by Lisa Brown on 03/05/14 at 07:00 PM ET
The Edmonton Oilers had lofty goals this season. Oilers GM Craig MacTavish was fairly certain that the team needed only minor tweaking. There was no way to know that the team may need a whole new overhaul, well at least according to MacT. Yet here the team is, bottom of the league again in a year where anything short of playoffs was to be a failure on the season. The goaltenders have both been swapped, and on trade deadline day, all that was acquired were more picks.
At first it was rather disappointing to see that the return on Ales Hemsky was only picks, a 3rd and a 5th rounder no less! But it only took a moment or two for most of us to see that that is the going rate for a pending UFA, that’s what the market was going to give. It is true that the team lost potentially some offence going into the final few games of the season, but we have to know that Hemsky was not about to sign on again in Edmonton, there was simply no room for him on the top 6 and he isn’t about to turn into a third line player.
So, off into the sunset goes Hemsky.
MacT was able to acquire another pick in the trade of defenceman Nick Schultz, which will help to stock the cupboards this summer or perhaps be turned around and used in an upcoming trade for a roster player. This trade didn’t ruffle too many feathers, a pick seems appropriate. Besides, it also means that Justin Schultz can now get a new name plate on his jersey; he is the lone team Schultz.
What truly delighted many fans was that Ryan Smyth was not traded again on deadline day, leading many to speculate that Smyth may remain with the team in a coaching or advisory role next season. Home is where the heart is and no one seems to epitomise this better than Ryan Smyth.
But then there was the shock, disappointment and I guess perhaps happiness for some that Sam Gagner was not moved. Teams out there like Gagner, Gagner is a good player, but Gagner is just too much like so many other Oilers’ forwards. He needs to be better to stay with this Oilers team.
Gagner does have a tricky contract, and there is a gentleman’s agreement between him and MacT but in order to make this Oilers team better, players have to be moved, bonds have to be broken. If teams are interested in a player like Gagner, he is more likely to be a part of a package that might net back something good, something that the team could really use like a top pairing defenceman or that veteran power forward the city hasn’t seen in years and is currently waiting for.
The trade deadline day was far from a disappointment, MacT did far more than his predecessor would have dared to, and overall MacT won. Can he win again making some moves this summer is the big question. How much will be the overpayment on a UFA? And what kind of UFA will buy into the rebuild idea? Which player will think that the team is truly getting as close as MacT thinks it is. It will take a man with a lot of heart, a lot of patience and perhaps another home town boy who already won a cup.
With the trade deadline come and gone, it’s back to just existing through the season now Oil Country. At least the team has started to string together wins, and has scored more than one goal on a few occasions.
Onward and hopefully upward from here folks!
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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