— UMass Lowell Hockey (@RiverHawkHockey) March 28, 2017
Peter Chiarelli won the jackpot last season with the signings of Matt Benning and Drake Caggiula and he’s at it again. Today the Oilers have signed Joe Gambardella to a two-year deal and have added some much needed depth to the center position in the organization. Gambardella is coming off a big season where he scored 52 points in 41 games centering the top line for UMass Lowell in the NCAA.
The 23 year old Gambardella isn’t huge at 5’10 and 201lbs but seems like a suitable replacement in the organization for Anton Lander who appears to jetting off to play in the KHL next season.
This is a big signing imo, this kid is probably on par with what Drake Caggiula was a year ago when he signed with the Oilers and Caggiula was able to make the team out of training camp and stick with the big club all season. I don’t expect Gambardella to make the Oilers out of camp next season but I think he’ll be in the conversation and could be an early call up if a center is injured on the big club.
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.
The Edmonton Oilers continued their recent history of drafting highly touted offensive prospects in the first round. With the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Oilers drafted 18-year old Swedish right winger Jesse Puljujarvi. This marks the fourth time in five years the Oilers drafted an offensive player with a top five pick: 2012 #1 Nail Yakupov, 2014 #3 Leon Draisaitl, 2015 #1 Connor McDavid and now Puljujarvi.
Puljujarvi comes to the NHL with high expectations. The 6’3” right-winger recorded four goals and four assists in 16 games as a 17-year old in Finland’s top professional league. NHL’s Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb had high praise for Puljujarvi saying, “He’s a powerful skater with good speed and balance. He has outstanding hockey sense and reads the play well. He’s a good playmaker with strong puck-handling skills. He can take advantage of 1- on-1 situations with his long reach.”
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:
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.
Oilers take on the project that is Zack Kassian, send Ben Scrivens to MTL. Habs move on, EDM with nothing to lose.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) December 28, 2015
As a kid I loved collecting hockey and baseball cards, of course it was a bonus to get a stick of gum with them and then use the doubles in the spokes of my bicycle tires. I had no idea how much card values would skyrocket and of course most of the cards I collected in the 80’s are either lost or are in awful condition. I did manage to keep a small collection of cards from the early 90’s in good shape and have passed them down to my son, who is only 10 years old, but understands the benefits of taking care of collectibles much better than I did at the same age.
The quality of the cards today is much better than back in my days as a youngster its much easier to keep them in top condition. I recently received the new Upper Deck 2015-16 Series One card set along with the 2015-16 Connor McDavid collection with the understanding I would review them on the site and I must say they are superb.
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.
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: