The Edmonton Oilers will have some new faces when the NHL regular season gets underway this October thanks to Craig MacTavish‘s busy first few days in the free-agent waters. He’s addressed some of the holes that the Oilers had but others still remain which begs the question, did he do enough when free-agency opened?
But others like Viktor Stalberg, Eric Nystrom, Rob Scuderi, Matt Cullen, Anton Khudobin and Ray Emery found new homes that weren’t Edmonton. All were pieces that the Oilers could have plugged in their roster to help improve this hockey club and when considering the deals they received (Scuderi’s aside) the argument could be made that MacTavish should have been more aggressive, providing he was in any of the aforementioned players.
The players Mac-T did add will most certainly help. Andrew Ference brings an edge of toughness while Jason LaBarbera will fill the back up role nicely. Boyd Gordon is an ideal third line, checking center and Ryan Jones has character and grit that will go a long way on this club.
But the team still lacks that top-four defenseman and with the LaBarbera signing it’s clear Devan Dubnyk will be the one to carry this team to the promised land. Gordon and Jones are not top-six forwards meaning the Oilers could use a big, tough power forward who can skate alongside Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.
Those forwards are now off the market and although the terms and conditions were unrealistic for the Oilers, there is the lingering concern that Edmonton could still benefit from finding one of these players. A trade is always a possibility but parting ways with assets versus landing a free agent is costly. Of course giving a player like Clarkson seven years is also costly.
Regardless, there are holes that remain on the Oilers roster that MacTavish now has to address. While the Oilers’ faithful hold out hope, for now we ask if he did enough when the frenzy started. Take part in our poll and let your voice be heard.
For more news and analysis on the Edmonton Oilers, follow us on Twitter @OilonWhyte.