Monday, July 03, 2006

Pronger for...wha???

At first glance, I feel like Kevin Lowe should have been able to command more from the Pronger deal ( Instead, he gets a 20 goal scorer with a lot of potential, a defenceman with some potential, and some potential potential with some draft picks. So the Oilers trade away a great player and get potential in return. What's new in Edmonton?

Well the difference between today and 5 years ago is that the Oilers today actually have a well rounded team with a multitude of talent in their early-mid 20s up front, a steady (albiet mediocre) crop of defenceman, and a goalie they actually have confidence in. And, they have another $5.5 million to spend. Obviously, their aren't a lot of talented FA defenceman left to sign, but this money will allow the Oilers to retain the all important 'core' members of the team in Horcoff, Hemsky and Stoll, all of whom will get just raises.

I cannot sit here and write that Edmonton is a better team today than they were 2 weeks ago. Losing Pronger is devastating to this team, he was the MVP of the season. But imagine a team with a multitude of speedy skilled forwards, and 3 top lines that have scoring potential on every shift. Hemsky, Horcoff, Smyth; Pisani, Stoll, Lupul; Torres, Moreau, Schremp. Sure, no single dominant defenceman, but toughness and simplicity in Staois, Smith, Greene, a little bit of flair in Bergeron, and some potential in Smid and Syvret. Its a group thats not going to blow anyone away, but does this team remind anyone else of Buffalo? Sure, they got beaten by the 'Canes much like last year's Oilers, but they got beat after losing 4 key defenceman. None of them a clear number 1 of course.

In fact, Tampa Bay didnt really have a single dominant defenceman in their cup winning run either. It makes one wonder if the new trend is to have a more even group of defenceman, rather then relying on one guy.

Edmonton will suffer greatly next year, espescially on special teams. Chris Pronger was an important piece of the machine. But this isnt Black Monday. Not yet anyway.

And I think this is Bryan Burke's official heads up to the rest of the West. The Anaheim (no longer Mighty) Ducks are taking over. This flock is big, fast, skilled and ready to rumble.

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