Dreger: Expect big changes in Edmonton as Oilers rebuild

Darren Dreger
1/19/2010 5:12:05 PM
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The Edmonton Oilers will do what's right for the organization.

The Oil will do what's right for the fans.

Edmonton will do nothing at all.

Nothing, to help turn this team's unpredictably horrendous season around.

There will be trades, mostly to change the culture of the team, which means veteran players beware...your time in Edmonton may soon be over.

This isn't another run at the endless speculation that has followed with the Oilers' continued disappointment.

There will be changes.

Trade is the most 'friendly' way, but it is possible Edmonton will take a far more aggressive approach and bury players in the minors, or wait until the end of the season and buy out contracts, if necessary.

That's a very harsh way to change the culture, but the team you see today will look much different by the end of the summer.

Names like Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Fernando Pisani, Robert Nilsson and Andrew Cogliano are familiar to those who closely monitor the trade circles, however with the exception of Cogliano - who many outside of Alberta believe is a mere team change away from being a very good number two centre - most in the group assembled above are a tough sell.

Souray has two years left and a cap hit of $5.4 million. 

As damning as that number is, there will be teams with interest.

Buffalo is believed to be in the market for a defenceman to help their power play. However, armed with a no-move clause, Souray won't be shuffling off to Buffalo...he just won't.

His interest in moving further West, not East, has been well documented.

Whether it's Souray, or any other long-serving member of this team who is tumbling through the rumour mill, these men will always be highly regarded by the organization for the battles they've helped this team win over the years.  But, the truth is, the Oilers' leadership has run its course, hit the wall...it's time to move on.

Tradecentre on TSN on Mar. 3 promises to be very interesting.

A new beginning for the Edmonton Oilers starts with the Draft Lottery on either Apr. 12 or 13 (TBD).

A top-three pick will allow Edmonton to draft a potential star in June, be it a forward, either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin, or defenceman Cam Fowler, who is ranked third among North American skaters by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau.

All three have the potential to be cornerstone players.

The Oilers had a superstar, namely Chris Pronger, who helped them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final before Pronger decided Edmonton wasn't for him.

Without a superstar, it's almost impossible to win and the only way to acquire one without mortgaging the future is through the draft.

There are no guarantees Hall, Seguin or Fowler will develop into the franchise player the Oilers so desperately need, but it's the right place to start.



Oilers looking dejected (Photo: Jimmy Jeong/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Jimmy Jeong/NHLI via Getty Images)
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