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Jun 4, 2018
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<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>A_Habs_fan</b></div><div>He was the best option left imo. The only other options would’ve been Anderson, Schneider, Dell, Howard, Miller, Domingue, Hutchinson</div></div>
Dell, Miller or Hutchinson would have worked just as well, but at near half the cap hit. Maybe Smith brings something to the locker room, some kind of fight/aggression missing among the top players, I don't know.
I will not be jumping through 10 hoops to explain why Calgary isn't losing this trade because of money saved over the contract term, nor will I say Edmonton wins this trade hands down because of Neals past offensive production.
This is a clear "fair deal" if I've ever seen one. On one hand, Edmonton moves a player they essentially ran out of use for and gain one that might be able to jump into their top 6, and if not, they haven't really loss anything. On the other hand, Calgary also moves a forward they loss use for and gain a forward who can take his spot in the bottom 6 while adding more grit they are lacking in a veteran, and sure, saving some money. As far as cap goes though, both teams stay pretty much neutral. The conditional pick is a mute point because if Neal hits 21 goals, then it's easily worth it. So all in all, fair deal.
But I will say this: I watched many oiler games last season, Lucic simply doesn't have the speed needed to be an offensive contributor in this league anymore and tends to be too late to the play to throw useful hits. This makes me want to say Edmonton will win this, but since I didn't see much of Neal last season, I'll just keep it at fair.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>drewjenks</b></div><div>Edmonton ... in the most literal sense ... has exactly:
<strong>Three top-2 centers </strong>and <strong>fifteen bottom-6 wingers</strong> with nothing in between.
<strong>One top-4 defense </strong>and <strong>nine bottom-pair defense</strong> with nothing in between.
<strong>Zero starting goalies </strong>and <strong>two backup goalies</strong> with nothing in between.</div></div>
Fair enough point with the forwards, though I'd point out that at least a few of those bottom 6 guys are more better described as top 9, meaning they optimally are third line guys but can play up in the lineup if need be. They have a few young forwards who could make the move into that description or better too, but realistically they are probably a year or two away from doing that.
Your rating of their backend is simply wrong. They have three top 4 dmen in nurse, klefbom, and larsson. Russel and Benning both are capable bottom pair guys, though I wouldn't mind seeing Benning bumped down into a number 7 role if a couple of the younger dmen can step up. They have about 5 young dmen that will all be competing for two spots in that roster, so there's a good chance they end up with two solid options.
Goaltending is tough to judge. It really depends on how well the team in front of them performs. Koskinen showed he has what it takes to be a good goalie in this league, wether that be +/- 40 games will depend on how well Smith performs. This is basically a tandem setup that isn't much different from what they had last season. So again, it will depend largely on their team play in front of these guys.
As far as the team goes: the kind of players they've been brining in, along with additions from their farm system, fit nicely with their new head coaches style of coaching. He had success in Arizona with lineups that depended on the hard work of role players and everybody doing their part.
But ya, they are still missing 1-2 good forwards and 1 top 4-2 dman from being a contender. Likely won't find the forwards within this season, but may find another top 4 dman out of that bunch of young players they have. The good thing for them though is that they're division is all over the place right now and, with maybe the exception of Calgary, it's anybodies guess who'll be in the top 3 this season.