On this Free Agent’s Day Eve I’d like to talk about some rumblings going on in the Oilogosphere. Potential free agents we haven’t talked about, trade rumours making their way across the Twitter machine, buy outs, and fan reaction to the Taylor Hall trade including my own.
POSSIBLE FREE AGENT ADDITIONS
Stauffer started off the show today talking about the Oilers taking on a “reclamation project” in free agency. A player that was a former 1st rounder with ties to Peter Chiarelli that can play the right-wing and can kick in some offence. Who might that man be?
Peter Chiarelli traded two 2nd round picks back in March of 2015 for Brett Connolly. At the time Chiarelli had this to say about the former Prince George Cougar:
“He’s a straight-line player but he makes plays and he can really shoot the puck,”
Connolly’s flashy junior/AHL game has never really translated to the NHL but he’s found a niche in the middle six role and if the Oilers are to move off of Jordan Eberle, not that Connolly would replace Eberle, or Nail Yakupov; I think that would make sense. The other thing is, he’s a natural righty.
Another player that has just landed on the free agent market due to being bought out and would definitely have a place on the Oilers is defenseman James Wisniewski.
After only playing just under 1 game for the ‘Canes, the Carolina Hurricanes are buying Wisniewski out of the final year of his deal worth $5.5M.
He’s not had the most health-consistent career to date with the most games played in a season was 75 in 2013-14 when he was with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Subsequently that was his best year statistically with 7 goals and 44 assists. According to the right-shooting 32 year old’s HERO chart from 2015, he makes his linemates much better and he generates shots. Something that the Oilers are looking for, no?
Could he go the Christian Ehrhoff route contract-wise? Accepting a one-year deal to rejuvenate his career? Of course Ehrhoff didn’t quite cut it after he was bought-out, who knows with Wisniewski?
WHAT IS GOING ON IN COLORADO?
The Avs are set to make a move here eh? Gabriel Landeskog, the Avs captain, is on the market now! He’s the last guy I would’ve thought the Avalanche would move and at this point it sounds like Roy and Sakic are alienating some major names in the Mile High City.
But for shits and giggles, lets say that Lucic decides on Dallas or Detroit instead of Edmonton. That would put the Oilers in a small bit of trouble right? Would you move on Landeskog at that point? Or would you prefer Duchene and/Barrie?
Gabriel Landeskog is a beast of epic proportions and if Lucic landed somewhere else, I’d like to see the Swede in an Oilers uniform. Question being, what would the Oilers deal to get him? Nuge and who else?
WHY YOU CAN’T DEAL NUGE AND EBS
I just want to go over this one more time.
- Nuge is the most experienced centre on the Oilers at this time. McDavid and Draisaitl haven’t the experience to be given the no.1/2 centre spots alone.
- The Oilers could very well take a flyer on a centre like Eric Staal or Frans Nielsen and that would soften the blow of losing a player like Nugent-Hopkins but you can’t deal him before you’ve got one of those veteran centres signed.
- Eberle is a right-handed sniper who is a consistent goal scorer. A veteran to boot.
- Lose him and the team is left with Yakupov (8 goals last year), Puljujarvi (not one NHL game yet), and Zach Kassian on the right side.
- The Oilers would be forced to sign or trade to fill for Eberle which is fine too but the team shouldn’t be put behind the 8-ball.
- The Oilers finally have depth at nearly every forward position. LW is still a problem until Lucic is signed and if not Lucic, then someone else.
- Lastly, I believe there’s a plan to move one of Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the wing akin to how the San Jose Sharks use their forwards.
THE HALL TRADE
I knew it was coming and if you listened to Bob Stauffer he said countless times that he thought the fans should be prepared because they might not like the deal the Oilers make to improve the roster. For me, the deal was lopsided. I won’t say they lost the deal because it’s asinine to say that right now. We don’t know how Larsson is going to affect the roster going forward. We don’t know if Hall is going to put up more than 65 points a year in New Jersey either.
I love that Chiarelli went out and got Larsson. He’s just started to blossom as a defenceman and I reckon Chia got him at the perfect moment. My mind salivates at the idea of a healthy Klefbom being paired with a fellow countryman and becoming one of the league’s premiere shutdown tandems.
I asked my man in Sweden what his thoughts were on Larsson and he said this:
“When Adam Larsson started to play in SHL as a 17-year old he was one of the most talented swedes I’ve ever seen. He played like 22-23 minutes as a 17-year old.”
The other thing about Larrson is in his draft year he took Skelleftea to the SHL finals for the first time in 35 years!
He didn’t have a good start in NJ. DeBoer and Lamoriello didn’t cut him any slack and he suffered there. I fully expect Larsson to be THAT piece on the back-end the Oilers have been looking for all these years. By the numbers he’s a top shut-down defender. He was an offensive defenseman in Sweden but that wasn’t going to fly in NJ unless your name was Neidermayer.
Give Larsson a chance to show his worth. That’s all I ask.
On a more serious note, I’m extremely disappointed in some of the fanbase and even some of the people covering the team online and in the media. We had years of watching Oilers GMs doing absolutely nothing! Now we’ve got a guy in Chiarelli who’s not afraid to make a move to improve the roster and it’s like Gretzky was traded again. It’s whiny baby bullshit the way that some of the fanbase and media are acting.
We cheer for the logo on the front NOT the name on the back.