Three Forwards

Craig MacTavish6

Craig MacTavish talked to Terry Jones over the weekend, telling the Edmonton Sun columnist that he plans to add 4-5 players, with one or two coming from trade and the remainder through free agency. After eliminating the two defensive positions he specifically mentioned, that means we’re looking at 2-3 new forwards for the 2014-15 Edmonton Oilers.

The Depth Chart Today

The future up front

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Centre Right Wing
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
David Perron Sam Gagner Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Jesse Joensuu
Luke Gazdic Mark Arcobello Tyler Pitlick
Anton Lander Steve Pinizzotto

The 14 names above represent what in my view is the Oilers’ most likely forward depth chart today. We can add a trio of likely minor-leaguers to the list – Will Acton, Ryan Hamilton, and newly signed Iiro Pakarinen – if we want to be thorough and be reasonably confident we have the legitimate NHL options surrounded.

To this group we can potentially add the player the Oilers will get if they keep the No. 3 overall selection in this year’s draft. If they keep the pick the player will compete for an NHL job, and with the possible exception of Sam Bennett my guess is that he’d likely end up on the roster.

MacTavish’s aim is set pretty high – three new forwards represents an entire line of NHL talent – although there are going to be subtractions along the way, too.

The Shopping List


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My guess is that the Oilers have identified the following positions as being in need of help:

Second line centre. No newsflash here. Sam Gagner is a dead man walking if the rumour mill can be believed, and the Oilers may not want to bank on whoever they draft being ready for major-league action. If I were betting, I’d say plausible free agent targets include Mikhail Grabovski, David Legwand and maybe Brad Richards.

Third line wing. Potentially the Oilers could get this player back in a hypothetical Gagner deal, but free agency has a bunch of players who can play minutes on the wing and it isn’t so strong in centres. Plausible targets include Nikolai Kulemin, David Moss, Daniel Winnik, Brenden Morrow, Devin Setoguchi, Benoit Pouliot, and maybe Blake Comeau.

Third line centre. This is the position I imagine the Oilers would address in a potential Gagner trade, and the names being batted in the rumour mill would work – Colin Wilson out of Nashville or Josh Bailey from the Islanders. There are also some potential free agent grabs: Steve Ott, Vernon Fiddler, Marcel Goc, Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, Michal Handzus and the sure to be overpaid Dave Bolland.

When a Plan Comes Together

If all goes well, the Oilers’ NHL forward depth chart would look something like this:

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Centre Right Wing
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
David Perron [New Player] Nail Yakupov
[New Player] [New Player] Mark Arcobello
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Jesse Joensuu
Luke Gazdic Anton Lander Tyler Pitlick

*Luke Gazdic may not be ready to start the season, which could potentially open the door for both of Lander and Pitlick to make the team out of camp.

Whether or not that’s good enough is going to depend on who MacTavish lands to fill those vacant spots, but if we’re right on the plan it’s as ambitious as Oilers fans could ask for.


  • Czar

    I’d put Pinizzotto ahead of Joensuu on the depth chart. He brought more grit and passion in his brief time here and was willing to stick up for his teammates.

      • Seems to be massively on the decline anyways. He does bring the intangibles though.. Leadership, toughness, et al
        … But you would like them to be able to score some. Pouliot will get paid too, but I think he’d be better money spent. Wouldn’t be upset if Ott landed here though in spite of his offensive drought.

        If Umberger gets bought out that might be another worthy name, even though he’s seen better days too. I realize this is a sin to suggest, but if he came cheap, he could be a big leader here.

  • paul wodehouse

    If we draft Drasaitl, I would love to see him compete for the third line position and bring in someone else for the #2 spot. Overall everything you mentioned seems plausible. Should be an interesting first day of free agency.

    • Lexi

      Agreed, the proof is in the pudding, not in the telling. I’d think by now fans would be fed up with the telling and wanting to see some results.

