It took about 40 months, but Peter Chiarelli has almost flushed the entire Oilers roster as it stood the day he took over as general manager in the spring of 2015. The names that remain (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Jujhar Khaira) survived a rollercoaster ride and are part of what fans hope will be a successful team in the coming years. Will Chiarelli be around to see the completion of his vision?
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- New Lowetide: Projecting the 2018-19 Oilers opening night roster
- Lowetide: Where will Tobias Rieder land on the Oilers depth chart?
- Lowetide: No. 1 prospect—Evan Bouchard.
- Lowetide: No. 2 prospect—Kailer Yamamoto.
- The Athletic Cross Canada Tour Will hit Edmonton!
- Lowetide: No. 3 prospect—Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: No. 4 prospect—Ryan McLeod
- Lowetide: No. 5 prospect—Cooper Marody.
- Lowetide: No. 6 prospect—Kirill Maksimov.
- Lowetide: No. 7 prospect—Tyler Benson.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 8 prospect—Caleb Jones.
- Lowetide: No. 9 prospect—Filip Berglund.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 10 prospect—Dmitri Samorukov.
- Lowetide: No. 11 prospect—Stuart Skinner’s net worth.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 12 prospect—Joel Persson.
- Lowetide: No. 13 prospect—Ostap Safin
- Jonathan Willis: No. 14 prospect—Olivier Rodrigue
- Lowetide: No. 15 prospect—William Lagesson
- Jonathan Willis: No. 16 prospect—Cameron Hebig
- Lowetide: No. 17 prospect—Graham McPhee
- Jonathan Willis: No. 18 prospect—Ryan Mantha
- Lowetide: No. 19 prospect—John Marino
- Jonathan Willis: No. 20 prospect—Tyler Vesel
- Lowetide: Top 20 prospects: Forwards outside the top 20
- Jonathan Willis: Are Hayden Hawkey and Phil Kemp underrated gems?
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Scottie Upshall to PTO, expand options
In the Farm Workers post each year, I have a passage that says “if we make a list of the RFA’s each summer, we can probably, as a group, pick the cuts and be fairly close. That 50-man gets a haircut every summer.” This summer, there were a bunch of RFA’s and here is what happened (so far):
- LD Darnell Nurse. It’s a fascinating story unfolding, I thought (and still think) Nurse was part of the McDavid cluster and signed, sealed and delivered as a long term player here. It is a curious time for this player, we’ll have to wait and see. He would have significant trade value.
- RD Matt Benning. He’s now signed to a reasonable two-year deal and may be relied on to play inside the top-4D this winter. I’m a fan of his game.
- C-R Ryan Strome. He’s signed to a two-year, $3.1 million deal. That kind of investment is going to require more offense than we’ve seen from Strome. A big season for him.
- R Anton Slepyshev. He was a surprise keeper in year one under Todd McLellan, progressed well and was emerging during the playoffs in 2017 spring. An injury derailed his 2017-18 season, detoured his NHL career and has him back in Russia.
- R Drake Caggiula. Signed a two-year, $1.5 million deal, the lowest AAV among the RFA’s signed by the Oilers from the NHL side. He might be in a bit of trouble as an Oiler, important for him to improve in multiple areas.
- G Laurent Brossoit. He lost his job on a Saturday night in Calgary. And the Oilers won the game! I think he has a chance to have a career, he signed in a good situation (Winnipeg).
- G Nick Ellis. It was impossible to see his struggles and then his retirement.
- R Iiro Pakarinen. He was a solid PK man but is gone to the KHL.
- LD Keegan Lowe. He won a contract and there’s a chance he’ll play more NHL games this season.
- R Ty Rattie. His break came late and Rattie took full advantage. Rattie got a one-year deal and a ticket to the top line (maybe) in 2018-19. I bet he works like a demon in camp.
- L Joey Laleggia. He signed in the St. Louis organization, I’ll be interested to see if the Blues return him to defense.
- R Patrick Russell. Russell didn’t play in the NHL, sometimes that’s an indicator an organization is going to move on. Edmonton re-signed him.
- LD Dillon Simpson. Signed with Columbus, his skills are close to Lowe’s and one of them leaving is no surprise.
- LD Ben Betker. Big man is no longer in the organization and has not yet signed elsewhere.
- R Brian Ferlin. It’s a miracle he played at all. No update on new destination.
- R Greg Chase. He was traded mid-season (Florida organization) and played more AHL than ECHL once in a new organization. He has talent, hasn’t emerged in pro hockey.
- RC Kyle Platzer. He showed a little more than Chase but not enough to earn another contract. Signed an AHL deal with the Charlotte Checkers for next year.
- LC Grayson Downing. He brought less than expected and has moved on via an AHL deal with the Colorado Eagles.
- L Braden Christoffer. He signed an AHL deal with the Condors.
Seven of the 19 names, or 36 percent, were retained. For Peter Chiarelli, the decisions moving forward are all players he would have procured and history tells us that’s a completely different ballgame (GM’s like their guys, it’s a human thing). Here are next year’s RFA’s and my call on each.
- F Tobias Rieder. Edmonton will need to find some more dollars next summer to get him signed long term. He is a very good fit for the Oilers.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi. In a way, you’re hoping he scores 18-20 as opposed to 35 goals this coming season. As it stands, his second contract is going to be closer to Nail Yakupov’s than Leon Draisaitl’s, and that’s a good thing.
- R Ty Rattie. It’s all or nothing for Rattie, who is in the ultimate race against time. He’ll need to shoot the gap by scoring 20 goals (or so) this season, while one or both of JP or Kailer Yamamoto struggles. I don’t think he gets a long-term deal next summer.
- L Jujhar Khaira. The big man can play center or wing and is coming along as a penalty killer. I think he may carve out a solid career.
- L Pontus Aberg. He has talent but is in a similar spot to Rattie. Aberg will need to impress early and often to make it past names like Drake Caggiula, Jujhar Khaira and the young phenoms.
- RD Joel Persson. I believe his current contract will be the 2019-20 contract.
- G Shane Starrett. He will need to take a step forward this season to earn another contract.
- R Tyler Vesel. He is just getting started and has a nice range of skills, my guess is Vesel will get a second contract.
- L Joe Gambardella. He showed well in his debut, if he can build on it this season chances are the Oilers keep him.
- R Patrick Russell. He received another contract this season but his boots and offense at the AHL level suggest Russell is shy of being an NHL player. He got another year, and that’s interesting.
- LC Colin Larkin. There isn’t a lot offensively and that’s at the AHL level. Suspect he doesn’t get a second deal.
My article for The Athletic today is Projecting the 2018-19 opening night lineup and between 10 and 11 this morning I’ll talk about the coming season with three respected guests. Bruce McCurdy (Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal), Darcy McLeod (Because Oilers), Tyler Hupka (famous and infamous twitter character) will offer opinions on a wide range of subjects. We did this last year and I’m still employed, so we’re going to do it again. Great people, great opinions. It’s fab radio.
At 11, Rob Vollman from ESPN and NHL.com will join us, we’ll chat about McDavid’s chances of winning the Art Ross and the Richard trophies. Finally, we’ll talk to Kevin Nogle from the Phinsider about the Miami Dolphins. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!