As we get closer to the 2014 NHL draft, it’s important to know two things: how many bullets are in the Oilers draft chamber, and what should they spend the picks on?


  • Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Boyd Gordon, Mark Arcobello, Will Acton, Travis Ewanyk, Jujhar Khaira, 
  • Left Wing: Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Jesse Joensuu, Ryan Hamilton, Kale Kessy, Mitchell Moroz
  • Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, David Perron, Matt Hendricks


  • Center: Anton Lander
  • Left Wing: Luke Gazdic, Roman Horak, Curtis Hamilton
  • Right Wing: Tyler Pitlick, Andrew Miller


  • Center: Bogdan Yakimov, Marco Roy, Kyle Platzer, Greg Chase
  • Left Wing: Anton Slepyshev, Daniil Zharkov, Aidan Muir, Evan Campbell
  • Right Wing: John McCarron, Jackson Houck

That’s 32 players, and I’d include Steve Pinizzotto although he’s a pending UFA.


My list (your mileage may vary) goes like this:

  • a veteran center. Some call him Jordan Staal, others Paul Stastny and still others Martin Hanzal. I’m not sure if we should call him a 1C or 2C, but he’d be in tandem with Nuge.
  • a checking winger. I call him ‘the Pisani’ but David Moss fits the bill. Scott Cullen from TSN used Vern Fiddler as the example recently, so that kind of guy.


At the NHL level, this:

  • Center: Nuge, Stasty/Staal, Gordon, Arcobello, Lander
  • Left Wing: Hall, Yakupov, Moss, Joensuu, Gazdic
  • Right Wing: Eberle, Perron, Hendricks, Pitlick



There are fewer moves needed this summer, but they’re huge. Massive. Craig MacTavish needs a legit two-way center and a two-way winger who can compete at 5×5 and kill on the power play.

And he needs to hit a home run in every area.

Up next: The Blue.

  • gr8one

    So are you suggesting that the Oilers will get Stall, Stastny, or Hanzal. Well good luck with that. It was also interesting that you see Hendricks as the third line right winger. I would not have him more than a fourth line winger, and fill in on the third line if there are injuries.

    • Lowetide

      If Gordon is on the 4line, then Hendricks joins him. I don’t see that as the 4line, since (with Moss) it’ll be north of $7M in cap hit.

      Oilers will have a less expensive, less important line. That’s my 4line.

      • paul wodehouse

        One of several reasons the team will not be competitive next year. The Oilers don’t get enough goals out of their top six or defense to get almost zero production out of their third and fourth lines. What this team actually needs to not finish at the bottom of the league again is a top six center, three legitimate third line forwards and two if not three top four defensemen. Jury is still out on the goaltending. Good luck with that MacT. The fact that they have almost 5 million tied up in two players that belong on a good teams fourth line is yet another indication of Oilers management inability to draft and develop useful depth players, identify and acquire good value players through free agency and smart trading and total incompetence when it comes to knowing what it takes to build a competitive roster.

  • gr8one

    Hey LT, this is the second article in the last couple of days that you have left out Horak.

    Are you thinking he’s not going to be a part of the organization going forward?


    Nevermind, I see you have him listed as a LW, I missed that, I thought he was a C.

  • Do what Weight did?

    So, before all the usual suspects come in and predict failure, and use said failure to support the fire KLowe, MacT and Eakins movement, I have a question.

    Could any GM in this league fill those holes in one off-season? Without tearing open new, equally massive holes?

    In order for the Oilers to be successful, I think they will need to create something out of nothing. A kid from the minors? Arco? Yakimov? If the answer isn’t already in the system, then it’s going to cost us: picks, players and/or FA overpayment.

    I don’t foresee the Oil having a good enough off-season to be competitive (make the playoffs). As long as we add a piece or two, and the young D continue to trend upwards, we can improve part of the way. Hopefully within another year or two some of the forwards MacT stocked the minors with will be able to contribute and eventually we should be as good as we were in the late 90’s. At that point, filling holes could push us over the top.

    I don’t work for the Oilers, but I do try to be realistic. MacT hasn’t turned the team around in one year, but that doesn’t make him incompetent, it just means he’s not a miracle worker. It’s a deep hole. It’ll take time.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      So your first pick this year is third overall (due to pure suckage for the 7 th year in a row…)

      Your next is 91st because you traded All your own 2 to 5 rounders away??!

      Is this true?

      And you are talking about the future???

      What UFA in their right mind would sign with the oil?
      Heatley I would guess is the only one….


    • paul wodehouse

      They had those exact same needs last summer. Could any good GM fill those needs in over a year with two free agency period to work with is a better question? The answer to that would be yes.

      MacT needs to fill these holes in one summer because of his failures last summer.

    • Spydyr

      You lost your argument right here:

      “Could any GM in this league fill those holes in one off-season? :

      “The Braintrust” that created this mess and it has been eight going on nine years outside the playoffs cannot be expected to fix this mess.

      This is not a one year problem but a decades long issue.

  • gr8one

    That is my list as a minimal list for forward.

    I would also add two defensemen (I know next column).

    I would have Phil Larson as the 23rd man on the roster. as a ready guy to fill in on Defence or Forward. (I would not qualify him and offer him a 650K one way contract).

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I imagine the Oilers will make a significant effort to bring in guys like you suggest LT.

