would wait until Barker gets bought out and sign him for cheap there. The class of UFA defensemen looks shallow, and unless Tambellini drops an offer sheet on Doughty can trade for a useful D man, our options are limited. One of those options might be to bring back Jim Vandermeer for cheap as a bottom pairing guy. Sure he looked bad during the first half of the season but his play drastically improved since the All-Star Game.

I suppose we might need a backup goaltender or two this year as well. One guy I would look at, assuming he's healthy, would be Josh Harding. Harding missed all of the 2010-11 season with a severe knee injury but before that, he established himself as a good backup. Now, this would be dependent on Nik's situation and I'm not even sure Nik knows what his situation is. If that fails, maybe a Brian Boucher is in the works. What I do know though, is that the coming weeks should be an interesting one for the Orange and Blue.

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