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Milan Lucic Signing

Draft Week Thoughts and Predictions

One more sleep till the draft!!! Before I get to who I think the Oilers will pick with the 10th overall selection I wanted to talk about a few things that have happened lately:

Lucic Trade Talks

Word is that Lucic may have asked for a trade or at least has approached Chiarelli and has agreed to waive his no-trade clause if the destination fits.  This is perhaps the last chance that Chiarelli will have to move Lucic and his $6M cap hit without having to give up a major piece to ‘sweeten’ the deal.  Lucic is coming off of a horrid season, by far the worst of his career, and is very likely to bounce back next season so does still hold some value especially to a team that puts alot of stock into the ‘intangibles’ of hockey players.  Lucic is good in the room, a great leader, sticks up for his teammates and has won a Stanley Cup so there must be a team out there that feels adding a player like Lucic will give them that missing piece to make them a contender. If Lucic is not traded this off season I’ll be pretty disappointed and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Lucic is at the age where we can expect to see a decline in his performance and while next season is very likely to be better than the last season I don’t think he’ll ever have a season like he did in 2016-17 again.
  2. Lucic has a NMC which will really hurt the Oilers at the next expansion draft when Seattle becomes an NHL team. The team will be forced to protect players with NMC’s so will lose a better, younger player than Lucic if he’s still around.
  3. The Oilers NEED the cap space this season to be competitive.  Even with the salary cap increasing to $80M dollars for next season the Oilers will be tight against it just to bring back the same team.  Moving Lucic’s $6M cap hit would allow them to add a piece to improve the team.

So, basically moving Lucic is the right thing to do for the short term success and long term success of the Oilers. Make it happen right? Then we see things like this:

Cagguila and Benning Re-sign

The Oilers re-signed Cagguila for two years at a $1.5M cap hit and Benning for two years at a $1.9M cap hit.  It didn’t take long after either signing for fans to light up Peter Chiarelli for overpaying these players who many thought would come in a few hundred thousand dollars less.  Personally I don’t mind these deals too much, sure I would have liked the cap hit to be a bit lower but I really like Benning and think that the $1.9M cap hit could work out to be a value contract. Cagguila brings value because he’s so versatile in that he can play any forward position and can move up and down the lineup as needed.  At this point fans have turned on Chiarelli to the point that he’s going to get ripped in social media for every move he makes. I understand the hatred though, I think the Hall trade will be remembered for a really long time for how one sided it was but he is the GM and I think its important to analyze any trades or signings he makes without bringing the past into it.

Hall Wins The Hart

Taylor Hall won the Hart trophy last night and I don’t want to add on to all the Chiarelli hate, there’s enough of that already. I do feel good for Hall and I think he deserves it and would have loved to see him have success in Edmonton.

With the 10th overall selection the Oilers Select….

This is a tough one, after the first two picks it gets pretty difficult to forecast this years draft so its more a question of who will be available at 10th rather than who the Oilers like.  This is my list of who I think the Oilers are most likely to pick 10th overall. I strongly believe that the best approach to the draft is to take the best player available but I’m also fairly confident the Oilers would love to get a forward with the 10th pick if one is available. Their wish list probably looks something like this

  • 30% – Ty Smith – He’s likely to be there at 10th and is the safe pick in my opinion from the players available.
  • 25% – Barrett Hayton – Also likely to there at 10th and a safe pick. Two way center.
  • 15% – Adam Boqvist – Higher ceiling than Smith but a risky pick. May not be available.
  • 10% – Trade – Please don’t be another Reinhart trade!!
  • 10% – Adam Bouchard – I think the Oilers would love it if he’s there at 10th but its not likely.
  • 5% – Quinn Hughes – If he’s available at 10th a few teams will likely regret it.
  • 5% – Oliver Wahlstrom – The perfect fit for Mcdavids wing? We can dream.

The scariest scenario for me is if Chiarelli trades the pick… this guy really scares me.

The Stanley Cup

Oilers Clinch!!

On April 13th, 2006 the Edmonton Oilers beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 at home to clinch a playoff spot.  It was their 81st game of the season and it was a great day.

This is a great day too.

The Edmonton Oilers beat the LA Kings 2-1 at home to clinch a playoff spot!!!!

Anybody remember what they did back in the that 2006 season?

Oilers trade Nail Yakupov for Cap Space and a Pick

The Oilers have traded Nail! Sad days.

Nail Yakupov to the Blues for Zach Pochiro and a conditional pick.

There has been all kinds of speculation that Yakupov had asked for a trade and that the Oilers were close to trading him last season but honestly we’ll never know for certain how much truth there is to this stuff. What we do know is that Peter Chiarelli has now traded two of the wonder kids from the previous administration and in both cases cap space was a large part of the decision.
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Should the Oilers Trade For Hamonic or Shattenkirk?

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:
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Zack Kassian Is An Edmonton Oiler!

Not long ago Zack Kassian was likely the most hated NHL’r by Edmonton Oiler fans and now he’s an Edmonton Oiler. I look forward to seeing the crowds reaction to Zacks first game at Rexall place.


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Meaningful Games

Meaningful games in December. Yes it’s true. The Oilers who are now winners of 5 in a row find themselves just one point short of a playoff spot. Yes, that’s true too.

The Oilers really haven’t played a game that matters after the month of November in, well I can’t remember when to be honest with you. The Pacific division is terrible, but that’s fine when it comes to where our team sits in the standings. If the old rule for making the playoffs still applied only 2 teams from the Pacific would currently be in a playoff spot. Los Angeles and Vancouver. Thanks to NHL for these rule changes, the Oilers have a chance.

All of this while the team is missing 3 of their top 6 forwards, Benoit Pouliot, Nail Yakupov and young phenom Connor McDavid haven’t played in ages and it appears only Pouliot is getting close to returning.
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Oilers Predictions Part 2 – The Defense

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:
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Oilers Predictions Part 1 – The Forwards

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:
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The Cost of Todd McLellan

The Oilers announced today the hiring of Todd McLellan who most recently coached team Canada to the gold metal at the Mens World Hockey Championships and prior to that coached the San Jose Sharks for 7 seasons. The hiring does come at a price however as San Jose has the right and apparently is going to exercise that right to receive a 3rd draft pick from the Oilers as compensation. Even though San Jose fired McLellan at the end of the regular season he has one year left on his contract which gives the team the right to compensation. As far as I understand it the Oilers have the ability to wait up to 3 years to give up the pick.

Honestly this rule makes little sense to me, if San Jose fired the coach they shouldn’t have any right to claim compensation if the coach signs with another team.
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Will Peter Chiarelli Make Bold Moves?

The Edmonton Oilers have given full control of the Oilers to Peter Chiarelli, naming him President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. Chiarelli is going to take a few weeks to assess the team and players to see exactly where his positions of strength and weakness are before making any moves, but he will make moves. Given his track record of making big trades in Boston I think we can expect a big trade or two this summer.

The Weaknesses

The weaknesses on the Oilers are pretty obvious, they need a starting goalie and they need a couple of top pairing defensemen if they want a shot at making the playoffs next season. They may have an opportunity to get a piece or two via free agency but typically that requires an overpayment and I’m not sure thats a good idea in Edmonton so I expect Chiarelli to make a couple of trades to fill these areas.
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