You can’t sign a $6 million free agent every summer, even if you trade away a big contract leading up to July 1. The rumors are getting stronger, so far involving trades and the expansion draft. After that comes the entry draft and then free agency. Edmonton’s bad luck with Andrej Sekera’s injury has just one silver lining, that it occurred in front of free agency. The opportunity exists to address that issue with a short term free agent deal. I’m going to run through the procurement lists in a minute but want to start with Frank Seravalli’s list.
FRANK SERAVALLI FREE AGENT LIST
TSN has their free-agent list out and for Edmonton there is another chance to add some quality. Since Connor McDavid arrived in town, the Oilers have signed Andrej Sekera, Milan Lucic, Mark Letestu, Matt Benning and Drake Caggiula. That’s a lot of talent. How many of the men on Frank’s free agent list were already on mine? 16 of 30, and I have added two from Frank’s list (Tyler Pitlick, Jordan Weal). Here we go.
CURRENT TRADE ASSETS OUT
- Jordan Eberle
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Jesse Puljujarvi
- No. 22 overall
- Caleb Jones
- 2018 first-round selection
- Anton Slepyshev
- Jujhar Khaira
- Ethan Bear
- Griffin Reinhart
We’ve only just begun the process, with Jordan Eberle out in front. RNH was No. 1 a year ago at this time, Taylor Hall ended up being dealt. Eberle rumors are white hot right now, but things change. I’m reading Eberle-for-Strome, but the math on that deal is harsh for New York. This might work:
- To New York: Jordan Eberle ($6 million times two, then UFA)
- To Edmonton: Ryan Strome ($2.5 million times one, then RFA) and Jaroslav Halak ($4.5 million times one, then UFA).
Oilers take on $1 million this season but get out from under the $6 million owed Eberle in 2018-19. You may feel the trade doesn’t benefit Edmonton, but it gets Chiarelli free of Eberle’s money by this time next summer. It would represent a loss up front but upgrade the goalie position. It may also signal that Chiarelli knows Laurent Brossoit is a goner at the expansion draft. If all of this is true, extremely likely to occur in the hours after expansion.
- RD Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks. A dream solution to 2RHD.
- RD Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers. Duck killer, if acquired.
- RD Alex Petrovic, Florida Panthers. Rugged D, good possession numbers.
- RD Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. A rumored target.
- RD Mark Pysyk, Florida Panthers. Panthers young and emerging blue.
- RD Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. He brings a lot of offense, bigger ask obvious.
- RD Kevin Shattenkirk FREE AGENT (80gp, 13-43-56). One year at big coin?
- RD Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks. Talented, inconsistent.
- RD Jason Demers, Florida Panthers. Veteran D visited Edmonton as UFA last summer.
- LD Kris Russell FREE AGENT. GM and coach like him, good chance he’ll return.
- RD David Savard, Columbus. Rarely mentioned but an interesting option.
- RD Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. Power play option, chaos in his game.
- LD Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets. Doesn’t seem a fit.
- RD Cody Franson FREE AGENT. His fancy stats: Out of the blue and into the black.
- RD Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. He had a poor year, but has talent.
- 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.
Both the defensive and forward list are most desired to least desired, with all names on the list either players I would like or likely organization interest.
- LC Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche. Please please please Baby Jesus.
- RC Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. UFA 2023. Would cost the moon.
- RC Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning. RFA 2017. 56 points per 82 games.
- R Justin Williams FREE AGENT (80gp, 24-24-48). Luxury.
- R T.J. Oshie FREE AGENT (68gp, 33-23-56). Not affordable.
- 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.
- L Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres (70gp, 28-15-43). Buy low power forward.
- RC Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers. Averages 46 points per 82gp.
- C-R Ryan Strome, NY Islanders (69gp, 13-17-30). Rumors.
- 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.
- L Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey. Splendid KHL season, he’s coming back.
- 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.
- R Tyler Pitlick FREE AGENT (31gp, 8-3-11). Finally emerged, could return.
- R Jordan Weal FREE AGENT (23gp, 8-4-12). Eastern Pitlick.
Strome is mid-pack and an interesting option. He can play center, but his faceoff percentage is in the ditch and has been since NHL arrival. He is a skilled player and the Islanders have a ghastly development record, but the trade as described above is a salary dump. We should not expect Ryan Strome to outscore Jordan Eberle in 2017-18.
SCOTT CULLEN’S LIST
Scott Cullen’s off-season game plan for the Edmonton Oilers is a terrific piece of work and I recommend it. Using my list of needs, here’s what he came up with:
- Negotiate the expansion draft rapids without giving up a valuable piece of the future. (Lost Jujhar Khaira).
- Find a way to trade Benoit Pouliot off the roster. (Kept him)
- Find a second pairing D with two-way acumen. (Travis Hamonic)
- Find a stopgap measure to replace Andrej Sekera’s minutes until he returns. (Kris Russell)
- Find a C-R who can help the offense and cover off where Leon isn’t at the time. (Patrick Marleau)
- Make enough cap room to get everyone in under the number with enough room to spare for the trade deadline. (Traded Jordan Eberle)
He also added Derek Ryan to help with the faceoffs and Andrew Desjardins for depth up front, accomplishing more than I have tasked Peter Chiarelli. Great job as always by Cullen.
RUTTA WATCH OVER
Blackhawks have signed highly sought after Czech free agent defenseman Jan Rutta
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 7, 2017
Edmonton was mentioned as a possibility for Czech defender Jan Rutta, but Chicago often wins these races and once again got their man. He’ll have a calm wade into NHL hockey with plenty of quality depth in front of him. Edmonton continues its search.
I wanted to remind you about that Frank Seravalli trade bait list I posted from June 3 a year ago, a list that did not contain Taylor Hall. It’s a spring for sure, we’ll know the man exiting by the end of this month. It may well be Jordan Eberle, and the return could be Strome, but it’s early and I would caution against getting wound up over a piece of information. I always wait for two sources, and in the one case we have heard it sounded (I did not hear it) like speculation as opposed to hard fact. We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We are live 10-noon at the Ranch Golf Course for the Fifteenth Annual TSN1260 Golf Tournament! Plenty of opportunities to have drop-in guests and we have a strong list of talent locked and loaded (well, locked). Scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Darcy will slide his Rolls Royce into the visitor parking at the Ranch and take those stairs to the clubhouse two at a time. We’ll talk Eberle for Strome, what free agency might bring, and Darcy’s overall feeling about the summer.
- Derek Taylor, CFL Details on TSN. The CFL pre-season schedule is underway and there’s plenty to talk about. Where does Derek see the Eskimos finishing this season?
- Grant McCagg, Recrutes.ca. This site is the newest on the block among those I trust for prospect information and I highly recommend you grab the draft guide. Site is here, we’ll talk 2017 draft.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!