It is the established opinion of this blog that the Oilers would be wise to solve their defensive issues without dealing any of the key forwards—specifically Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Draisaitl and promising young Connor McDavid. Beyond difficult of course, but Matt Tkachuk may come to the rescue.
- Elliotte Friedman: “I think there are going to be a lot of people who are going to want to get into that spot (No. 4) to get their hands on Tkachuk. I think if anything, this tournament has kind of cemented the fact that he’s No. 4. And who knows, maybe in somebody’s eyes he’s even higher. God only knows. But I think that now the draft really begins there, and Edmonton knows it. The fact that that line has a dominant performance at the Memorial Cup – I think it only cements it.“ Source
Without overstating the issue, big if true. We have talked all spring about gathering defensive talent while also keeping the three centers and skill wingers. Could this be the key to the offseason? Here’s hoping. Could Peter Chiarelli deal No. 4 and Darnell Nurse to the Calgary Flames for No. 6 and Dougie Hamilton? No. However, there might be a sweet spot in the 6-10 area where the Oilers general manager can have his cake and eat it too.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 31, 2016
The NHL expansion story was not cleared up much yesterday, but at least the guessing can begin. It looks like the rules are in fact going to have more spine than previous drafts, and that is good for the NHL. You may think a 10-1 game is fun—with your team scoring 10—but it really isn’t good viewing. Among the more interesting items in Seravalli’s story:
- Players with no-move clauses in contracts will likely need to be counted among the players required to be on a team’s protected list, but Daly did not confirm that for certain.
- Daly reiterated that first and second-year professional players are “exempt and don’t need to be protected.” When asked whether that meant a player entering his third season would also be exempt, such as a William Nylander for instance, Daly did not answer.
One thing I hope we can eventually confirm: Expiring contracts, like Andrew Ference and Lauri Korpikoski, will not count toward the expansion draft. I have read countless passages stating same, even though there is no precedent for it. If you are Lauri Korpikoski, you have earned your free agency, why is the NHL taking it from you?
I have a mountain of experience with expansion drafts, and it pains me seeing Oilers fans worrying about losing Darnell Nurse or Leon Draisaitl. If we use the 1-3-7 format, and can agree that Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse would not be eligible for the draft, my protected list would be:
- Goalie: Cam Talbot
- Defense: Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson
- Forwards: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Leon Draisaitl, Benoit Pouliot, Nail Yakupov, Patrick Maroon
The Las Vegas Siegels would very likely choose one of Laurent Brossoit, Griffin Reinhart, Jordan Oesterle or Zack Kassian. What is more likely? Oilers will make a pre-draft trade of Nail Yakupov to LV for future considerations, one of those considerations being the selection of Anton Lander in the expansion draft.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 30, 2016
The Oilers (traditionally) grab players who have attended the combine with great zeal. It makes sense—the top 100 players are invited, Edmonton has picked a lot inside the top 100. That said, the club has also chosen Combine kids well into the 100s:
2008 Oilers draft
- Jordan Eberle selected #22 overall, ranked #29 (attended combine)
- Johan Motin selected #103 overall, unranked (attended combine)
2009 Oilers draft
- Magnus Paajarvi selected #10 overall, ranked #10 (attended combine)
- Anton Lander selected #40 overall, ranked HM (attended combine)
- Toni Rajala selected #101 overall, ranked #50 (attended combine)
- Olivier Roy selected #133 overall, ranked HM (attended combine)
2010 Oilers draft
- Taylor Hall selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
- Tyler Pitlick selected #31, ranked #25 (attended combine)
- Martin Marincin selected #56, ranked #71 (attended combine)
- Curtis Hamilton selected #48, ranked 57 (attended combine)
- Ryan Martindale selected #61, ranked 58 (attended combine)
- Tyler Bunz selected #121, not ranked (attended combine)
- Brandon Davidson selected #162, not ranked (attended combine)
2011 Oilers draft
- Ryan Nugent Hopkins selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
- Oscar Klefbom selected #19, ranked #21 (attended combine)
- David Musil selected #31, ranked #41 (attended combine)
- Samu Perhonen selected #62, ranked #51 (attended combine)
- Travis Ewanyk selected #74, ranked HM (attended combine)
- Tobias Rieder selected #114, unranked (attended combine)
2012 Oilers draft
- Nail Yakupov selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
- Mitchell Moroz selected #32, ranked #56 (attended combine)
- Jujhar Khaira selected #63, not ranked (attended combine)
- Daniil Zharkov selected #91, ranked #47 (attended combine)
2013 Oilers draft
- Darnell Nurse selected #7, ranked #9 (attended combine)
- Marco Roy selected #56, ranked #59 (attended combine)
- Bogdan Yakimov selected #83 not ranked (attended combine)
- Jackson Houck, selected #94 not ranked (attended combine)
2014 Oilers draft
- Leon Draisaitl selected #3, ranked #4 (attended combine)
2015 Oilers draft
- Connor McDavid selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
- Caleb Jones selected #117, ranked #130 ISS (attended combine)
- Ethan Bear selected #124, ranked #78 ISS (attended combine)
- John Marino selected #154, ranked #95 ISS (attended combine)
What does that mean? If you scan the combine list, many of the (potentially nine) players Edmonton will draft in June should be on it. Some interesting names (did this last year, identifying young Caleb Jones as an interesting player):
- Jonathan Dahlen, who is Ulf’s boy and appears to be a very fine two-way prospect. I have him at No. 41.
- Matt Filipe, a center with size and skill (I have him at No. 78).
- Luke Green, a RH defenseman with ample offense (I have him at No. 74).
- James Greenway, a giant blue with offense, he was a revelation at the U18s. (I do not have him ranked, trying to suss him out).
- Lucas Johansen, an impressive two-way defenseman (I have him at No. 31).
- Beck Malenstyn, a big WHL center with shy offense.
- Charlie McAvoy, a fine prospect who has flown (mostly) under the radar (I have him No. 13).
We talked yesterday about acquiring a lefty in order to gather enough depth to trade a current LHD for help on the other side. Here is a quick initial list of major free agents who are available:
- Alex Goligoski, Dallas. He would be an outstanding option, 24 minutes a night.
- Brian Campbell, Florida. I know he is an older fellow, but the man is effective.
- Keith Yandle, NY Rangers. Takes care of the offensive defenseman issue in one fell swoop.
All three men are going to be very expensive, and with the expansion draft ahead ideally a one-year deal could be completed. Unlikely. I will have a more complete list tonight or tomorrow, eventually combining the left and right options.