The time has come for action. The NHL doesn’t like news to break during the SC playoffs (unless it’s from Glendale, they love that stuff at the head office) so teams put aside their trades until things have wrapped up—and that could be tonight! It’s fair to expect a transaction from the Oilers this week, even if it’s some RFA addition or yet another Russian defenseman whose turns are timed by sundial. Either way, a re-set seems in order.
- Draft McDavid (and sign him)
- Find a quality goalie option
- Acquire a legit partner for Fayne
- Sign a more offensive two-way F
- Procure a veteran Pisani
- Ignore MacT re: Marincin
- Offload Gordon (unless McLellan decides to use a shut down, severe ZS line)
This gets us here:
- Pouliot—Nuge—Justin Williams
The trading of Gordon for Soderberg allows Todd McLellan to run (wait for it!) three scoring lines and gives a mentor for Leon Draisaitl. I haven’t included Nail Yakupov because I’m not certain he’ll be here in the fall. Edmonton’s youthful nine will include Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and I suspect that’ll do for the wobbly portion of the group. I’ve added veterans Williams, Soderberg, Greene and Talbot, your mileage may vary and you might like some of the UFA blue added to this group.
Someone asked me to add Zbynek Michalek yesterday, these are his Arizona numbers and they look fine. He’s more of a stay-at-home type but also a RH player, so the right side (Michalek, Fayne, Schultz) would line up nicely (with Klefbom, Marincin, Nurse) with the less experienced port side. I still think Nurse makes this team, even if the IR begins the season drunk with veterans.
LOWETIDE TOP 30, 2015
- (1) C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
- (2) C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA) The best Sabre since Hasek? Perreault?
- (3) R Mitch Marner, London Knights (OHL) He’s a pinball wizard.
- (4) D Noah Hanifin, BC (NCAA) Five years from now, some teams will kick themselves unconscious.
- (5) C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL) Same scoring rates as Tavares.
- (6) D Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) Russian Coffey.
- (8) R Mikko Rantanen, TPS Turku (SML) Faantastic Finn will have an impact.
- (7) C Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) Ridiculous skill, impact prospect.
- (9) D Zach Werenski, Michigan (NCAA) Overlooked but not undervalued.
- (10) R Evgeni Svechnikov, Cape Breton (QMJHL) A growing buzz on the big Russian. невероятный.
- (11) R Timo Meier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) A real straight shooter, a sniper’s future.
- (14) D Jeremy Roy, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) He’s a splendid talent, obscured by injury.
- (13) C Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67’s (OHL) Impressive player, range of skills. Modern Bobby Clarke.
- (12) R Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets (WHL) Memorial Cup showcase impressed everyone.
- (15) C Anthony Beauvillier, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) A steal where he’ll go.
- (16) C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia Sting (OHL). Big, physical center with average offense. Solid U18’s.
- (17) L Lawson Crouse, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) Power forward with some offensive skills.
- (18) C Kyle Connor, Youngstown (USHL) Smart two-way forward.
- (27) C Joel Eriksson Ek, Farjestad (SHL) Skill C with size, speed. Good range.
- (20) L Jake Debrusk, Swift Current (WHL) Quality scoring prospect. Impressive player.
- (19) C Jansen Harkins, Prince George Cougars (WHL) Two-way center, skilled.
- (21) D Jakub Zboril, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) Two-way D, solid offense.
- (24) D Thomas Chabot, Saint John Seadogs (QMJHL) He won’t last long. Impressive range.
- (25) F Colin White, USNTDP (USHL) Fine skater, two-way player.
- (26) R Daniel Sprong, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) Quick, skilled first-shot scorer
- (23) R Blake Speers, SSM Greyhounds (OHL) Skating, skill are his calling card.
- (22) D Oliver Kylington, Farjestad (SHL) Death or glory pick, would love to see him as an Oiler.
- (28) R Zach Senyshyn, SSM Greyhounds (OHL) Terrific speed, no fear. Skilled.
- (29) D Travis Dermott, Erie Otters (OHL) Undersized, mobile defender. Worth a first rounder.
