The Edmonton Oilers have one, count it, ONE right-handed defenseman under contract going into this summer and the trade options are becoming fewer and fewer as we get closer to the draft. Justin Faulk and Tyson Barrie have been pulled off of the shelf, Travis Hamonic wants to stay in Brooklyn now, Sami Vatanen just signed a new deal with Anaheim that makes him the highest paid blueliner on their team. So what are the Oilers left with?
DO NOT TOUCH WITH CHARA’S STICK
- Dan Girardi (NYR) – Bad contract and the arrow are pointing south.
- Cody Franson (BUF) – What happened to this guy? Looked to be developing into something of a beast.
- Tom Gilbert (MTL) – Need I explain why?
- Dennis Wideman (CGY) – The refs have been pretty inconsistent in Oilers games… Better not though.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
- Jason Demers – 6’1″ 200lb – He’s the best of the bunch and will be no.1 UFA target on a lot of lists. Would you pay north of $5M per year for this two-way defender?
- Luke Schenn – 6’2″ 230lb – Would offer a definite physical element and his age is preferable but his skating and mobility isn’t.
- Zach Redmond – 6’2″ 205lb – Redmond is climbing the ranks on UFA lists everywhere. He seems to be a lesser version of Demers. Could possibly fill a third pairing role well.
- Roman Polak – 6’0″ 230lb – Nooooo. Unless Nurse needs a sparring partner. Completely exposed in the Finals by Pittsburgh’s speed and relentless forechecking.
- Dan Boyle – 5’11” 194lb – At 40 years old, is this the kind of player the Oilers should be targeting? I can’t see it.
- Brian Campbell – 5’10” 192lb – He’s three years younger than Boyle but I’m not sure if he’d like to spend his twilight years playing in Edmonton. I’ve read Chicago and Florida are his preferred destinations. I don’t blame him either.
- Tyson Barrie (COL) – A top point producing dman with an edge.
- Hampus Lindholm (ANH) – Tracking to be a top pairing dman.
- Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF) – Incredible size and offense. Bad possession numbers.
- Radko Gudas (PHI) – A freight train on ice. Can play over the line but has some offense.
- Jacob Trouba (WPG) – Mean MF’er. Has trailed off since being stuck behind Big Buff and Tyler Myers.
- Connor Murphy (ARI) – Quiet and effective two-way defender.
- Seth Jones (CLB) – Smooth skater whose offense is a tad better than his defense at this point.
I don’t go into what each brings to the rink because you’re already aware of that but players like Barrie, Lindholm, Ristolainen, Jones, and Trouba would need to be signed in the $7M plus per year range in order to have a chance and at that point the compensation would be a 1st, 2nd, and a 3rd round pick. For a team whose pipeline isn’t a point of pride, I’m not sure if the offer sheet route is the best way to go.
With that being said, Radko Gudas intrigues me a lot and Philly has some nice pieces coming up through their system, most notably, Ivan Provorov. Sam Morin is towering beast of a dman and Travis Sanheim is another. I do wonder if a deal could be made here with the Flyers to acquire Gudas’ rights.
LITTLE KNOWN TRADE TARGETS
- Josh Manson (ANH) – Dave’s son is a bit better technically than him but I don’t think he’ll even be starring in the NHL’s Hardest Shot Competition anyday. Not that it isn’t hard, I just don’t think offense is his game. Shut down defense is where he carves his niche.
- Dougie Hamilton (CGY) – Think Calgary would move him to get to no.4?
- Matt Dumba (MIN) – I can’t see him being worth the price. He looked lost at the World’s.
- Anton Stralman (TB) – Would Tampa be willing to move Stralman for cap flexibility in order to be able to sign Hedman, Kucherov, Johnson, etc?
- Kevin Bieksa (ANH) – If the Ducks do sign Hampus Lindholm, that defense is going to be very expensive. Might they be willing to eat some salary to rid themselves of Bieksa?
What do you think? What route would you like to see the Oilers take? Let me know in the comments below!