As we prepare to enter what could be an exciting summer...or may not...there is plenty of possibility in the air. I think it's interesting to look at the list of players available and how they match up with the Oilers' needs, as well as whether the "need" element should be addressed at all. I'm mostly a BPA (best player available) guy no matter what the circumstances. There are very few occasions when I find that this does not serve the team well. With that in mind, my top five players that the Oilers need to be looking at this summer, for various reasons, are as follows:
#1 - Jason Arnott
I think I've already covered this quickly. The reason he is my number one choice is not only that he's an excellent top-level player and leader, but that he also fits a need we have in a BIG way. Playing this guy with Hemsky and O'Sullivan could lead to magic the likes of which we haven't seen in a LONG time.
Likelihood - small. Why would Nashville trade him? He's excellent and has a great contract. So in order to get him, you'd have to blow them away with an offer. I'd do that. Many wouldn't.
# 2 - Jay Bouwmeester
If he's truly out there and would truly consider coming home for a long time, you simply cannot pass up grabbing one of the best out there for nothing but a cap hit. You could turn around and trade just about anyone on the team for nothing but the cap relief and come out in the positive. He would cement this D for 5+ years, whereas Lubomir and Souray can only do it for maybe 3. It would require change, but you simply cannot overlook it.
Likelihood - also small, but bigger than Arnott. I think they keep Souray and there's nothing wrong with that at all. I also don't see them committing to 3 5+ million dollar defencemen when they already have 5 talented ones to work with. Still, if Souray wants to go, you trade him and give Jay the farm. Done deal.
# 3 - Carey Price
We need a goalie; Montreal has 2. Carey Price has gone from untouchable hero to Montreal's goat. I think it's quite unfair the treatment he's received. The guy is so talented, personable and I'm sure will be an elite goalie for many reasons. I also think it's becoming obvious that he's being run out of town and won't like the pressure they're putting on him to drag an overrated Habs team to a title in its 100th year. Price would appreciate the slowdown in Edmonton and could flourish. He's the guy we need in net.
Likelihood - bigger than it should be quite frankly. I really think his time in Montreal may be halted short. We'd have him for one more year for cheap; then you have to decide. I'd extend the deal early though.
# 4 - Marian Gaborik
I think the injury thing is overblown; and we all know this guy isn't going back to Minnesota. PURE goal scorer and one of the most dynamic guys in the league. You've got to be a bonehead not to at least think of going after this guy.
Likelihood - It's certainly possible. He's a UFA. Edmonton's wanted him since his draft year and had plenty of experience playing against him.
# 5 - Whoever is #2 pick
We have the ammo required to land this pick; and either guy would be a HUGE pick up. Also we have the advantage of Tbay being run by crazies. I hope like crazy it's Tavares...that would be the kinda thing that launches a new era in this town.
Likelihood - Entirely doable. Does it happen? Only if we decide we need to make a splash.
The next 5 will be my top 5 choices for role-ish players we can add this offseason.
Expect a blog on my coaching choices prior to that though. I'm a little disappointed in the rumblings I've heard on who it could be so far...really hoping we find a way to hit a home run.