Let’s roll. We are one month away from the crazy, with an expansion draft, an entry draft, and a free-agent frenzy all on the schedule. The Oilers have specific needs, for next season and beyond. We have those needs surrounded and have discussed the possible assets out. We are working on informing ourselves about the draft. We’ll get there in time, as the days roll by.
This year, there are new questions, due to the expansion draft and the Oilers’ impressive season in 2017-18. We’ll get to the expansion draft, but let’s start by laying familiar ground work for offseason observation:
PETER CHIARELLI’S SUMMER LIST
We are going to separate the priorities for now, as two main items (contracts for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl) are going to be part of July’s business. Since we are talking June events, I’m going to list only June priorities at this time.
- Negotiate the expansion draft rapids without giving up a valuable piece of the future. (Iiro Pakarinen signing frees Letestu protection, leaves Jujhar Khaira likely exposed).
- Find a way to trade Benoit Pouliot off the roster.
- Find a second pairing D with two-way acumen.
- Find a bottom 6F who can help the offense.
- Find a way to cover off buried contracts.
- Make enough cap room to get everyone in under the number with enough room to spare for the trade deadline.
My preference would be to protect Jujhar Khaira. Although Edmonton has some young L options (Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev) they aren’t similar to Khaira and Edmonton doesn’t have a lot behind Milan Lucic and Patrick Maroon. I know he doesn’t project as anything beyond 3L on the depth chart but he did post an encouraging season and the Oilers badly lack forward depth. I understand the move by Peter Chiarelli, but Edmonton is vulnerable here. Later today, I’ll have an item on the big long term item: Finding a shooter for 97.
POSSIBLE TRADE ASSETS
- Jordan Eberle
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Jesse Puljujarvi
- No. 22 overall
- Caleb Jones
- 2018 first-round selection
- Anton Slepyshev
- Jujhar Khaira
I would not want to trade Nuge and Puljujarvi, and trading Eberle is unwise based on the current depth chart. What does that mean? The general manager has to acquire two specific players of high calibre with nothing close to equal value. The most likely scenario has PC trading Eberle for a less expensive version of the same player (Strome has been mentioned) or pursuing similar via free agency with the money saved.
Kevin Shattenkirk. Photo by Sarah Connors, all rights reserved
- RD Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks. Rugged, effective defensively and young.
- RD Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers. Effective, filthy.
- RD Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. An ideal fit.
- RD Mark Pysyk, Florida Panthers. Performs very well in 5×5/60 SA.
- RD Kevin Shattenkirk FREE AGENT (80gp, 13-43-56). Too expensive.
- RD Alex Petrovic, Florida Panthers. Rugged D, good possession numbers.
- RD Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. Attractive puck mover.
- RD Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks. Mobile D with chaos.
- RD Jason Demers, Florida Panthers. Veteran D could be available.
- LD Kris Russell FREE AGENT. Likely to return.
- RD Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. Power play option, chaos in his game.
- RD Cody Franson FREE AGENT. His fancy stats: Out of the blue and into the black.
- RD Chris Tanev, Vancouver Canucks. Shutdown D making big $.
- LD Brian Campbell FREE AGENT (80gp, 5-12-17). The man can still wheel.
- LD Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins. Played over 23 minutes a game this past season.
- RD Michael Stone FREE AGENT (64gp, 3-12-15). Last chance Texaco.
Russell seems most likely to return, but I am hopeful Chiarelli aims higher. It’s also important to remember Andrej Sekera’s injury, so we are looking at two acquisitions this summer. You know what’s ironic? Edmonton’s established right side (Adam Larsson, Matt Benning) is stronger than Edmonton’s established left side (Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse) with Sekera’s injury. The Leftorium is eroding! Plus I’m going to need to add some lefties to this list by the end of June.
- LC Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche. Please please please Baby Jesus.
- RC Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. UFA 2023. Would cost the moon.
- R Patrick Eaves FREE AGENT (79gp, 32-19-51). Volume shooter!
- LC Martin Hanzal FREE AGENT (71gp, 20-19-39). Has to be high priority.
- RC Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning. RFA 2017. 56 points per 82 games.
- L Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres (70gp, 28-15-43). Buy low power forward.
- RC Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers. Averages 46 points per 82gp.
- LC Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis Blues. Signed to a nifty $3.5 million times two.
- R-L Thomas Vanek FREE AGENT (68gp, 17-31-48). Offensive option.
