You and I can talk about last night—the shot differential, the possession numbers—but based on the comments I had to delete overnight it is probably unproductive. Let’s talk instead about assets, the ones Edmonton may send away this summer.
WHY DO THEY PLAY SATURDAY, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in October 2014: 4-5-1
- Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0
- Oilers in November 2014: 2-9-3
- Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2
- Oilers in December 2014: 2-8-4
- Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1
- Oilers in January 2015: 5-7-1
- Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2
- Oilers in February 2015: 5-6-1
- Oilers in February 2016: 4-8-2
- Oilers in March 2015: 5-6-3
- Oilers in March 2016: 4-3-0
- Oilers after 71 in 2014-15: 19-39-13, 51 points (-74 GD)
- Oilers after 71 in 2015-16: 27-37-7, 61 points (-40 GD)
Not much to say, the Oilers won the possession battle, hit a bunch of posts, but in the end it came down to execution. I am in favor of it.
THE NO-TRADE LIST
- C Connor McDavid. Clearly the top asset the Oilers have and the cornerstone for the future. I don’t think there is a better player in the world to build a young team around at this time.
- L Taylor Hall. Despite playing six seasons in the second division, the guy is a winner. A fabulous even-strength performer, he pushes the river and is a rare difference-maker.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. A fine two-way C who is signed through 2021 summer. I fear Peter Chiarelli may not see that he is in fact David Krecji, but if the GM is smart he will keep his powder dry and employ the Nuge next year (and beyond).
- C Leon Draisaitl. The big German has emerged as an important part of the team, easily part of the top six, whether a center or wing. His passing is fantastic, and his size somewhat unique among these players. I expect there will be a lot of pressure on PC to trade him—by that I mean the offers will be strong.
- D Oscar Klefbom. He has reached a point (to my mind) where we can say he is a more complete player than the other young blue. OK can play in all disciplines and flourish—that is unique among Edmonton’s blue—with the only concern being injury.
THE UNLIKELY TO BE TRADED LIST
- D Brandon Davidson. He is a terrific story, but beyond that a valuable and useful player. Davidson’s range of skills—he has a fine shot, can move the puck, pass, defend, calm the play—are countered only by his growing list of injuries. Fantastic contract.
- G Cam Talbot. Edmonton appears to have found themselves a starter, zero sense in sending him away now. His big test will come in the fall, where Oilers goalies have been unable to keep things together and keep the team in contention.
- L Benoit Pouliot. Although he probably becomes trade bait if Milan Lucic signs with the Oilers, I don’t believe that will happen—and Pouliot is an effective player. Underrated by most Edmonton fans.
- D Andrej Sekera. Veteran free-agent pickup has been an effective player since about the third week of the season. Along with Klefbom and Davidson, offers Chiarelli a reasonable LH set for next season.
- D Darnell Nurse. I can’t see the Oilers trading the big man, he could be a big part of the solution for this team in the future. He may need more time in the minors, and certainly needs to have his minutes cut back if he continues to develop at the NHL level.
THE SAIL ON LIST
- R Jordan Eberle. There are several reasons why Eberle has both substantial value and remains tradeable. First, his contract runs out in 2019. Second, he is a winger, and a complementary one, although very talented. He has enough value (imo) to cover a one-for-one deal in which Chiarelli can address RH in one move. That makes Eberle a rare gem in this summer’s movements.
- First-round draft pick. I think this may well be the top trade chip heading to summer. The conversation often surrounds trading out completely, but for me there is some value in trading down as well. If the Oilers win the draft lottery, there would likely be enormous value in dealing down to No. 2 or No. 3. I think the gap between Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine may be far less than the possible trade value in doing so—there is a little area there where real trade value might be found.
- R Nail Yakupov. Although Yak has struggled a great deal during his time in Edmonton, one suspects there is a team and coach out there convinced they can unlock him. The return will not be great—I bet people will be shocked at the poor return—and his talent plus value contract may be enough for him to stay another year.
- D Mark Fayne. He has settled in to deliver a good year on defense, and I think some team might take him over the summer. Edmonton may not ask much in return, preferring to use that money on signing a better fit—like Jason Demers.
- D Griffin Reinhart. As was the case with Paul Mara in Boston, Chiarelli took very little time to move on from a bet. GR has value, and teams are always looking for defensemen.
- F Lauri Korpikoski. Todd McLellan clearly values the Finn, so unlikely he would be sent away. That said, if the veteran is part of the ask for something Edmonton requires (say, a backup goalie) then I believe he could go.
I also believe some of those picks outside the first round may help in adding actual NHL players to the lineup for next season. Here is my understanding (as of today) of Edmonton’s draft picks for 2016:
- No. 2 overall
- No. 32 overall
- No. 62 overall
- No. 76 overall (Pittsburgh pick)
- No. 83 overall (Florida pick)
- No. 122 overall
- No. 148 overall (St. Louis pick)
- No. 152 overall
- No. 182 overall
That pick at No. 32, or some of the other ones before No. 100 overall, could bring in someone useful. The Oilers pro scouting folks are key here, that may or may not concern you.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) March 13, 2016
No idea if this is true, have not seen another source and mention it only because this is such an interesting player. Here is the HF scouting report:
- HF: Opinions vary widely on Sallinen. Some scouts view him as a Bobby Holik-type power forward while others feel he is merely a big bodied, undisciplined player who put up big scoring numbers playing against smaller junior players but does not have the requisite skill level to be successful at the NHL level. On the plus side, his energy and enthusiasm, as well as a willingness to compete all over the ice, are popular with both teammates and fans alike. While not as awe inspiring as some of the other prospects in Finland, Sallinen is a strong skater and also handles the puck well in traffic. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury this past season which limited his season to nine games. With his punishing style of play, that is something that has teams concerned. Source
His NHLE is 24 points in 82 games, so we are not looking at a fabulous offensive answer. He does have some of the things one associates with a Chiarelli player—fast, bigger body (he is listed at 6.0, 183, so that number may be wrong).
Former #CBJ GM and current Oilers SVP of Hockey Ops Scott Howson spending this lovely Saturday in Erie on a scouting trip.
— Mark Scheig (@THWMark) March 12, 2016
Lots of fun players to procure in Erie, including big Nick Betz who we have discussed a few times on this blog. He fits the Chiarelli template better than the Finn.
Scott Howson on if #Oilers won lottery again: "There'd probably be a lot of people mad at us if that happened."
— Mark Scheig (@THWMark) March 12, 2016
I say screw ’em. Although my personal wish would be that another team wins the lottery, this silly backlash against the Oilers has me re-thinking that idea. If you understand that the rules were crafted with blocking the Oilers in mind, and further see the humor in the NHL once again twisting themselves into a knot to block Edmonton, then the only just outcome is another lottery win. I will light a candle, suggest you do too.