      Although I don’t disagree Oilers would benefit with upgrades of 4-5 players (at least) I believe next season isn’t going to be about them, but rather about the rest. If the team can see progression from the majority of the rest, versus the regression of last year is going to be far more important overall to the team. Let’s face it, if you’re assuming Hall-RNH-Eberlie are good enough as a #1 line based on the past season, you’re sadly mistaken. Second line Perron was OK, Yak (very poor) and beyond that little to offer hope for future success. Building a “team”, consistent effort and workable systems that ALL the players buy into is going to be far more important than a few middling additions.

      There are signs of hope in this regard, re new assistant coach but as a fan I’d be putting a lot more pressure/hope/accountability on the “core” starting to live up to the unending hype than some additions…

    • Zarny

      Meh, it’s irrelevant.

      Dale Tallon is telling anyone who will listen the #1 pick is available and that he wants to sign 4-5 UFA’s including Iginla.

      Frustration with all talk, no action is understandable but nothing a GM says actually affects negotiations. It’s just fodder for the media.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    If there’s a cure for everything that ails Nail Yakupov. It may well come in that package called Joe Thornton. Jumbo has helped turn many a player into 40-50 goal scorers over the last decade. Many with fewer weapons than what Nail has in his favor.

    Wait for it, wait for it…..

    Hall/ Thornton/ Yakupov

    Perron/ Hopkins/ Eberle

          • Craig1981

            Exactly. Glad you are here Zarny….someone that understands how hard it is to get an elite player.

            Thornton makes ZERO sense for the Oilers since as a 35 year old, his time as an elite player is in its twilight (never seen the movie, btw) but he still puts up almost a point a game which means he would be in high demand for the contending teams. High cost for only a few years is not what the Oilers need right now.

            Add Thornton with Webber as players the Oiler fans would love, but will never get.

          • Sorensenator

            Joe is not done, he had 76 points last year man. Top 10 among centres.

            San Jose wants to retool their team a bit and they know they can get lots for Thornton.

          • Zarny

            No, SJ isn’t hitting the reset button.

            After another playoff flop they are entertaining offers for Thornton and Marleau but you aren’t getting a bargain.

            Other than the lockout seasons, the last time Thornton put up less than 70 pts was 2001-02 when he had 68 pts in 66 games. He was the 7th leading C this year with 76 pts which was 6 pts more than Anze Kopitar.

            He is 35 but he is far from done. There would be ways to mitigate the cost of a trade and perhaps avoid giving up Eberle or Yakupov (3rd overall this year, 2015 1st round pick, Marincin and Klefbom etc) except for one thing…

            There is no reality where Joe Thornton accepts a trade to Edmonton, AB, Canada.

          • paul wodehouse

            …see that’s my point… IF MacT wants Joe Thornton he’s only willing to give UP “Gagner Gordon and a package of maybes”…it’s all Joe’s worth now…don’t get me wrong I loved Joe Thornton…a dozen years ago…watch he goes to another cup contender for a second or third and a 30 year old centre…

          • Craig1981

            SJ is still a cup contender. If the offer isnt great, and improves SJ, they simply wont move him. They surely arent desperate and they dont have to trade him for peanuts. He doesnt want out, he is signed for 3 more years, and he is still very productive.

            So why would they trade him for a crap package that makes SJ worse: now and in the long term?

            Id bet he stays put.

          • ubermiguel

            I wonder how many years of crushing disappointment in the playoffs it will take before SJ realizes Thornton is part of the problem. Is this the year? He reminds me of Nash, great player, but he doesn’t have that next gear that the playoffs require. Right now he’s a veteran centre that will instantly improve the Oilers and will help shelter our young small centres so I’d invite him with open arms, but he’ll never be a guy to carry you to a Cup.

