THE EDGE OF NIGHT

by Lowetide

I have looked at this thing from every angle and it still comes back to Jesse Puljujarvi. The No. 4 overall selection in the 2016 draft, he is visually dynamic and has reached the age where men with his pedigree find the range as NHL players. Peter Chiarelli should be able to rely on him, but we didn’t see enough from him a year ago to make JP a lock for a skill line this fall. Peter Chiarelli appears to have decided to proceed as if Jesse Puljujarvi is ready, or that is my read going into free agency. Is this a position he can defend? Sure. Is it dangerous? Unless he has a backup deal in his hip pocket that can be cashed at any time during the season, my answer is yes.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Oilers could sign a scoring RW in free agency, overpaying on a one-year deal if necessary, and have the depth chart set up in a far more promising fashion. It sounds like, based on what we are hearing, PC is going to add an end of the roster type player and then see how things play out.

The bottom line: The Edmonton Oilers continue to build toward a goal that will reach its zenith in the years to come, perhaps 2020 or 2022. The window to win, currently open, will receive no extra push this summer. At the deadline? We’ll see about it then. I will tell you this is not my preference and I believe there is real danger here. A step back, while the Calgary Flames push to the top of the Pacific Division, is a noxious thought for Oilers fans. I do not see the Flames as the class of the group at this time.

No one is suggesting PC blow the budget this summer, but a one-year deal for Radim Vrbata or another veteran scorer could offer cover for him, Todd McLellan, and frankly Jesse Puljujarvi. If we head to free agency and see Edmonton sign fringe options, everything comes into play. That means Leon on RW is a real possibility. A dive in goal differential early in the year is possible, meaning a stumble until a fix can be found (at a price more dear than the current cost in summer). This is my opinion.

THE WHISPERS

  • R Ty Rattie. Always liked him. Had him ranked No. 29 overall in his draft year and still think he’s NHL calibre. He is a good scorer at the AHL level, but size (6.0, 195) and speed are average. He belongs to the Eberle/Gagner family of forwards, so there should be no surprise that the Oilers are looking at him. Righty shot, there may still be a path to an NHL career.
  • L Brandon Pirri. This would be a fine choice, he averages 20.65 NHL goals per 82 games. Pirri would be an added skill player and should be considered a plug-and-play. Also took 250 faceoffs and won 57 percent of them. Very good.
  • RC Landon Ferraro. I’d sign him anyway. Ferraro is coming off a knee injury but it sounds like he’s ready to go and getting interest from several teams (including Edmonton). He is shy offensively compared to the other two men, but he has utility (C-R, PK) and could be very useful in those roles.

IS THAT IT?

  • RD Christian Folin (51gp, 2-6-8). He is big, young, mobile and skilled. I think Folin would be a wise investment even if it doesn’t turn out long term. This is the kind of bet that could really benefit a team in the cap era.
  • RD Cody Franson (68GP, 3-16-19). Franson on a one-year deal would be fine by me, the only worry being Todd McLellan. Franson isn’t a fast train, McLellan likes his defense to be mobile. Is Franson faster than Fayne?
  • LD Yohann Auvitu (25gp, 2-2-4). He’s so not famous but there are some things to like about him. Puck mover, some chaos, older rookie this past season with New Jersey.
  • RD Jason Demers (81gp, 9-19-28). Veteran isn’t a free agent but there’s apparently talk of his being dealt. Owns a large contract ($4.5 million for four more years) so the Oilers can’t take the contract. Too bad, he would be a nice addition.

Chris Tanev and Tyson Barrie are also being mentioned, can’t see either man  heading here unless Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is heading the other way. I don’t see it.

CURRENT PROJECTED LINEUP

Plenty of work to do, this cannot be in dispute. I keep reading comments from Oilers fans worrying about the Flames, but the Flames are chasing as are the Oilers. The Anaheim Ducks, ladies and men. You are missing the point and buying in to issue framing if Calgary is your concern. Add them to the list, but the Ducks are the enemy. That’s a fact.

