From the moment he arrived in Edmonton, Peter Chiarelli has been shredding prospects past while trying to build prospects future. From the moment he took over, the 46 names who were on the 50-man list have been sliced and diced. Here are the remaining players from that list:
- G Laurent Brossoit (AHL starter at the time)
- D Mark Fayne (NHL defenseman at the time)
- D Oscar Klefbom (One of the most promising names on the roster)
- D Dillon Simpson (Young pro D at the time)
- D Darnell Nurse (Top 10 draft pick about to turn pro)
- D Ben Betker (Just about to turn pro)
- D Joey Laleggia (Entering pro hockey as a defender)
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (He was a bona fide NHL center)
- C Leon Draisaitl (Impact prospect)
- C Bogdan Yakimov (Big center prospect)
- C Jujhar Khaira (Big forward prospect)
- C Kyle Platzer (newly signed two-way center prospect)
- R Iiro Pakarinen (Checking prospect remains on the roster)
- R Greg Chase (Gritty forward just turning pro)
Chiarelli has been very aggressive about offloading Edmonton’s youngsters, from Martin Marincin to Nail Yakupov and everywhere in between. I usually write this later in the year, but last fall PC dealt Nail Yakupov before the season (partly to make room for Kris Russell) so I think next year’s RFA contracts are worth discussion.
2018 SUMMER RFA’S
- LD Darnell Nurse. I think he’s inner circle McDavid and that means we’ll see a long-term contract next summer. Others feel he could be dealt with an uneven season. I’ll bet he signs no matter the campaign result.
- RD Matt Benning. Zero doubt in my mind Benning signs a second deal, all of his arrows are pointing in a very good way. Benning, along with Ryan Strome, has the best chance of blowing his cap number out of the water with a massive season. Sign. him. a-sap!
- C-R Ryan Strome. Important to remember Chiarelli acquired him and Strome is apparently going to get the McDavid push. His success in that role might be substantial and that could price him out of the Oilers’ market (money’s too tight to mention next summer). My guess is they sign him long term.
- R Anton Slepyshev. He was a surprise keeper in year one under Todd McLellan, has progressed since. Slepyshev may be that rare player drafted outside the first round who emerges as a skill player. I think he gets another contract with Edmonton.
- R Drake Caggiula. Signed by the current general manager and used in several roles by the coach, Caggiula is poised to establish himself with Edmonton. It’s a smart bet he will get a reasonable contract next summer.
- G Laurent Brossoit. His contract will depend completely on his season. Brossoit is in control of his destiny, but a year of struggle could impact his future. He’ll get a contract.
- G Nick Ellis. If he has another strong season, it might create a big of a logjam and we could see a trade (either he or Brossoit). Ellis will get a second contract unless the wheels fall off.
- R Iiro Pakarinen. Todd McLellan likes him, math is less enamored. He is unlikely to be an expensive player to sign, but I’m not sure what role he will play. I’ll estimate his re-signing at 70 percent.
- LD Keegan Lowe. His playing style is a good fit for the Chiarelli Oilers and I think we’ll see him emerge as a recall option this season. Chances of return are 70 percent.
- R Ty Rattie. He’s in a good spot but the opportunity isn’t eternal. A year from now the RW situation will either been solved or have a new batch of candidates as possible solutions. I’ll say 50 percent to return.
- L Joey Laleggia. Complete wild card but he can score goals, at least at the AHL level. It’s almost impossible to know where he lands, so I’ll put it at 50 percent to return.
- R Patrick Russell. His first pro season was a disappointment but he posted 150 shots and may have been experiencing Pitlick-level bad luck. I’ll say he’s 50-50 to re-sign.
- LD Dillon Simpson. I’m not sure he has a path to the NHL at this time and there’s a chance someone (Keegan Lowe?) could replace him as a recall option. I’ll say 50 percent.
- LD Ben Betker. Oilers seem to collect more defensemen than the previous admin, but Betker is probably in a bit of a spot with all of the defenders still to come. He could be cast away in favor of William Lagesson next summer. I’ll say 40 percent to sign.
- R Brian Ferlin. It’s really impossible to say how he’ll respond after an injury-riddled season. I’ll estimate him at 40 percent to re-sign and we can adjust as we roll along.
- R Greg Chase. In his first two pro seasons, Chase hasn’t moved the needle much. Success for him would be a regular AHL shift and some solid boxcars. I think he’s about 30 percent to get another contract.
- RC Kyle Platzer. As is the case with Chase, Kyle Platzer hasn’t been able to push into a feature role at the AHL level. He was a third-round pick on draft day with a good two-way reputation, but hasn’t been able to post enough offense since 2015 fall. 30 percent chance of a contract.
- LC Grayson Downing. Because I don’t know much about him and because his most recent season was not fabulous, I’ll put his chances of re-signing at 10 percent.
- L Braden Christoffer. He hasn’t been able to score enough to establish himself as an AHL regular, so it would seem unlikely he would be re-signed. I’ll put his chances at 10 percent.
It seems to me next summer is going to be a massive opportunity for the general manager to adjust the roster. If he decides to trade RNH, then getting most of the names above signed would seem to be a much easier task. If not, tougher row to hoe.
There are other considerations. Will Bogdan Yakimov return? Do the Oilers move out one of these RFA’s for William Lagesson? What about the graduates? I count Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, Dylan Wells, Markus Niemelainen, Filip Berglund, John Marino, Tyler Vesel, Aidan Muir and others may also turn pro.
I cheer for all of these prospects, it’s a blast to see them reach the NHL (Jujhar Khaira is the one I’m hoping for most this fall). They can’t all make it, suspect we’re going to see a massive turnover come spring and summer 2018.