Take a look at this list of defensemen in the Edmonton Oilers system and let me know if you see a problem. And just as a preface for the rest of this post, it’s a tad jumpy. So bear with me and I think you’ll get the point at the end.
|LEFT HANDED SHOOTERS||RIGHT HANDED SHOOTERS|
|Andrej Sekera||Justin Schultz (RFA)|
|Oscar Klefbom||Mark Fayne|
|Darnell Nurse||Eric Gryba (UFA)|
|Brandon Davidson (RFA)||Adam Clendenning (RFA)|
|Andrew Ference (IR)||Ethan Bear (Junior)|
|Griffin Reinhart||John Marino (NCAA)|
|Nikita Nikitin (UFA)|
|David Musil (RFA)|
|Jordan Oesterle (RFA)|
|Martin Gernat (RFA)|
|William Lagesson (unsigned)|
|Caleb Jones (unsigned)|
|Ziyat Paigin (unsigned)|
Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed someone in that list but it looks like Peter Chiarelli definitely has his hands full here. He needs to thin this pack out, upgrade it and try to create some balance.
Surely Jultz will be gone by the end of next week and if someone is desperate enough, they just might make a deal for Gryba but I can’t see it. I see him getting re-signed. From what I’m hearing, Gryba is part of the glue of the room. The players look up to him and he looks out for them. Just as Matt Hendricks does for the forwards. I’m in favour of keeping these kinds of players and he’s had a brilliant season to date. Unlucky to have been injured this late in the season but if there’s a team out there that wants that reliable muscle for the playoff run, he’s a pretty good candidate and the Oilers could always re-visit him this summer and see what he’s looking for.
I’m skeptical that Clendenning gets another deal and is allowed to walk and if someone is willing to take a flyer on Nikitin next week. It’s been a blast Nikki. Not really. Mark Fayne could be a rightie that gets moved if there’s a team out there that has cap room and wants the insurance on the back-end.
So that would put the right side at Fayne or Gryba, Fayne and Gryba or neither of them, leaving Mr.Chiarelli a hole or holes to fill. Maybe.
As for the left side, I think that is locked down for the foreseeable future with Sekera, Klefbom, Nurse, Davidson, and Reinhart sitting pretty there. But therein lies another problem. Too many lefties. PC has to move some bodies here. Of course Sekera can move to the right side but then where do you have room to upgrade? You don’t unless you’re willing to move someone.
I wonder if PC will cut bait on Griffin Reinhart. He was supposed to be a full-time NHLer this year and hasn’t been able to hold down a place. That being said, he’s had as many good games as Justin Schultz this year. But would it be so bad if it took him a season more in the minors before he made the switch to pro? With all the lefties competing for a spot, one would have to think that there’s definitely room to have him marinate in Bakersfield for another year. Maybe send him to the gentleman that helped Leon Draisaitl’s skating last summer.
Do you think Chiarelli would move Klefbom in a deal for Hamonic? Or in a deal where the odds are a million to one, could Nurse be sent to Montreal for Subban? What about St.Louis? Would the Blues want a defender back in a deal for Shattenkirk?
Brandon Davidson has been a revelation for the Oilers this season and is one of the only players on the team that was gifted the time in the minors to develop properly. Funny how things work out when you don’t take shortcuts, isn’t it? I’d like to keep him as he looks to be the kind of guy that calms things down for his partner. He’s still a young guy though, so I wouldn’t exactly start pairing him with Nurse or any other rookies just yet. So hopefully PC gets this guy locked up right quick!
I think ideally you could see the defense going into the 2016-17 season tlooking something like this:
Klefbom – New Guy
Nurse – Sekera
Davidson – Fayne
But what if it looked like this?
Nurse – Hamonic/Shattenkirk
Sekera – Vatanen/Demers
Davidson – Gryba
So you’ve moved out Klefbom and Fayne and added Hamonic/Shattenkirk/Vatanen/Demers. Is this a defensive grouping that gets you closer to the playoffs? Closer than the previous group above? I’d have to say yes. Now, I’m not saying the Oilers would deal Fayne for Vatanen. That’s mad. Work out the deals yourself. I’m just throwing names out there that we’ve discussed previously.
Would the latter group be too heavy on the cap? S-kirk is definitely going to be looking for north of $6M per, Vatanen I would think might be looking for Klefbom numbers and Hamonic is already on a pretty sexy deal ($3.8M for the next five years). Demers is a tough call. He’s getting $3.4M now, so let’s say he seeks upwards of $5M per.
Would you be happy with a loading up of higher priced dmen at the sacrifice of skill up front? It’d probably cost an Eberle, Nuge, and/or Hall to get it done. Go the Nashville route?