 

 

 

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Rondo

I think they will look at Dominic Moore if they could get him for 1 year just for his face-offs

Might even be able to help the other C’s on face-offs

YKOil

“Plenty of work to do, this cannot be in dispute. ”

Very true LT. Here is the problem, PC is burning off all the assets with which to do the work.

PunjabiOil

They need depth. Plain and simple.

Got lucky with injuries last year – may not be the case. Likewise with excellent goaltending and a favourable schedule.

Caggiula, Puljujarvi, Slepeshev, Khaira should be eased in.

Could definitely use at least one, if not two, veteran forwards.

And another defenceman like Beauchemin.

Playoffs aren’t a lock.

Lewis Grant

I’ve mentioned the threat of Calgary (which I think is real), but I agree with LT that Anaheim is the clear #1 favourite in the Pacific.

This is basically last year’s team, except trading Eberle for Strome (a loss), subtracting Pouliot, and subtracting Sekera for a few months.

We had better hope for a lot of internal development to make up for that.

(And we had better hope for another strong season from Talbot.)

Otherwise I think playoffs are less than certain.

dustrock

Someone on HFB said it hasn’t leaked yet but Oilers have signed Rattie to a two-way deal.

Richard S.S.

Chiarelli has Draisaitl as an asset. Beyond what point in negotiations do you say enough, I’m trading you. $7.6 Million and over Cap Hit, he’s gone. $7.50 Million and under Cap Hit. he stays. Between, is Chiarelli’s decision.

N64

Richard S.S.: $7.6 Million and over Cap Hit, he’s gone. $7.50 Million and under Cap Hit. he stays. Between, is Chiarelli’s decision.

Smitty’s famous 100K.

jtblack

As always, Good write up LT.

you have had concern over JP for a while. The only really high pick that hasn’t worked out since 2010 is Yakupov. JP is on track to do just fine. Leon (Strome), Sleppy, Kassian can comfortably play 1,2,3 if JP needs to be eased in … Your lineup looks good outside of RD. PC has to add 1 RD or LD depending what side Russell plays. Other than that, this lineup looks good to me.

I give PC credit. He’s letting the young kids play and not blocking them. There are only 2 rookies in the lineup you present. Its a young mans game and young = cheap. We can’t keep hall, ebs, lucic, mcdavid, draisatl, subban, etc …. In order to see if your young guys can play, you have to play them.

When Pittsburgh won the Cup 2 years ago, the only reason all those young guys were in the lineup was because the coach (Sullivan) was from the AHL. Guentzel, Murray, Sheary, Rust, etc .. Nobody had heard of them …

Now to your point; there is no gurantee Strome, JP, Cagg, Khaira, Benning all contribute at a high enoug level .. But I think McDavid, Draisatl, Lucic, Maroon, Klef, larsson, RNH, Kassian provide enough experience and leadership to get us to the playoffs!

But we won’t know until Next april. go JP!

Gayfish

This may be the Mandella Effect, but I swear Rattie was like 5’9 when drafted.

Dee Dee

This team is going into its third season with the same management, and same coaching. The players don’t have to adapt to yet another philosophy or learn new systems. When was the last time that happened?

They took a pretty good run at the playoffs and learned what it takes to win at that level.

The new draft picks are going to have to fight their way onto the team without being gifted free spots like the past.

They’ve excised some of their perceived problems and made some replacements.

Who knows what will happen tomorrow, why even worry until the end of the day and we see what happens.

Calgary, Arizona, Colorado, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Dallas are going to fight it out at the bottom and the Oilers only have top worry about beating one more team to make the playoffs.

Chiarelli will have something up his sleeve.

Richard S.S.

At what time after Midnight tonight can The McDavid signing be announced.

jtblack

B McKenzie saying Gagner might be headed to Canucks??

Scungilli Slushy

One thing to consider is that the core is very young, and while a vet RW might be helpful, if McDavid and his core aren’t ready a Cup won’t be won in having Vrbata or Williams.

They do need another NHL RHD I think to try to add more to the team than last year that is better than Benning is now, but perhaps they look at the quality of who they have and think with the supportive coaching you can read about that the at bats are worth it as young players develop.

It did take a few years for the glory team, I don’t feel or want to be patient, but until McDavid can play through any tactics it probably won’t happen anyway.

However Pete is full of surprises. As unnerving as it is I do like the fact that the vision seems clear and is acted upon. It sucked the old way.

Gayfish

Dee Dee:
This team is going into its third season with the same management, and same coaching. The players don’t have to adapt to yet another philosophy or learn new systems.When was the last time that happened?

They took a pretty good run at the playoffs and learned what it takes to win at that level.

The new draft picks are going to have to fight their way onto the team without being gifted free spots like the past.

They’ve excised some of their perceived problems and made some replacements.

Who knows what will happen tomorrow, why even worry until the end of the day and we see what happens.

Calgary, Arizona, Colorado, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Dallas are going to fight it out at the bottom and the Oilers only have top worry about beating one more team to make the playoffs.

Chiarelli will have something up his sleeve.

The new draft picks don’t have a walk on spot, but JP does, and all the guys who played partial seasons last year do too. I guess it’s progress, but not ideal.

Scungilli Slushy

jtblack:
B McKenzie saying Gagner might be headed to Canucks??

He he. Good. They will have to feature him not shelter him. I do wish him all the best away from the Oilers .

Rondo

LT,

What about Ron Hainsey ?

Ducey

jtblack:
B McKenzie saying Gagner might be headed to Canucks??

Its good because he won’t help them.

Bad because I usually like to detest anyone in that uniform.

Dee Dee

Oilers fans are like an abused spouse. After having the crap kicked out of us so long we don’t see the inherent value in the team anymore and just look for all the weak spots to try to anticipate when the team will sink to the bottom.

Now I’m not a betting man, but the Bookies are and they are not in the habit of losing money.

The Oilers are tied for second place with Chicago at +1200 and only Pittsburgh is ahead of them at +750.

http://www.oddsshark.com/nhl/stanley-cup-futures

Lots of craptastic teams on the bottom of the list with yummy points to harvest off of them.

digger50

Pirri – interesting he was available for cheap last year and he may have been enough at third line center to get us another round in play offs. Last year they stopped short, looks to be the case this year as well.

Lots of opportunity was available this summer so no excuse not to at least try to improve. I wonder ijust how much signing Drai factors into the moves or lack of them.

Looking at the roster, it really could use some veteran stability. Does. Vega’s have anything left they want to move out? Parting with picks might be the play now.

Todd Macallan

That Lawton tweet is worded so poorly it could mean almost anything. Worst case it means a possible Drai to COL trade, in which case I’d hope for Duchene (prefer Mack) + Jost + 1st.

Scungilli Slushy

jtblack:
As always, Good write up LT.

you have had concern over JP for a while.The only reallyhigh pick that hasn’t worked out since 2010 is Yakupov.JP is on track to do just fine.Leon (Strome), Sleppy, Kassian can comfortably play 1,2,3 if JP needs to be eased in … Your lineup looks good outside of RD.PC has to add 1 RD or LD depending what side Russell plays.Other than that, this lineup looks good to me.

I give PC credit. He’s letting the young kids play and not blocking them.There are only 2 rookies in the lineup you present.Its a young mans game and young = cheap.We can’t keep hall, ebs, lucic, mcdavid, draisatl, subban, etc ….In order to see if your young guys can play, you have to play them.

When Pittsburgh won the Cup 2 years ago, the only reason allthose young guys were in the lineup was because the coach (Sullivan) was from the AHL.Guentzel, Murray, Sheary, Rust, etc .. Nobody had heard of them …

Now to your point; there is no gurantee Strome, JP, Cagg, Khaira, Benning all contribute at a high enoug level .. But I think McDavid, Draisatl, Lucic, Maroon, Klef, larsson,RNH, Kassian provide enough experience and leadership to get us to the playoffs!