          • paul wodehouse

            …y’know I thought THIS was going to be San Jose’s year…with Niemi being a former Cup winner knowing what it took to win it all and Joe being at the end-ish of his career really wanting / needing a Cup for his legacy, Marleau looking great at the Olympics …thought they would NOT flop AGAIN…still a contender? ok but IMO not with this present cast of almosters…

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Sorry, thought he’d maybe be a surprise addition to the buyout list. Lecavilier could take his place on the left coast. Wilson was pondering the idea of a rather significant change only weeks ago. Figure Joe may have been the sorta change he had in mind.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Are you out of your freaking mind!! In what universe is Lecavalier an upgrade over thornton? And a thornton buyout? Jesus man put down the bottle. Why would SJ buyout thornton when they could very easily trade him for something instead of giving him millions to just walk away. And Lecavalier is under contract for 3 more years. Get a grip Gold Gloves

        • Zarny

          No, Thornton starts a 3 yr @ $6.75M extension next year so he isn’t eligible for a compliance buyout.

          SJ is rumored to be taking offers for Thornton and Marleau but they won’t go for a bargain.

          Brad and Mike Richards are potential buy outs although LA says Mike is staying in LA.

          I think NYR have to buy out B. Richards due to the cap recapture penalties alone which is why you shouldn’t trade for him. If he becomes a UFA though there will be competition and I doubt he picks Edmonton.

          Despite what LA says there may be a trade opportunity for M. Richards. My concern is he is in decline and signed for another 6 yrs @ $5.75M cap hit. That could be a really ugly contract for the last 3 years.

          • Sorensenator

            It’s too bad, Mike Richards is only 29. It could be a case of being overshadowed in L.A. by guys like Kopitar and Carter; he is still a useful player.

          • Zarny

            Mike Richards is certainly still a useful player and exemplifies intangibles like leadership. If he was ever bought out every team other than LA would be calling.

            I’m sure LA’s defensive style and playing behind Kopitar & Carter are factors but his offense really dropped off the last 3 years (44, 54 (pro-rated) and 41 pts) while he was only 27-29 y/o. At times he was playing 4th line minutes.

            He’s young enough to possibly bounce back in a different situation and it’s a no-brainer to go after him as a UFA following a buy-out; but trading for that contract has risk if he doesn’t bounce back, starts to break down physically and continues to decline.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        There’s now way I’d give up players to bring Joe in Paul. Was hoping he’d find his way somehow onto the buyout list, guess that’s not going to happen by the sounds of the mob here. Nobody appreciates sarcasm anymore Paul 😉

  • Doctor Smashy

    I’m a little concerned that you still have Joensuu on the fourth line. He is not terrible good at hockey which I think is a problem…since that is supposed to be what the Oilers play. I would rather have Pitlick in that spot, glass skeleton and poorly developed connective tissue and all. An even better idea might be almost any other NHL player…

    • Czar

      Is there enough bubble wrap to keep either player on the ice for a full year?

      I really hope Pitlick can stay healthy, there is a player there but man he’s had $hit luck.

  • Benny Botts


    What do you think about trading for Patrik berglund for the 2nd line centre position? If the rumors are true and the blues are making a push for spezza and Berglund isn’t included in the deal, you would have to think a centre is on their way out in st. louis. He’s 6’4 217lbs, doesn’t play a overly physical game but I think would slot in nicely with perron on the 2nd line.


      • Chongler

        Not to mention that any trade with Stl would almost have to go in their favor to make up for the Perron robbery from last summer. Unlikely the Blues will let that happen again, but who knows.

        I like the new CBA rules regarding UFA talks, the teams can start to talk and deal with UFAs on June 25th, which will be interesting, especially since the early bargaining rights won’t be a tradable asset at the entry draft a couple days later. I was never a fan of the previous rule of everything from initial talks to signing a deal all on the same day. This new rule promotes more action of big name players and multiple significant moves by one GM on July 1st.

  • bazmagoo

    Kulemin and Winnik would look great on a 3rd line with Arcobello in the middle in my opinion. I think both could had for under $3 million on a 3 year term, that’d be my best guess. If we end up landing Wilson or Bailey for Gagner plus, I’d assume they will fill the 2nd line role even if they aren’t entirely capable of doing so. Next season is going to have to be scoring by committee if we are going to make progress.

