Quote Originally Posted by Rylant View Post
How "successful" is the Oiler's season considered if we bow out quickly to the Flames?

I like a lot of what I am seeing, but something needs to improve. Defensively, we get beaten so often leads to scoring chances. Keith, Barrie, Bouchard, Russell are all guilty of giving up chances. Top this off with suspect goaltending... I am not sure Skinner is the answer.

Unless they win the Stanley Cup (which I highly doubt) there will always be room for improvement no matter where they bow out in the playoffs. Unfortunately only one team wins the Stanley Cup and the Oilers are not there at this point, at least not in my opinion. I'd love for them to prove me wrong. Their depth scoring, which has been a sore spot for years, if finally getting there. Their D is still suspect and the goaltending still doesn't have a long term answer that can be found soon. I agree that I am not sold on Skinner being the answer either.

Up front, there's some expiring contracts that will need to be dealt with. Puljujarvi and Yamamoto both need new deals. Same for Ryan McLeod. The biggest question mark is do they bring back Evander Kane. Personally, I'd have no issues if Holland moved on from Yamamoto and found a buyer for him and get back another asset. I just don't see the upside in his game anymore. Zach Kassian still has two more years left on that crappy contract ($3.2M) so a buyout wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen here, but I doubt it seeing as Neal's buyout is there for a few more years and this is the last year for Sekera's buyout on the books. Dylan Holloway could be ready for fulltime duty next year. He had a good first pro season in the AHL, showing glimpses of whats to come. I'd have no issues putting him in the top six and taking Yamamoto out.

I think Holland goes out and gets a better goalie to pair up with Smith for next year and Skinner once again bounces back and forth between the NHL and AHL depending on injuries. Once Smith's contract expires at the end of next season, Skinner is a full time NHL goalie in Edmonton and paired with who ever Holland decides to sign or trade for this off-season. With Koskinen's contract coming off the books, Holland should be able to go out and get a quality NHL starter, I hope, although Nurse's new deal with probably eat some of that money.

As far as the D goes, they have some holes to fill with Nurse, Barrie, Ceci, Duncan Keith (last year of his contract) and Bouchard already signed so the right side is pretty much signed but the left side needs work. I will say I did like what I saw of Kulak and I do hope they bring him back on a reasonable ($2M-ish) contract. Broberg might be ready to make the next step into a smaller role in the NHL as he learns the speed. Same for Samorukov.

There's always room for improvement. Hard to say what deals Holland might make this off-season. For now, lets keep enjoying the fact they are still playing and doing what they can with what they have.