- R Justin Williams FREE AGENT (80gp, 24-24-48). Luxury.
- R T.J. Oshie FREE AGENT (68gp, 33-23-56). Not affordable.
- L Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey. Splendid KHL season, he’s coming back.
- C-R Ryan Strome, NY Islanders (69gp, 13-17-30). Rumors.
- R Radim Vrbata FREE AGENT (81gp, 20-35-55). Scorer.
- LC Nick Bonino FREE AGENT (80gp, 18-19-37). Two-way C.
- R Brett Ritchie, Dallas Stars (78gp, 16-8-24). Shoots the puck a lot.
- R Jaromir Jagr FREE AGENT (82gp, 16-30-46). Now 70, still going.
- R Sam Gagner FREE AGENT (81gp, 18-32-50). PP savant.
- R Kris Versteeg FREE AGENT (69gp, 15-22-37). What he brings has value.
- R Ales Hemsky FREE AGENT (15gp, 4-3-7). Still brilliantly creative.
- RC Derek Ryan FREE AGENT (67gp, 11-18-29). Fine utility player.
- LC Dominic Moore FREE AGENT (82gp, 11-14-25). PK and FO option.
- R Drew Stafford FREE AGENT (58gp, 8-13-21). Chiarelli type.
- LC Brian Boyle FREE AGENT (75gp, 13-12-25). He is on their list.
- R Brett Connolly FREE AGENT (66gp, 15-8-23). Inexpensive scoring on RW.
- R Jarome Iginla FREE AGENT (80gp, 14-13-27). He can still shoot the puck.
- L Patrick Sharp FREE AGENT. Depending on health and price.
I think we could see a center (Hanzal?) and a winger added from this list, depending on how much truth there is to the following item.
Photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved
SIX DEGREES OF JORDAN EBERLE
David Staples posted an item at the EJ yesterday in regard to Drew Remenda’s take on Jordan Eberle. Mr. Remenda was on with Bob Stauffer and took some big swings on the subject. This falls within my 24-hour rule (I don’t grab quotes from articles that are still getting clicks) but it’s a very good read on the situation and imo Staples nailed it.
If (as David concluded) the Remenda opinion is in lock step with the coach, then trading Eberle is extremely likely. Putting this story with another one, perhaps we see a trade with the NY Islanders with Ryan Strome coming the other way. This should not be considered progress, and I’m not sure it even means you can use Leon Draisaitl at RW full time (Strome only took 350 faceoffs a year ago and was under 43 percent) so I’d think the idea might be to aim higher.
I like the idea of grabbing defenseman out of Florida (my list now has three Panthers) and then signing a veteran RW in front of the kids and Kassian right side. Keeping Eberle would also have been a good option.
Elliotte Friedman had the news last night, Colorado has asked permission to talk to Dubas and Toronto won’t stand in their way. I have watched with great hope the career of Dubas in Toronto and there are some fine things he has managed to do in his time there. The Leafs 2015 entry draft seemed to be heavily driven by advanced analytics and most of the picks (Mitch Marner, Travis Dermott, Jeremy Bracco, Andrew Nielsen, Jesper Lindgren, Dmytro Timashov, Stephen Desrocher, Nikita Korostelev) are trending in a good way two years on.
The problem with measuring the success of these hires is that it is impossible. When the Oilers hired Dellow (August 2014) I did my best to suss out the moves he might have been involved in. My guesses (Andrej Sekera is the one I would bet money on) were few and my frustrations many (no way on God’s earth Dellow recommended the Petry trade nor the Reinhart deal, and those two transactions occurred within 120 days of each other) so it’s small victories in terms of being able to read success.
Dubas could change all of that, if he gets the general manager’s job. I hope he gets it, that will give us a chance to see what the new generation of hockey thinkers can do, once and for all. I hope he hires Dellow, that would be a solid move.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning and a fun one, TSN1260 beginning at 10. Scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Should the Oilers go with Kris Russell or aim higher? Plus how to replace Sekera until he is back.
- Guy Flaming, The Pipeline Show. Ethan Bear and Aapeli Rasanen see their seasons end on the same night. We’ll talk Memorial Cup and the draft.
- Simon Boisvert, Prospect Insider. If the Oilers do trade Jordan Eberle, is there an internal solution (beyond Leon Draisaitl)? We’ll also talk Oilers expansion list.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!