Craig MacTavish is probably going to change up his jacks and kings this summer. With Hall, Nuge, Yak, Perron, Eberle and Gagner as the projected top 6F next season, there’s too much of the same thing on the roster. He can deal $6M Eberle, but the smart money has him sending Samwise Gagner out of town and using the $4.8M cap hit on a different player-type. Less Gagner, more Krushelnyski, as it were.
The Oilers could deal Gagner for a center straight up, or they could take those dollars and approach the free agent market. They might target David Legwand or Mikhail Grabovski or even Dave Bolland, and that might be their best chance to solve the problem. Legwand has size and experience, Grabo might be a perfect fit for Yakupov and is a nice possession player, and Bolland would be a solid pickup and a different look.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!
Or, they could add Yakupov’s hometown buddy, Bogdan Yakimov. He’s 20 in October and impressed MacTavish earlier in the season.
Eronko is connected and has been ahead of the story out of Russia before, so this is an interesting item. We assume Yakimov is slated to attend training camp, but if he’s signing to play in Edmonton with the Oilers at age 20? His NHLE via the Vollman method is 82GP, 14-9-23.
- Craig MacTavish: “Bogdan Yakimov is a mammoth of a guy and he looked good. He won faceoffs, killed penalties and played on the power play. He’s come a long way the last couple of years with his skating and skill level. Hopefully we’ll sign him and bring him over next year.”
If that’s the option, what to do with Sam Gagner?
SAM GAGNER PLAYER CARD
This is Gagner over the last three seasons. We see erosion in the boxcars but that’s explained by the Kassian stupidity. We also see a grave shooting percentage (which should correct) and a Corsi For % 5×5 that doesn’t excite math. However, he’s not so far removed from a nice CF% season (well, a passable one) and you can make the argument that he’s very likely to improve offensively next season unless the jawbreaker calls again. I don’t think you would have a difficult time finding possible trade partners for your Gagner.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH
OILERS 2014 DRAFT PICKS
- #2 overall (first round)
- #91 overall (fourth round, this is the Bryzgalov return)
- #116 overall (fourth round, this is the Mike Brown return)
- #128 overall (fifth round, this is the first pick of the Ales Hemsky return)
- #136 overall (fifth round, this is the Nick Schultz return)
- #152 overall (sixth round)
- #182 overall (seventh round)
The Oilers need to add some picks, I’d say at least a couple before draft day. Although the rebuild is nearing an end (they HAVE to move north in the fall), there is a task at hand in regard to Gagner, and that’s the contract. He might be attractive to the Islanders, who have #35 and #65; the Sabres, who have #28 (pending), #31 and #42 (and possibly the Islanders first round pick, although that’s another story).
Something to ponder: are the Oilers about to get YOUNGER at center? The better bet is to find an NHL veteran to pair with Yakupov, and Grabovski is a very nice idea. However, I have this feeling that Bogdan’s size (6.05, 202) is the appeal here. If the Eronko angle is correct, Darnell Nurse isn’t the only teenager to follow among the Oiler kids.