The Edmonton Oilers defensive upgrades are becoming less and less as the weeks go by. Last week It was Travis Hamonic apparently coming off of the market and now according to Dallas News writer, Tom Cowlishar, Jason Demers could very well be re-signed by the Stars. Source
Demers at the right price I think they will try to keep as well. But they have to make room for Oleksiak and Nemeth and they have to assume those players are beyond just development stage now.
The Cult of Hockey’s David Staples has already given his two cents on the topic here.
Demers is going to be looking for top dollar and good on him too. He’s earned his chance to do so. I don’t think that Dallas would be smart letting him go to market as a UFA and moving forth with Klingberg, Johns, and an AHL call-up. Nor do I think that giving him $5M+ long-term would be a good move for the Oilers. Shades of Fayne come to mind.
As I’ve been saying for weeks since the season ended and I’ll repeat it again. Don’t be surprised if it’s an underwhelming summer for the Oilers. At this point the rumoured defensive upgrades have fallen to:
- Sami Vatanen – An undersized PP specialist that would most likely be no.4 on the depth chart. I’m not convinced he’d help as much as people think he could. He’s perfectly slotted in Anaheim and his deficiencies would very well be exposed in Edmonton.
- Tyson Barrie – Things are… Rocky… In Colorado at the moment for Barrie and his team but unless the Avs move one of their young stars for a dman, the Avalanche are better off signing Barrie and keeping him than getting rid of him. It’s not like they’ve got a plethora of offensive defenders on the rise to replace him.
- Justin Faulk – Elliotte Friedman basically tore Bob Stauffer a new one during his segment on Oilers Now last Friday when they were discussing this “hypothetical” as Stauffer usually puts it. Fact of the matter is, Carolina’s D is young and way too green to be dealing away it’s best dman to shore up the offense.
Simply put, this is just not the summer for the Oilers and that’s just bad luck. Could they land a dman that will make their team better, sure. But it might just cost them Taylor Hall to get it done. Nuge’s value has never been so low, Yak might bring you Vatanen, and Eberle is definitely still an option but who’s going to fill that goal scoring void?
The team may very well have to settle for the likes of:
- Cody Franson (BUF) – Big RH’d shooter who didn’t have a great year with Buffalo last season. The ticket is questionable though.
- Seth Jones (CLB) – Offer sheet the man and put Columbus to the screws. $5M+ for 6 years and it should only cost a 1st and 3rd in 2017. I might be wrong on that compensation so don’t quote me on it.
- Josh Manson (ANH) – Friedman speculated that the Ducks may very well sign Lindholm and Vatanen to one year deals and Manson played very well vs. the Oilers last season. He’s also rated very high on Woodguy’s list of defensemen the Oilers should go after.
- David Savard (CLB) – Is popping up in the Oilers rumor mill a bit nowadays. Big, puts up respectable numbers (65gp – 4g – 21a – 25pts). Not sure if he’s really going to upgrade the D that much though.
- Damon Severson (NJ) – The oft-rumoured return for Nail Yakupov in any NJ/EDM proposal. Same sort numbers as David Savard.
- James Wisniewski (CAR) – Big ticket but he’s a bonafide RH’d puck moving defender. The knee is a concern but the same thing happened to Andrei Markov didn’t it? He seems to be doing okay.
I think one of the points that needs to be made is that the player the Oilers end up acquiring this summer to be that improvement on the back-end, he shouldn’t be a no.4-6 dman. He needs to be a top three or what’s the point? We’ve got Brandon Davidson, Jordan Oesterle, and Griffin Reinhart who have all played on the right side. Ethan Bear is also a very distant possibility. But we want either Mark Fayne or Eric Gryba to be that no.6 guy who can play a steady mentoring role to the younger players coming up, do we not?
Shattenkirk isn’t coming, Brodin needs to stay in Minnesota, Trouba is going to cost somebody an arm and a leg, Weber no, Subban no, and Karlsson no… So there you have it.
I’m just forewarning you, the moves that Chiarelli makes may very well disappoint you in the end. So do yourself a favour and don’t get hung up on the uber-rumoured players that are being connected to the Oilers.
How would you feel if the Oilers only tinkered with the line-up and didn’t go all wholesale on it? Let me know in the comments below!