About 12 weeks ago, the Edmonton Oilers signed Milan Lucic. Two days earlier the club acquired Adam Larsson and just days before that draft Jesse Puljujarvi. This is Connor McDavid’s team, but the Bruinization of the roster hit full stride this summer.
- Todd McLellan, September 2015 : “We still have 70% of last year’s players who were not capable of getting it done. There are some big changes, play-wise and commitment-wise, that have to happen.” Source
By my calculations, Edmonton will have as many as 13 Chiarelli-McLellan additions (Cam Talbot, Jonas Gustavsson, Andrej Sekera, Adam Larsson, Griffin Reinhart, Eric Gryba, Connor McDavid, Drake Caggiula, Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon, Zack Kassian, Kris Versteeg, Jussi Puljujarvi) in the lineup opening night. Bigger men, but they can play and this team should approach .500 in goal differential and rise in the standings, God willing and injuries under five a week.
NHL teams are going to be sending out waiver eligible kids early and late in the days leading up to opening night. Here are some defenders and RHC’s who may be of interest:
- RD Ryan Sproul, Detroit Red Wings. The young man has been in the AHL for three years and is NHL-ready. He just signed a two-year deal and the smart bet has him making the Detroit club.
- RC Mark McNeill, Chicago Blackhawks. There are things about him (RH, two-way center, better speed than Lander) that would make him an attractive addition. I wonder if the Oilers end up trading for him if he doesn’t make the Hawks this fall.
- LC Derek Grant, Buffalo Sabres. I didn’t understand why he hadn’t received a long NHL look—apparently Buffalo agreed. Grant went 27-18-45 in 36 AHL games last season, followed by 15 games where he averaged 11 minutes a night. Good in the faceoff circle.
- RD Connor Carrick, Toronto Maple Leafs. An interesting young player. Has scored 45 points per 82 AHL games and may have enough to help an NHL team. Toronto has a strange roster (Lupul, Cowen, Horton) so one wonders how they get all of these kids onto the roster in the moments before they can LTIR everyone. I have been assured Toronto will have Carrick on the roster, and that is probably true. Still, I list him because Carrick is a perfect fit for Edmonton.
- RD Stefan Elliott, Nashville Predators. He remains RFA and is in the journeyman portion of his career, but Elliott posted 24 points in 84 games and is a righty—a player who could help the Oilers organization.
- RD Scott Mayfield, NY Islanders. Edmonton liked him in his draft year and Mayfield has shown some progress. He is a defensive defender with size, Edmonton has a bunch of those types—but Mayfield is a righty. There is a chance he makes the Islanders.
OILERS ON WAIVERS!
Edmonton has lost some interesting prospects over the years via waivers (Ray Whitney, Rob Schremp) and Brandon Davidson must have come very close to being exposed one year ago. Here are some names who will need to be sent down (probably) over the next few weeks, and placed on waivers:
- LD David Musil—In some ways, Musil on waivers is probably the right thing to do. If he clears, the player will have his answer (29 teams pass, the parent team sends you down, that is a clarifying moment). The Leftorium really does him no favors, and I know he can play RH side.
- RD Mark Fayne—He makes too much money ($3.625M times two years) but if the Oilers choose to send him down another team could look at him. There may be a trade opportunity (Edmonton retaining some salary) but that seems more likely next season. I like him as a bona fide top 6D for the Oilers, but it is down to me and three other guys who hang out at the Southgate dumpster.
- R Iiro Pakarinen—Although he clearly has the confidence of the coach, Pakarinen will be in tough now with the addition of Kris Versteeg. Long shot to be claimed, but he has played in the league.
- C Anton Lander—Edmonton has some options for his spot and Lander is vulnerable this fall. He was fantastic in pre-season a year ago, so the normal verbal (he needs a strong camp) may not apply.
I think the Oilers will be very interested in Mark McNeill if he doesn’t make the Blackhawks and Dennis Wideman is also a name to keep in mind. For two weeks in a row, Frank Seravalli of TSN mentioned Wideman as a player of interest for Edmonton when he appeared on the Lowdown. The deeper into training camp we get, other possible options may fade and Wideman could end up in an Oilers uniform. I wrote about Wideman here.