    Can’t really understand why everyone keeps slotting in Arcobello on the wing. The guys great on the dot, plays solid defense, and hits everything that moves. He’s a center!

  • Zarny


    I live in Calgary and have watched Stajan play quite a few times.

    He’s brutal. His skating is worse than Gagner’s as is his offensive upside. Stajan’s 200 ft game is marginally better than Gagner’s but both are terrible at FO. Stajan is also 30 so enjoy the decline in his offense now that he’s past his prime. A decline from 40 pts. Gagner on the other hand is 24 and has played 1 yr in his prime.

    • Craig1981

      Stajan may be older, but he’s much more defensively responsible and is a guy that works his butt off. Gagner on the other hand is more suited to 3rd line duty than what he has been getting his entire career to this point and will likely suffer numbers wise when someone smart puts him in that position. Like back in the day when Val Bure was the flames top scorer, you could have said he was a 70pt player back then but on other teams….not so much.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Lets not all set ourselves up for disappointment.

    We all know the changes coming this summer will only rival the Barker, Eager, Belanger, Hordichuk signings of just a couple of summers ago.

    The troops will not come in and save the day. Stay the rebuild from within course.

  • Doctor Smashy

    I’m okay with that setup. I do believe if they draft LD then he will make the team. I just don’t see much competition for him and his size will be too tempting for the coaching staff.

    As much as there will be changes in the forwards I still think much of how the next season will go is going to depend on what happens on the defense. But all we can do is wait and see.

  • Craig1981

    I really believe that the biggest improvement to this team has been made with the addition of Ramsey and the removal of Bucky and potentially Smith
    The coaching changes along with the bodies we already have is going to make a huge difference.

  • oilerbuff

    I really like Brian Boyle to slot in as 3rd line centre. we could also do worse than.Steve Ott, but I like Boyle better and he just came off a Stanley Cup final team

  • Zarny


    1) You’re still giving up the 2015 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks for O’Reilly which is a lot. I like O’Reilly but that’s a lot.

    2) It’s extremely unlikely the Oilers draft Ekblad. Any team who moves up to #1 will take him and if Florida holds the pick they likely take him too.

    3) I wouldn’t touch Umberger with my worst enemy’s d*ck. He’s a 1st round pick who did nothing until he was 25. He had a few good years in his prime (25-29) and now he’s back to being a bum whose legs are shot.

    • Meh, picks are picks, they’re not going to make the Oilers a contender. Not to mention, I really feel like the cupboards a pretty much stocked right now. The club could do with a year of not drafting a high end prospect to undo the development log jam.

      I really think this is just media hype. Let me ask you this, is Ekblad a better projection on defence than Jones? I would say no, and he fell to 4 after guys like Barkov and Drouin. Sure there’s no Mckinnon, but I would say Draisaitl, Reinheart and Bennet are projecting better than Barkov and Drouin. Not to mention the endless history of 1st overall defencemen who don’t work out.

      I just don’t see it playing out the way all of TSN thinks it will because it rarely ever does.

      As for Umberger, I don’t know I don’t really watch the guy. I would agree with you that Gagner is a better player, but I don’t think he makes Edmonton a better team, especially in the west where size is king. As a third line centre, he brings size and veteran presence, with way less defensive liability. Nuge, O’Reily, Umberger, and Gordon is some pretty deep centre with a good mix of everything. I would do that deal in a heart beat.

      • Zarny

        I fully support using the 2014 3rd overall or 2015 1st round pick as trade bait. Just not sure Ryan O’Reilly is the right return for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick. There may be a better deal available.

        I agree Ekblad is not a better prospect than Jones. His Jr. numbers align with Zack Bogosian and in many years Ekblad would be the 2-4th D drafted.

