A week ago, Craig MacTavish talked about adding size to the supreme skill in the Oilers top 6F. If we made a "wish list" of possible additions, how close can we come to naming the actual target?
- W Viktor Stalberg (27 years old) 47, 9-14-23 (UFA this summer, expiring $875k cap hit). I’ve listed him ahead of Bickell because he can play both wings. Stalberg is a fine winger with a nice range of skills, and could play on the 2 and 3 lines effectively. A target for sure.
- L Brian Bickell (27 years old) 48, 9-14-23 (UFA this summer, expiring $540k cap hit). This is an insane underpay for value. 2.30 5×5/60 (4th on team). Bickell’s size/speed combination makes him an outstanding option for the Oilers. Big strong, possessing two-way ability and should be able to step into a larger offensive role.
- F Nathan Horton (27 years old) 43, 13-9-22 (UFA this summer, expiring $4M cap hit). 1.95 5×5/60 (7th on team). Big man has some concussion issues but can also play more than one position (a key for MacT) and is certainly very physical. Horton on a line with Nuge and Hall? Gagner and Yakupov? Interesting.
- W Nikolai Kulemin (26 years old) 48, 7-16-23 (UFA 2014, $2.8M cap hit). 2.00 5×5/60 (5th on team). An excellent 2-way option, not the physical player hoped for but certainly a player who can impact the game with and without the puck. Toronto seems to be indifferent about Kulemin, I think he might come at a reasonable price.
- L Tomas Vanek (29 years old) 38, 20-21-41 (one year left at $7.14M). 2.64 5×5/60 (1st on team). THIS is an attractive option, if only because the pricetag would be less than some of the players below. Vanek is not a physical player, not at all–but I’ve included him because he’s simply too talented to keep off the list. If the Oilers could get him for just picks or prospects it would be worth every penny.
- F Jakub Voracek (23 years old) 48, 22-24-46 ($4.25M cap hit through 2016 summer) 2.58 5×5/60 (1st on team). Ranked lower on the list because the cost would be dear. Voracek was drafted right after Gagner, and is a skilled winger with size. He could be an outstanding addition, but the cost (in terms of trade assets) makes him a far less attractive trade target.
- L Raffi Torres (31 years old) 39, 7-11-18 (UFA this summer, $1.75M cap hit) 2.15 5×5/60 (2nd on team). Hear me out, please. Raffi isn’t a perfect hockey player, but he can impact the game. Torres is a physical player with skill, and can move up and down the depth chart as needed. Kind of a poor man’s Esa Tikkanen.
- L Dustin Penner (30 years old) 33, 2-10-12 (UFA this summer $3.25M cap hit) 1.85 5×5/60 (4th on team). Hear me out volume two. Penner playd well with both Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky, and I believe he might be a perfect fit for this Oiler club. If they could get him at a reasonable price, this could be music!
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Who knows, really. However, if the Oilers are looking for a bigger forward with offensive abilty this summer, I think Horton, Stalberg and Bickell is a very good place to start.
Sail on, Ales.