Just like that another Oilers season has come and gone. As I mentioned out on Twitter, this season wasn’t quite as bad as you may think. The truth is that the Oilers were ravished by injuries this year. It is now beyond the point of it being an excuse and being a legitimate reason. For an Oilers team that has lacked depth it was devastating to be the fourth most injured team in the league. On top of that, the Oilers faced the second greatest cumulative impact of injured forwards or defensemen. (Man Games Lost)
2014 – 2015 #Oilers: 24-44-14, 62 pts. -85 Goal Dif.
2015 – 2016 #Oilers: 31-43-8, 70 pts. -42 Goal Dif.
— zach laing (@Loweded) April 10, 2016
On to the draft
As we look ahead into the offseason it’s apparent Peter Chiarelli will have his hands full.
LeBrun: “I don’t think there’ll be a busier GM, at least if he has his way, than Peter Chiarelli in the entire league.” #Oilers
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) April 11, 2016
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) April 11, 2016
Uh.. Yeah. Some work clearly needs to be done. What will happen? Well I think that is largely imperative on where we are selecting in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
Right now, this is the way I look at it:
If the Oilers select first overall, the team could select Auston Matthews and the entire NHL will continue to hate Edmonton all while fully believing the lottery is rigged. I would be okay with that. Seriously. It gives the team another elite level offensive player who will be on an ELC. That would allow us the opportunity to be a little more flexible with trade options for a defenceman.
While I honestly don’t want to see Hall, RNH or Eberle get moved, I don’t think it is realistic for the Oilers to acquire the help needed to shore up the back end.
If the Oilers were to select second overall, the team could select Patrik Laine. That would open up the ability to move Jordan Eberle and have a replacement ready to slide in the top six/nine. Laine is a force, and is going to be a dominant player in the NHL. BLH had a great write up on Laine yesterday, showing the comparisons to Mario Lemieux.
If the Oilers were to select third overall, I could see the Oilers selecting Jesse Puljujarvi. Like Laine, I feel that he is a player that would be able to step into the lineup and into a top six/nine role. Kosmic actually did a write up the other day on Puljujarvi, and like BLH’s I would recommend giving it a read over.
Both Finn’s have been playing against men and dominating overseas. It is also apparent both players don’t shy away from the physical side of the game. With both being over 6’3 and over 200 lbs their size along with their skill is exactly what Chiarelli is looking for.
At fourth and fifth overall, the Oilers are left with a tougher choice. If we had these picks, it would certainly be a bit easier to trade them away as you likely wouldn’t have a shot at Matthews, Laine or Puljujarvi. However, that should take away from the fact that there are some real impact players the Oilers could select. My favourites at four or five are: Olli Juolevi, Matthew Tkachuk, Pierre Luc-Dubois and Jacob Chychrun.
On to Free Agency
Yesterday, Lowetide posted a great and had this little clip in there about a “crazy” offseason for Peter Chiarelli.
Here’s what he figured:
Okay, well LT has certainly hit the head on all six of those being the key needs of the Edmonton Oilers and outside of the Subban move I could see almost all of these being reasonable options for the Oilers. (I just don’t actually think the Habs will trade Subban. If they do, you bet that Chiarelli and co. would be calling relentlessly) I think if we reel it in a little bit we see that it actually isn’t too crazy after all.
I do feel that a solid option for the Oilers in free agency would be Stars D Jason Demers. He comes in at 6’1 200lbs, and is right shot who has played his whole career in the West. Not just in the Western Conference, but in Todd McLellan’s system for six years.
His 5v5 point production (0.8 P/60) since he played his first NHL season in 2009 shows that he would be the Oilers most offensively consistent defender the team had in that time. At the same time, his ability to quarterback a powerplay would be a much needed addition. It’s clear that Demers would be able to step in and play on the Oilers second pairing, but that still leaves a hole to be filled on the top pairing.
I see the Oilers acquiring two defencemen in the offseason. One through trade, and one (hopefully Demers) in free agency.
Trade options include guys like: Sami Vatanen, Tyson Barrie and Travis Hamonic. I’m not sure if any of those three are top pairing guys right now, but I feel like they are three of the most realistic options on the market for the Oilers right now.
Back to LT’s list, Troy Brouwer would be a great addition to the team as would a guy like Milan Lucic. Brouwer would more likely be a third line winger for us, while Lucic would certainly find a spot in the top six. I don’t know how realistic Lucic is given the fact that LA wants to resign him.
A few more forwards I would target: Steven Stamkos, David Backes, Frans Nielsen, Kris Versteeg.
A perfect offseason for me? Well, the one LT listed above is pretty much spot on.
Sounds like front runners for Frozen Four MOP Drake Caggiula are (in no order): CHI, EDM, PHI, VAN and OTT. I think BUF is in the mix, too.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) April 12, 2016
Interesting to hear. Caggiula is a 5’10, 185 lb LS D who scored 127 points in 162 NCAA games and was just named this year’s NCAA Frozen Four MVP after leading UND to a national title. Chiarelli has been active in the NCAA free agent market, already signing Joey Benik and Nick Ellis to contracts. Let’s see where this goes..
All in all, the Oilers are going to have some big decisions to make this offseason. What do you think the Oilers need to be focused on this season? Drop a comment below, tweet obscenities at me, or fire me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).