But we won’tknow until Next april. go JP!

I agree. The value I see in vets is on the defensive side. Many unexpected players go on runs in the playoffs and many expected scorers don’t meet the grade.

The rub is defensive play, which is the actual reason behind the Oiler’s loss to the Ducks. Blown leads.

The bet on less experienced players is less that they can score some, and more that they play two ways well, especially when it counts.

Many of the other team’s young players that are coveted are given many games in a role to get used to it. Our guys get bounced around the roster and not a full season. If you give Them 82 games to work into the system and learn to score and meet also assignments I think the talent is there, not everybody can step straight in.

I noticed this with Slepy. You could see the ability, and also the little misses on dump ins and the other ‘details’, which I think would even out with practice at game speed. The skill, speed and shot are there.

Genjutsu

Todd Macallan,

Nate MacKinnon straight up.

Todd Macallan

Genjutsu,

If Drai HAS to go, Mackinnon might be my #1 target, with Parayko a strong #2.

Rube Foster

Sentimentality aside, Hemsky on a one year deal makes some sense.

He wouldn’t break the bank, would add some much needed depth on the right side and has proven chemistry with Nuge.

The fact that he looks like a beauty in Oiler’s silks is added bonus.

digger50

Connor / Drai will be the best duo in the league, absolutely foolish to consider a trade.

fuzzy muppet

digger50:
Connor / Drai will be the best duo in the league, absolutely foolish to consider a trade.

Just wondering why you believe this. Drai has played with game changing offensive players. Is he one himself? We have a 15 game sample size with a bloated shooting percentage as “proof”.

Scungilli Slushy

Very few players are dominant enough to overpay in a capped league. The Oilers have one.

Rondo

Todd Macallan,

I’d have Barkov in there.

Scungilli Slushy

Todd Macallan:
Genjutsu,

If Drai HAS to go, Mackinnon might be my #1 target, with Parayko a strong #2.

Mackinnon straight up, based on numbers. It only happens if they covet size.

anonymous

fuzzy muppet: Just wondering why you believe this. Drai has played with game changing offensive players.Is he one himself?We have a 15 game sample size with a bloated shooting percentage as “proof”.

I don’t think I’d want to risk it. What if the oilers traded Mess in 1982?

jm363561

Dee Dee:
This team is going into its third season with the same management, and same coaching. The players don’t have to adapt to yet another philosophy or learn new systems.

============
I was wondering if this point would ever be made. Last year Larrson, Russell and Benning were all new additions to the D corps and I hear on a regular basis that it takes time for D men to become comfortable in a new system – that certainly seemed to be the case for Larrson, and Sekera the year before.

Was it 11 of our last 14 regular season games we won? Consistency and internal development are not as sexy as shiny new players but IM(V)HO they matter… a lot.

Scungilli Slushy

MacKnnon had a 6 SH% last season. IMO he is a better player now than Leon and especially moving forward. I so hoped the Oil could draft him but then no Connor. But alas, the fLames will get him. Or the Dys.

ashley

I’m not a big fan of trades. But I love the idea of Duchene. I would trade a lot for an extended Duchene. Drai is valuable, but he is not better than Duchene. He’s coming off a single career year and is heavily over-rated by Oil fans and himself.

He lacks the quickness to have those kinds of seasons year in and year out. His lack of quickness will only become more of a liability as the league gets faster. The numbers being leaked out about his contract are absolutely nuts. There is no way he can live up to that kind of contract even playing on McDavid’s wing.

He’s a 4-5 million dollar player coming off what may end up being the best year of his career.

LadiesloveSmid

Scungilli Slushy:
MacKnnon had a 6 SH% last season. IMO he is a better player now than Leon and especially moving forward. I so hoped the Oil could draft him but then no Connor. But alas, the fLames will get him. Or the Dys.

MacK at 6.3 vs Drai at 9+ isn’t really close for me. I love Drai, but if he’s gonna ask for the moon my favourite petty thing to do would be to trade him from McDavid to Colorado

godot10

In two years, the Oilers would have to pay Duchene more than what Draisaitl is asking for. The Oilers defense (now that they’ve married Russell) won’t be good enough this year and next to really contend.

