Which players will be in the Oilers starting lineup come opening night in the 2017/18 season?
This is a topic that hasn’t just started now. It started at the beginning of the playoffs but we sure have a more pronounced idea of that now that the Oilers are on the outside looking in. It didn’t even take 24 hours for the insiders to start getting questions regarding Edmonton’s summer moves.
In this post, I’d just like to concentrate on the trade possibilities and touch on the free agents on a future blog.
The following quotes come from Chris Nichols’ at the Fan Rag Sports Network
“What’s going to happen though – Chiarelli is going to have to get very creative. I think that Jordan Eberle has probably played his last game with the Edmonton Oilers. And some wonder if they might have to make a real significant move, and maybe move both Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins. I doubt it. I think that they still very much value Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and I could see why in watching that team closely.
“But that money has got to come from somewhere. And when you’re paying out the big, big, big contracts that they’re going to have to pay out to Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle’s money isn’t going to cover both.”
“It’s been tough for Eberle. It’s just not working for him,” said a sympathetic Elliotte Friedman during a Monday morning radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960. “I’m sure at the end of the season, depending on what happens, they’re going to renew efforts to see if they can move him.
You can find more quotes at Chris Nichols’ website here.
I think you can add a few more names to that list like Benoit Pouliot and Mark Fayne for example.
With the Oilers having to re-sign Leon Draisaitl, Zack Kassian, Griffin Reinhart, and whole slew of AHL prospects, the room under the cap is going to be limited. Players will need to move and here’s the rub with some of the Oilers’ more prominent tradeable players:
RNH – The brass really like this kid and unlike other players on the team who underachieved this season, we saw Nugent-Hopkins elevate his gameplay in the playoffs. Now, he didn’t get score any goals but if I recall correctly, he was one of the leaders in shots on goal and if that’s not enough for you, then let’s recall the excellent defensive job he did in the San Jose series.
One of the things that happens in hockey is injuries and if you think back to when the Penguins won their cup with Crosby, Malkin, and Staal down the middle; that was a great advantage for them. They could stack one line and still be safe down the middle or if one of Crosby or Malkin needed a rest or was injured, Staal could step in. I, for one, think they made a massive mistake trading him but I digress.
This is important for the Oilers going forward. They need depth down the middle if just for the very reasons I mentioned in the example above. Yes, he’s $6M a year and that is a price that may just have him dealt anyhow but if he’s going up against 3rd line talent AND he picks up his game offensively, that’s gold! At least for one more season.
Possible Destinations: Montreal, Colorado, Vancouver, New Jersey, Brooklyn
Eberle – After Todd McLellan demoted him to the 4th line in the playoffs, sporadically, we saw a throwback Ebs. The one that dazzled us with his stickhandling and button hooks in the corners from earlier in his career but he also tossed in a dusting of grit.
That’s the one thing I noticed about Eberle in the playoffs. He took his pound of flesh when he was first in on the forecheck and I liked that. As for the regular season, yes, his overall game did get better. He sacrificed his offense for team defense and it sort of backfired.
Now, we’re all going to be pissed that this player who was supposed to be scoring didn’t and that is quite fair but he’s not going to bring the team a major asset back. His contract is simply too high and other GMs are going to look at the season he just had and take that as an indictment of his future performance. And for those reasons, he may just start the 2017 season an Edmonton Oiler.
Possible Destinations: Carolina, Vegas, Brooklyn, Vancouver, St.Louis, New Jersey
BENOIT POULIOT – This is another player whose effort I enjoyed during the playoffs. And it got better as the games wore on. I reckon he’d have done much better on the 1st or 2nd line beside McDavid or Draisaitl because his puck retrieval and possession was really standing out.
A lot of folks think we’ll see Pouliot taken in the expansion draft and it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to get behind that idea. My wish is for the Oilers to move him without eating salary and then re-acquiring him for the playoff run. He wouldn’t cost Edmonton anything and the expectations would be low.
Possible Destinations: Anaheim, Florida, Arizona, Toronto
MARK FAYNE – Buyout candidate no.1 in the NHL right now.
Remember when it was between him or Griffin Reinhart in game 6 of the 2nd round? It makes me laugh when I think about how giddy the analytics types must’ve been getting with that news. How heartbroken they must’ve been when Reinhart stepped on the ice…
No team in their right mind will trade for Mark Fayne. In fact, the Oilers would probably have to pay a team to take him off of their hands. His contract is around $3.5M, so yeah, maybe Vegas takes a shot at him or Colorado but, to me at least, he gets the ol’ buyout and spends next season’s preseason on PTOs.
Possible Destination: Parts unknown… I think there’s a KHL team in Siberia, right? If he’s smart he goes to the team in Beijing and rakes in the cash!
Other notable trade assets for the Oilers include Pat Maroon, Griffin Reinhart, Darnell Nurse, and Laurent Brossoit.
Toss the Oilers’ 1st round pick in there too. We know that Chiarelli would like to get a 2nd rounder and if there’s a team that doesn’t have a 1st round pick this season or has one but is farther down the line than the Oilers (22nd overall), there could be a deal made to acquire a player AND a 2nd rounder or move down and grab a late 1st round and 2nd round.
If I were to set a list of player targets for the Oilers to shoot for that might be available, I’d start here:
- Matt Duchene (C/W) – Faceoff and possession #s are great. Speed Demon.
- Travis Hamonic (RHD) – Adam Larsson, the Canadian version?
- Matt Dumba (RHD) – Has a Cannon of a shot and is a hard-hitting mini-Scott Stevens.
- Tyler Bozak (C) – Veteran leadership. Great on the faceoff.
- Justin Faulk (RHD) – Offensive dman who can contribute on the PP.
Here’s some advice going into the offseason, don’t get attached to a player. Peter Chiarelli gives zero f*cks about moving a player the fans like and age isn’t an issue either. Just ask Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. So if the Oilers move a player like Pat Maroon, Zack Kassian, or Darnell Nurse, you’ve been forewarned.
Who would you like to see traded this summer from the Oilers? Let us know in the comments below!