In the wake of Monday’s management change, there’s expectations new Oilers GM Craig MacTavish could shake up the lineup this summer.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Joanne Ireland reports new Oilers GM Craig MacTavish claims he won’t shy away from addressing the club’s problem areas this summer. She noted the Oilers need more depth at center and on the blueline, which could involve buying out a veteran or two to clear roster and cap space or trading one of their corp players.
EDMONTON JOURNAL/EDMONTON SUN: Oilers veterans Shawn Horcoff, Sam Gagner and Ryan Smyth (who played for MacTavish when he was Oilers coach) acknowledged changes could be coming for the Oilers lineup under MacTavish.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson doesn’t expect MacTavish will make a coaching change. He also doubts the Oilers will trade any of their young players, like rookie forward Nail Yakupov. He believes Ales Hemsky, with one year (and $5 million) remaining on his contract, could become a trade candidate, as could defenseman Corey Potter and center Eric Belanger. They could re-sign free agents Mark Fistric or Theo Peckham but not both. He also doesn’t rule out Gagner being dealt. It remains to be seen what they’ll do with pending UFA blueliner Ryan Whitney.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have over $51 million invested in 15 players ( with over $8.5 million of that in bonuses) and can use their two amnesty buyouts this summer to free up cap space, though their status as a rebuilding club could make it tough landing veteran free agent talent. Hemsky has to be a goner by now, and depending on Gagner’s asking price, he could also hit the trade block. I have my doubts about Whitney being re-signed, as he might not want to return. I don’t believe they’ll trade any of their top young players.