So it is probably better to just sign Draisaitl than trade him for Duchene.

It would be dumb for the Avalanche to offer up MacKinnon for him. MacKinnon is cost-controlled at a great number for long tim.

treevojo

Man it doesn’t take people long to turn on our best playoff performer because of contract negotiations.

In saying that I would have no problem trading for mackinnon locked in at 6.3 if drai refuses less then 8.

treevojo

godot10:
In two years, the Oilers would have to pay Duchene more than what Draisaitl is asking for.The Oilers defense (now that they’ve married Russell) won’t be good enough this year and next to really contend.

So it is probably better to just sign Draisaitl than trade him for Duchene.

It would be dumb for the Avalanche to offer up MacKinnon for him.MacKinnon is cost-controlled at a great number for long tim.

I like the oilers defense better then this years Stanley cup winners minus letang.

Richard S.S.

Darnell Nurse and Matthew Benning won’t make their bonuses so together they are paid just under $2.0 Million The difference between Draisaitl at $9.0 Million and Draisaitl at $7.0 Million is Nurse and Benning. There is a Cap.

Chris

Lewis Grant:
I’ve mentioned the threat of Calgary (which I think is real), but I agree with LT that Anaheim is the clear #1 favourite in the Pacific.

This is basically last year’s team, except trading Eberle for Strome (a loss), subtracting Pouliot, and subtracting Sekera for a few months.

We had better hope for a lot of internal development to make up for that.

(And we had better hope for another strong season from Talbot.)

Otherwise I think playoffs are less than certain.

This is basically true. I mean sure it’s possible that McJesus was only getting started last year and this year will score 150 points not 99 or whatever but the reasonable manner of looking at things is that Chia has acquired cap space but in the here and now made the team worse.

I’m in favour of Pirri at reasonable dollars and reasonable term. If you can pay him somewhere between 2-3 then you can slot him in as the third line centre. That leaves Drai as the #1 right winger, Strome in the two slot and Pool Party is only being projected as being a 3rd line player which seems alot more achievable.

I’m also in favour of bringing back Hemsky, if he can stay healthy (always the question) he can give you good 2nd or 3rd line minutes.

Primetime

Not I think that there is any truth to these Avs rumors but…

Interesting to think of it as:

Drai + random 3C
vs.
McKinnon + Nuge

The later may be possible with cost controlled Nathan contract…but not if Drai gets 9+

Kinger_Oil.redux

– Great post LT!

– Remember a few years ago there was quaralling on this blog about: “no offence, but…”

– No offence LT but “The window to win, currently open, will receive no extra push this summer”. How can you assume that? I’ll eat my hat if there isn’t another bona-fide forward added (i.e. a F who scored more goals than Pou last year)

– Of course, I’m still eating my hat re: Griff, so what do I know?

Oddspell

LadiesloveSmid: MacK at 6.3 vs Drai at 9+ isn’t really close for me. I love Drai, but if he’s gonna ask for the moon my favourite petty thing to do would be to trade him from McDavid to Colorado

I’ve got to agree. I’ve rooted for Drai since before we drafted him, but if that’s his contract, I would flip him for Mack no question. Not a big fan of Drai for Duchene. The player, yes. The contract and age? No way jose.

TO10801

Wouldn’t be surprised if chia leaked the Ava thing just to make sure drai’s camp understands that no one besides 97 is untradeable

Oddspell

Darren Dreger‏Verified account @DarrenDreger

Chiarelli on all Draisaitl rumours: “We are not trading him. I have talked to nobody nor will I.” Continued…

Hopefully this means that negotiations are going well.

Gayfish

Wish more of the OGs were around, because I genuinely can’t read the script. Why are duchene and Mackinnon better than Leon? This is probably just a message to both camps.

Bad Seed

Didn’t Pete also say he had no interest in trading Eberle?