A week ago, Edmonton’s shopping list was clear. The assumptions, including Nuge and Adam Larsson back in-house, involved a left-wing for Connor McDavid’s line, a replacement for Mikko Koskinen (who would be traded), a No. 3 center and a small upgrade on No. 3 LHD.
Things have changed. We’re now looking at the same goalie combination as one year ago, a No. 3 center, Zach Hyman and a RH defender for Duncan Keith. If there’s extra walking around money, maybe you bring in a shutdown LH blue to play with Evan Bouchard on the third pair and to push Kris Russell down the lineup. What would that look like?
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here’s the latest!
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects, summer 2021
- DNB: Oilers draft day notebook
- DNB: Oilers come under the microscope after passing on Jesper Wallstedt
- Jonathan Willis: Zach Hyman, by the numbers
- Lowetide: If the UFA market fails, can the Oilers find their 3rd-line centre internally?
- New DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason
- New DNB: The Oilers must act fast to address their hole on defence
- DNB: Replacing Adam Larsson
- Lowetide: 5 players outside the NHL who could help the Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Duncan Keith, by the numbers
- DNB: How Ken Holland’s overpay for Duncan Keith limits the Oilers’ offseason options
- Lowetide: 10 free agents for the Oilers to target this offseason
- Jonathan Willis: Yes or no? Have your say on 10 hypothetical Oilers trades
- Lowetide: Oilers 2021-22 roster projection, including trade and free agent targets
- DNB: How do Oilers fans feel about their team’s 2020-21 season?
- DNB: Five offseason scenarios that could upend the Oilers’ best-laid plans
- Lowetide: Why Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard is poised to exceed expectations
- Lowetide: The 7 Oilers roster spots GM Ken Holland must improve this offseason
POSSIBLE OILERS ROSTER
There’s $600,000 unspent and Oscar Klefbom is on LTIR, Neal bought out. Oilers are replacing Larsson with Murray, Bear with Vatanen and Barrie with Bear on defense, while kicking the goalie replacement can down the road to the deadline. It’s a reasonable change in course, and allows the goalies in Bakersfield to surprise and solve a problem like Bear did in 2019 and Yamamoto did in 2020.
Recall options are Ilya Konovalov and Stuart Skinner (goalie), Dmitri Samorukov and Philip Broberg (LHD and RHD), Dylan Holloway (left wing and center) and Kyle Turris on right wing.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
Let’s say for argument’s sake the Oilers need $15 million in order to add four men (my examples above are Hyman, Getzlaf, Murray and Vatanen) to the heart of the team. There are tweaks available to close the gap (about $5 million), including a James Neal buyout (the path I chose) or trade, plus a Mikko Koskinen buyout or trade.
The trade route is going to require a sweetener, the Koskinen buyout makes no sense at all. The rumours running around town currently are fairly wild and include a complete turnover of the right side of the defense (only Evan Bouchard returning).
Pierre Lebrun has Edmonton interested in Darcy Kuemper, but the Koskinen contract needs to be offloaded first and that’s going to take a sweetener. Holland needs a sweetener and the media is telling you what is being contemplated. I’ve seen all kinds of rage directed at media members for mentioning specific names, but that’s them telling you what they’re hearing.
The Oilers are turning over a bunch of this roster in an effort to add experience and to improve overall quality and depth. I don’t believe trading any of the young players on the roster currently (Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Bear, McLeod) is a good idea, as those represent both the future and the bulk of the value deals. This is about to get interesting.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we have a plan for the Lowdown on TSN1260 but I have a sense the news of the morning will carry the conversation of the day. Tyler Yarmechuk will join us at 10:20 to talk about what may come/has happened and we’ll talk Packers/Rodgers if time permits. The next three days are going to be Lowdown on speed, stay tuned! 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.