        Based on comments I don’t think Florida even considers Ekblad the best prospect over the long run; but they want to win right away and Ekblad is the most NHL ready prospect available. So teams looking to trade up will go for Ekblad and Florida’s desire to win right away pushes them to Ekblad. It’s not impossible he falls to 3 but it’s looking very unlikely.

        Umberger was playing 4th line in Columbus and looked atrocious this year. His legs are shot and he looks like a very old 32. At $4.6M for 3 more seasons I want nothing to do with him. Personal preference perhaps.

      • Craig1981

        The Oilers don’t pick between 3rd overall and 91st. I think they have had their year without picks and remember 2015 is apparently a very strong draft year.

        side note: Buffalo who has 3 1st round picks, and two 2nds may look to have a better rebuild with Pysyk, McCabe, Zadorov, and Ristolainen, set to develop on the back end, by the time their forwards they will pick in the next 2 years do.

        • Good point for sure. And it is going to be another great draft year next year where picks are sure to be hot commodities. But again, the team does not have the luxury of time, and it really seems time to make something happen.

          As for doing a better rebuild, well only time will tell. Personally I think the Oilers model is only now kicking in simply because while drafting our top end talent, every other pick was being wasted. Our rebuild should have really gotten started the Gagner year when they had 3 first round picks.

          It’s years like that which can either make or break a rebuild. Instead the Oilers have done I guess a good job with their first overall, then only recently done well with later picks.

          But a team like Chicago has drafted 13 players on their team, plus a guy like Buf. That kind of drafting in later rounds is why they are successful, and the Oilers’ failure is why they are still at the bottom.

          But still, all this gloom and doom, who knows what some competent goal tending and a year of the same coach could do for this team. I know we’ve been saying it every single year, but I can’t imagine the Oilers picking top five again next year.

          • Craig1981

            I don’t think every other pick has been wasted. I think the fact the had only one prospect in their system prior to the rebuild is what hurt them. Pitlick, Simpson, Moroz, Khaira, Marincin, Musil, Chase, and Klefbom are all developing and some will make the team in the next 1-4 years.

            Go to hockeydb and look at the players taken outside of the 1st round since the rebuild. It takes till 21-23 for most of them to make impacts. IMO

          • Yes, they are all tracking well, but they are also all outside when the Oilers should have been drafting deeper picks to surround the now superstars with an actual team. But even having said that, it’s still unclear how good these guys will be. They may be bottom pair defenders, fourth line guys, or who knows. Point being the earliest pick on this list Pitlick is in talks to maybe see some fourth line time this year and he was drafted in 2010. By now the Oilers should have graduated a lot more legitimate hockey players than just a few cups of coffee. Also again 2007 1st round. I know hindsight yadda yadda, but our scouting department missed out on Couture, Shattenkirk, McDonagh, Sutter, Pacioretty, Suban, etc.. Instead we got Gagner, Plante, and Reily Nash who was recently traded for the pick that turned into Marincin. So if Marincin pans out, then only by association will the 2007 draft look somewhat okay.

    • A-Mc

      not “The” 2015 1st pick. “A” 2015 1st round pick.

      If the Oilers can trade for the #30 pick, that works too i believe. OUR 2015 pick will be valuable as it’ll likely be in the top 5 again; but we dont have to send them ours i dont think

      *****UPDATE *****
      MY MISTAKE. Apparently the picks DO have to be your own. Ignore my previous RO’R offer sheet posts.

      • Craig1981

        Nope, you are mistaken. You have to send them your pick. That is why teams have had to sometimes reacquire their picks for offer sheets. Like the Oilers did for Penner.

        In the McDavid draft I don’t think a team that has picked 1st, 1st, 1st, 7th, 3rd should be moving their pick unless it is protected (which you can’t do on an offer sheet) Plus it is apparently a very strong draft year besides McDavid

        • A-Mc

          Ah crap. If it’s your pick, then ya that’s no good. our 1st is almost a lock to be top 5 (in all seriousness at this point), which is already almost 1-1 in value for ROR.

