Pity Kevin Lowe if you are in the mood to - I certainly am not. Apparently he threw a fit in his box the other night probably because he is realizing that he very well may be remembered as the guy who traded Steve Stamkos or Drew Doughty for Dustin Penner.
Was out walking the big fellow the other night, another storm here, and ran into a search party. They hadn't seen Penner either.
Now Lowe might point to injuries and guys who have underachieved as the reason this team has failed but while he may like his team, he is in the definite minority. Fact is this team, like last year's squad, was so obviously flawed from the get-go that one could predict its failure. And one cannot point to the injuries and bad luck without pointing to what has gone well on the other side of the ledger as well. There is no way that Tom Gilbert was projected as a probable all rookie team candidate with ten goals and playing top pairing minutes, no way that they could have figured that Garon would supplant Roloson completely, no way that they could have guessed that so many kids would prove to be good bets.
You can't have it both ways.
So, going into the summer there will be plenty of questions surrounding this team and perhaps the first one on the agenda will be the status of Jarret Stoll. This season has had its share of disappointments but the play of Stoll, who had a pretty good few months last year before he was derailed by concussions, is perhaps the biggest. His future with the Oilers is tied to two situations, imo. Do they extend Horcoff? If they do not then he sticks around unless Lowe wants to go into 2009/2010 with Gagner, Cogliano and Brodziak as his top three centres. Which he may because he's shown not a lot of sense the last couple of years. If they extend Horc then I think he's a goner this summer unless they are committed to having either Gagner or Cogliano playing the wing.
Me, I would go Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano as my top three but I can see the tempatation to see if this year is a blip. If it is and they keep him then they have a reasonable guy to plug into their top three centres or they can trade him and likely get a reasonable return. Right now we're talking a draft pick or a guy coming back who has also had a terrible year. And the Oilers have a few too many of those guys to pick up another.