The Memorial Cup in 2010 featured the Windsor Spitfires and Taylor Hall—one of the most dominant junior teams of this century. The memorable game from that tournament featured a face plant, a miraculous return and one of the most read posts in the history of this blog. After that game, many Oiler fans were locked and loaded on Hall as the No. 1 choice, and these six years later the pick remains a flag on the moon moment for a bright new tomorrow that surely must be over that next hill.
— Steve Lansky (@bigmouthsports) May 30, 2016
The brilliant yesterday marks an anniversary today, the second Stanley was not exactly expected—but the feeling afterward had many of us thinking the dynasty could run ‘several in a row’ deep after 1985. I remember a lot about that spring—Lee Fogolin scored in overtime against LAK, Mark Napier (one of my favorites among the outside additions during these seasons) was very good, Paul Coffey scored shorthanded against Winnipeg, and I thought Edmonton may not lose all spring (they did, to Chicago twice in the semi—a six-game series that saw the Oilers score 44 goals). Against the Flyers, the series was tied 1-1 and in Game 3 Gretzky scored three in the first period. Lordy. The one player who seems to have been forgotten a little over the years is Paul Coffey—he was a beautiful player, I enjoyed watching him so much.
We are approaching June and that means the draft, likely trades and preparing for free agency. If we make a list of RHD available via free agency, it is neither long nor promising:
These are sorted by Corsi for 5×5, and of course at least one of these guys is apparently retiring. I (and others) have been trumpeting Jason Demers all spring, but his market value will be insane because there are very few attractive options—meaning more suitors for Demers and a more dear price to be paid. You may recall Edmonton scoring Andrej Sekera a year ago, but the market was bigger.
The Oilers will be shopping for a RHD this year in free agency, and if they cannot get Demers signed the other option is trade.
WHO IS HEADING OUT?
I have always argued that the players heading out will depend on what the other team needs, but it is also true that Edmonton does have areas of strength (LW, LHD, No. 4 overall) that can offer a starting point. Here is my list in the order of ‘most likely to be traded’:
- Benoit Pouliot
- Mark Fayne
- Nail Yakupov
- No. 4 overall selection
- Young LHD (Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Brandon Davidson)
- Cap space
- 2017 1st round selection
- Jordan Eberle
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Leon Draisaitl
- Taylor Hall
Teams Edmonton will/can/might do business with?
- Chicago Blackhawks will be a team Peter Chiarelli has conversations with, men like Marcus Kruger, Bryan Bickell and Brent Seabrook may be discussed.
- New York Rangers are making players available based on reports.
- Anaheim Ducks need left-handed LWs according to Fansided’s Ryan Ritchie. They also have miles of capable young defensemen with years under control and room to grow. We can make a dozen trade proposals between these two teams without breaking a sweat.
What do the Oilers need?
- Top-pairing D to partner with Klefbom (Jason Demers, Justin Faulk)
- Backup goalie (Jhonas Enroth, James Reimer)
- 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)
Increasingly, I am wondering if Chiarelli may be forced to acquire another LHD via free agency or trade, and then deal one of his own lefties for a RH option. In the coming days, we will track back on this blog and look at LHD who might be available via trade (Fowler, McDonagh) and open up options on the Edmonton roster.
MATT TKACHUK, NO. 4 OVERALL
I believe Matt Tkachuk is more than a complementary winger while being certain he is not a complimentary winger.
— Lowetide (@Lowetide) May 30, 2016
I received all kinds of responses to this tweet, which was an attempt to remind everyone there are two spellings of the word and they have different meanings. No biggie, as I grow older words look weird even when spelled correctly, but my overall view on Tkachuk is this: It’s fine. If the Oilers take Tkachuk at No. 4 overall, then it is a good move. If they don’t take him, that is also fine (depending on the player chosen). If they trade down and allow the Ottawa Senators to draft Tkachuk, that is also fine. In other words, and please, please, please understand I am not trying to be a smartass, any energy you invest in Tkachuk versus Dubois won’t make a bit of difference. Ours is not to know the future, and both men appear to be involved in something that resembles a flat-footed tie. Beware those who will tell you there is clear evidence: If they are not a scout, they have the same evidence we do, and there is simply no way to know what we don’t know. That is a fact.