Needs some fine tuning.

Acquiring Free Agent Defencemen - No Whales Edition

Room to grow. Photo courtesy

I hope you’re enjoying the third round of the NHL playoffs.  While you’re enjoying them, I hope the fact that the Oilers not being near the playoffs this year burns in your mind.

“The defence” they all say.  “They” are right in this instance.

After this past weekend’s “top player” fiasco, let’s go ahead and assume the Oilers are going to do what they’ve done for the last couple of years, and that’s be coy and pick the top player on offence.  Let’s assume they pick Yakupov.  Picking Yakupov is all fine and dandy, but after two years of winning the NHL draft lottery, the team is still about as stacked on defence as they were when Jeff Deslauriers was tending net.

Maybe even less.

After all this talk about “rebuilds” and “models” and “time” and “jam” and “crust” and other sports euphemisms, it’s time to get serious about making changes to the roster, specifically the defence.

Shea Weber is an RFA!

Put it out of your mind.  If the Oilers were serious about landing Shea Weber, they’d have to offer a wad of cash, and some significant draft picks.  Please recall five years ago when Kevin Lowe got serious about acquiring Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres, offering a $50M deal over 7 years.  There’s no denying Thomas Vanek’s talent, but would you be willing to part with Edmonton’s four first round draft picks that would’ve been part of the compensation to Buffalo?

Most wouldn’t.

But Oscar Klefbom!


But Taylor Fedun!

I hope he makes it.  He’s not going to be able to shoulder the entire defence.  If he does make it, I hope he contributes and is 300% healthy.

Over the next week or so, we’ll be taking a look at some candidates to help come in and bolster the defence.

So here comes the audience participation part:  Who would you realistically like to see brought in?  Yes, I’d like to see Shea Weber and Ryan Suter brought in, helping deliver the Oilers to the playoffs for the first time in 437 years.  Both of those guys aren’t coming to Edmonton.

I’m also imposing a ‘cap’ of 3.5-4M on the team.  I doubt they’ll be a major player for anyone half that money, but let’s at least have some fun with this.  Remember:  if you choose to bring in an RFA, there’ll likely be some compensation (draft picks) going the other way.

Let’s make the defence better today.  Who do you got?

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Tags: Defence

  • jonrmcleod

    I’m assuming Ryan Suter isn’t reasonable. So (without speculating on possible trades) here are three possibly-sign-able free-agent defensemen who, in my opinion, would help the Oilers: (1) Justin Shultz, (2) Brad Stuart, (3) Matt Carle. Feel free to disagree.

    • OilOnWhyte

       @jonrmcleod I’d be very much excited if they could secure Stuart and Carle.  They’re real live breathing NHLers. 

      • jonrmcleod

         @OilOnWhyte I suspect that Stuart and Carle might find other destinations more attractive. Probably it’s more realistic to think that a guy like Shultz would sign with the Oilers–a young, unestablished defenceman looking for ice time.

        • OilOnWhyte

           @jonrmcleod I think Carle could be had – for the right price.  Edmonton will have to overpay or be the absolute first out of the gate to get an offer to him.  
          It would be fun to see the club be a player for Carle.  And not in an embarrassing “please, come to Edmonton, Heatley” kind of moment.

  • drlava

    The Oilers would be crazy to not try to entice Justin Schultz.  This kid will not sign with Anaheim before the deadline because his birthday is later this summer — as of his birthday (Aug I think) he is eligible to sign only a 2yr rookie contract rather than the 3yr rookie contract (so dont expect any news on who gets him until later in the summer:-)).  We do still have some options at forward that can be traded (not enough room for everyone that can be argued as NHL ready) in a package with a first or second pick next year (but I havent even looked at who we could go after in that case).

    • OilOnWhyte

       @drlava I like the story, and if it works out, great.  He’d be 22 come opening night, and if he’s into Edmonton, it could all work out.
      There’s a lot of conditional statements there.  We’ll see.

  • kris23

    If/when this franchise ever grows a pair and decides they want to get serious about this and not try and make the nice decision then management needs to give something to get something. I’ve seen plenty of hockey deals where teams obtain that top end piece they need and have to give some quality on the way back. Ie Carter for J Johnson, or Stewart for E Johnson or Neal for Goligoski. Sometimes you need to make the tough decisions…question is did management sit on their hands too long? I think at one point MPS or Omark coulda been a valuable trade piece. Even Gagner. We’ve probably sat too long on them. If/When we draft Nail thats one less spot up front and a whole locker room of forwards. Someone has to go, make the deal when it should be made. Not after the fact. The longer you sit the tougher that deal gets. You can’t tell me there isn’t a defence heavy team right now that wouldnt be interested in a Gagner/MPS package with a possible pick. I think the strong gm’s pull trades off that kinda catch people off guard. Doesn’t seem like we have that ability to make a quiet blockbuster. Throwing an offer sheet at a Shea and his 7 mil is a costly penalty of picks, but to target a 4mil range cornerstone young d man isn’t as bad a compensation of picks. Phoenix won’t be able to afford Eckmann Larsson and Yandle on the back end with Gormley on his way. Lets push them financially a little bit throw a sheet that direction when Larsson comes up, maybe make a pitch for yandle. The rangers are not gonna be able to afford that back end for much longer and theres a few targets on that back end. We need to be more predatory. We’re in a situation where the cupboards are stocked and we can go to the cap. Let’s start making the winning decisions, being aggressive and finding hockey deals to make. Gotta give to get. 

    • OilOnWhyte

       @kris23 I like your enthusiasm, but I’d go on and fly the ‘spend to the cap’ line by management once they figure out who’s running the ship.  

      • kris23

         @OilOnWhyte Agreed, all I’m saying is we have that ability. We don’t need to be the Preds and have to count pennies and buy the no name brands. In terms of spending power we are right in line with the top of the league which is an asset when used properly.