Travis Hamonic and his blasted happiness have really put a wrench in the Oilers offseason. Not even misery is on our side, which is incredible based on all the time we have spent together. With Hamonic now in Brooklyn for the next few seasons, perhaps we should revisit the list of potential blue acquisitions from a week ago. Hamonic was a strong option, but quality remains.
THE BLUE ROOM
- Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators. Franchise player. He won’t move.
- P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens. Franchise player. He won’t move. Right?
- Jason Demers, Dallas Stars. Effective defenseman, he costs only money. With Hamonic gone, I have moved him up—and remember he costs only money.
- Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. He is close to a perfect fit for the puck-moving portion of this Oilers team, and might be available.
- Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. The gap between Faulk and (say) Barrie is not large in my mind. He cooled off as the season wore on but he would be a nice option.
Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. This is a solid player and a great option for Edmonton.
- Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks. I like his puck-moving ability but as with all young blue there is not a clearly established level of ability. What we see is very good offensively.
- Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers. Strong, effective defender who keeps showing up in good places in possession.
- Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes. Two-way D spiked offensively this year, you would like to have a little more track with those kind of boxcars.
- David Savard, Columbus Blue Jackets. Interesting player, has a range of skills and could be among the more available names near the top of this list.
- Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets. Strange year for a talented young player. Could be a buy low situation or a waste of assets.
- Mark Pysyk, Buffalo Sabres. He has had several false starts in Buffalo, but the numbers imply there is a player here. Might shake loose and could help.
- Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders. Big shot from the point has high value, he is a very young target for a team looking for bona fide help.
- Damon Severson, New Jersey Devils. Under the radar name, he did pretty well in 2015-16. I have no idea if he is available but this is a player who is young enough to grow with the group in Edmonton.
- Ryan Murphy, Carolina Hurricanes. Some chaos, but good speed and puck-moving ability. Hurricanes have a lot of options among blue and need forward help.
- Jordan Schmaultz, St. Louis Blues. One thing we haven’t looked at a lot is the substantial offensive defensemen in the AHL. Schmaultz is such a player and we could see the Oilers acquire a player like Schmaultz. He is a very good prospect.
- Anthony DeAngelo, Tampa Bay Lightning. Another player with a puck-moving element to his game but not yet estsblished as an NHL player. We have talked about him quite a bit, most recently here.
- Brandon Montour, Anaheim Ducks. This could be a special player. He is not far from a point-per-game as a rookie defensemen in the AHL. No idea if he is available but worth the ask.
- Colin Miller, Boston Bruins. He never gets mentioned, but if you look at the numbers this guy keeps showing up in interesting places. No idea if he has a future, but his now is interesting.
- Cody Franson, Buffalo Sabres. I am probably the only one who still likes him enough to list him, but that hammer from the point would come in handy and he fits a real need.
- Eric Gryba, Edmonton Oilers. I doubt Mark Fayne returns, and Gryba could slide in as an inexpensive option in the stay-at-home department.
- Ville Pokka, Chicago Blackhawks. Young defender in the Chicago system just posted a solid year in the AHL. Suspect they will keep him, but you never know.
- Frank Corrado, Toronto Maple Leafs. Very little evidence but he showed up in some good places.
- Ryan Sproul, Detroit Red Wings. Puck-moving defender in the AHL, he might be ready for an NHL role this fall.
- Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames. A year removed from a fantastic offensive season, he would probably be available for less than zero. Wildly unpopular idea, it might work.
- Taylor Aronson, Nashville Predators. Minor-league defender with some interesting numbers and he shouldn’t be expensive.
- Matt Irwin, Boston Bruins. He was buried in the minors this season and at 28 that could be it for his NHL career. That said, he did some good things as a San Jose Sharks blue and maybe there is a connection.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) May 7, 2016
One thing we haven’t discussed much is taking a goalie at the draft. The addition of Nick Ellis was a solid move in my opinion, but two holes remains on the organizational depth chart at this position:
- Cam Talbot
- Missing substantial backup
- Laurent Brossoit as AHL starter—first callup
- Eetu Laurikainen on the Bakersfield-Norfolk route
- Nick Ellis on the Bakersfield-Norfolk route
- Missing quality prospect matriculating
- Miroslav Svoboda and Zach Nagelvoort as prospective pro signings
Brossoit is the best prospect on the list and I like him, but there may be an opportunity to take Carter Hart with their second-round pick. Is that a wise option? Picking goalies early is a dangerous thing—there is every chance the pick will never turn out—but this young man’s resume is very good.
