Peter Chiarelli is the new GM of the Edmonton Oilers, but his counsel includes Craig MacTavish, Scott Howson and Bill Scott. That may cloud the issue for the short term when assessing the minor league talent, but we have to assume Chiarelli is his own man and will delete as required. How will he handle the current 50-man roster? History tells us a culling is about to take place. Let’s start with the RFA’s and here are my bets.
- D Justin Schultz. If the Oilers could get him at a reasonable number, bringing back Schultz might make sense. As it is, I simply can’t see him returning to this team unless they plan to have another chaotic year. My bet is they trade him for a veteran defender who is overpaid but can still play top 4D.
- D Martin Marincin. I think he’s an NHL defenseman and believe Peter Chiarelli is a better judge of defensemen than MacTavish (low damn bar based on recent evidence). One hopes the Oilers sign Marincin to a cap-friendly deal and that is my bet.
- R Andrew Miller. He showed so well late in the season, and added to the AHL year I think he goes into camp with a real chance to make the big club. He’s not a big man, but he’s smart and skilled. Has a chance.
- D Brad Hunt. I would absolutely sign Brad Hunt and that’s with the knowledge he’s a ghastly defender. This guy could score 50 points on a MacLellan power play and for me that makes him worth keeping around even if it’s just to pump and dump.
- D Brandon Davidson. I can’t for the life of me understand the mind set that puts Davidson ahead of Marincin but it’s out there. Davidson, with due respect, is a solid depth prospect who could catch on for 200 NHL games if everything breaks right, but you’re always going to be able to get this guy if needed during the season. I do believe Edmonton signs him, mostly because (my bet is) MacT loves him miles more than Marincin. I don’t see the evidence.
- R Tyler Pitlick. The 50-man list gets a haircut every summer and the bubble boy this year (for me) is Pitlick. I’m not sure he survives, what with Iiro Pakarinen’s emergence and Rob Klinkhammer being signed for 2015-16. No bitching, Pitlick had his shot. It’s close, but I say they walk.
- L Matt Fraser. Chiarelli traded for him (the Seguin deal) but also waived him for Jordan Caron and that’s a low bar. I think Chiarelli walks him on speed alone, although it’s probably in the 40’s (per cent) in terms of the decision.
- D Keith Aulie. I don’t think the Oilers are going to sign Keith Aulie because the 50-man list is going to be tight. I know the Oilers liked him but he’s readily available in mid-season and devoting a spot on the 50 is unwise.
- L Curtis Hamilton. I don’t believe he returns. Finished No. 6 in Barons scoring this season, and if he’d done that in year one we might be talking about a player with a career. Always cheered for him, wish him the best, and part of me would love to see him return. It isn’t wise.
- C Kellen Lain. Coke machine. We didn’t get to see him much but he’s an orphan and unlikely to return.
- G Tyler Bunz. He never did get untracked as a pro prospect.
- G Frans Tuohimaa. Already gone. Leksand-bound.
I’m trading Schultz, keeping Marincin, Miller, Hunt and Davidson, and walking seven. Tell me I’m wrong.
"I've always felt he'd need more time to physically mature. He can play/think at high speed. I'd sign him." Button on Roy. #Oilers
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) May 22, 2015
I was listening to JG’s show this afternoon, Craig Button threw that opinion out and that must please our friend Michael Parkatti (the Roy selection was an analytic power drive). When we looked at the 2013 draft, I wrote:
- In many ways Roy is the forgotten prospect in the 2013 draft, partly because he hasn’t been signed and partly because he is playing a secondary offensive role with the Quebec Remparts. Roy’s 26 goals in 59 games is a good total, especially considering 23 came at even strength. He is not yet signed, which may be due to his participation in the Memorial Cup (it is in Quebec City this time) but I sense the organization is still evaluating. Source
Here’s hoping the young man has a strong Memorial Cup.
- G Ben Scrivens (suspect he’ll return in a backup role)
- G Laurent Brossoit (AHL starter and plenty of opportunity to move up)
- G Eetu Laurikainen (new hire)
- D Nikita Nikitin (Chiarelli may run over him with a Land Rover)
- D Mark Fayne (One of the few names the new coach can count on)
- D Andrew Ference (5-6-7D likely role for coming season. Does he remain captain?)
- D Oscar Klefbom (bright lights, big city. Golden decade, straight ahead)
- D Jordan Oesterle (I think they like him a lot, the speed is going to get him NHL looks)
- D Dillon Simpson (His progress in season two pro should be fun to watch)
- D Martin Gernat (One hopes he follows the conditioning program closely this summer)
- D David Musil (Chiarelli employed Adam McQuaid. Musil will be fine)
- D Darnell Nurse (He looks fabulous)
- D Ben Betker (May need to spend some time in the ECHL if it gets crowded)
- D Joey Laleggia (Can learn plenty from Hunt and Oesterle in Bakersfield)
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (He’s a wonderful player)
- C Anton Lander (newly signed, looks bona fide but needs to do it for 82)
- C Boyd Gordon (veteran could be trade bait by deadline if things break right)
- C Leon Draisaitl (Quality talent, Edmonton or Bakersfield)
- C Bogdan Yakimov (Shoulder aside, strong season)
- C Jujhar Khaira (Solid checker, offense may keep him from NHL career)
- C Travis Ewanyk (Not enough offense, we knew it draft day)
- C Kyle Platzer (newly signed) (Suspect he’ll play in Bakersfield next season)
- L Taylor Hall (healthy, starring role in Prague)
- L Benoit Pouliot (A rugged winger with skill)
- L Matt Hendricks (Had a wonderful year, can he do it again?)
- L Luke Gazdic (I’m not sure about his future on a McLellan team)
- L Ryan Hamilton (he’ll be the veteran hand in the minors helping to guide the kids)
- L Mitch Moroz (I’m not sure about his future on a McLellan team)
- L Kale Kessy (I’m not sure about his future on a McLellan team)
- R Jordan Eberle (Fun watching him score at the WHC’s)
- R Nail Yakupov (I have absolutely no idea how this will go)
- R Teddy Purcell (I think he’ll be back, speed only real issue)
- R Rob Klinkhammer (Signed for next season, may have competition for his job)
- R Iiro Pakarinen (I think he is going to make the team and have an impact)
- R Greg Chase (He has NHL ability, just has to be consistent and play a complete game)
PLAYERS WHO COULD STILL BE SIGNED
- C Derek Roy (UFA, suspect his signing window closed with Chiarelli’s arrival, but could be wrong)
- R John McCarron (must be signed, he’s a college senior, or he’s a free agent. Don’t see it happening)
- L Daniil Zharkov (no idea about his signing restrictions but team does own his rights. Doubt he is signed)
- C Marco Roy (he’ll be in the Memorial Cup, so we may not know until late. I hope he signs)
- L Anton Slepyshev (rumors afoot he will be signed. Good season.)
- R Jackson Houck (signs or re-enters, doesn’t look good for him as an Oiler)
That’s potentially 41 and of course they could get lucky and find someone in the first round who could help a little. Roman Horak re-signed with Vityaz Podolsk (KHL) on April 16, 2015 as per Patricia Teter.