Much of our time is spent debating whether we can trade Eberle, RNH or Yakupov to get that defenseman we all covet, and I do that myself. But, out of curiosity, I thought I’d take a look at what the organization depth chart actually has for pieces, and where our depth is to draft from in a trade. Just to be completely absurd, I’ve drafted another article where I completely contradict myself and deal both Eberle and RNH, with the justification I acquired veteran replacements.
Ok, so we have for next season the following players:
Left wingers: Taylor Hall, Benoit Pouliot, Lauri Korpikoski, Matt Hencricks
Right wingers: Jordan Eberle, Teddy Purcell (UFA), Nail Yakupov, Zack Kassian, (RFA) Iiro Pakarinen (RFA)
Centers: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisatl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mark Letestu, Anton Lander
Left Defense: Andrej Sekera, Darnell Nurse, Brandon Davidson (RFA), Andrew Ference, Oscar Klefbom
Right Defense: Justin Schultz (RFA), Mark Fayne, Eric Gryba (UFA), Adam Clendening (RFA)
Goaltending: Cam Talbot, Laurent Brossoit (RFA), Anders Nilsson (RFA)
Goal: Laurent Brossoit, Eetu Laurikainen, Zach Nagelvoort
Right Wing: Tyler Pitlick
Left Wing: Anton Slepyshev, Jujhar Khaira, Danill Zharkov, Mitchell Moroz
Center: Bodgan Yakimov, Kyle Platzer, Greg Chase, Tyler Vesel
Left Defense: Griffin Reinhart, Dillon Simpson, Martin Gernat, David Musil, Joey LaLeggia, Jordan Oesterle, William Lagesson, Caleb Jones
Right Defense: Ethan Bear
Of that group, the top prospects are: Slepyshev (7.5), Khaira (7.0), Zharkov (7.0), Reinhart (8.0). Simpson (7.0), Gernat (7.0 – RFA), Musil (7.0 – RFA), Bear (7.0).
In short, 3 LW, 4 LHD, and one RHD.
Now, assuming the Oilers were to let their UFAs go and qualify their RFAs, and we just consider the top-tier of prospects, this is the organizational depth:
Left Wing: Taylor Hall, Beniot Pouliot, Lauri Korpikoski, Matt Hendricks, Anton Slepyshev, Jujhar Khaira, Danill Zharkov
Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Zack Kassian, Iiro Pakarinen
Center: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisatl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mark Letestu, Anton Lander
Left Defense: Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Dillion Simpson, Martin Gernat, David Musil
Right Defense: Justin Schultz, Mark Fayne, Adam Clendening, Ethan Bear
Goaltending: Cam Talbot, Laurent Brossoit, Anders Nilsson.
So, that’s the organizational depth chart including all prospects considered “NHL Caliber”. What jumps out: There’s a lot of talent down the left, and there’s a brutal lack of it down the right and not a whole lot down the middle.
If the Oilers are going to do any deals, it’s to improve their right side defense and right wing at both the NHL level and the minor league system, or organizational depth at C and G, and the options they have to do that are drawing from their left-side depth. As much as we all discuss dealing Eberle, Yakupov or RNH, those areas are major team weak spots, and would require replacements coming back in a deal.
At this point, the logical place to draw from is the prospect pool at LW and LHD in exchange for veterans on the Right side. This something teams like Chicago have been traditionally very good at doing, swapping prospects for prospects that better fit their team. Now we wait and see how good Chiarelli is at it.