Magic 8 Ball says....

So today I read at HF that some really smart money guy has predicted that the cap will be at 48.5 million this coming season. That got me thinking as to what kind of money will the Oilers have to spend. Kevin Lowe has come out recently and said they will spend "close" to the cap leaving some flexibility for changes that may occur over the course of the season (say 7-10%). So lets look at who we have signed for next year.

Cap Hit
Actual Pay


Hemsky 4.1

Pisani 2.5

Lupul 2.312


Horcoff 3.6

Stoll 2.2

Reasoner 0.95

Pouliot 0.942


Moreau 2

Thoresen 0.57

Torres RFA



Smith 1.976

Staios 2.7

Greene RFA

Smid 0.915

Gilbert 0.908

Grebs RFA



Roloson 3.667


Total 29.34

That leaves our lineup looking something like this:

FA - Horcoff - Hemsky
Torres - Stoll - Lupul
Thoresen - Pouliot - Pisani
Moreau - Reasoner - Rookie

FA - Smith
Staios - Smid
Greene - Grebs


Forwards on the bubble include Schremp, Nilsson, Jacques, O'Marra, Stortini, and Brodziak. Our defence has all of our close to NHL prospects on it, and Deslauriers may back up Roloson.

By this account we need a 1st line LW, Top D man, and back up goalie with 13 mil to spend (accounting for RFA's approx salary and a rookie forward). Sounds promising? Not really. Thats the same forward group that finished DEAD LAST in goals for last year (if we get someone as good as Smyth to fill his spot). Leaving only a fourth line RW spot open to that crop of young guys hurts their progress. If we don't play some of those guys we need to trade them.

As for our defence, its even worse. Even if we add a #1 defenceman, half of our defence will be rookies or damn close. Leaving me to do another draft blog next year on who we could pick at #6. Between Greene, Smid, Grebs, Gilbert I can only see 2 of them being on our roster. We need a solid veteran to play on the 3rd pairing with one of the rookies, and then the other one plays top 4 with a guy like Staios or Smith. That leaves the 7th spot for a veteran who isn't hurt by sitting out long stretches. If we sat Gilbert a large part of the season he'd never get better. The more I look at it, Greene is the guy to go (I know i just can't lay off him). I doubt we trade Smid (has the highest upside) or Grebs (we just aquired him, has 2nd highest upside) and Gilbert gets sent down to Springfield before Greene, leaving him holding the short straw. I also want to clarify that this team is 2 top pairing dmen away from competing for anything in the playoffs (which isnt happening this year), so hopefully we are just able to compete in the regular season and develop the players we have.

The more it shakes out, the more we know a trade is coming. Large part of that money is going to be spent on a defenceman, and to get that defencemen some roster players are going to have to go with the picks/prospects. To be honest it could be any combination, but from the looks of things Torres, Pisani, Lupul are the top candidates. With the LW UFA our top 9 wingers look pretty strong and there is room to fit a guy like Nilsson or Schremp in there.

And knowing Lowe, he'll have a 5 mil + player on this roster to make the Smyth ordeal feel better, either at LW or D (or center if we could get rid of Horcoff...alas I dream). I doubt that is achieved through free agency with a low supply and high demand I don't want to see this team over spend on players that won't get us to the SCF.

So really there are only two big holes to fill in our roster, but apparently a lot more questions than that would indicate. Just some food for thought.

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