Crazy thought isn’t is? I have to tell you, this has been rattling around in my head since the day Jones was drafted by the Nashville Predators. His size, speed, skill and great statistics have quickly pushed him to be one of the top young defenders in the NHL; He’s only 20 years old to boot.
The truth is that I don’t believe the Oilers are done. I really don’t.
For those who don’t know, I am also a writer at the website Copper ‘n Blue. On July 1st, I pointed out in a Copper ‘n Blue article that the Oilers have nine defenceman who can play at the NHL level next year, and that isn’t including Brandon Davidson who just signed a one year deal this morning.
|Name||Age||Years remaining||Cap Hit|
|Andrej Sekera||29||6||$5.5 mil|
|Nikita Nikitin||29||1||$4.5 mil|
|Mark Fayne||28||3||$3.625 mil|
|Andrew Ference||36||2||$3.25 mil|
|Eric Gryba||27||1||$1.25 mil|
|Oscar Klefbom||21||1||$894 166|
|Darnell Nurse||20||3||$863 333|
|Griffin Rienhart||21||2||$863 333|
Looking at the big picture, almost any of these guys could make the roster. However, I think the most logical lineup would be:
Sekera – Fayne
Schultz – Klefbom
Ference – Gryba/Nikitin/Nurse
Not bad. The defence is improved over last season, but that comes with adding a guy like Sekera, and providing more depth with Gryba.
Does this defence help push us to the playoffs? It’s questionable. That is why I still believe that the Oilers are not finished. With the 48-hour buyout window opening Saturday, the Oilers have a chance to use a buyout on a player like Nikitin.
This would allow for the opportunity to arise for a trade possibility with another team. Many have suggested Brent Seabrook as the likely target for a trade-and-sign, and I would be very okay with that. However, I would almost prefer to pay a similar value to acquire a player like Seth Jones.
Again, I am totally spitballing here but would Leon Draisaitl and next years first get the deal done? Maybe even throw in a prospect like Pakarinen, Platzer or Musil to sweeten the deal?
Jones would be able to step into Edmonton and have an immediate impact. I spoke with Preds blogger Mark Harris who had this to say about Jones:
He’s going to be a superstar no question. Gotta realize he’s also yet to have played with a steady partner his whole NHL career… He played next to Ellis/Ekholm rookie year, Volchenkov/Bartley last year and now he’ll be with Jackman.
At 20 years old, Jones does some very special things for a young defenceman. Last season, he put up a 53 CF%, playing 20+ minutes a night, scoring at a 1.1 P/60 rate. He would come into Edmonton and would likely slide right into the top pairing besides Sekera, or on the second pairing to provide a little balance to the defensive corps. Like Mark said, there is no denying the fact Jones will be a superstar in this league for years to come.
At the end of next season, Jones is an RFA and will be due for a big payday. I would imagine he would be able to be had for a deal similar to the one signed for Dougie Hamilton (6-year, $5.75 AAV). It goes back to what happened this past off-season with the threat of the offer sheet from opposing teams. Hamilton was the hottest commodity on the market and Boston felt threatened enough from teams like Edmonton to move him prior to a offer sheets coming in.
Boston eventually traded Hamilton to Calgary for a first and two seconds. It was rumoured that Edmonton was in the middle of the race to acquire Hamilton, but it was said that Nurse needed to be apart of the deal and that was enough for Edmonton to back out of the deal. Could next season be another one like we saw this year when big name RFA’s like Brandon Saad, Dougie Hamilton and Martin Jones get moved due to the threat? At the same time, Nashville isn’t up against the cap like Chicago or Boston so they could potentially be in a position to match an offer sheet next season.
None the less, I still believe the Oilers have more work to be done.