Yesterday the hockey gods pulled one out of their back pocket for the Edmonton Oilers and somehow tricked the Columbus Blue Jackets into taking Pierre Luc Dubois over Jesse Puljujarvi. The Oilers were so taken aback that they didn’t even prepare a nameplate for the grinning Finn. Immediately Oilers fans started sending their goodbyes to Jordan Eberle and to a lesser extent, Nail Yakupov. But I think we need to step back and take a look at this roster before we punt those two out of town.
AN AMAZING TOP NINE
Pouliot – McDavid – Eberle
Hall – Draisaitl – Yakupov
Maroon – Nugent-Hopkins – Puljujarvi
WHAT?! That’s ridiculous…
Ideally you’re not going to want to put Puljujarvi on a line with two younger players, right? You’d keep Eberle with McDavid and Pouliot because that line had some success. Hall and Draisaitl came on like gangbusters last year but tailed off but having Yak on that line would add a different element; and then you have Puljujarvi lining up alongside Pat Maroon and Nugent-Hopkins thus insulating him a bit.
THE OILERS SPECIAL TEAMS
IF everything pans out the Edmonton Oilers finally have a right-handed winger who can actually one-time the puck. That is going to be a huge asset on their power-play as Jordan Eberle does not have said one-timer, actually you can probably give it at least two Mississippis before he releases the puck. Puljujarvi changes the complection of the power-play units in such an amazing way.
As for the penalty kill, Pulju has the speed and hockey IQ to be an asset there as well but I don’t expect him to see him there next year unless to give the regular penalty killers a rest.
SOMEBODY HAS TO GO
Well this is the pink elephant in the room isn’t it. We’re all expecting Yakupov to go but what if they kept the Russian and played him alongside McDavid for the year, then dealt him off? His cap hit is reasonable and there’s still tons of potential there for him to put 20 goals up easily.
But maybe the Oilers should hold on to Eberle, that would give the Oilers two ELITE right-handed snipers and that is something not a lot of teams could boast in having.
DRAFT DAY TWO MOVES
The problem is that the Oilers still need to get that upgrade on defence. As far as I know, today should be the day that Yak is actually moved but he might not be the only one. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seems to be the name being tossed about in trade rumours and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli was in fact seen talking to Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher on the draft floor yesterday leading some to speculate that the Oilers are looking at one of their young dmen.
Jared Spurgeon is the guy that the Oilers could be looking at. He’s one of the best puck movers in the NHL and of course he’s a local boy. I’ll be honest though, I’m not sure how much Chiarelli buys into the local boy stuff but my theory will be tested today as Vancouver Giants captain Tyler Benson is still available and lots of Oilers pundits are expecting his name to be called by the Oilers in the 2nd round.
Edmonton could also be looking at Jonas Brodin, a good friend of current Oilers blueliner Oscar Klefbom. He can play the right side even though he shoots left, so if he’s actually acquired by Edmonton I’ll be under the impression that other deals for a right-handed defenseman broke down.
Then there’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ former teammate, Matt Dumba. He’s the highest risk/reward of the three. He’s a big time hitter (ask NHL MVP Pat Kane) and he’s got a cannon of a right shot but he’s very unpredictable and I’m not sure that’d be something Todd McLellan would be interested in. I watched him at the World Championships and he looked lost. So there’s that…
Any way you cut it, the Oilers won the draft lottery again. They got one of the Finns they were coveting and the Oilogosphere is a sane place to be in again.