          No offer sheet for R. O’Reilly.

          MY MISTAKE!

      • Zarny

        Until the Oilers have more than one 2015 1st round pick it’s “the” 2015 1st pick which as you pointed out could very well be top 5 again.

        And while certainly not impossible, good luck obtaining another 2015 1st round pick considering McDavid and Eichel are available and it’s considered a very deep draft.

        Edit: As mentioned it has to be your own pick.

  • Zarny

    The positions of need are obvious. There are certainly names that can help but the UFA reality is that the crop is thin and there are a lot of GM’s with cap space.

    2-3 free agents is doable but they won’t be sexy names. They will be a 2nd pairing D or bottom 6 F where the real need is a top pairing D and 2C.

    The key players will need to come via trade.

  • 15w40

    Does the Penguins entertain a Gagner for Sutter trade. Gagner could offer some offence on the wing with Malkin & Sutter could slot in at #3 centre for the oilers. Sutter is an RFA & there may be more pieces involved but it may make sense.

    Gagner has more offensive upside & Sutter has more of a defensive concience.

  • Just about everybody is of the opinion that if we draft a centre in the #3 slot that they should automatically go back to Junior.

    If we draft Draisaitl at #3 I believe he could play the wing for a year similar to the way Galchenyuk has been handled by the Habs. This will allow him to acclimatize himself to the NHL at the less demanding wing position. At the same time he provides a winger with size and offensive talent.

    I simply don’t think that using him in this manner would be detrimental to his development or to the hockey club.

    I would be interested in other peoples thoughts on this approach.

    • I actually think if we draft him and either replace or don’t give up Gagner, then why not create a brand new soft minutes third line. The Gordon line already eats the second most difficult minutes in the entire league. Our fourth line was a rotating disaster that leaked chances. And depending on the night, our top line got shut down and the Gagner Yak combo was disastrous. Keep our top line as power on power, give Gordon and Hendricks another big defensive winger for the current role of shut down line. Put Yak with Draisaitl on the soft minutes sheltered third line. That way you only need to give Gagner a better more experienced winger which should help shore up some of his defensive lapses, especially with Perron who was great defensively. And then you could give the young third line a veteran big body winger of their own to help stabilize. With all the buy outs and UFA options, there is no shortage of one second line RW, one Third line vet LW, and one fourth line big body two way shut down winger.

      If those names were say, Vrbatta, Heatly/Penner, and Winnik or Downie, then congratulations, the average size of the forwards is now in the park of the big western contenders. You have three actual lines with one incredibly effective shut down line. You split up the worst duo on the team in Yak and Gagner, and given Yak some relief from the pressure situations. And finally, you didn’t trade anyone to get this group.

  • Craig1981

    If we could sign a 2nd line center and bump Gagner down to 3rd (Why is even Willis insisting he gets traded???) and then trading/signing for a 3rd line winger (I will get trashed for this comment, but I could see Penner fitting nice) then thats not a bad forward group…..I would place Pitlick as a better 4th line winger than Joensuu

    • "Frank the dog"

      Were you watching the Oilers when Penner played here? Do you not remember what a frustrating disappointment he was to MacT?
      Penner may have 2 Cup rings but his lack of commitment most of the time drive coaches crazy. He behaves as if he just doesn’t care most of the time and I’m sure this doesn’t do the locker room much good most of the time.

      • Craig1981

        No doubt he frustrated MacT. Penner was a first line player who some felt never pushed himself as hard as he could…..very frustrating for a coach to have his best left winger not reaching what he felt was his full potential.

        That said at 6’4″, averaging just shy of 100 hits a season he wouldn’t be a bad option for a 3rd line. Like you said he has proved TWICE he has a role on a Stanley cup winning team.

        • A-Mc

          I Agree. I would certainly give Dusty P another look if the price is right. The guy liked playing here and was visibly shaken when he was traded.

