From Allan Mitchell of Lowetide:
One of the things about the Edmonton Oilers in summer through the 00’s is that they seem to spend these months attempting to acquire top drawer talent without regard for balance. In the summer of 2005-06 they addressed all kinds of areas but left the goaltending somewhat unproven. The following summer they moved Chris Pronger and never really addressed the blueline in terms of veteran talent. Last summer they moved in assets but still lacked balance on liftoff (blueline once again lacked experience, lots of question marks up front).
The names being rumored (Jason Spezza, Erik Cole) are coming from some legit sources (Brownlee, Stauffer, Matheson) and would certainly improve this team up front for 08-09. However, the name most mentioned going the other way is Joni Pitkanen.
And that brings the balance question back into the picture. Although Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov moved past Ladislav Smid and Matt Greene and into the top 4 in 07-08, does that mean the Oilers can rely on them? Considering the other two defenders are Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios, does that give this team enough top 4D options? Wouldn’t the depth chart look much better with Pitkanen among the top 4 and perhaps Souray on the third pairing? The Edmonton Oilers appear convinced that a scoring forward for the top 2 lines is more important than having 5 legit defenders outside of the Smid-Greene tandem that is still trying to gain traction at the NHL
Read the entire entry here.
Mitchell presents an interesting question. I am a fan of Joni Pitkanen but in the right package for an impact forward, I would probably not hesitate to make the move. The Oilers would still have many serviceable defensemen to fill his spot, plus a couple of their youngsters (Chorney and Petry) are on the way in the next year or two. Without a top scoring prospect coming through the system, I’d probably pull the trigger for that impact forward.