I am sure we can all agree the Oilers have a pretty nice LH depth chart on defense. Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart and we will end it at Jordan Oesterle. The right side? I count Mark Fayne, with Eric Gryba signable but similar to MF. We haven’t run the list of possible blue in awhile, thought I would update and review.
BLUE STEEL, SUMMER 2016
- Jason Demers, Dallas Stars. The book end for Andrej Sekera?
- Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. Quality option for puck mover.
- Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. Would be higher, question availability.
Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. This is a solid player and a great option for Edmonton.
- Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks. Solid offense, not completely proven.
- Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers. Strong, effective defender.
Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes. Major knee surgery.
- David Savard, Columbus Blue Jackets. Range of skills.
- Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets. Strange year for a talented young player.
- Damon Severson, New Jersey Devils. The more I look at his career, the better the fit.
- Mark Pysyk, Buffalo Sabres. The numbers imply there is a player here.
- Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders. Big shot from the point has high value. Very young.
- Ryan Murphy, Carolina Hurricanes. Some chaos, but good speed and puck-moving ability.
- Brandon Montour, Anaheim Ducks. This could be a special player.
- Cody Franson, Buffalo Sabres. That hammer from the point would come in handy and he fits a real need.
- Jordan Schmaultz, St. Louis Blues. Puck-moving prospect.
- Anthony DeAngelo, Tampa Bay Lightning. Another player with a puck-moving element to his game.
- Colin Miller, Boston Bruins. With the other Miller signing, maybe he is available.
- Eric Gryba, Edmonton Oilers. I think management likes him.
- Ville Pokka, Chicago Blackhawks. Young defender in the Chicago system.
- Frank Corrado, Toronto Maple Leafs. Very little evidence but he showed up in some good places.
- Ryan Sproul, Detroit Red Wings. Puck-moving defender in the AHL.
- Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames. A year removed from a fantastic offensive season.
Taylor Aronson, Nashville Predators. Minor-league defender.
- Matt Irwin, Boston Bruins. Depth defender.
NUGE AT THE WORLD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS
I hope RNH makes it, believe he has earned it, but am not counting on it happening. I do think Peter Chiarelli probably hurt his trade bargaining position by keeping his center off the initial list. He may regret it, but I am glad of it. I don’t think Taylor Hall makes the big team, either. Not being critical of either man, and do believe both belong on their respective teams.
STEVEN STAMKOS, OILER
It is day one. Any news? Not yet.
NHLE’s (LAST YEAR)
Last season, Oilers fans knew there were very good prospects coming to camp with bona fide NHLEs. If a player who is outside the NHL and has an equivalency that suggests big league talent, that is an early tell. Here are some from last year.
- C Connor McDavid 23-40-63
- C Leon Draisaitl 15-26-41
- R Andrew Miller 15-20-35
- D Brad Hunt 11-19-30
- L Anton Slepyshev 17-11-28
- R Iiro Pakarinen 16-10-26
- C Bogdan Yakimov 10-13-23
- D Darnell Nurse 7-16-23
- D Jordan Oesterle 5-9-14
- C Jujhar Khaira 4-5-9
- D Brandon Davidson 3-4-7
All the numbers from last year are here. Most of these guys played in the NHL. The point here is that if you are a defender with 20+ NHLE points (Hunt, Nurse) I think it probably indicates some offensive ability. If you are a forward with an NHLE of more than 60 points, you should probably just go ahead and purchase a home.
NHLE THIS YEAR
- L Matt Tkachuk 14-35-49 (not yet drafted)
- L Drake Cagguila 22-22-44
- D Ziyat Paigin 13-28-41
- R Patrick Russell 17-17-34
- L Josh Winquist 9-24-33
- L Jere Sallinen 10-15-25
- R Tyler Pitlick 7-15-22
- D Jordan Oesterle 4-18-22
- C Jujhar Khaira 8-13-21
- D Ethan Bear 6-15-21
If the Oilers draft Matt Tkachuk—I do think it is possible (though not a lock) then Tkachuk is NHL-ready according to NHLE. Edmonton would not need him right away (LW depth chart is very good, actually) and as you can see Drake Cagguila is also a bona fide LW prospect.
The most intriguing name is Ziyat Paigin, who will not be coming over (one more year to go in the KHL). It will be interesting to see if he can duplicate his breakout season (ZP was traded back to his old team, sometimes a trade can impact performance/opportunity).
The rest of the list is interesting if not compelling. I think Jordan Oesterle and Jujhar Khaira making the list bodes well for their NHL chances in the coming year.
If the Oilers are considering Matt Tkachuk at No. 4 overall, it follows the club may decide to deal a LW at some point in the next 12 months. The current NHL depth chart is damned good, but Benoit Pouliot—an effective NHL player—may have enough value to bring solid return. The dual additions of Drake Cagguila and Matt Tkachuk might give us an indication that dealing Pouliot is in fact likely in the coming months. The question I have is this: Will that trade come this summer? It could be framed as dealing from strength to address weakness (RHD), so in that way is a traditional trade idea.
PROJECTED OILERS ROSTER
I wanted to talk for a minute about the Erik Gudbranson trade. We have chatted about the value of the trade, but for me there is huge appeal in the timing of the deal. Vancouver, for better or worse, have already addressed a big part of their summer’s work and can now move on to the next step.
Peter Chiarelli did a lot of his heavy work around the draft last season, and one suspects he will do the same this year. In adding Griffin Reinhart, Cam Talbot and Eric Gryba in one fell swoop, it allowed the team to focus on free agency and Andrej Sekera.
I wonder if the team would be wise to make a move now, today, for a RH blue. It would allow the club to address a need early and then see what is available for the next order of business. The reason I mention it? Still wondering about the Griffin Reinhart deal and the bonus item. If Peter Chiarelli knew about the cap bonus and potential impact, he would have factored in McDavid and Draisaitl and known that only two of the three (Reinhart being the third) could be on the roster.
Did he know that? No idea. I will say that in all honesty my confidence in the people surrounding him is such that it would not surprise me to learn that the Oilers table did not have that information. And that alone is cause for concern.
I would feel better if Peter Chiarelli broke up his summer into bite-sized chunks instead of relying on his staff to give him all of the important information in real time. Jmo.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Friday show, I am off next week so we will leave it all out there today! TSN1260, 10 this morning. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. The SC Final is set, who you got? Plus World Cup of Hockey.
- Matt Iwaynyk, TSN1260. Iwaynk’s five steps to Oilers contention is real, and it is spectacular. We will discuss today (it really is a good list).
- Paul Almeida, SSE. A gent who we have missed in the last couple of weeks, we will talk about a large number of items—including his very early call of Matt Tkachuk to the Oilers.