There are some major players going to unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2017/18 season and I reckon Peter Chiarelli is going to push hard to add a significant player or three at next season.
See, at the moment, the Oilers have as few as 12 roster spots or as many as 18 remaining under the 50-man limit depending on the RFA’s they sign. If you’d like to read more on who’s left to sign and of those players, who the Oilers will/should be signing, visit Lowetide’s post here.
The image below is from said post of Lowetide’s.
The trend at the moment is to pay your important players the big bucks and surround them with cheaper and efficient players out of the AHL or NCAA. I think the Penguins and Blackhawks are obvious models for this.
So Spencer Foo is on the Oilers radar and he’s exactly the kind of player I’m talking about. They Oilers have already signed Joe Gambardella, Nick Ellis, Drake Caggiula, Patrick Russell, and have to re-sign Joey Laleggia. I might be missing someone but I can’t recall right now.
Oh! Jordan Oesterle is another that would be a good candidate for re-signing with Edmonton. Boy can skate and move the puck! I’m hoping he puts on a few more pounds of muscle and comes back next year.
Of the players mentioned above, only Russell wouldn’t really have a chance at playing some NHL hockey next season.
Chiarelli is going to give his roster a chance to show what they can do and make moves accordingly. I’d be willing to bet there are already trades in place as contingency plans if things start on a sour note in 2017/18.
Yes, there are players that Chiarelli will need to send away in order to enact this plan of adding some major names next year. Pouliot and Fayne are for sure and then possibly Nugent-Hopkins and/or Jordan Eberle.
I reckon Ebs is going to bounce back not because the narrative sounds nice (like the one in the playoffs about McDavid “having” to show up because it’s about time) but because he has to, unless he wants to be the next Justin Schultz…
I have a hard time believing the Oilers will get a fair fare for Benoit Pouliot but I don’t think they need to necessarily move him right away either. He’s a player that can float throughout the lineup and I like his play on the PK. I imagine someone will take him at some point though, probably with the Oilers retaining salary.
Mark Fayne… Has to be moved because he’s not an NHL defenseman anymore but therein lies the problem… He’s not an NHL-caliber defenseman anymore and when McLellan chose Reinhart over him in the playoffs, that was set in stone.
- Speaking of Stone, Mike Stone is a player that may pop up in FA rumors related to the Oilers this summer. I know the Oilers were keeping an eye on him all year and even going back to the season previous.
- Other rumored players: Justin Faulk and Tyson Barrie will most likely be linked to Edmonton again.
But with the cap possibly going up to $77M, one or two of those names above might make it easier for the Oilers to hold onto them.
So going back to the beginning of this post, the Oilers adding notable players to the roster next season in an effort to go “all out”. If these 2018 UFAs aren’t re-signed and their teams are heading for the golf course instead of the playoffs, they could be targets of the Oilers this season.
If these 2018 UFAs aren’t re-signed and their teams are heading for the golf course instead of the playoffs, they could be targets of the Oilers this season.
- Zdeno Chara, LHD ($4M) – Has a history with Chia Pete and is still a monster. If he’s on the back end next season, Getzlaf, Perry, Ritchie, Thornton, Pavelski, and whoever else thinks they’ll take liberties with the Oilers, won’t be. Don’t forget about that shot either… Lastly, if I’m not mistaken, did Big Z partner up with Sekera at the World Cup last summer?
- Mike Green, RHD ($6M) – Here’s a player with playoff pedigree from his days with the Caps. Has struggled to score in his more recent post-seasons though. A nice veteran powerplay option though.
- Paul Stastny, LHC ($7M) – Quite a good faceoff man (55.7% in 2016/17) and scores in the playoffs (35 pts in 55gp). Health might be a problem though.
- Evander Kane, LW ($5.25M) – Character deficiencies aside, this is a one-year deal only. He hits, he shoots, he skates like the wind, and he doesn’t take shit from anybody. Buffalo wants to get rid of him too…
- Antoine Roussel – LW ($2.4M) – A move for the French Esa Tikkanen would obviously be predicated on the Oilers getting rid of Pouliot but isn’t Roussel the kind of guy Edmonton could use for a playoff run? He will not fill the net with points but he will drive the opposition nuts. I mean, did you see what Kadri did to the Caps? These are players that take their opponents attention off of the game at hand and on to them.
I’d much rather have a 40-year-old Zdeno Chara than Kris Russell if we’re being honest here and the money would be the same (approximately).
So you go into the playoffs (hopefully) with a roster that looks something like this:
You could swap Chara and Sekera and replace Chara with Mike Green if you prefer. Also, if you’re not into Roussel, move pouliot down to 4th line and Maroon to the 3rd line, then toss Evander Kane on the 1st line with McDavid. I imagine Stastny only comes in if one of Eberle or RNH is moved.
I also wonder if Slepyshev gets moved to another team in this push for the Cup…
I do think if Ethan Bear makes a good impression down in the AHL that he could get a look-see up in Edmonton. With Sekera being out, that might make it more likely.
I really wanted to say the Sedin Twins here and there’s a previous working relationship between Jim Benning and Peter Chiarelli going back to their days in Boston but I just don’t know if the Oilers have the pieces to acquire them nor do I think the Canucks want to be facing them over and over if they chose to re-sign in Edmonton. I mean it’d be rad if they though did, right?
Would you send Nugent-Hopkins, Caleb Jones, and Tyler Benson over to Vancouver for them?
Weird, the more I think about it, the more I can be convinced that Edmonton might actually be a fit for them. Not the best fit mind you but if they were to re-sign at a reasonable price, is there a better team for them to win a Cup with in the next 5 years than the Oilers? There’s already a strong Swedish presence on the team too. Would that make it easier to waive the no-trade clauses?
I know, they’re both 36 years old and their production is going down (I imagine that has more to do with Vancouver being a poor team) but I’ve heard some analysts say the twins could play into their 40s if they wanted…
The Wishful Thinking Playoff Roster:
take away RNH/Eberle/Russell
I blame EA Sports and NHL hockey sim games for granting me the power to make up fictional rosters like this… I’m feeling a little bit of shame at this point.