Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Is Robert Nilsson's Future With The Oilers?

From where I sit, Nilsson's days here are done. With the acquisition of Patrick O'Sullivan and the likelihood of having cheaper options available in the next couple of seasons that could do roughly as well or maybe even better in Rob Schremp, Ryan Potulny, and Linus Omark, Nilsson is likely draft day trade bait. They might not get much more than a 2nd rounder for him, but it's a way to add an asset that doesn't count against the cap while freeing up space for Schremp, Potulny, or even JF Jacques if you think that Penner and Moreau return next year.

Nilsson failed to show the hunger and willingness to cling onto his roster spot last season, and I must pose the question, if Rob Schremp remained with the Oilers in his place when Nilsson became healthy enough to play, would he have done any worse than Rowbear? I certainly don't think so, and the only reason that will be left to pure speculation is because that was not an option for MacTavish as Schremp was the least favorite of his circle of players that he enjoyed toying with as a coach that thought that he had no one to answer to.

Because of this Nilsson wasn't pushed this season despite being a scratch numerous times. Rightly or wrongly, he will take the fall for the kid line failing to rekindle their magic from late in the '07-'08 season. Dealing Nilsson would open roughly $1 million in cap space, and if the Oilers are planning on signing Gagner, Cogliano, Grebeskov, Smid, and any outside free agents, they will have to find cap space somewhere. Perhaps dealing Nilsson and an unfriendly cap hit like Staios, Moreau, or even Pisani could rid us of some salary and maybe we land a 3rd or 4th rounder for our troubles.

One thing is for sure, we must look to shed salary, and other than giving away key players and 1st rounders, I'd be game for doing just that if it meant packaging serviceable players to Albatross' to do it. Nilsson has all but struck out in 2 organizations, he needs to gain some consistency before he's run out of the NHL for good in a season or two.

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