Over the next five weeks, the Edmonton Oilers are going to be adding forwards. Shooters for the NHL centers, centers for the AHL wingers, and (hopefully) at least three bona fide offensive talents via the draft. That’s the menu, and let’s take them one at a time.
SHOOTERS FOR NHL CENTERS
Puljujarvi is averaging more shots per game than any U22 AHL forward, and he's the youngest forward in the AHL. pic.twitter.com/ACb39iKcO4
— Zac Urback (@Zac_Urback) April 7, 2017
Puljujarvi should spike offensively this coming year, and if he plays with Connor McDavid his boxcars could be impressive. Here are recent AHL teenagers and their draft +2 performances:
- William Nylander (NHL: 22, 6-7-13) (AHL: 38, 18-27-45)
- Mikko Rantanen (NHL: 75, 20-19-39) (AHL: 4, 0-2-2)
- David Pastrnak (NHL: 51, 15-11-26) (AHL: 3, 1-3-4)
- Kevin Fiala (NHL: 5, 1-0-1) (AHL: 66, 18-32-50)
My RE is probably going to assume Puljujarvi plays third-line minutes with Nuge (or other) on what will be (at times) a soft minutes line. I will probably have JP playing 50+ NHL games in 2017-18, but the players above serve as a cautionary tale in our effort to find reasonable. I don’t think the Oilers can count on Jesse Puljujarvi as a scoring winger at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. The McDavid factor could mean he gets to 50 points next season and that represents an incredible range. Thoughts?
CENTERS FOR AHL WINGERS
Joe Gambardella and Kyle Platzer are the only Condors centers I can see from here. That’s not good. I expect we’ll see a few European signings in the coming weeks (Jere Sallinen level) and most of those will be centermen. As strong as the Oilers are at the position on the NHL depth chart, they are very weak in the AHL. We may see a new AHL coach based on reading tea leaves from people in the know. I don’t think the Oilers will be as active as some other teams, but they are going to be adding 10 players between now and September (plus draft), plus replacing those they will trade away. Get your rest, take your vitamins, grab an app or two for breaking news.
BONA FIDE NHL TALENT
Other than CHL guys, Elias Pettersson may be the best F prospect in the draft. Projected at 1.42 P/60 in the NHL his D+1 (3rd line quality).
— Zac Urback (@Zac_Urback) April 17, 2017
I first read about Elias Petterson in The Black Book, which is recommended highly for draft nuts like myself. A brief passage:
- The Black Book: Pettersson is clearly a work in progress, but has significant long term potential and could be a difference maker once fully developed. How popular his name will be by the time next year’s draft comes around will probably depend a lot on how much he will grow into his body along the next 12 months.
I followed his progress all season and have to say he’s a guy I am hoping Edmonton can find a way to draft. Although there is risk here (he is tall and rail thin, Pronman lists him at 6.02, 161) the talent is clearly there. I have him No. 4 overall.
EBERLE TRADE THOUGHTS
If you google Jordan Eberle trade rumors you’ll get items on Edmonton’s top RW heading to the Rangers (Staal), Coyotes (Strome) and all manner of possibilities. The first thing we have to suss out is ‘who is replacing him on a skill line?’ and I think it is unwise to assume the answer is JP. That leaves us with Zack Kassian (best left on bottom 6), Anton Slepyshev (how much can he score?) and Drake Caggiula (how much can he score?).
Chiarelli is going to add up front, probably bringing in a center-right wing while offloading Benoit Pouliot. If we buyout Pouliot and trade Eberle for Ryan Strome (in a deal that would be bigger) while signing Spencer Foo?
The team becomes far too young up front. No sir. I think trading Eberle would have to involve someone more established than Strome coming back. If PC can sign Spencer Foo, that might be your big move up front this summer:
That, for me, is preferable to trading Jordan Eberle for a less proven option on RW. That trade could come a year from now and give the Oilers another year with their established scoring winger. Thoughts?