Peter Chiarelli is a new general manager in good old Our Town—and that means it is best to treat the rumor mill with a certain amount of distrust. If MacT was general manager, rumors this time of year could be trusted more (Tambellini era Oilers were dull as dishwater. Give the man credit, he worked undercover). That blasted Chiarelli, who the hell knows? Crazy glasses, new moustache, he is a master of disguise.
There are some things we can assume by using the brain God gave us. If we construct the roster in stages, perhaps we can get an idea about who might be in play over the next several weeks.
For me, the seven names here represent the group you can count on returning. Why?
- Cam Talbot was acquired by the current GM, then signed by Chiarelli.
- Andrej Sekera was also signed by PC, and he has a NMC through 2019.
- Oscar Klefbom is the most talented defenseman on the team and surely is one of the men Edmonton plans to build around.
- Brandon Davidson is an inexpensive cap hit ($1.425 million) and can play inside the top 4D.
- Connor McDavid.
- Patrick Maroon was acquired at the deadline and had a strong run with Edmonton. He is inexpensive, can plug-and-play up and down the lineup and gives Chiarelli some options on LW.
- Zack Kassian was just signed by the organization, and appears to have found himself off the ice. He faded as the season rolled along, but a fresh start in Edmonton may mean he is a productive player all season with the Oilers. My bet is they plan on keeping him.
Almost Certain Oilers
- Leon Draisaitl should be included on the certain list, I would be astounded if the organization trades him. Over 50 points in his first full season, capable at C and RW while also being just 20. A big part of the future.
- Mark Letestu was signed by Peter Chiarelli and did a capable job in the role he was signed to fill. Struggled in a larger role, but as a 4C who can help on special teams he has a role in Edmonton.
- Iiro Pakarinen won an NHL job last season, pretty sure. Perhaps if one of the prospects down below had some rattle and hum I would put him on the next list. His job appears to be secure.
- Darnell Nurse isn’t going anywhere. I included him on this list only because Chiarelli is new, but the Oilers love him. LOVE him. When a team finishes bottom drawer and their rookie defender struggles badly, there might be an opportunity for criticism. I did not see it, only praise. He will be back.
- Laurent Brossoit will definitely be in the organization, it is only a question of where he plays.
This is the trade (and free agency) list. Now, some of these names will return, we just don’t know who they are. As discussed many times, I imagine Chiarelli has his list of possible defenders on a list, and will look for the sweet spot where the quality of defenseman and the size of the ask are both satisfactory. You need a dance partner, and you need to be bringing back a real solution.
OILERS ON THE UPSWING
We did see improvement in 2015-16, and in some very important areas. Give Sunil a read when you get the chance. I have said this for some time, but if you send Korpikoski down early, send Darnell Nurse back after 11 games (and replace him with an actual NHL defenseman), this team—even with the injuries—have a different feel and talking points in the exit interview.
WHAT IS REAL AND WHAT IS NOT REAL?
I think the Tkachuk rumors are probably true. If you look at the Tkachuk resume and imagine him at 23, the big winger would fit right in with the big team he is building. I would take Dubois, or trade down for Sergachev, but somewhere in the weeks leading up to the draft, suspect the die was cast.
The Lucic rumor is more difficult to work through in my own mind. The Oilers do not need Lucic, and trading Taylor Hall is Poe-level madness without an incredible return.
My concern? That we see a Lucic addition and then a Gary Carter trade. Taylor Hall for Sami Vatanen, Nick Ritchie and Herm Winningham is not sexy nor especially productive, but if Lucic is signed by Edmonton, we need to have the conversation. Not the ‘you suck and blow because you are a Hall hater’ conversation, but a real one, about the absolutely awful results these Gary Carter trades produce.
- Elliotte Friedman: As for Barrie, if the Avalanche can’t find a potential replacement, they could always buy time, going to arbitration and seeing where that lands on a short-term basis. Source
There are a lot of Oilers fans who are hoping for a Nuge-for-Barrie trade based on my interactions, and it does seem possible. Edmonton needs a Tyson Barrie, Colorado could use a Nuge if the team trades one of their current centermen.
Edmonton? I think we have to assume two trades:
- Nuge for Tyson Barrie
- Cap relief and a defenseman for Andrew Shaw
We are getting closer to go time, but the picture remains less than clear.