Before embarking on a 4 game road trip, the Oilers had pretty much secured (outside of winning the lottery) the #2 overall pick, given they had the second worst road record in the NHL. I predicted a 1-3 road trip with the loan win coming in the finale against the lowly Blue Jackets and not to start out with a 6-3 beat down of the playoff bound Predators! The Oilers then went on to beat Tampa Bay in a SO, lose to Florida in a SO and pound Columbus! No one in their right mind would have predicted a 3-0-1 road trip, not even Tom Renney and the coaching staff!
So after coming home undefeated in regulation on their recent road trip, I’m sure this has many Oiler fans jumping for joy when in fact they need to raise their arms in disgust! Everyone knows the way to build a winner is down the middle and with Ryan Nugent Hopkins pencilled in as your #1 Center for many years to come, the question remains – Who will fill that #2 Center position? Sam Gagner, after 5 years has yet to take the bull by the horns and run away with that title. Put aside his record tying 8 point game this season and he is right around the 40 point range which is what he has been averaging since coming into the league. Which brings my attention to the draft this upcoming June. Mikhail Grigorenko is the name and that is who the Edmonton Oilers need to set their sights on! He’s a 6’3, 200 lb center who will compliment RNH and the Oilers will have a 1-2 punch down the middle for the next 10 years!
Big centers do not grow on trees, just ask the Oilers and 29 other organizations. The last “big” center the Oilers had was Jason Arnott and that was in 1993….it’s now 2012 and I think that is long enough. You can not trade for these types of players, you must draft them and groom them. If the Oilers are not able to get their hands on Grigorenko they need to set their sights on Alex Galchenyuk, 6’1, 200 lb center. Nevertheless, if the Oilers do draft a center, that would spell the end for Sam Gagner as an Oiler. The Oilers are looking for an impact defenseman to step right in and help bolster their blue line for the 2012-13 season, Gagner could and should help you acquire that guy in a package deal. Whatever it takes, get it done! The Oilers need to stop playing like spoilers and like they’re fighting for a playoff spot when they need to focus on locking down 29th place! Losses for the Oilers = Down The Middle Success!
And for all those so called “experts” who keep stating they need to draft on the back end, please feel free to tell me why you think so and how drafting a D-man this year will help the Oilers in the next 2 -3 years? I welcome all suggestions. Watch for my next post as I will give you 4 reasons why they don’t need defenseman.