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.
MY FIFTEEN FOR THE OILERS
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I’m guessing the following:
- GOAL: Anton Khudobin
- DEFENSE: Paul Ranger, Tom Gilbert
- CENTER: Boyd Gordon
- WINGERS: Viktor Stalberg
What about you?