As you may know, there are rumors spreading and talk swarming that the Edmonton Oilers are going to shake up their roster going into this offseason, leaving only a couple of players safe. So, let’s talk about it.
Pros and Cons of a Shakeup
The pros are simple. We could pick up some players that could truly benefit the Oilers lineup, while dumping those that don’t. It’s easy to think about. Think of the Oilers being able to sign Jason Demers to a deal, or trade for Kevin Shattenkirk. Or how about possibly signing some bigger players who can bring physicality and skill to the lineup? Basically, shaking up the roster gives the Oilers the opportunity to shake that monkey off their back and get into the winning culture with a brand new look.
Let’s turn to the cons. When you think about getting rid of players, there comes the question about which players don’t benefit our lineup. Trust me, there’s some names to consider, and we will touch on that later in this piece. But in order to gain some, you have to get rid of some.
Possible Roster Moves
There is our untouchable core, but that is not how we can think of them anymore. Think of the National Hockey League as a giant game of chess. In order to play chess, you start off with all your pieces, all expected to be a part of your winning team. However, in order to win the game of chess, you need to lose some pieces to win. You can’t just have four to five pieces that cannot be touched, and two of them are mere pawns, right?
So, let’s go over some names. There are four core members that can be dealt. Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov. Yakupov is likely to get dealt in June, as we discussed in a piece about his rise to the NHL and his ultimate downfall.
Now you have three pieces. Baby Nuge, Ebs and Hallsy. Which do you save, and which do you deal away? I think that you really have to consider the returns. Each of these players has had dips in production and have been accused of laziness. I am in favor of keeping only one of these players, and then leaving the other two to a bidding war. Who am I saying will stay?
Nuge. The kid’s actually a pretty big guy, and he’s a very underrated centre who I think can benefit from playing with the likes of the right players by his side. If anything, to keep our centre position deep, we keep Nugent-Hopkins. Centres are important, and if you want my opinion, wingers are much easier to replace. In addition, Nugent-Hopkins could truly benefit from a second-line or third-line centre spot, much like Pavel Datsyuk does in Detroit.
I think that we go all in for either Shattenkirk or Travis Hamonic in the offseason, and then work hard to sign Demers to a contract. With this, we get great defenders to strengthen our backend, and therefore, solve our problem on defense.
For wingers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us deal Eberle to New York in exchange for Hamonic, and then for us to also try to either trade for or sign Kyle Okposo. He is likely to test the free agent market this coming off-season, and I think he has the potential to play well alongside Connor McDavid or even Leon Draisaitl.
Let’s Talk About That Drat Pick
Yeah, about the draft pick. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Edmonton pick up one of the top three picks in this year’s NHL draft, though I have a strong feeling it will be Toronto to take home that first overall. However, if we do get a top pick, here’s what we can do with it.
We either take it, and draft a big top forward like Patrik Laine, or we could do something bigger. If the Oilers do indeed get that first-overall pick, I will say this and never take it back: trade it, or keep Auston Matthews and trade one of our core players in Hall or Eberle. That’s the only answer.
If the Oilers trade it, they could totally try to deal Matthews to Arizona in exchange for Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Is it likely? Not really, but it’s hard to turn away the shot at having a top NHL forward and a hometown Arizona hero on your team.
Oh well, we’ll see what happens.
The Roster Sammi Dreams Of
Let’s cut to the chase. Here is the fictional dream Oilers roster that I think about constantly.
NOTE: If the Oilers do have the space to sign Demers, he plays that second line with Klefbom. Nurse goes down to the third
As you can see, Taylor Hall is the one missing. I think that if we can get Patrik Laine, or that second-overall pick, we take the six-foot-four winger and then trade away Hall for Shattenkirk. We don’t necessarily need Hamonic; the only way I see Hamonic is in an Eberle deal, in which case, Hall stays and Shattenkirk goes away. It’s not idealistic that we get both of the. Sure, having Laine on the right wing isn’t the most ideal thing, but it’s just a start and it’s just my opinion.
I definitely think we should keep Adam Pardy. I think he brings a veteran presence and a physical game, along with size, to the lineup and could work great with an up-and-coming, let alone outstanding, defenseman in Davidson.
We’ll see what happens. In Peter Chiarelli we trust.