Between now and training camp, we can expect a lot of changes. New GM Craig MacTavish will work all summer to upgrade the roster in areas of need–center, defense, goal. As we’ve done in past summers, let’s have a look at some of the major questions and see if we can predict what is going to happen.
- Who will they take in the first round? Sean Monahan Oilers have three strong options. Deal up for Barkov, stay the course at 7 and select Monahan, Horvat or Nurse, or deal down in hopes Horvat is there (with Curtis Lazar as a possible backup plan). I think there are so many attractive options before Monahan that he slips to #7 and the Oilers grab him.
- Who will help Dallas Eakins coach? The Oilers have to put together a coaching staff that can come together quickly, so my guess is that Eakins adds Derek King from his AHL staff and the Oilers keep Steve Smith from last year’s group. Mark Lamb completes the staff, with Kelly Buchberger moving to another role in the organization.
- How will they improve the defense? MacT has already added the Russian Belov and I believe the club will be active during the summer, too. We’ve already heard rumors about Paul Ranger, and I believe Edmonton will add Russian defenseman Fedor Tyutin in a blockbuster deal. He’ll help form a top 6D that might go Tyutin-Petry, Smid-J Schultz, N Schultz-Belov and Paul Ranger.
- What’s the ‘wow’ trade? I think the Howson connection sees Edmonton acquire Tyutin, L RJ Umberger and C Ryan Johansen from the Blue Jackets in exchange for Sam Gagner, Martin Marincin and Ales Hemsky.
- Will they move Hall to center? No. I think the club will use Nuge, Johansen and two free agent signings/trades up the middle. I do not think Monahan makes the team under any circumstances. Among the candidates I can see arriving in Edmonton to play center: Alexander Burmistrov, Boyd Gordon.
- Who will the Oilers sign to backup Devan Dubnyk? I think the Oilers will find a way to trade for a suitable backup, perhaps Eddie Lack from Vancouver. I do like Jason Labarbera, but will guess that Ben Scrivens arrives in Edmonton in a summer trade.
- What will the top 2 lines look like in the fall? Nuge-Hall-Eberle with Johansen-Paajarvi/Umberger-Yakupov. The club may also attempt to sign a winger with size, but those guys are at a premium.
- How many of their own rfa’s does Edmonton sign? Only Paajarvi.
- Surprise opening night roster player? Ben Eager.
- What current roster player on another team has the best chance of being an Oiler in 13-14? Viktor Stalberg.
- Where does Horcoff land? Detroit or Florida or Edmonton.
- Why do they trade Gagner? Money. Tambellini not getting a long term deal done cost the Oilers. He blew it, and now MacTavish doesn’t have enough coin.
- Why did they let Hartikainen go to the KHL? Three things: he didn’t get a lot done (read: anything!) at even strength in the NHL, his conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be and he is not a natural PF–he’s not a mean player by nature.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
- Smid-J Schultz
- N Schultz-Belov
Nine additions. A summer of change.