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One of todays installments of 5 Questions is the division foe, the Edmonton Oilers. They had an up and down season last season, and now have some very interesting FA's in the mix. The fine blogger from Black Dog Hates Skunks was kind enough to take a moment to answer some questions for me.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions from me. These questions are kind of geared towards how will Edmonton affect the Avs off season.

1) Obviously the big story for Edmonton, still, is whether Ryan Smyth will be enticed to come back. Man Avs fans, including myself, wouldn't mind him heading to the Avs here in town. After the way he was famously dumped during the season, do you think Edmonton has a chance at resigning him? I know he loves the fans, but he may be too mad at the organization.
1/ Not a chance that Smyth resigns now. Its too bad because they could have had him for ~5 last summer put pushed it off and then ~ 5.5 before they traded him.

He could get up to 7M from someone like the Isles but my guess is he gets 6 or 6.25 from the Wings, the Ducks (if Selanne retires) or maybe even the Avs because of a greater likelihood of winning the Cup with those teams.

But he is not coming back to Edmonton - too bad for us.


2) Are the Oilers going to resign Tjarnqvist? Do you want him back, or would you rather Edmonton go after someone else instead? he seemed to be pretty decent against the Avs last season.
/ Tjarnqvist was a good pickup but injuries derailed his season and I heard he is still having issues. Too bad really. He can play in the top four but they cannot give that type of money to a guy who may not even be able to play next season. He's a goner.


3) What about Petr Sykora, is he going to stay in Edmonton, or is he going to test the waters? Again same question as #2, would you like to see him resigned, or would you like to see Edmonton make a run at another forward to replace him.
3/ Sykora had a terrific start - he and Smyth really carried the Oilers in the fall offensively. His problem is he HAS to play with Hemsky - when Ales got hurt Sykora disappeared. And he also has to get the soft minutes to succeed - when they moved him up to play with Horcoff, who plays against the toughest opposition, he was not a factor at all.


He's a nice player, tons of skill, and I would not mind him back at the right price. He wants to stay and that helps his chances of returning. I honestly have no idea whether he will be back or not.

4) Before the Smyth trade Edmonton was actually ahead of Colorado in the standings, and then fell into the tank the final month of the season (sorry to rehash a painful time). The point is for 2/3rds of the season they were nearly a playoff team so the talent is there, but the franchise has said it's too poor to max the cap. Do you think they will spend enough on free agents to make another playoff run, 2 years removed from the Stanley Cup finals?
4/ Well, you're right. It was a weird season. I think a lot of players came to camp unprepared to be honest and our D had disaster written all over it but they were still in first come December when the wheels came off with the injuries. A lot of that was smoke and mirrors - Roloson won a lot of games for them in the fall, imo.

They need to replace Smyth and they need Sykora's offense or someone to replace that offense. They need to resign Jan Hejda to play in the top four and they need a guy to play in the top two D with Smith. They probably need someone to play between Moreau and Pisani.



5) One of, in my opinion, my best blog posts was one ripping the Edmonton Oilers in their handling of the Smyth fiasco. (Full post here) . In it I said the way they handled Smyth (asking him to take a hometown discount, not budging over a few $100k, and then trashing him and his agent on his way out of town) would hurt he Oilers in the long run, because it would hurt the teams chances of signing top-quality UFA's. Do you think Edmonton will have a harder time signing UFA's because of the way the Smyth trade was handled?
5/ I think not resigning Smyth will hurt the Oilers chances of getting UFAs because they are not as good a team without him as they were with him. If the Oilers outbid everyone for Danny Briere, say, then I think Briere will go there. Its not all about the money but a lot of it is about the money. But, if like Spacek last season, they offer as much as someone else, then the guy will look at which team has a better chance of winning and at this point the Oilers are nowhere the team they were two years ago.

They were a veteran team and now they're loaded with kids.
They had four D who could move the puck and now all four (Pronger, Spacek, Tarnstrom, Bergeron) are gone.

They had eleven guys who could play tough minutes and now five of them are gone (Pronger, Spacek, Smyth, Peca, Dvorak).

They have a long way to get back.


Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Edmonton is really one team I am very intrigued at their direction in the offseason..

My analysis: The Oiler's have some interesting options. As the Avs have really resigned most of their team from last season it looks like they are going to make a run at one (or two) major FA's to compliment their young and Talented team. Ryan Smyth (OIE: .889)is on everyone's wish list (including the Beige Wings), and he is goign to go for a price. Tjarqvist is an interesting option, but sounds too injury prone to really give a shot too. We have enough injury prone defense. Sykora is an interesting option if the Avs fail to sign Forsberg, as Sykora's OIE was .571 which actually falls below Ian LaPerriere on the Avs. That's a little deceiving though because the Avs scored a lot more goals than the Oilers, (next mission for me, find a way to compare the OIE's from team to team).