Edmonton Oilers Roster Building: 9 Things

Mar 18, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) controls the puck during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) controls the puck during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

I skipped Sunday’s “garage sale” at Rexall Place, primarily because I’ve decided that the final Edmonton Oilers game was my personal farewell to the Old Barn. But that doesn’t mean that the Oilers are far from my thoughts. Far from it. Impossible, really, as this is the season where everyone is a General Manager and each of them seems to have an opinion. A strong one.

If that’s fair enough, then here are mine, as the NHL Draft and the silly season of roster building that surrounds it are soon to be upon us.

9 Things:

9. I strongly suspect the “Western G.M.” than approached the Montreal Canadiens about P.K. Subban was indeed Peter Chiarelli. And well he should have. Go in with your price, and if there is no taker, no harm, no foul. But it shows (if true) that Chiarelli is “going for it” this summer. And in the opinion of this Oilers watcher, he should be aggressive.

8. I expect that Cam Talbot, based on the body of work he displayed both in the back-half of the NHL season and the entirety of World Championships, will play 60 games in 2016-17. For that season, I expect Peter Chiarelli gets a veteran goalie on a 2-Way contract, so as to give himself an option in case Laurent Brossoit needs anther half-season in the AHL. And he may.

7. While not an entirely original thought, I suspect two men of the intelligence and integrity of Peter Charelli and Andrew Ference can mutually work something out that will not require protecting the veteran D-Man in next year’s anticipated NHL expansion draft. In fact, I expect we’ll see something get done by training camp in September. I just can’t see that either man has much to gain, otherwise.

6. I just don’t buy the Milan Lucic rumors. The Edmonton Oilers need to spend assets on their blue-line. And while Patrick Maroon is not the player Lucic is, he is a reasonable facsimile at a far more affordable price for that player type. And from what I understand, Lucic was just fine with the money L.A. was offering, but not the term. And term for Lucic is a real risk. He’s not getting younger or better.

5. I wonder if all 3 of Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson will be Edmonton Oilers come September? I doubt it. In the search for a 1D, most teams will want to fill the resulting hole in their roster with a cheaper option that has up-side. And because the Klefbom contract is a bit dear, and Nurse is a player type the Oilers don’t otherwise have, keep your eye on Davidson.

4. I fully, 100% expect Jordan Eberle to be in camp in Edmonton in the Fall. The Strat-o-Matic set would have him headed out of town for a 1D, which of course is unrealistic: If YOU already had that fabled 1D, would YOU trade him for a one-dimentional winger (albeit one with an elite skill to score)? Of course not. And past Eberle, there is precious little (READ: None) depth on the right side.

3. The Edmonton Oilers are sending out signals that they’ll keep their #4 pick and add forward Matthew Tkachuck to the organization. I say this because good organizations don’t try to plug holes with the draft: They take the best player available, and then use that asset appropriately. If they DO take Tkachuck, they will be rich in Left Wingers. Which brings me to…

2. Taylor Hall. If it were not for Connor McDavid, Hall would be the Edmonton Oilers clear-cut best player. He’s an elite level forward. So seldom does it work out for teams that trade their best player (here’s lookin’ at you, Boston), why chance it with Hall, when your team is building? Unless your new “2nd-Best Player” is coming back, in the other direction. But in that case, I refer you back to Point #4 (Eberle).

More from Editorials

1. I believe its very likely that Peter Chiarelli has one main item on his shopping list, and then a few secondary targets after that. And I’m confident that his #1 target is a real, top-flight, NHL puck-moving D-man (lets call him Tyson Barrie). A move like that helps your Offence (for obvious reasons) and your Defence (as your offence then has the puck a lot more, in more dangerous areas). This roster isn’t filled with Sekle candidates. Todd McLellan will get the lion’s share of his defence from his offence, and he knows it. And while Barrie is no slouch as a defender, he’s also not at the elite, 2-way level that a handful of other D-men in the league are at.

The rest of the assets that Chiarelli needs to acquire “just cost money”: Another reasonable option on the Blue-line, a depth Right-Winger and a veteran back-up goalie can all be had on the Free Agent Market. Besides, if Chiarelli goes out and gets 2 top-flight D, what does he then do at the expansion draft? Let one of them be plucked way for free? Not a chance, he’s a much better asset manager than that.

Note I did not suggest dealing one of the Oilers 3 younger pivots. Connor McDavid was never going anywhere. Trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after the season he just had, and you under-value him. And it has been a generation since the Oilers had a big, young, offensively gifted center like Leon Draisaitl.

Next: Edmonton Oilers: Moving Down Seems Likely, Per Spector

A couple weeks from now, you’ll be able to judge my words against Peter Chiarelli‘s actions. But for now, that what it looks like from here.