Dillon Simpson photo by Mark Williams
THE NEW CONDORS
The minor league depth chart has seen some new possible additions over the last few days, giving us a real chance to see what Peter Chiarelli is looking for from his AHL team. By the looks of things, he was not enamored with his young forwards, and playing time is not guaranteed to the recent draft picks.
- Goal: Laurent Brossoit, Eetu Laurikainen, Nick Ellis
- Defense: Griffin Reinhart, David Musil (RFA), Jordan Oesterle (RFA), Dillon Simpson, Joey Laleggia, Ben Betker (plus some righties on the way, I imagine)
- Center: Bogdan Yakimov, Jujhar Khaira, Kyle Platzer and more on the way, I suspect
- Left Wing: Ryan Hamilton (AHL contract), Drake Caggiula, Jere Sallinen, Mitchell Moroz, Braden Christoffer
- Right Wing: Anton Slepyshev, Patrick Russell, Greg Chase
I didn’t add Josh Winquist but you would have to think he is in the conversation for an NHL contract. Possible AHL deals include Marco Roy, Josh Currie and of course the club could sign Tyler Pitlick for another year. Two players who may be on the outside looking in? Kale Kessy and Luke Gazdic.
The wingers are getting a bit of a makeover, but I think there is talent among the group who are about to return. Greg Chase should get a bigger role in Bakersfield this fall, and men like Platzer also have a chance. Mitch Moroz and Braden Christoffer are not slotted for key roles, and in the case of Moroz—entering the final year of his entry-level deal—this is a big season coming. Dillon Simpson will be worth watching, he appears to be doing that thing where he quietly passes people on the depth chart, this season will be an important one for him.
CHIARELLI ASSET LIST
- No. 4 overall selection (trading down—not out—sounds like the current plan)
- Benoit Pouliot (Anaheim for Vatanen?)
- Jordan Eberle (will mentions go down with Hamonic off the table?)
- 2017 1st round selection (certainly in play)
- Young LHD (Darnell Nurse, Brandon Davidson) (this list may depend on the health of both Klefbom and Davidson. If one or both are not expected to be full speed by TC, this may not be an avenue)
- Nail Yakupov (if they get a reasonable offer, he is exiting the system)
- Cap space (Edmonton might be able to get a player like Bozak on the cheap because of it)
— zach laing (@Loweded) May 10, 2016
CHIARELLI SUMMER LIST
- Top-pairing D to partner with Klefbom (Jason Demers/Radko Gudas)
- Second-pairing RHD to partner with Sekera (Tyson Barrie/Sami Vatanen)
- Acquire RHC with some skill (Small group available. Andrew Shaw? Tommy Wingels? Tyler Bozak?)
- Offload unwanted contract (Lauri Korpikoski)
- Backup goalie (Jhonas Enroth, James Reimer)
- Find value contracts (Davidson, Maroon, possibly Caggiula)
- Re-stock the Condors, partly through Euro, college and CHL signings (Caggiula and Russell, but also Ellis and Sallinen)
- Build up the system (especially forwards) via draft (big summer)
Although Peter Chiarelli hasn’t made any moves yet to impact the NHL D, things are coming into view. Signing Jason Demers has to be a target now, and the idea of trading Nugent-Hopkins in a Justin Faulk deal—which I find to be a horrible thought—has entered the room of possibilities and is talking to the bartender.
Steve MCQueen and Ali McGraw pic.twitter.com/PBB1NpmBPO
— Luke Firth (@Lukefirth95) April 22, 2016
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show, TSN1260 beginning at 10. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. The new college kids, trading down, targets that fit the ‘complete defender’ definition aside from Jason Demers.
- Perry Stothart, Classic Landscapes. Perry’s show kicks off this weekend, if you are a backyard putterer (is that a word?) this is your guy. Great ideas and concepts, plus he is a basketball madman.
- Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun and Edmonton Journal. The Eskimos were daring at the CFL Draft last night—will it pay off, and when?
- Jump The Shark. Long time friend and poster going back to HFboards days, JTS is in St. Petersburg and will give us a taste of the city, fan experience and the hockey.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. The Eastern Conference final is going to be a doozy, who wins this? Plus Scott will be the one guy you hear today who won’t blame Ovechkin for the loss.
@Lowetide on twitter, 10-1260 text. See you on the radio!