The Edmonton Oilers go to market this week with a laundry list of needs: a scoring winger, at least two centermen, a top 4 defender and a goalie capable of filling a strong backup role. That’s a long list. Much of it can be solved via free agency, and here are 15 names worth pursuing.


(Viktor Stalberg)

  1. L-C Valtteri Filppula: A big ticket item but worth the investment. Hard worker who is a demon on the forecheck, posts solid to very good offense and can play more than one position (always a MacT preference). A wide range of skills, Edmonton can plug him onto the tough minutes like and watch him go. Extreme value. 
  2. R David Clarkson: Long shot but worth the call. Clarkson’s asking price will be too rich in the extreme, but his value to a club like Edmonton (giving them a big body with skill who can play up the lineup would be a nice add. 
  3. W Viktor Stalberg: A nice match for the soft minutes line, Stalberg can flourish in that environment and you know the Oilers have enough skill to put two quality F’s with him. I like this player. 
  4. D Tom Gilbert: I understand he was bought out and certainly the numbers can be viewed as poor; however, there have been no reports (that I’ve seen) of injury and he’s young enough to assume a return to previous form is likely. I suspect Oilers Nation writers will split right down the middle on this, but Tom Gilbert is a strong option in my opinion. MacT used him 21+ minutes a night. 
  5. G Anton Khudobin: Placed here because the organization clearly feels upgrading the goaltending is a key. Khudobin has been brough along slowly (the right way) and should be ready to take on a larger role. 
  6. L Clarke MacArthur: Veteran LW with grit and toughness plus an ability to score goals. Oilers could use him on a 3line as a ‘Glencross’ type or the 2line for puck retrieval and goal scoring. A nice addition, range of skills. 
  7. C Boyd Gordon: Don’t get fooled by the ranking, this might be the most important name on the list. Gordon has outstanding checking ability, takes own zone draws (successfully) and can PK with aplomb. Oilers may have to overpay but with Horcoff leaving he’s a vital addition. 
  8. L Ryan Clowe: Maybe the best puck retrieval option among this year’s free agent crop, Clowe has good hands and is a solid puck passer. Foot speed a worry but not a deal breaker. 
  9. D Paul Ranger: Oilers have the inside track on a capable depth defenseman, and maybe he’s more than that. It it absolutely worth it to find out if he can play in the NHL at a high level. 
  10. C Stephen Weiss: A Florida Panthers for many years, Weiss arrives at free agency after an injury plagued year. That shouldn’t scare NHL teams off however, he’s a quality player with a nice range of skills.
  11. L Pierre Marc Bouchard: As an Oiler fan, I want him on the Oilers if only because that means he won’t be scoring on the Oildrop every damn time I return from the beer fridge. 48, 12-30-42 against Edmonton, by far his favorite team to score on–but you knew that before I said it.
  12. L Dustin Penner: I buried him in this list so you’d read this far, but for me Penner is a plug and play on the Gagner line and someone who also had great chem with Hemsky. He won’t be back, but I’d vote for him.
  13. R Peter Mueller: He’s had concussion problems and is no speed burner, but when healthy Mueller can impact the offense and the puck is going in the right direction. Might make a solid depth signing. 
  14. D Matt Hunwick. Slightly undersized puck moving defender who incredibly found his way to free agency this week. I think he’s a solid option. 
  15. G Ilyz Bryzgalov. I know his numbers have been going the wrong way for three years and I know he’s 30. I would take a chance on him with a one year deal at a low price–he could rebound in a big way and it’s certainly worth the risk. 


I’m guessing the following:

  • GOAL: Anton Khudobin
  • DEFENSE: Paul Ranger, Tom Gilbert
  • CENTER: Boyd Gordon
  • WINGERS: Viktor Stalberg

What about you?

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Center – Colton Gillies. 24 years, 6’4, 210 lb. Son of Clarke Gillies and was the #16 selection in 2007.
    LW – Stalberg!
    D – Kris Russell (is he available, or just by trade?)
    D – Keaton Ellerby. 24 years 6’4, 220 lb. with 160 NHL games experience already. Alberta native, was the #10 pick in 2007. I think it might just be worth a flyer to see why this all-world prospect has taken such a step backwards lately.

    Personally I would bring in Brenden Morrow too .

    * Forgot about Filppula…he’s look nice as a #2 C – if the price isn’t too high!
    Then, every player in hockey…….then Thomas Kaberle.

