Happy Canada Day!! Or as us Canadians like to say: NHL FREE AGENCY DAY!!!
No, in all seriousness...this is one of my favorite holidays not just because of Free Agency; I'm proud to live in a country like Canada because it is easily one of the top places in the world to call home. Anyone who complains about living in this country should spend some time in a third world country or a country run by a maniacal dictator....or the U.S. - ZING!!! People that complain about this country have no idea how good they have it.
Anyways, enough of this patriotic-quasi political soapbox stuff....let's get down to business: NHL Free Agency Day.
This is traditionally the time of year when the Edmonton Oilers run around like the outcast kid in high school that tries too hard to get the eye of the popular girl. Running around behind her, holding her books and offering to do her homework. All the while the popular girl is laughing at this kid while she's got her eye on the captain of the football team. Classic.
The past few years of free agency have been mostly failure on the part of the Oilers. We've seen our team chase after big name free agents only to have them sign with the teams they truly wanted to sign with. Read: Stanley Cup Contenders. We've seen the Oilers try to "make a splash" by "signing that big name" on free agency day; usually for too much money and for a once good player that spends more time in the IR than on the ice.
But what can you do at this point if you're the Edmonton Oilers? You haven't committed to an actual rebuild. You've been thinking your team is just 2 or 3 good players away from being something. Well, that pipe dream burst last season. The injuries exposed this team for what it was: A team with a couple decent players that lacked depth / role players. Injuries to the best players left this team with a squadron of shit and a 30th place finish was the result.
So far this summer we've been witness to the fallout from the realization that the Edmonton Oilers were maybe not as good as they thought they were. Tambo has blown up this team from the management all the way down to the training staff. People are being fired and let go like they have some sort of disease or something. I guess they do, it's called LOSERITIS!! These firings have marked an important point in the timeline of this team. It has set in motion an actual honest to god rebuild. Something that probably should have happened two or three years ago.
This brings us back to Free Agency day. Now that the team has accepted the fact that they need to rebuild they can stop chasing the popular girl and concentrate on the glaring holes in the roster instead. There's a plethora of young, talented forwards that will be vying for a spot in the top 6 at training camp this fall. So I think we'll be alright up there. But here's some things I hope to see today (or over the summer) that should round out the team to, at the very least, be competitive:
1. 3rd/4th liner that can win faceoffs and work the PK. (Remember Kyle Brodziak?)
2. Depth stay-at-home defenceman to round out the 4/6 range.
3. A top 4-ish d-man in return for Souray. (I just don't see how he can come back to the team.)
4. Trade one of the young goalies maybe for a veteran FWD or some AHL depth? If they're hanging on to them because they fear Khabi won't be available they shouldn't...cuz there's always a goalie looking for work somewhere.
4.5 Speaking of AHL depth...perhaps some signings to build up the depth in Oklahoma wouldn't be such a bad idea either. New team, new identity, new fans...you probably don't want to shit the bed down there.
5. A gritty, mucker that will drop the gloves to protect our babies coming into the lineup. Someone that will punch the first guy that takes a run at Hall. Preferably a player that can actually use his hockey stick to play a little bit of hockey now and then too.
That's pretty much it for my wish list. I say the Oilers roll the dice with the kids coming in and shore up the glaring holes and see what happens. They can't get any worse!!