The Ladislav Smid exit kicks off ‘trading season’ in Edmonton, the annual sell-off of actual NHL players for picks and prospects. It has to be a bitter pill for the organization, but it’s important for them to make rational decisions and receive value for their veterans. Here’s a look at some players who may be headed out of Edmonton long before the deadline.
- R Ales Hemsky (19, 3-6-9 -12). The veteran winger is spending his 10th winter with the club, but most believe he’ll be sent away some time over the winter. The playoffs are not going to happen for the Oilers, and there’s a growing number of teams who are losing touch with the front of the pack in their respective divisions. Those teams–especially the ones with offensive problems–may see Hemsky as an attractive option. If Edmonton can keep some of the cap hit, that makes him even more attractive. Estimated value: 2014 1st or 2nd rd pick.
- D Nick Schultz (17, 0-1-1 -1). Stay-at-home veteran defenseman always have tremendous value at the deadline, and the appeal of Schultz is the expiring contract. Many Oiler fans were shocked by the Smid return, but long term deals for defensive defensemen reduces value (clubs don’t want their cap tied up that way). Schultz can slot right in and play at the NHL level, and that makes him a player of interest. Estimated value: 2014 3rd rd pick.
- F Ryan Jones (11, 2-1-3 +3).Having a nice season, Jones is a veteran who can jump in and contribute on more than one line, and his offense is a nice kicker. Estimated value: 2014 4th rd pick.
- Any of the goalies who play well. It’s open season for goalies in Edmonton. If one of Dubnyk or Bryzgalov plays well enough to attract a team’s interest (and the Oil don’t feel he’s in the future plans), they could be gone.
THE HEART OF THE ORDER
Craig MacTavish has been sending away some players some of us thought were part of the future (Smid most recently), so we’re getting a better view of how the new GM sees this team. We’re all going to have different names (I suspect) here and there, but the heart of the cluster from my point of view is this:
- Taylor Hall
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Jordan Eberle
- Nail Yakupov
- David Perron
- Sam Gagner
- Boyd Gordon
- Jeff Petry (RFA)
- Justin Schultz (RFA)
- Andrew Ference
That’s 10 players, three of whom (Perron, Gordon and Ference) were acquired by MacTavish as GM and two of whom (Yakupov, Justin Schultz) were procured by the organization with MacTavish in the fold.
ANYONE EMERGING THIS YEAR?
- D Anton Belov: He’s been a revelation.
- C Mark Arcobello: I think he’s shown enough to be considered a strong candidate for next year’s roster.
- L Jesse Joensuu: Looked good early, injuries have impacted his season.
- C Will Acton: Brings some interesting things, difficult to know how well he’s playing because of the enforcer nature of linemates
- L Luke Gazdic: Young and tough, he’s done well in the enforcer role.
- D Phil Larsen: Looked good in early exposure, jury is out as things roll along.
- D Taylor Fedun: As with Larsen, we’ll have to wait and see. Hit and miss.
- D Darnell Nurse: He got a long look at training camp this season, and could make the club in 2014 fall.
- D Oscar Klefbom: 1st rd pick in 2011 will probably see action in the NHL this year.
- D Martin Marincin: In his second season in the AHL, working toward NHL employment
- R Tyler Pitlick: Looked good in an NHL cup of coffee.
- F Roman Horak: May see NHL time this season, is a better player than some current Oilers.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Rebuild. I hate that word.