The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly trying very hard to convince Milan Lucic to grab a bucket and help bail the ship.
I don’t know enough to get into how likely this is, but of course the chatter among fans is whether or not this is even a good idea.
The split is pretty even, but by far the most noted reason against signing Lucic is the argument that he’s not a defenceman. That’s it. They need defence. They have enough forwards.
That statement is about as well thought out as a Pitbull lyric. Obviously the team needs defencemen. Ok, so now explain to the entire idiot world how you’re going to get one. What good ones are out there chomping at the bit to sign themselves into 26th or worse?
How many GM’s are out there thinking, you know, the Oilers could use a top 3 defenceman. I have an extra top 3 defenceman. Sayyyyy. Why don’t I just give him to the Oilers? I lose the cap hit. They get a defenceman. Everyone wins!!!
While waiting for that may seem like a good strategy, there’s an off chance the club will have to give up a forward (and probably even two or three) to get the kind of defenceman that’s going to make the immediate impact needed. They’ll probably even need a good forward to replace the ones they may or may not have to give away.
The statement “they have enough forwards” isn’t much smarter. That’s like saying “they have enough players already”. They can still ice a team. Why try to improve? But please reallllllly finally and truly take a step back and look at the forwards objectively. Let’s dumb it down just for a few minutes.
If anyone remembers the original Nintendo, and I mean the very first one, they might remember a game called, quite fittingly, Ice Hockey. Also fittingly, it came out in 1988, the last real glory year of the Edmonton Oilers.
In this game, there were three types of players: 1)Super fast highly skilled skinny guys that could score like anything but if you breathed on them or even so much as looked in their direction they’d slide across the ice and be out of the play for the rest of the period. Or just guys who couldn’t win a battle. As kids we used to call them “weenies”. 2)Averaged sized fairly fast skilled guys who could score pretty well AND take a hit. We called them “Rambos”. 3)Huge round guys you had to hit 27 times to knock over (with Rambos, weenies would just bounce off) and took Chuck Norris-like slapshots but skated so slowly you actually had enough time to hit them 27 times before they reached the blue line.
The real struggle was trying to find the right balance of Weenie, Rambo, and Butterbean. This isn’t unlike the conundrum faced by Peter Chiarelli. In this highly realistic game you only iced 4 players. My ideal go-to combination became one Weenie, two Rambos, and a Butterbean.
By that logic, the 16 big club forwards should be made up of 4 Weenies, 8 Rambos, and 4 Butterbeans(for the purposes of this professional scientific experiment we’ll also include enforcers in the Butterbean category. Let’s plug the end of season Oilers roster into categories and see if we can get the desired ratio.
Weenies: Yakupov, Pakarinen, Korpikoski, Lander, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Cracknell, Pouliot,
Butterbeans: Gadzic, Kassian, Hendricks
Rambos: Hall, Maroon, McDavid, Draisaitl, Letetstu
The dramatic conclusion here is that the Edmonton Oilers are Weenie-heavy up front.
I’m not 100% sure these are actually the players they would start the season with if it started today. While I take the Oilers very seriously, I’m also not above referencing a 30 year old video game that featured Poland as one of the top 6 hockey countries in the world to make a point, so take my fact checking in this case as you will.
The bottom line is the Oilers can afford and desperately need to trade away some Weenies with potential to acquire a D. What they should be signing right now are more Rambos and Butterbeans, and Lucic is the best available combination of both.