          While being called lazy, disengaged and somewhat indifferent to what is going on around him, he still managed to put up points; and That’s all that matters.

          As far as i’m concerned, as long as a guy isnt a cancer in the room, and he can contribute to the team in a positive way, he should be an option for employment.

          He had a few low seasons in LA, but bounced right back to 32pts in ANA, so he’s still got it.

          He’s big. He can score some. He has good history with the young guys. He actually hits.

          If the price isnt retarded i certainly look at Penner again.

          • Craig1981

            100 hits is not bad actually. Chara had 163 this year with far more ice time. 100 hits would put you right around 200th in the NHL which is about 7th on an average NHL team. Not great, but not terrible either for a 3rd line player.

      • He was also the top scorer on the team that year. Moreover, he was frustrating as hell, but as a third line winger instead of the guy we offer sheeted who was supposed to come in a shoulder the load, well that’s a lot different. Penner does have his problems but puck possession was never one of them.

        • "Frank the dog"

          I’m saying that MacT’s deep hatred of Penner would preclude him from bringing him here, even if that was in a different role where he would probably do well.

          Penner also got as rough ride from the fans here, which would probably make him less likely to come here as well unless he was both desperate and overpaid, which isn’t going to happen.

          • I could imagine Mac T as a coach and Mac T as General Manager have differing opinions on players. If you’re Mac T and you’re charged with making the club better but you’re having a tough time landing guys, then you’re gonna have to think outside the box a little bit and take some chances. If he was willing to pay Clarkson, I think he could stomach a small overpayment for Penner to shore up the third line.

            I really like the idea of a soft minutes Penner Draisaitl Yak third line. All over 200 lb. Would cost about 4 – 5 mill total for the whole line. And I think Penner and Draisaitl’s puck possession game would really complement each other. Watching those two hold onto the puck against other teams’ third lines would be such a nice change. Then as they were desperately trying to take the puck away form them, well that opens up a lot of room for Yak and his insane shot. Add to that even one guy from the point who can unleash a big shot and that would be a tough line for other teams lower lines to play against.

            This, of course is all on paper speculation, but really, as a contemporary Oiler fan, isn’t that the most fun part?

  • 15w40

    Joe Thorton has a NTC – he is not coming to the Oilers. His agent has already said he’s not really interested in moving at all but if he does it will only be to teams that are virtual locks to be in the final four – not Edmonton.

    Edmonton will have to develop their own Thorton and any other high profile trade candidate or FA for that matter

  • paul wodehouse

    Make Markov,and Stastny offers they can’t turn down,spend Katz’s money like a drunken sailor,it’s the least he could do for the loyal fans that still fill his building.

    • Zarny

      In a cap world you can’t do that.

      Look at the problems Pit has with Crosby and Malkin on the books for $8.7M and $9.5M respectively.

      Stastny is talking about 6 yr @ $6.6M from Colorado. How close to Sidney Crosby’s salary do you want to get for the services of Paul Stastny?

    • pkam

      I don’t think Katz ever tried to save money, but you can’t spend over the salary cap. I think the team spent up to within 2M from the cap limit at season start this year.

      And sometime money can’t get you everything. We all know David Clarkson signed with the Leafs for less. I also heard that Matt Hendricks turn down more money from Oilers to sign with Predators.

  • Lexi

    As bad as Richards looked in the playoffs, he still had an pretty good season and I think he might be a good fit for Yak. I am pretty sure two years of him would be better than two years of Gagner.

    He has played for Ramsay in the past. I don’t think he is a second line C for any true contender, but wouldn’t he be good enough to get the Oilers to around 21st and going in the right direction? What other teams would he be a fit for as a number 2 C? Nashville, Dallas maybe New Jersey. I think the same teams that will be bidding on Legwand and Grabowski.

    I think Richards/Bailey/Winnik would at least be an adequate and doable offseason.

