Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fingers crossed

"There's no question there are players who interest us and we are prepared to overpay like everybody else does in the unrestricted market." - Kevin Lowe

With a $50 million payroll cap, along with salary-eroding inflation factored in, signing Ryan Smyth long-term for $5.5 million over five years when they had the chance looks a lot better than what the team faces tomorrow. Upon the precipice of free agency, I have a sinking feeling that Kevin Lowe will do something that will seem foolish in hindsight, like sign Scott Gomez for $7.2 million, despite the fact that Gomez actually had less points than Ryan Smyth last season.

As much as I'm attracted to sleek, overpaid acquisitions on the first line, the dangling, shiny new keys-effect of picking up a Paul Kariya doesn't distract me from the Oilers' greatest need: a massively-upgraded defence corps, as the the all-rookie brigade was the real source of the Oilers offensive woes last season. So, who can we get? Scott Hannan, Tom Preissing, Sheldon Souray, Brian Rafalski, Teppo Numminen, Darryl Sydor, Roman Hamrlik, Dick Tarnstrom, Danny Markov are the leading candidates. With the Oilers' needs on the blueline, the UFA list looks like slim pickings unless the Oilers can nab Rafalski or Preissing, or both, with a depth guy thrown in (although I don't think it's necessary nor wise to break the bank on a guy like Scott Hannan or Sheldon Souray). It seems just as likely that the Oilers will trade for some slick D, although I've lost some faith that Lowe can outright fleece anyone anymore, like when he traded Dale Talon a bag of Twizzlers for Jaroslav Spacek back in the spring of '06.

Ah, remember the spring of '06? We were all so much younger then.

Anyway, tomorrow's a big day, and not just for hockey, as I'll be heading back home to Stabmonton for a friend's wedding and some quality steak dinners. I trust everything is where I left it, except for a few more Hudsons dotting the landscape, of course. Also, save a pint of Grasshopper for me, as I may need it when I get off the plane and find out who Kevin Lowe signed... (hint at my worst nightmare: his name rhymes with "Alexei Yashin")

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Much as I hate to admit it, Yashin will probably be a good deal, money-wise. I mean, the same numbers as Drury and Smyth, and no-one's talking 8m a year for him (more like half of that, maybe).

(If MAKING the playoffs is your goal...)

coward said...

I'm a regular poster here, but I'd rather go anonymous because I'm too much of a pussy to admit that signing Yashin at $4m/year for, say, a couple years, actually seems like a good idea to me, for the reasons stated above.

Let the "falming" commence.

Pleasure Motors said...

To be fair, we mostly only mock bad grammar.

Besides, Yashin in an Oilers jersey is lower on the list of nightmare scenarios than, say, losing 18 out of 20 games two years in a row.

In other words, my expectations have been crushed to the point of being possibly excited by an expensive Russian floater. We have officially reached mid-90s levels of desperation. Let Alexei Yashin do what Alexander Selivanov and Andrei "The Tank" Kovalenko never could.

Andy Grabia said...

In other words, my expectations have been crushed to the point of being possibly excited by an expensive Russian floater. We have officially reached mid-90s levels of desperation. Let Alexei Yashin do what Alexander Selivanov and Andrei "The Tank" Kovalenko never could.

Oh Dave, your words are poetry. Aren't we a sad fucking lot at this point and time?

Black Dog said...

Valexei Kabashin is available?

My biggest fear is they sign Gomez or any of these guys for huge bucks. I didn't like the Smyth deal either (in the minority there I know) but if they're going to give Gomez gigantic amounts of cash then they should have given Smyth what he wanted.

Poor Lowe looks like he hasn't a clue.

Baroque said...

There are worse scenarios than Yashin for a couple years, though.

I still have a hard time believing that Kimmo Timmonen is going to be the highest-paid defenseman in the NHL next year (cap hit $6.3 million annually, but next year's salary is $8 million). Worse than a Russian floater would be several seasons of gagging on an enormous contract, waiting nearly motionless for it to work its way through the Oilers' yearly budget like a goat being digested by a reticulated python, until finally the team is free of it and can afford some talented players.

(Especially if the salary cap goes down, even a little bit.)

Baroque said...

P.S. to black dog:

Your dog looks like a sweetie. Is he part Rottweiller? (Hard to tell from a tiny little picture.)

Chris! said...

My biggest fear is they sign Gomez or any of these guys for huge bucks.

My biggest fear is that the Oilers do nothing at all.

uni said...

I used to fear nothing at all, until JFJ came to town and signed Kubina et al to 5+ million 5 year contracts. There are worse things than sitting pat.

Steve said...

Doing nothing at all on the UFA market wouldn't be a bad idea, especially if it was followed by unloading a few veterans. That would at least put us into full rebuilding mode, which is far preferable to picking up just enough veteran talent to push us from thirteenth place in the West to ninth, especially if said veteran talent comes at a cost of prospects and/or picks.

That said, I'm still dumb enough to hope that the off-season will magically turn us into a 2007-2008 contender.

SweatyO said...

Crack a beer boys and girls.

Lupul out! FUCK YEAH.

Andy Grabia said...

HALLELUJAH!!!

Steve said...

So who's the Oilers' next captain? Moreau?

Black Dog said...

baroque - Montague Waterhound (he's a mutt from PEI) - allegedly part Black Lab and part Border Collie

Maybe (based on the ears) a bit of Shepherd.