We beat Washington 5-2? Really? Yeah even I watched it but I still don't get it.
I'm completely convinced the Oilers play a different game on the road...but it was more than that in terms of the fact that they took Washington's up-tempo game and played off it excellently. This team can move around and move the puck at that speed when it wants to...so why doesn't it usually want to I wonder?
Well, my musings about dealing Erik Cole have now passed I believe. The guy's finding his stride now and having some pucks go in for him. That's all it really takes for a guy like him I'd imagine. Great to see a guy pop a trick FOR us; even if it was rather unconventional. He's a perfect 1B RW; and I have no problem paying him the 4 mil if he wants to re-sign at that. Running Hemsky-Cole-Pisani on the top 3 lines of the right side is pretty solid no matter what situation you're in.
Where we have an issue is on the left side I suppose. I'd still entertain offers to move Mr. Penner because I think he just doesn't fit what we're going for here. If he were at 3 mil I'd keep him but he's not. He's got some intriguing numbers he's putting up so far this year for sure though. Really not sure how long Nilsson is for this team. He could be really really good or not at all. I have a feeling he'd fit in more on a team like Pittsburgh, Boston or Washington though; so maybe we move him there. Any reason to think Viktor Kozlov might be attainable? His contract runs out at the end of the year so he'd be off the books. His +/- concerns me but he was also +28 last year...
So we've got both Brule and Potulny trying to manage spots on the team for the rest of the year. I discount Reddox because as soon as Fernando's back Liam's gone. Potulny seems fairly solid positionally, has hockey smarts and shoots a lot, but consistency will be the question with him going forward; as well as if there's room anywhere for him. Brule needs to prove he's the guy we've seen the last couple games a decent percentage of the time. Not that he needs to score all the time but that he needs to bring energy and better positioning. That's been the difference; the finish comes along with that. Great to see him bring Kyle Brodziak to life though. Kyle deserves to be playing with someone who can actually help him out instead of dragging 2 tractors through the mud.
So we're coming to a stage where if certain guys play well and others get healthy we go from having too many forwards to way too many forwards. Depth is marvelous and we know Springfield could use some help, but we've also got waivers to deal with so that's a problem. You all know my opinion that Schremp should be playing up here so I won't belabor that; but lets throw out the forward list here:
Penner, Hemsky, Horcoff, Cogliano, Nilsson, Gagner, Moreau, Brodziak, Pisani, Pouliot, Brule, Potulny, Cole, Reddox, Strudwick, Stortini, MacIntyre.
That's 17 guys right there. I think Reddox is an auto to the minors so we're down to 16. The most we can carry is 14 because of the goalies and the fact that Strudwick is also the #7 d-man (though with Smid playing well I don't see him back there soon). I think we're carrying too many toughies at the bottom end. You only ever need 2 on your team max and we have 3. I don't see them letting go of any of the 3 though which is a problem. I drop Stortini and make a trade involving one of Pouliot or Nilsson at this stage; but that's me.
I think MacTavish/Lowe/Tambellini drops one of Potulny/Brule if their waiver situation isn't resolved for sure. A trade involving a forward leaving would also be likely, but for what? Any move on this team probably requires another move unless you really want to shake things up. I wouldn't mind but I think the crew running the show do mind.
So what do I think we need to make this thing go? A vet forward and a vet d-man.
I'll stick with Doug Weight as my forward. I really think he could help out and integrate back into the system well here. Be nice to end his career here too.
I propose Pouliot straight up for Weight at the deadline if we're in any kind of position to run at it.
I also propose Nilsson+ for Sergei Zubov if the Stars are still out at the deadline. Lets go grab our nemesis who's about to be a UFA.
Alternatively, if OTT is out, a package deal for Dean McAmmond, Chris Neil and Filip Kuba would be on my wish list as all are UFAs after this season and could be very handy.
I guess what I'm saying is that there are possibilities out there should we either want to drag our way back into this thing or need a final boost. A trade right now would have to be value for value and contract for contract; which is a little tougher but still possible. We do however need draft picks this year in a supposedly great draft. I'd definitely offer some of the teams at the bottom some players for their first rounders should that situation come as well.
I'm sure something will happen before long; but am having a tough time figuring out what...