If you include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the conversation, the Edmonton Oilers signed four men to long-term (3+ seasons) over the last month. Joining 93 are Zach Hyman, Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci. In recent days, we’ve talked about the number of roster spots still available on the 50-man list. I expect we’re going to see a bunch of quick signings in the next couple of days, most under $1 million dollars. Here’s my list of candidates.
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CURRENT 50-MAN LIST (41)
The NHL and AHL teams normally have five goalies, 15+ defensemen and 24+ forwards. Edmonton currently has six goalies, 14 defensemen and 21 forwards, so we should see some forwards added in the days to come.
There are several AHL only contracts who will play in Bakersfield this season; defensemen Vincent Desharnais, Yanni Kaldis and forwards Brad Malone, Adam Cracknell, Devin Brosseau, Luke Esposito, James Hamblin, Matteo Gennaro and Dino Kambeitz. That’s two defensemen and seven (!!!) forwards who will be in the mix at Bakersfield’s camp.
- LW Tomas Tatar. I feel like Liam Neeson because the last two days have basically been spent screaming ‘quickly there’s no time!’ to anyone who will listen. This is insane value at this point. This is day three of free agency and he’s a proven 2.00 per 60 five on five scorer. Is he hurt? What’s going on?
- LD Ryan Murray. They can’t afford him, but Murray would be a great addition and first-rate partner for Evan Bouchard in his first full season. Also gives Tippett a legit pairing to move in front of Keith-Ceci if it comes to that kind of drastic action.
- LD Zdeno Chara. He’s not coming to Edmonton. I don’t care. He makes my list.
- LD Slater Koekkoek. He had a tough year but I’m a fan of this player. If they sign Koekkoek today, I’ll be pleased. His numbers heading into last season were solid, 18 games with Edmonton won’t change that for me. Tippett can’t use him too high up the depth chart this time.
- RW Alex Chiasson. It would depend on price, but I can see him returning to the Oilers. Edmonton qualified Cooper Marody and it may have indicated genuine interest in seeing him play in the NHL, but Chiasson is a veteran who scored 22 goals with the Oilers a couple of years ago. Hyman’s addition means the power-play minutes are gone, however.
- LD Jordie Benn. He won’t cost much and his numbers last year were surprisingly good. As a No. 7D, I think it’s worth contemplating.
- LW Ryan Donato. He’s got plenty of skill, but wouldn’t fit on a Tippett fourth line and there’s nowhere else to play him. If the club can find a way, he won’t cost much and can post offense.
- LW Evgeni Svechnikov. He’s a former DRW pick (high first round in 2015) who showed signs of being a scorer and was then derailed by injury. I imagine Holland will try to get him, could be inexpensive scoring if things work out.
- LW Michael Dal Colle. Another Svechnikov. Slats was great for this game, because he’d bring in one failed first rounder a summer. Miss those days.
OILERS V. LOWETIDE AT THE DRAFTS
I’m staggering these for some reason, the 2015 and 2021 editions ran a few days ago. Here’s 2016.
This draft is heading my way and we’re far enough beyond draft day to make the call. The scouts hammered me senseless in 2015, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but the Debrincat pick is (so far) the best on both lists. I still believe in Puljujarvi, so the race isn’t over yet. I believe he’s a giant Jere Lehtinen, that would represent a golden perfect fit for the Oilers. Here’s 2017.
I think this is a pretty even draft, Edmonton has a slight lead but Tolvanen looks like he’ll be a player. Not much doubt in my mind that the Oilers scouts will win eventually, Samorukov is going to have a career and that will tip the balance.