    Edit: Ryan Clowe is apparently only open to the east with his kids there.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    As an RFA offer sheet do you think we could sign Jacob Markstrom for around 3 million dollars (only) and would that be more than Florida would pay? We’d only be giving up a second if that were the case…a price I’d be very willing to pay.

    Any more than that and it’s a first and third – or more, which I wouldn’t do.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    I’m not opposed at taking a swing at some of the lower grade options in FA, but its such a crappy field this year that the few real players available will be overpriced and over termed. Gotta trade our way out of this and there’s plenty of teams that would make a good partner with the Rangers, and Caps being tops on my list. What would you give for Carlson? I’d offer Eberle.

  • justDOit

    For those of you wishing like its Christmas a reality check is order. 90 % of these players(UFA’s) are fringe players and minor leaguers at best. The big ticket players will look to the Eastern Conference teams to fatten their wallets. For MacT to be successful this week/month/off season the addition of a guy like Filpulla would be like winning LottoMax. Realistically Paul Ranger would be a nice addition. Maxim Lapierre and a trade for a player like Brayden Shenn would solidify the second line. Most important for the Oilers is to look for value contacts through trade this coming week after the feeding frenzy has abated. MacT does not need to go out and overspend on players who are fringe guys who he can get at a discount once all the other GM’s have gone insane.Bide his time and the team will come together by September.

    • CaptainLander

      Big ticket free agent signings of note last year:

      1. Sutter (Min)
      2. Parise (Min)
      3. Schultz (Edm)
      4. Garison (Van)
      5. Hudler (Cal)

      The idea that they will all go to the eastern conference doesn’t hold much weight; the Northwest division “won” free agency by a mile last year.

      Agree though that people are being unrealistic… there are some on this site and others that suggest that if MacT doesn’t sign 50% of the top end free agents that it will be a bust. The reality is lots of teams are going after Horton/Filpulla/MacArthur/Clarkson, so if we get even one of those players at a reasonable price we will have to consider it a win for our GM. If we can do that + add someone else (still highly sought after) like Clowe, Gordon, or even a Lapierre then that’s great. I’d also really like to see Ranger: I haven’t seen him play in a few years but I remember thinking highly of him when he was on Tampa.

      Other than that we’ve got to hope one of our trades pans out, and pray Belov is a true diamond in the rough.

  • DSG

    Clarke MacArthur would be my first choice. Two-way player who can flip with MPS between 2nd and 3rd line LW depending on who is hot at the time.

    Gordon would be second on my list.

    Khudobin 3rd, Gilbert 4th.

    Weiss would be fifth, because of the potential cap hit, unless the team is willing to trade Gagner, then he would move up to first.

    Ranger would be next, followed by Stalberg.

    • 2004Z06

      Grabovski just moved to number 2.

      Hall – RNH – Eberle

      MacArthur – Grabovski -Yakupov

      MPS – Gagner – Stalberg?

      Smyth – Gordon – Whomever

      That’s three pretty darn good lines.

  • justDOit

    Beginning to think MacT.’s intentions are written in invisible ink and they are fast dissolving of their recognition . Our Back to the Future is beginning to look more like a Return to the Past . How much irreputable damage might he have created by calling personnel out without an exit strategy fully in place ? Right now we have Klefbom and Belov pencilled in and that could be all we’ll end up with . The rest could very well be status quo with maybe more callups as we have done so frequently in the past with little results .

    That’s what we are today and if they are going to avoid the Ufa and buy out personnel as they said they preferred to do then our roster is basically set barring any surprise trade – which now seems remote .

  • Eddie Shore

    I can’t believe we are talking about Paul Ranger. The guy played in the AHL last year. Also, for all those wanting Clowe, I saw on TV last night he wants to stay out east to be near his child (acording to Sportsnet).

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The big dogs eat first. If there’s anything left, the Oilers can then come and fight over some scraps.

      Clarkson may just be using the Oilers offer to drive up the price and stay in the east.

      Will somebody PLEASE, sign Gagner to an RFA offer sheet north of 5 mill per! I’m not looking forward to another 25th-27th place finish with him in our lineup.

  • DSG

    You want to bring back Gilbert?!? A player who slammed the organization when he left and was obviously moved for a reason… he clearly wanted out and isnt coming back… Thankfully

  • CaptainLander

    Grabo in TO has been bought out.

    I don’t know what his numbers have been this year, but he looked good vs. Boston in the playoffs. Every time Chara slammed him down, he always got up.

    In Tambo’s immortal words: a high compete level.

    Every time I’ve seen him vs. Oilers, he has stood out on the forecheck.