    I see then going o’fer on your list. This team leads the league in the, Thanks, but no thanks department. Have to think there’s 5 no thank youse to every one guy who’s willing to give this market a shot.

    I’m interested to see what Steve Ott does. The Oil can offer him both term and money…….will he go for the cash this summer and come to Edmonton….not sure where he’d sit on a 5 yr 25 million dollar deal, but that’s what I think MacT will offer him to give Edmonton a try. At this point, offers have to be going out in all different directions. Trying to land nearly anyone at this point.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Joensuu may be signed for next season but I don’t see him on the roster opening night. I’m not sure if he’s on a 2 way deal or not but if he is off to the AHL he goes, if not I’d probably buy him out. I’d like to see Pinizotto get signed as I thought he had a good showing.

    As expensive as Gordon and Hendricks are they will and should be on the 4th line.

    I’d be happy with Stastny/Hanzal as a 2C but hard to see either of them coming over here. If we’re getting pennies to the dollar for Gagner I’d like to see an effective 3C coming back ie. Zack Smith. David Moss or Winnik are others I’d be trying to land to add to the bottom 9 if possible.

    As for that defence…. Not sure how MacT plans on bringing in high end defencemen so it looks like we’re staying young. Good luck Scrivens and Fasth.

  • bwar

    Please stop with the whole ‘Gordon and Hendricks are fourth liners’ garbage. Gordon is a third line center and Hendricks is a third line winger. They might lack a bit in the scoring department but when you have six former first rounders, including 3 first overall picks, making up your top six, the third line shouldn’t be expected to be a scoring line but instead they can be a full blown shutdown line.

    Also who on earth is going to leapfrog Gordon and Hendricks on the depth chart? Going to be a long season with Pitlick, Lander and Joensuu as our shutdown line.

  • bwar

    LT, you basically added a front line center to the roster, and you think you are going from 29th to something closer to a play off team. Sorry give your head a shake, it aint happening.

    Not with Joensus,Gadzick, Pitlick, Lander,in your line up.

    • Lowetide

      If you’re going to add Stastny/Moss, and let’s face it that may not happen, you’re going to need some inexpensive players at the bottom of the roster.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        yup, and the bottom 2 lines will still suck. and adding Stastny and Moss adds the toughness we need up front? both are big guys, but we need toughness.

  • Do what Weight did?

    LT give me your thoughts:

    Carolina is trying to shed salary, correct?

    Gagner + 2014 1st + 2015 1st + 2015 2nd + Marincin/klefbom for both staals

    Sign kulemin and Winnik

    This would make us a cap team but a good team. Maybe the staals waive their ntcs to come here?

    Hall nuge eberle

    Perron staal yakupov

    Kulemin staal pitlick

    Winnik Gordon Hendricks

    If j staal wants to play 2c then swap Eric to the 2LW and Perron to 3LW. Bring in arco or lander for 3c.

    Defence is still an issue. Sign stop gaps like hainsey and stralman. If this is over the cap there are moves that can be made to get back under the cap like trading eberle for high end prospects or picks. There is flexibility and versatility.

    I can dream anyway.

  • paul wodehouse

    They are going to need a lot more than Stasney and Moss If they are going to make playoffs.The 33 goals they scored last year would when you add it current roster only bring the oilers up to 212 goals for.
    Even if Scrivens and Co can bring goals against down to 230 they are still a long way short of bringing Gf vs Ga to a positive.
    As every team that made playoffs had a positive differential it’s a must that they add more than two UFA’s if they are going to compete.
    Very tall task!

  • paul wodehouse

    Trade Nuge to the offence starved Coyotes for Ekman-Larson, draft a centre, and sign Stastny to replace Nuge.

    Alternatively, draft Ekblad, trade Gagner and Nurse to Carolina for Jordan Staal.

  • andyg

    The oilers are the worst drafting team in the league. Picking in the top 5 is the only way they find talent.

    Maybe another 8 years and they will be able to ice an NHL team.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    It is funny to read some of these wild dreams. I am wondering if the assistant coaches have any say in the direction they wish to go. If so should they not be replaced before any moves are made. Their track record is not to good.

  • MattyFranchise

    why not just sign the second tier guys this season and make a couple of big trades

    Hall – RNH – Eberle
    Heatley – Berglund – Perron
    Yakupov – Grabovski – Kulemin
    Hendricks – Gordon – Moss
    Gazdic – Lander – Joensuu

    Coburn – Niskanen
    Quincey – Schultz
    Ference – Greene
    Klefbom – Larsen

    Scrivens – Fasth

    Trade Gagner+ for Berglund’s RFA contract
    Trade Marincin and Petry for Coburn

  • MattyFranchise

    Oilers won’t get any top free agent until Lowe et al. leave because all the agents know they are the worst management of any team in the league.

    Would any one of you put money in a business that wasn’t going anywhere and has a history of poor management. No you wouldn’t. Neither would the agents with their players, that is their meal ticket.

    If this forum and fans would put less energy into dreaming about trades and line combinations that will never happen, and put that into speaking out and get KLowe and his gang fired. Then maybe your dreams will finally become realty.

    As long as Lowe runs this team, No top NHL player will come as a free agent. Leadership and culture must change for the agents to risk their top assets on the Oilers.