Matt Benning is a good young NHL defenseman with a solid future. He’s already a solid third pairing rearguard, and there may be more responsibility in his future. Benning is the most successful of Peter Chiarelli’s college free agents and signed a reasonable two-year contract with the organization on Tuesday. In an organization starving for value contracts, perhaps Benning will be one.
Give The Athletic as a gift or get it yourself and join the fun! Offer is here, less than $5 a month and your Dad will love a unique gift. I find myself reading both the hockey (Willis, Dellow, Pronman, et cetera) and the baseball coverage a lot, it’s compelling reading and a pure pleasure to visit. I’ll be running draft articles for my contribution to The Athletic now through next weekend, come aboard!
- Lowetide: Oilers top 10 prospects in front of the 2018 draft.
- New Jonathan Willis: The framework of a hypothetical Milan Lucic trade
- New The Athletic: The 2018 NHL Awards.
- New Mitch Brown: Tracking the best CHL blue in five data tracking categories
- Lowetide: A tough and important week for Peter Chiarelli
- Corey Pronman: 2018 Mock Draft.
- Jonathan Willis: Ranking the 2018 draft based on statistical performance.
- Lowetide: The WHL draft pool 2018: Where are the forwards?
- Lowetide: Can the Oilers repeat the 2017 draft haul?
- Lowetide: Embracing a two-way mentoring role key for Ryan Strome
- Lowetide: Oilers coveted righty defenceman could come in Round Two of the draft
- Tyler Dellow: Milan Lucic’s transition into rush player wiped out much production
- Lowetide: Shopping Milan Lucic for another problem contract.
- Tyler Dellow: The value of draft picks and reasonable trades Canadian teams can make
- Corey Pronman: 2018 NHL draft board.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the USHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers at the draft: Overagers.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers scouting directors: A history.
Still some deliberating but sounds like 2018-19 #NHL salary cap has been narrowed down to between $79-80 million. Initial projection is that player escrow withholding starts under 10% for first time since 2011-12.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 19, 2018
CURRENT PROJECTED 2018-19 ROSTER
- The cap may be less than $80 million, but we’ll go with that number until a new one appears. Benning’s contract is slightly more than I projected, but we’re still in a range where three players will be added with about $5 million in cap room (plus a need to have some wiggle room).
- Assuming a $800,000 No. 7D, and a $1 million No. 4C, that would mean the right-wing addition would be required to come in just over $2 million (allowing for some wiggle room). Money’s too tight to mention.
- Nurse will be a bridge unless PC offloads a lot of coin.
- We’re at 40 now, with Safin the only slide player who could turn pro.
- Edmonton needs help on the wings, a No. 4 C and the organization is vehement on adding a puck-moving defenseman.
- There is still plenty of room. Lots.
OILERS FREE AGENT LIST
- G Nick Ellis RFA. Retired.
- G Laurent Brossoit UFA. Unlikely to return.
- LD Darnell Nurse RFA. A bridge deal likely part of the conversation.
- RD Matt Benning RFA. Signed.
- LD Yohann Auvitu UFA. Reportedly heading back to Europe, there’s an NHL player here.
- RD Mark Fayne UFA. He’s done with the Oilers.
- LD Keegan Lowe UFA. Signed.
- LD Dillon Simpson UFA. Same spot as Lowe, likely room for only one.
- LD Joey Laleggia UFA. He’ll sign with an NHL team that sees him as a defenseman. Maybe Vancouver.
- LD Ben Betker RFA. Likely part of a substantial “Leftorium” haircut this summer.
- RC Ryan Strome RFA. Several options for this player, including a trade.
- RC Kyle Platzer RFA. I don’t think he’s shown enough in his entry deal.
- LC Grayson Downing UFA. Unlikely to return.
- L Mike Cammalleri UFA. I liked his contribution but the Oilers need more speed.
- L Drake Caggiula RFA. Signed.
- L Braden Christoffer RFA. Signed an AHL deal.
- R Anton Slepyshev RFA. Heading to Russia.
- R Iiro Pakarinen RFA. Also heading to Russia.
- R Patrick Russell. RFA. I think there’s a chance he gets another deal.
- R Brian Ferlin UFA. Barely got on the ice.
Benning didn’t play the tough opposition much, but he performed well against elites when deployed. It’s interesting to compare his line with that of Darnell Nurse, who has spent a lot of time playing above his comfort zone in the NHL. Nurse-Benning third pair next season would work well and give this team some depth.
THE LIST (FORWARDS)
- R Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets. I’d absolutely pay full price.
- L Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals. He’s a brilliant young player.
- R Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins. A strong scoring option.
- R Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit Red Wings. Impressive young player.
- R Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers. One of my favorite players.
- L Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes. Speed merchant and a born scorer.
- L Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens. Talented scorer.
- L Vladislav Namestnikov, NY Rangers. Skilled winger apparently available. (RFA)
- R Connor Brown, Toronto Maple Leafs. Solid young winger with some NHL experience, he also played with Connor McDavid in Erie.
- R Daniel Sprong, Pittsburgh Penguins. Excellent skater, strong fit.
- RC Austin Czarnik, Boston Bruins. Among the top scorers in the AHL.
- R David Backes, Boston Bruins. If Boston takes back Lucic.
- R Josh Leivo, Toronto Maple Leafs. Talented winger never plays.
- L Warren Foegele, Carolina Hurricanes. Big forward with skill and two-way acumen.
- L Nic Petan, Winnipeg Jets. Undersized and very creative.
- W Peter Cehlarik, Boston Bruins. Big forward with skill.
- LC Lucas Wallmark, Carolina Hurricanes. Nice range of skills.
- LC Zack Smith, Ottawa Senators. One of a few No. 4C options.
THE LIST (DEFENSE)
- RD Dougie Hamilton, Calgary Flames. The impossible dream.
- RD Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. A strong option at a major price.
- RD Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. Might be the best option.
- LD Noah Hanifan, Carolina Hurricanes. Impressive young player.
- RD Chris Tanev, Vancouver Canucks. Seldom mentioned, he can help the Oilers.
- LD Torey Krug, Boston Bruins. He posts terrific boxcars.
- RD Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. He is available, seems a default option.
- RD Alex Petrovic, Florida Panthers. Big, strong shutdown blue.
- RD Chris Wideman, Ottawa Senators. He’s a depth pickup but has some nice arrows.
I don’t think Edmonton has a chance at most of these players but their names are out there and they would be exceptional additions for the team. Signing Kris Russell limited Peter Chiarelli’s ability to wheel so badly, that’s a transaction that will impact several summers.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun morning, rich with draft talk as we get closer to Friday and the first round. 10 this morning, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. We’ll chat draft, ideal trade targets, and what the roster will look like a week from now.
- Corey Pronman, The Athletic. One final look at the 2018 draft.
- Cam Hillis, Guelph Storm. Young center will be drafted by an NHL team this weekend, we’ll check in on a talented young prospect.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!