- (30) C Filip Chlapik, Charlotteteown Islanders (QMJHL) Two-way C, range of skills
I think the Oilers get two of these names, not three. That pick at No. 16 (Svechnikov, Roy) or the No. 33 selection (Eriksson Ek, Dermott) will be used but there’s a good chance one of those selections is heading out of town. I’d prefer a veteran defenseman coming back, suspect it’s Talbot. If it’s the No. 16 pick, it could be a bigger deal involving something else, if it’s No. 33 it could be straight up and if it’s No. 57 there might be a 2016 draft selection also heading out of town. That’s my guess, anyway. The first half of this draft is music, if the Oilers can get McDavid plus another player in the top 15, this draft should be a monster five years from today.
OILERS CURRENT 50-MAN (38)
- 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 (No. 1 candidate for buy out to my eye)
- 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)
- D Oscar Klefbom (I think McLellan may play him in lesser role, that would be ideal)
- D Darnell Nurse (I don’t see a way to keep him off the big club in 15-16)
- D Brad Hunt (He’ll see NHL time)
- D Jordan Oesterle (Oilweb had a feature on him training hard this summer. Oil love that stuff)
- D Dillon Simpson (It’ll be fun to see how much he improves in year two)
- D David Musil (Chiarelli employed Adam McQuaid. Musil will be fine)
- 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)
- D Martin Gernat (I don’t know if Chiarelli knows him, forgotten man)
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (All this fuss and Nuge just waiting to be brilliant)
- C Anton Lander (Important player for 15-16)
- C Boyd Gordon (veteran could be trade bait by deadline if things break right)
- C Leon Draisaitl (Man amongst boys in Memorial Cup)
- 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 (Fantastic WHC’s saved a poor season by his standards)
- L Benoit Pouliot (A rugged winger with skill, brilliant hire by MacT)
- L Matt Hendricks (Had a wonderful year, can he do it again?)
- L Luke Gazdic (His roster spot could be vulnerable)
- L Ryan Hamilton (he’ll be the veteran hand in the minors helping to guide the kids)
- L Anton Slepyshev (I ranked him No. 8 in my latest top 20)
- L Mitch Moroz (Will need to spike in a lot of areas next year)
- L Kale Kessy (He looked like he’d taken a step forward before injury)
- 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 Andrew Miller (A strong option for NHL time in 2015-16)
- R Greg Chase (I’m still bewildered by his draft number)
Connor McDavid, the new starting goalie and at least one defender will be added to the group but there’s miles of room for Edmonton. If we assume Chiarelli—a veteran GM—will want to have some room (say 47 names with only one slide rule in CMD), there should be six more players coming in this summer. Plenty of work to do and the ratio (3G, 12D, 8C, 8L, 7R) suggests we anticipate additions on defense and RW.
Derek Roy (UFA), college man John McCarron and distant Russian bell Daniil Zharkov are on the radar but the blips are fading in some or all cases. Among the RFA’s, I think Justin Schultz, Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson and Tyler Pitlick all have a chance to be signed but it would be foolish to believe all will return to Edmonton. Among the RFA’s who are likely on the outside looking in, count Tyler Bunz, Keith Aulie, Kellen Lain, Matt Fraser and Curtis Hamilton as having no fixed address by the time free agency hits.
- No. 39 C Connor McDavid
- No. 40 G Cam Talbot
- No. 41 D Zbynek Michalek
- No. 42 D Justin Schultz
- No. 43 D Martin Marincin
- No. 44 D Brandon Davidson
- No. 45 R Tyler Pitlick
And of course there will be deletions via trade and we can talk about that in the coming week. Anyone getting squeezed without merit? Think Matt Fraser belongs? Pitlick shouldn’t be there? I suspect the Oilers are having these conversations now and the big issues are:
- Does Connor McDavid flourish with Hall-Eberle or does the club need to add Justin Williams?
- Who is going to play goal?
- What can be done about the elevator shaft known as Oilers blue?
- Why do the Oilers hate Martin Marincin?
We wait, but not for long.