Derek Van Diest from NHL.com said today that the Oilers are not looking for another center. In his season profiler on the team, he made the determination that the Oilers will not be actively shopping for a centerman.
Really, the writing has been on the wall about this for some time. Gambling on the thin depth the Oilers have at this role could pay dividends, but if injury comes calling, it could get desperate fast. Clearly, the team is looking for a Sean Monahan-esque debut from Leon Draisaitl.
In his interview with Craig MacTavish, the Oilers GM says:
It’s clear and obvious to all of us that he wants to be an NHL player and he wants to do it as quickly as possible and he’s going to give himself every opportunity to do that. Even the two months that he’s spending in Edmonton now is going to go a long ways to helping him fulfill that goal of his, which is to play in the NHL this year. In talking to him he has a really good idea of what he needs to improve on. That’s the focus of his training, and I think that he’s going to get a great opportunity to prove that he’s ready.
This is risky. As I pointed out yesterday, center options left to NHL clubs are thin, but there are some “last resorts” available. There’s also the trade route but I wouldn’t see the Oilers acting on that until well into the regular season once they see how their hand turns out.
It really is too bad the Oilers weren’t able to acquire Olli Jokinen, Derek Roy or Mike Ribiero. These guys wouldn’t have been the medicine to cure all, but they would have been insurance for a team that is hell bent betting on youth and reclamation.
Truth be told, I think Mark Arcobello is the real deal, but beyond him? Chalk up center depth as the one area that could undo a promising season. Should the Nuge go down, the Oilers will free fall faster than the Drop of Doom at West Edmonton Mall.
Tags: Edmonton Oilers