    Might he be an option at C for us?

    • DSF

      He had a forgettable season but much of that had to do with how Carlyle used him.

      He had only 36.7% of his shifts start in the Ozone.

      He’s a great skater and very competitive.

      Would make an excellent #2C for the Oilers.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Why is nobody talking about Nick Antropov as a possible target in free agency? The guy is big, can win face-offs, is only 33, has veteran presence and is in line for a huge pay cut.

    An Antropov, Gagner, Yak line against not top line competition would really help balance out the top two lines. Plus he’s the type of guy that could be moved up and down the depth chart depending on what you needed, and can be had for very little this year. 3 years at 3 mill outta do it.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I would take Clarkson – RW. We’d have to gamble a bit on his contract, but man we need that player type.

    *No hope with Clowe apparently, as he’s said he would only play with an eastern team.

    ** I guess we would have to trade for Kris Russell now, as he’s back with St. Louis now after clearing waivers.

  • DSF

    The free agency thing is on!!!! I think the Oilers do six to maybe eight changes this year at the least.

    Some persons have stated that my choices for some players if not good but here goes… I said that I would like Gordon for 3rd line centre/winger abilities (which was criticized as good) but also said try getting Lapiere for 4th line centre (criticized as bad).

    Why? they both do their jobs and are not cost expensive… Several of those criticizing me wanted Cooke instead but… IMO, Lapiere wins over 50% faceoffs/does some PK work too, and is not as reckless to harm as Cooke is.. Besides, who wants a player ready for between 15 to 25 to longer…games under suspensions…like Cooke may likely soon receive.

    For 2nd line winger status, I’d like one of either Stalberg or even Mason Raymond with his speed. Both can compliment Yakupov and Gagner (who is very likely here on a long term deal).
    The third line…with Gordon could end up being of MPS, Gordon,and the Oilers bring in
    Colby Armstrong or maybe Ryan Jones comes back.

    The fourth line would then play out as Smyth, Lapiere, and the Oilers sneak in Bryan McGrattan to split with Brown…

    On defence, I believe the Oiler stay the course for the future with one to two changes here… They go get Ranger and bring K. Ballard who I believe got the raw straw in Vancouver and but he can play steady and defensively well. Klefbom starts plays this yr in the AHL..being 1st call up. This puts N. Schultz on the trade block immediately unless there is no deal for Ballard or another.

    My choice of for goalies to play with Dubnyk stays with being… either Khudobin or Emery..with Jose Theodore third in line.

    Thus the team would look like (decent cost effectively)..

    1st line – Hall..RNH..Eberle.
    2nd line – Stalberg/Raymond..Gagner..Yakupov
    3rd line – MPS..Gordon..Armstrong/Jones
    4th line – Smyth..Lapiere..McGrattan/Brown.

    J. Schultz – Ranger
    Smid – Petry
    Belov – Ballard or N. Schultz.
    Extra – Potter

    Dubnyk – Khudobin/Emery/Theodore

    It ain’t the best and it ain’t the most expensive type waste of line-up either. Guys like Horton, Clarkson, MacArthur likely want too much money/terms to play so I would do this type for one yr moving forward. If a guy like Clarkson or Horton got 5 to 6 mil per yr to play here…the wolves would be out in a couple months to yrs for the type albatross contracts they did not deserve…so why bother (look at Horcoff contract for reasoning). I do wish so..to even upgrade this type line-up with the additions I suggest but it works for this year to at least the trade deadline next spring..

  • Oilers21

    Would Zenon Konopka make any sense if Minny shops him? He makes under $1m and wins faceoffs and gets the odd point here and there. I’m not in favour of adding a tough guy just for the sake of it but Konopka does do a few other things well.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Oilers are seated at the side of the road, watching the parade go by. Where the frig is 6 rings Lowe when he’s needed, probably still trying to stick it to Peckham i’m sure.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Most important is the guys who are gone . Tuebert , Plante , Peckham , Belanger today . The UFA’s Jones, Pettrell , Habby, Smithson, Whitney,Hordichuck,Fistric ( might keep). Tradeable Horc & Hemmer (I would keep). That’s 13 players . I’m expecting McT type players hopefully under 3o with perhaps 1 “D” exception over 30 . This team will have a different mind set along with new coaches . Hoping Lander & Klefbom start in the AHL but could live with them in the NHL Still expect 1 more player gone . Odds Gags ; Paarvi; N.Schultz or Smid . Maybe a week to go to finalize it all .