  • Willis, or anyone else for that matter, I know you don’t like to deal in what if’s, but all sign are pointing to Draisaitl. Though I am not a fan of rushing these kids to the NHL, if he were to play pivot on a newly formed soft competition 3rd line, then couldn’t you effectively change the make up of our entire forward core by signing one second line R or L wing (depending on where you put Perron, I always thought he’s a natural left but I might be wrong). And also signing one veteran 3rd line L wing with size?

    Hall Nuge Ebs

    Perron Gagner ?

    ? Draisaitl Yak

    Hendricks Gordon (Lander/Pitlick/Pinnizotto/Gazdic/Arco)

    If the problems of the Oilers are too small, to little value for tradable assets, too few veterans, Yak is too soft defensively, and so is Gagner who had a tough year due to injury, then this might just be the quickest easiest solution. I think for the third line you could get a guy like Heatly or Penner to steady that duo, which would also be a pretty big third line with some decent skill, though not too mean. And depending on who you put for RW on the second line, there’s a lot of options to add two way guys with jam, or some skill guys, or really whoever to make sure our two worst defensive players (Gagner and Yak) don’t play on a line together. Heck you could even go get a big fourth line defensive specialist and just run out the Gordon line in the tough minutes shut down role.

    With all of the team’s problems, I think this is the most realistic scenario to up the value of Yak and Gagner, and make the team better without losing any of our core players. The only issue this doesn’t solve is our defence. Maybe a pick and a prospect could get a top two guy. I hear Markov wants 6 mill a year for 3 years. If he just wants the money, that might be the exact guy we need to mentor our young D talent till they can take over.

  • oilbaron

    Im all for Overpaying for a 2nd line center. If this is what we need to do to start winning some games im all for it. Overpay to get Paul Stastny here to play on the 2nd line between Yakupov and perron.—- If we draft The german, SEND HIM BACK TO JUNIOR! whoever we draft should GO BACK TO JUNIOR. there has never been a time where sending a player back caused the player any harm. Itll help with his confidence with regards to his skills and ability after the 2014-15 season.—- Oh, and make a trade for MIKE GREEN for crying out loud! he would play in our top 2 on the right side, hes better then what we have now, is mobile and can advance the puck.Hes got one more year until UFA status and his numbers have been declining on a declining capitals team. He could use a change of scenery and would be a good leader on our team. The cost would surely be high maybe Gagner + a high end Defensive prsopect like Marincin or Gernat or Simpson(we wont have room for all these players to play anyhow) and a pick (maybe next years 2nd rounder) 🙂

    • "Frank the dog"

      Draft the German, keep the Russian, bring the other Russian across, see how Gagner does with a coach that shows him how to play both ways and how to win face-offs, give the young ones a year to fix themselves, and next year let them compete for the 2C job in Training Camp.

      If Gags isn’t the best 2C of the bunch, he’ll still be better than he is now, and worth a lot more on the trade block with no NMC to worry about.

  • Zarny


    You can sign Ryan O’Reilly to an offer sheet and it’s something Edm should at least consider; but it comes at a cost.

    Highly likely O’Reilly signs for something between $5,046,585 to $6,728,781 which means you give up a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round draft pick to Colorado.

    Trading for and resigning O’Reilly may cost less.

    • Indeed, but Colorado has no incentive to trade him. Their filling of arbitrations shows that they don’t want to trade him, so if they are going to lose him, then they’re going to lose him for an overpay from another club.

      All these picks I assume would be in future years as well? Meh, getting O’Reily would almost certainly negate Gagner, which means we could get some of those picks back in trades going the other way.

      Basically giving up Gagner and our 2015 first overall for a player a team doesn’t want to trade. Is there a better player this package could land? Obviously I’d try and overpay in dollars for Stasny or Legwand or Richards before trying this, but baring those successful options, I think the team might be looking at making a really tough choice. With 30 other teams trying to improve, there just doesn’t seem like an easy way to improve the club, so it might be time to start looking at some hard ways to do it.