I am currently embarking on some trade deadline stuff for ON, and it offers a glimpse into what might be out there for the Oilers at the deadline. I did a ‘players to watch for in the AHL’ by division and got a few right (Reinhart!) although the timing was a little off. One of the things we might be able to do from this (I will list all of last deadline’s links below) is identify some future Oilers. Let’s begin by listing the players we can agree may be in play at the trade deadline:
- RW Teddy Purcell
- D Justin Schultz
- D Mark Fayne
- D Eric Gryba
- L Lauri Korpikoski
- F Matt Hendricks
I think that is probably the list, final two may be reaching but I do recall interest in Hendricks one year ago. It is also true that one year of contract is less a problem than two, and as Paul Almeida pointed out on SSE yesterday, Korpikoski has a reputation for being an effective veteran (he is not, in fact). So, what areas do the Oilers need help in?
- Effective RH defensemen
- No. 3 center (Lander’s spot)
- Scoring wingers (depending on what side Kassian plays, and how the summer goes)
Here are last season’s AHL target posts:
- Atlantic Division (mentions Colin Miller and Jordan Weal)
- East Division (many interesting players a year ago)
- North Division (Grigorenko and a couple others moved)
- West Division (Marincin)
- Northeast Division (Reinhart, Dano)
I thought, for this morning, it might be interesting to look at one specific team in the NHL, identify an area where they are deep, and see if there could be a gem or two (Clendening would certainly qualify under this rule). Since I will be doing all teams for ON, let’s drill down on one this morning and I choose the San Diego Gulls (coach: Dallas Eakins!) who are a fascinating team this year. Here is what I wrote last year:
- D Josh Manson: 6.03, 217 and the pedigree for a horror movie. He’s a very physical player doesn’t bring a lot of offense but on name alone he’s a curio.
- L William Karlsson: Swedish skill forward has been a terrific find for the Ducks. Great skater and passer, he’s 35GP, 7-14-21 in the AHL and has had some NHL time this year.
- C Nicolas Kerdiles: Smart, physical player with a range of skills. This is my favorite type of player, he could succeed in the NHL in several different ways. 49GP, 9-17-26 as an AHL rookie.
After I wrote that, Josh Manson began to emerge as a legit NHL defenseman, and now, a year later, he is one of the reasons the Ducks are overstocked on defense (a highly unusual situation for this era of NHL hockey). Karlsson was correctly identified as trade bait, as he was sent to Columbus for James Wisniewski. Kerdiles has played only 31 games since that was written and appears to have stalled as an NHL prospect.
THE DUCKS AT THE DEADLINE
- D Brandon Montour 39, 6-26-32. He is RH, he is an effective power-play defender (PP 4-19-23, he leads the league in PP assists). He has a very good shot, but does bring some chaos, I would be very pleased to see the Oilers trade for him at the deadline or in summer.
- L Nick Ritchie 30, 15-11-26. An emerging power forward, he is exactly the kind of player the Ducks employ successfully. I can’t imagine the pricetag to get him out of their system, but am fairly confident Edmonton will not deliver the asking price. A valuable player.
- R Stefan Noesen 39, 4-12-16. Regarded as a substantial offensive player, he suffered a torn ACL and MCL in 2013, and progress back has been slow. He might be a solid ‘buy low’ bet for Edmonton.
SHOULD WE EXPECT A SPECIFIC PLAYER TYPE?
I suspect we are reaching the end of the line with Anton Lander. He is a confounding player, as there are things about him that have value. I can think of a half dozen point-blank chances for the Swede this year, none have cashed. I do think the Oilers value some of the things he can do (Lander has some nice traits in the offensive zone, honest) but at some point—maybe at the deadline—we may see Edmonton choose to move on from him.
Lander is replaceable as a center based on his poor offense, and there was a time when the winger position might seem a reasonable option. Now? I think Kassian—Pakarinen and Korpikoski—Hendricks may eat his lunch on that option. Dire moments for Lander, if PC is looking for an upgrade there are productive AHL players who might be worth a try.
OILERS TEMPLATE FOR 2016-17
If they can find a defenseman using only draft picks and prospects, I think the Oilers are pretty much there for their team next fall. That is a good thing. Why? If Peter Chiarelli can arrive at summer with only two holes to fill, the chances of succeeding would seem to be greater (or at least, less can go wrong, in theory).
- Talbot plus Nilsson or Brossoit
Draft picks, Reinhart and the ten miles of lefties, roll ends and remnants. Can that get Edmonton two real RH’s on defense? I would rather go that route than trade established NHL players. Get good players, keep good players. That damned Bill Torrey-Al Arbour combo had it right, ladies.