Plenty of chatter among Oilers fans today about Peter Chiarelli working the phones and possible destinations for Ben Scrivens, Nikita Nikitin and even Teddy Purcell. In order for any of this to happen, Peter Chiarelli, Todd McLellan and the rest of management have to be certain they have enough cover at each position. Do they?
Ben Scrivens has played in 129 NHL games, Cam Talbot 57 and Anders Nilsson 23. This is a very inexperienced group and running with Talbot and Nilsson—while sending away Scrivens—seems risky from here. That said, Talbot and Nilsson have looked good and Chiarelli didn’t trade for these guys for something to do. One option I thought we might see, that does look less likely now? Bringing in an established goalie to backup Talbot. I don’t think that happens, at least before the season starts. Nice performance by Nilsson and he’s pushing Scrivens for sure.
I thought the Oilers might use Oscar Klefbom in a shutdown role but based pre-season games Todd McLellan appears to like the Klefbom playing a more offensive role (I thought he was strong in the shutdown role). In the Winnipeg game last week, it’s interesting to compare how McLellan used Klefbom and Griffin Reinhart.
- Klefbom 14:58EV; 5:06PK; 1:36PP
- Reinhart 14:02EV; 4:35PK; 0:00PK
- Klefbom EV ZS:62%; EV Corsi: 50%
- Reinhart EV ZS:33%; EV Corsi: 75%
Pre-season, just test driving everything but I think Reinhart is a good bet for No. 5 defenseman on this team. It might go like this:
- Andrej Sekera
- Mark Fayne
- Oscar Klefbom
- Justin Schultz
- Griffin Reinhart
- Nikita Nikitin
- Eric Gryba
- Andrew Ference
I think the top five are pretty close to what they’re thinking but after that it’s uncertain. Nikitin is a guy who you probably want to keep around until you’re sure, or until Nurse proves ready. Fair? Unless someone overwhelms I suspect Nikitin is here opening night and on the third pairing (no idea who will be beside him, I’ll guess Reinhart).
There are two items here. First, Anton Slepyshev. I have zero problem with him on the Oilers roster, but folks Connor McDavid is a rookie and Leon Draisaitl is pretty damn close. If the Oilers are going to run that young again they better be sure. Just my opinion. As for Purcell, trade winds could blow at any time and that’s fine. However, he might have higher value leading up to the trade deadline (hell, maybe TBay trades for him so he can make magic with Stamkos again) when most of his money has already bled out.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
There’s no hurry for Edmonton. The things they need (top 4D, 1974 Bernie Parent) aren’t available to them and their GM has already made his bets. Unless we see a Leddy or Boychuk shake loose in the hours before the season, we’re down to watching Todd McLellan choose his 6’s, 7’s and 9’s.
Trading Nikita Nikitin without a legit top 4D coming in is a little crazy. If they can cobble together an offer to bring in this year’s Leddy? Music!