It's bleedingly obvious to anybody who's half paying attention that the Oilers are severely lacking on the blueline. Their weaknesses have been exposed (bad first passes, Smith and Staios are overworked while trying to also break in rookies) and it's only going to get worse. In Anaheim, Pronger's out a month or so and Beauchemin's out indefinitely, the 'canes are down three starters and just traded for Seidenberg (a guy who has been sometimes rumoured to be on his way to Edmonton), Atlanta is minus Andy Sutton, John-Michael Liles and Jordan Leopold hurt in Colorado, Bryan Berard is hurt in Columbus, New Jersey is missing Richard Matvichuk and Colin White. On Long Island Joel Bouchard is gone indefinitely, across the way the Rangers have Sandis Ozolinsh out for a while, PIttsburgh may have a new arena before Eric Cairns returns and Mark Eaton is hurt too, and finally the Caps have Bryan Muir and John Erskine out indefinitely.
I didn't count, but that's an awful lot of NHL-calibre defencemen (even if some of them are borderline) out "indefinitely", and I didn't count the half dozen or eight that are set to return soon or are day to day. As well, playoff teams are going to want to start loading up soon. Anaheim, in particular, is likely to want at least one more guy in case Pronger's foot doesn't heal (I wonder if it's the same one he broke last season?), and Beauchemin's injury is a ruptured spleen - ouch. The Devils are likely going to be shopping for the same sorts of guys that the Oilers want, and they've got Scott Gomez to dangle.
If Lowe can pull off another Salmaleinen for Spacek type deal, my hat is truly off to him, but right now I'm resigned to watching the team back into 7th or 8th place again in the last couple of weeks, or miss the playoffs altogether. That would be too bad, as Roloson's not getting any younger (or better, from the sounds of it) and neither are Smyth, Smith, Moreau, and some of the other core guys.