As I write this, it was reported by Bob Stauffer, Colour Man for the Oilers and host of Oilers now, that Cam Barker and Ryan Whitney are not skating today in practice for the Oilers. What now? Edmonton’s defence got schooled on this latest roadtrip that saw 15 goals scored on them in the last three games. And the last game against Chicago, the defence got totally blown-out. Apparently according to 630 Ched, Whitney is at least another ten days.
One positive, is that Darcy Hordichuk has been cleared for contact and as per the aforementioned Stauffer, Darcy says he’s ready to play now. This will really help from a team toughness perspective, as we have been a pretty soft team to play against of late. No thanks to Ben Eager, and others.
With Barker out a month (courtesy of Dan Tencer), is it time that the Oilers look to truly going after a puck moving defenceman? I think so. I’ve thought this should’ve been handled in the off-season this past summer. The addition of Cam Barker and Andy Sutton, I’m sure Oilers brass figured this would be enough of an upgrade, as they stated un-equivically, that they would give the young guys in their system an opportunity to get the job done. Well…it’s time to re-visit that policy and figure out what they’re going to do with Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner & Linus Omark. Would these three players or a combination of them and draft picks / prospects not get you the D-Man you might want?
I digress…Devan Dubnyk should start the game against Ottawa on Thursday night. Not that Khabibulin has played badly, but I have written that I wanted Dubnyk to get half of the starts this year. So far, he has gotten one start for every two that Khabibulin has received. Obviosly with the Bulin Wall playing wall-like the last few weeks, it’s no surprise that he was getting more starts than Dubnyk. But, with the long break (4 Days) between games here, it’s probably time for him to get a game in. If he plays well, then maybe he should play against Chicago on Sturday too. Chicago just got six goals past Khabibulin last game. Khabibulin got hung out to dry as I mentioned in the beginning of this blog and should not be blamed for that loss.
I would like to see Ales Hemsky play on a line with Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner on a third (2A) line. If Sam & Magnus can’t get it going with a play maker like Hemsky on their wing, then it’s truly time for an OKC trip for Paajarvi, and a decision be made on Gagner’s future here as I eluded to above. The problem with my reasoning here, is what to do with the fourth line? If Hordichuk is going to play on Thursday, I assume that Eager would be out. What to do with Jones, Petrell, Belanger, Hordichuk, and Lander? You have two left wingers and two centres (yes Petrell is listed as a centre at oilers.nhl.com) here.
There’s an abundance of forwards and prospects on the farm and here in Edmonton, to shore up this log jam at forward and re-inforce the defence in my opinion. I just don’t know who to get and what it might take. I’ll leave that up to you, the reader to debate here in the comments. Who would you like to see traded and for whom?
GO Oilers GO!