As we enter a crazy week that should see at least two NHL additions to the Edmonton Oilers roster (and a pile of draft picks) the time comes to have a good long look at attractive defensemen for procurement. Some of these men won’t be available but we’re going to talk about them all the same.
- Dougie Hamilton (72GP, 10-32-42, 21:20). A perfect fit for Edmonton, as he’s RH and can help in all three facets of the game (5-10-15 on the power play). Fantastic possession numbers and he’s starting to zoom Zdeno based on the numbers. OS is there.
- Andrej Sekera (73GP, 3-20-23, 21:59). This is a nice player on several levels, including the fact he’s still in his 20’s. I’m surprised the Kings haven’t signed him, speaks to the cap issues. Good possession numbers, he did not receive harsh ZS’s last season.
- Zdeno Chara (63GP, 8-12-20, 23:21). No longer a PP demon (4-1-5) and his Norris days appear over. He’s expensive ($6.917M times three) and the Western Conference is a faster league, but the big man still has some miles left. Connection between PC and Z could impact a move, lord knows Boston needs to do something with their cap number. Possession numbers strong, especially considering Zstarts and qual comp.
- Paul Martin (74GP, 3-17-20, 22:47). The issue I have with projecting Martin (aside from age) is the sheer number of ridiculous players he was on the ice with last season. The numbers say Letang zoomed him pretty good, Edmonton doesn’t have a Letang.
- Mike Green (72GP, 10-35-45, 19:36). Still a fine power-play option (1-16-17), Green is the best offensive player in this group (or was last season). Like Franson, you wonder if the club can run Schultz with Green. One thing that I’d like to explore, and will if they sign him, is the wobbly bunch of blue he was assigned this season. Are Nate Schmidt, Jack Hillen and Tim Gleason All-Stars? Just kidding, they were all getting major ZS pushed and miles from the toughs. Still, good results for Green.
- Zbynek Michalek (68GP, 4-8-12, 20:46). Shutdown defender who can play the tough minutes and severe zone starts, which he did this past season (while managing a possession number north of 50%). Righty somewhat duplicates Mark Fayne’s job but does it in a more difficult part of the game and can play over 20 minutes a night.
- Cody Franson (78GP, 7-29-36, 19:38) The best power-play option on the list by point total (5-12-17) he’s probably ideally suited to second pairing and a zone-start push. I’m not certain there’s room for Franson and Schultz on the same team but that shouldn’t stop us from talking about Franson as an option.
THE WHO, BY NUMBERS
Hamilton’s card looks fantastic, Chiarelli has to be considering it. Seriously. Sekera eats up minutes and can do many things, Edmonton would be wise to find a way to get him and unload a current roster blue. Chara? I’d love to see him here but there are going to be some wobbly bits along with the braining of opposition youth. Mike Green fits for me, he’s an expensive option but the offensive numbers are true. Michalek is wildly underrated on this list (I’ve sorted by Corsi) but you can see the good he’s doing in the defensive zone on the grid. Cody Franson might be the last man on this list but he’d be a nice get, too. Anyone we should add?
So. Go for broke with Hamilton or sign Sekera and find a way to drop a defenseman before opening night? There’s also the option of Chiarelli keeping his powder dry until a team struggles and maybe wants to make a change. He did that in Boston, maybe he’ll try it here. I’d ride the wild surf and OS the young Hamilton. They’re going to hate you in Boston anyway, Peter, might as well sow the seeds of discontent.