Check out this team of Edmonton-area NHLers

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 5:02 PM ET

I've been granted my greatest wish.

The genie popped out of the bottle, and since she looked startlingly like Christina Aguilera, she would make only one other desire become reality. Therefore, I am now a National Hockey League general manager - with just one catch. I am only allowed to select players from the Edmonton area.

GOALTENDER: I'll raid the Carolina Hurricanes and select Cam Ward, a bright prospect who honed his skills with the Red Deer Rebels and is now among the best of the bunch in terms of future all-star netminders.

Since Ward will need a veteran capable of carrying the load, there are two options, the first being Florida backup Jamie McLennan, although since he did spend most of his formative years in the area, I'm going to utilize a border exemption and snare Peace River product Chris Osgood.

DEFENCE: There's a deep group of good defencemen to choose from and at the top of the list is New Jersey's Scott Niedermayer, a surefire Hall of Famer and standout Olympian who will ignite the offence and power play from the back. He may be a hometown boy to the folks in Cranbrook, B.C., but Niedermayer was born in Edmonton.

Two young stars next - Florida's Jay Bouwmeester, one of the game's best skaters, and Calgary's Dion Phaneuf, a lethal open-ice hitter.

To solidify things there is veteran Derek Morris of Phoenix, a capable combination of toughness and ability, and I'm going to use another border exemption to claim Montreal's Sheldon Souray (originally from Elk Point). Souray was one of the league's most underrated rearguards, who suddenly found some recognition in 2003-04, making his way to the All-Star Game and winning the hardest shot competition. The group is completed by a pair who will share the six-spot, Calgary's Andrew Ference and his former Flames teammate Mike Commodore.

FORWARDS: Thank you Calgary Flames for supplying a No. 1 line with Jarome Iginla shoulder to shoulder with Daymond Langkow and Steve Reinprecht.

Iginla is arguably the best player in the game today, Langkow is a good bet to hit new career highs in Calgary, and a healthy Reinprecht (he missed the last half of 2003-04 due to a shoulder injury) will provide depth in scoring.

The No. 2 unit will pit former-Oiler-turned Phoenix Coyote Mike Comrie with Anaheim's Joffrey Lupul and Stu Barnes from Dallas. Lupul is one to watch here as the former first-round draft pick is due for a breakout campaign.

For a final touch of scoring punch, it will be centre Ray Whitney, another former Oiler now with Carolina, alongside Jamie Lundmark from the New York Rangers and yet another former Oiler, Dean McAmmond, who is now in St. Louis.

Last but not least, this team needs a little bite, so on the fourth line, how about superpest Tyson Nash from the Coyotes with Fernando Pisani from the Oilers and Tampa Bay's Chris Dingman. You can't help but like Whitney, the former Oiler stickboy, and Nash once made Kevin Lowe so angry that the then-Edmonton coach threw his gum at the pesky one's mop-top.


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