As everybody is likely aware of by now the Oilers have signed the NCAA C Cooper Marody to an entry level contract. Although the contract details are not confirmed capfriendly.com has the numbers at 3 years with a $925k cap hit and there is no word of bonuses as of yet.
To help get an idea of how Marody will fit into the Oilers forward depth charts I’ve put together a table comparing his NCAA seasons to Drake Cagguila, Patrick Russell and Joseph Gambardella all of whom were signed as UFA’s from the NCAA. Note that these players all finished their NCAA careers and were UFA’s as they didn’t sign with the NHL team that had drafted them while Marody is turning pro with 1 year of NCAA eligibility remaining.
The Oilers have 15 players under contract for next season at a cap hit of a touch over $62M. With the cap expected to be in the range of 78 – 82 million next season that may not seem like such a bad spot to be in but let’s look a bit closer.
The NHL will hold an expansion draft on June 21st of this year in which the Vegas Golden Knights will pick one player from each team to build its roster for the 2017/18 season. Each team will have the ability to protect a list of players from the expansion draft but are required to expose a minimum number of players who meet certain criteria.
There has been so much talk this season of the Oilers making a trade in the off-season to bring in a true top pairing D-man. Much of the talk has Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent Hopkins being sent out to acquire Travis Hamonic or Kevin Shattenkirk, both of whom would likely improve this team a great deal. I don’t want to get into the pros and cons of dealing Ebs or the Nuge but we all know that you need to trade value to get value and for the first time in a while I trust the GM to make the right deal.
So the question remain: Should the Oilers trade for Hamonic or Shattenkirk? I’ll admit that before doing research for this article I would have picked Shattenkirk, I’m just more familiar with the player so I have less doubt that he can come in and help the team win. I put together a player usage chart over at hockeyabstract.com to compare both of these guys to defensemen already on the Oilers and I’m actually a bit surpised:
I talked about the forward group for 2015 here.
The Oilers have 10 Defencemen who I believe will be in contention to make the team out of training camp and there will be some upset fans when the team decides to send players to the minors even though they may have outplayed veterans in training camp. The candidates are: Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Mark Fayne, Justin Shultz, Eric Gryba, Nikita Nikitin, Andrew Ferrence, Griffin Reinhart, Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson. It will not surprise me in the least if any of Nurse, Reinhart or Davidson outplay Ferrence or Nikitin in training camp but unless there are men going on the injury reserved list I will be shocked if any of the three make the team. Ferrence is currently the team captain and while his on ice performance leaves alot to be desired over the last couple of seasons he is by all accounts a good captain and a needed presence in the dressing room. This combined with a veteran coach who is more likely to trust veteran D-men will most likely result in the following lineup on D:
So much has happened with the Oilers this off-season, they finally have a competent management group and coaching staff, they’ve drafted the best prospect in the past 30 years in Connor McDavid, and brought in Cam Talbot, Griffin Reinhart, Andrej Sekera, Lauri Korpikoski, Mark Letestu and Eric Gryba. Think about that. Crazy.
As I see things this is the Oilers forward depth chart: