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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Will Bob Nicholson Clean House?

Yeah. I thinks so.

If Nicholson had finished his evaluation of the current management group and concluded that they were the right group going forward he would have made that announcement by now but it was clear in his press conference that he wants to wait until the playoffs are over.

The only reason to wait for the end of the playoffs before an announcement is he has decided that the current group just isn’t getting the job done but hasn’t settled on the replacements yet. There may be potential pieces to this puzzle who are currently working for other teams and Bob hasn’t yet had the chance to recruit them.
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The Oilers Win Connor McDavid!

About the only thing the Edmonton Oilers can win in recent history is the draft lottery and they’ve done it again. Unless something really crazy happens the Oilers will select Connor McDavid with the first overall pick who has been projected to be a generational talent similar to Sydney Crosby so I thought it would be a good idea to do some comparisons.

These are stats from the draft years for Connor McDavid, Sydney Crosby, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov
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Eakins Fired in Edmonton!

The Oilers have finally fired Dallas Eakins today and reportedly MacTavish will step back behind the bench as the interim head coach until the team can find a more permanent replacement.


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Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames

Image by hillary h

Ok, so Calgary is having a pretty great season so far right? I mean their 3 points away from leading the entire NHL after going 9-5-2 in their first 16 games, not bad for a team that most people thought would be battling Buffalo for last. Meanwhile the Oilers have 13 pts in their first 15 games and sit just 1 point out of last place in the western conference. Obviously the Flames are a better team right? No, of course not, lets take a deeper look.
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Oilers Sign Tkachev… Or Not!

UPDATE: The NHL has ruled that the entry level contract that the Oilers have signed with Tkachev is ineligible due to the fact that he did not play a full season in the North America last season. Tkachev will re-enter the draft next season because Oilers.

The Oilers have signed Vladdy Hockey to a 3 year entry level contract this morning. The move will most likely turn alot of heads because of Tkachev’s size (he’s reportedly only 141 lbs) but I’m thrilled they could add such a skilled player to the system for nothing but money. Tkachev has had a great pre-season run with the Oilers and has certainly earned the 3 year deal which will likely keep the player in the system for the next 5 seasons as he is eligible to return to Jr for 2 more years.
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Should He Stay or Should He Go?

The Oilers have a huge whole in their center depth and Leon Draisaitl has a real shot at making the team this upcoming season. Before the draft I posted the last 20 3rd overall picks in the draft to get an idea of what we could expect of the Oilers pick this year and I thought it would be interesting to see how long it took those players to be NHL’rs.

The table below shows the number of games played by the past 20 3rd overall picks in the first 3 years after they are drafted.

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