So far this spring, the Oilers have been adding futures, although I think Drake Caggiula may end up playing some in 2016-17. Word this morning that Peter Chiarelli is about to make a move with one of the team’s free agents.
EDM and Zack Kassian are closing in on a one-year deal.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 19, 2016
The one-year aspect is a positive tell, reflects caution (which is warranted) and the fact Kassian clearly has value to the team. I don’t think he is yet a lock as a full time member of the top 9F, but that could come this season. Before 2015-16, Kassian posted 27 points per 82 NHL games—Benoit Pouliot averages 39 per 82, Nail Yakupov 36 per 82—and the rugged winger may have found a home.
OILERS PROJECTED 50-MAN LIST (37)
- G Cam Talbot. No. 1 next season.
- G Laurent Brossoit. Projects as NHL backup/AHL starter, signed a two-year deal.
- G Nick Ellis: Newly signed college free agent.
- G Eetu Laurikainen, AHL backup, he is signed for next year.
- D Oscar Klefbom, likely top pairing, needs to stay healthy.
- D Andrej Sekera, top 4D, important part of the team.
- D Brandon Davidson, top 6D, maybe even top 4D if he continues on current track.
- D Mark Fayne, I question Oilers ability to find three better RH this summer.
- D Darnell Nurse, probably top 6D next season, ideally in Bakersfield.
- D Griffin Reinhart, may spend another year in the minors. Could be dealt.
- D Andrew Ference, they will buy him out (if able). LTIR is my guess.
- D Joey Laleggia, AHL D matriculating.
- D Dillon Simpson, AHL D, matriculating.
- D Ben Betker, AHL D, matriculating.
- D Caleb Jones, WHL D. Newly signed, definite slide rule.
- C Connor McDavid, Giant.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, quality NHL center.
- C Leon Draisaitl, emerging NHL talent.
- C Mark Letestu, checking NHL C.
- C Anton Lander, they may find a buyer.
- C Jujhar Khaira, he is a good bet to make the roster in the fall.
- C Bogdan Yakimov, a chance he comes back. Has NHL tools, speed concern.
- C Kyle Platzer, AHL C matriculating.
- L Taylor Hall, impact NHL player. Many fans want him gone.
- L Benoit Pouliot, underrated by many. Trade rumors.
- L Patrick Maroon, big winger has been exceptional since arrival.
- L Lauri Korpikoski, Oilers should try to offload him this summer.
- L Matt Hendricks, checking NHL W.
- L Drake Caggiula. A nice addition, let’s not go crazy on projecting him.
- L Jere Sallinen, Newly signed, you can never have too many Finns.
- L Mitch Moroz, AHL winger/enforcer, matriculating.
- L Braden Christoffer, rugged winger, matriculating.
- R Jordan Eberle, scoring winger could be in play.
- R Nail Yakupov, gone baby, gone.
- R Zack Kassian, gigantic one year opportunity to become a legit part of the team.
- R Anton Slepyshev, talented winger should push for NHL time.
- R Greg Chase, minor league winger, matriculating.
The Oilers have work to do on RW—chances are Nail Yakupov will be dealt—and Kassian has a chance to fill a role on a significant line. Edmonton did not have a bona fide 3line this past year, Kassian and Benoit Pouliot/Patrick Maroon could be the solution on the wings. We will see about how dear the contract, but I am generally pleased by today’s news.
WAITING IN THE WINGS (CONTRACTS?)
- R Iiro Pakarinen, suspect he will push for a spot next fall. RFA
- D Jordan Oesterle. Suspect he signs. RFA.
- D Adam Clendening. Foot speed will cost him. RFA.
- D David Musil. Three straight solid seasons in the AHL. RFA.
- R Adam Cracknell. I have no idea if he will be back. UFA.
- R Rob Klinkhammer. No feeling either way. UFA.
- D Adam Pardy. He played well, doubt there is room. UFA.
- D Eric Gryba, UFA. A chance he signs. UFA.
- D Nikita Nikitin, UFA. Ufa alright.
- D Brad Hunt. Skills are duplicated elsewhere. UFA.
- L Josh Winquist. Best offensive prospect in the AHL currently—but does not have an NHL deal.
- R Josh Currie At 23, he forced his way into the lineup and played very well. Can also play center.
- C Marco Roy. Began slowly, but fought his way up the depth chart and emerged as a solid option.
- R Tyler Pitlick. Young veteran is RFA again. If he could only stay healthy.
G Niklas Lundstrom. Signed with Bjorkloven for next year.
- L Kale Kessy. Rugged winger, skills duplicated on roster. RFA.
- R Andrew Miller. He may have traded himself. No chance he returns imo. UFA.
L Ryan Hamilton. May receive another deal from the Oilers.
I think we may see some craziness at this year’s draft. Elliotte Friedman talked about the team at No. 3—the Blue Jackets—during his 30 thoughts.
- Friedman: Much of the trade speculation around the upcoming draft surrounds Edmonton at number four, but is it possible things really begin with Columbus one pick higher? The conventional wisdom is the Blue Jackets will go with Jesse Puljujarvi there, as Toronto and Winnipeg are expected to take Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine one-two. Columbus needs centres as much as anything. If the Jackets believe Puljujarvi can play there long-term, it’s a no-brainer. If not, could they trade down a couple spots, add an asset and still get, say, Logan Brown? Might be something to consider. Source
I am not certain Edmonton would be interested—Dubois, Tkachuk and Juolevi are not in the same range with Puljujarvi based on what we are told—but if the levee breaks early, maybe we will see action.
- More Friedman: As for the Oilers, it sounds like they’ve fielded a few calls but nothing that reads as scorching hot. Since they are looking for defenders, they might be willing to drop a little further than Columbus would in my hypothetical situation. But not by much.
I keep hoping No. 4 overall is enough to get a legit top 4D, but you have to wonder if it happens. It would seem a more likely scenario sees the Oilers trading down to No. 7 and picking up an extra pick, then dealing their own second to Boston in order to satisfy the Chiarelli ransom. Teams may want to deal up for forwards Dubois and Tkachuk—but don’t discount Clayton Keller. I spoke to Corey Pronman yesterday, he is very high on him and an NHL team could feel the same way. It only takes one.
Mr. Friedman also talked about WHC free agents, so please click through and read all about it.
- Craig Button, TSN: “Pierre-Luc Dubois of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles is a blend of skill and power who reminds me of Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn. Dubois is smart, can create or finish, and is comfortable playing in the hard and challenging areas.”
At 9:25 this morning, I will join Nielson and Fraser and offer them my offseason plan for the Oilers. Be prepared to be underwhelmed!
CHIARELLI ASSET LIST
- Jordan Eberle or a center (Faulk? I think CAR may want a center)
- Nail Yakupov (if they get a reasonable offer, he is exiting the system)
- Cap space (Edmonton might be able to get a player like Bozak on the cheap because of it)
- Young LHD (Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Brandon Davidson)
- Benoit Pouliot (Anaheim for Vatanen?)
- No. 4 overall selection (May not have the hoped value)
- 2017 1st round selection (certainly in play)
I have changed up the list based on Friedman’s comments, for me even if a trade of the pick occurs we may be talking about two picks for the No. 4 overall selection—and not an actual NHL player. The RW depth chart could get a complete makeover this season, with Kassian and Pakarinen joining some free-agent additions. Unlikely, but it could happen.
- Garrioch has the Senators walking Wiercioch. Source
FLASHBACK, SPRING 2013
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Frank Seravalli from TSN will join me to talk about the NHL playoffs, Kassian signing and more. We will also preview the WHC game between Canada and Sweden (short show today) and the Raptors. TSN1260, at 10. @Lowetide on twitter, 10-1260 text.