Edmonton Oilers fans are antsy now, an extremely active trade and free-agent market Saturday night having passed with no transactions from the town team.
Here is the reality: Failing a major shift (Nurse suddenly available, fracture between Hall and New Jersey) the next few days are going to be about the players we’ve discussed: Brett Connolly, Petr Mrazek, Brian Boyle, et cetera. There is value there and those men represent quality within the narrow confines of Edmonton’s budget. Phil Kessel was never coming here, and the price point (Nuge?) would have been severe enough to ruin your Canada Day weekend.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group, here’s an incredible Offer!
- New Lowetide: Oilers buy out Andrej Sekera, look to a more dynamic free-agent frenzy.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He comes as advertised’: Philip Broberg’s skating makes him development camp standout for Oilers
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers have a tough decision to make as the NHL buyout deadline looms
- Lowetide: Analyzing the free agent options Ken Holland may consider as he builds a bridge to the future
- Jonathan Willis: Brett Connolly could be a good fit for the Oilers at a reasonable price-point.
- Jonathan Willis: Five free-agent goalie options who might make sense for the Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: What we learned about the future of NHL at the 2019 Draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers plan to skew younger on defence could open the door for Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov
- Lowetide: Taking stock of Oilers prospects ready to graduate with a clear shot at an NHL job in 2019-20
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers keep two, cut five, and potentially add new targets as qualifying deadline passes
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Raphael Lavoie’s QMJHL coach is confident the Oilers’ No. 38 pick will prove worth the wait
- Jonathan Willis: Having added top KHL stopper Ilya Konovalov, how will the Oilers handle a crowded goalie pipeline?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland doesn’t lose sight of the big picture in drafting defenceman Philip Broberg over a forward
- Lowetide: The heat is on Ken Holland’s Oilers for Day 2 of the NHL Draft.
- Lowetide: Oilers Draft Day 1: Getting it right at No. 8 overall and multiple trade winds for Ken Holland.
- Willis and Mirtle: Are the Oilers and Maple Leafs good trading partners?
- Lowetide: Are these Jesse Puljujarvi’s final days with the Edmonton Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Analyzing the early Edmonton Oilers’ 2019-20 depth chart.
- Lowetide: The Oilers’ conundrum in taking Philip Broberg with the No. 8 overall pick
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ranking the Oilers’ trade assets from the high-priced diamonds to those needing fresh starts
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Evaluating the pros and cons of potential Oilers buyout candidates
- Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland is shopping for 20-goal scorers on a budget. What will he find?
TODAY AND TOMORROW
Ken Holland should be represented by the country classic “A Worried Mind” today because there’s a very narrow road to success and several balls to juggle at once. If he can nail the landing on free agency, Edmonton will have Brett Connolly, Petr Mrazek and Valteri Filppula. That’s a really good haul, depending on price point.
In order for us to carry on a rational conversation, we have to agree on some things. For instance, trading Nikita Zaitsev for Cody Ceci is not a trade to get upset about unless you cheer for Toronto or Ottawa. Fair?
Okay, here’s a reasonable expectation for the Oilers during free agency, and let’s be real some of these moves happen mid-July or later.
Goal: Mikko Koskinen, PETR MRAZEK
Left Defense: Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Andrej Sekera, Brandon Manning
Right Defense: Adam Larsson, Kris Russell, Matt Benning
Center: Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, BRIAN BOYLE, Colby Cave, Kyle Brodziak
Left Wing: Leon Draisaitl, DANIEL CARR, Jujhar Khaira, Milan Lucic
Right Wing: BRETT CONNOLLY, Zack Kassian, Joakim Nygard, Sam Gagner, Josh Currie.
Will it happen? If we use Andrej Sekera as the example, and ask Caleb Jones to replace him, Holland would have $2,280,000 new free-agent dollars. Matt Cane’s free agent list suggests Edmonton could buy Tyler Ennis, Val Filppula, Brian Boyle, Noel Acciari, Brandon Pirri, Ryan Carpenter. Are those names worth the pain of buyout punishment? The only opinion that matters is Holland’s and we wait.
FIXING A HOLE
If you’re still in shock re: How many free agents Edmonton isn’t talking to, allow me to introduce you to a novel idea. Ken Holland isn’t going to solve all of the roster problems in free agency, but he’s also avoiding an albatross contract for the next seven years. His job over the new couple of weeks is to find competition for roster spots.
Brett Connolly, should he sign with Edmonton, will become one of the top three options on right wing. Connolly, Zack Kassian and Sam Gagner would represent the veteran group holding on to a valuable roster spot (top-9 forward). Joakim Nygard, Jesse Puljujarvi (hopefully), Kailer Yamamoto and possibly Cooper Marody will be pushing. That’s the deal.
Daniel Carr, should he sign, would join Nygard, Tyler Benson and Joe Gambardella as possible options should Draisaitl, Lucic and Khaira falter.
Brian Boyle is there because Kyle Brodziak had a difficult season, Colby Cave may not be fast enough and Ryan McLeod is too far away.
Ken Holland, it seems to me, is making Connolly and another goaltender a priority. He might have to buy out someone to add Boyle.
I think the prospects we should be paying most attention to in training camp are Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody, Kailer Yamamoto, Evan Bouchard, Caleb Jones, Joel Persson. Joe Gambardella, Josh Currie and Patrick Russell are also in photo.
Toronto trading for Cody Ceci is fascinating, one of the truly unusual transactions I’ve seen in some time. Kyle Dubas does smart things, not all of the time, but very often. Why did he value Ceci? I do know the Oilers valued him in the past, and wonder if there’s another trade coming.