WWYDW: One to Three New Bodies

Craig MacTavish6

Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish was on Oilers Now last week and he told host Bob Stauffer that there was going to be a limited amount of change in Edmonton this summer.

“There’s not going to be 10 new bodies coming in that dressing room,” he said. “There may be one or two or three new bodies.”

Our question for this week: Who should these new players be?

The Depth Chart

Centre Right Wing
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot Leon Draisaitl Teddy Purcell
Nail Yakupov Derek Roy Matt Fraser
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Rob Klinkhammer
Luke Gazdic Anton Lander Tyler Pitlick
Left Defence Right Defence Goal
Oscar Klefbom Justin Schultz Ben Scrivens
Nikita Nikitin Mark Fayne Viktor Fasth
Darnell Nurse Andrew Ference
Keith Aulie Martin Marincin

The depth chart above is a starting point for next season; it assumes that all of the Oilers’ free agents (with the exception of Jeff Petry, who seems certain to be deal in the next few weeks) are resigned. I haven’t included the Oilers’ 2015 pick, as it’s entirely plausible that the team falls to third in the draft order and therefore it makes little sense to bank on one of Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel at this point in time.

If we add three new bodies to that mix, subtracting players as necessary, what does next year’s roster look like?

My Answer

Antti Niemi2

Centre Right Wing
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot [New Second Line Centre] Teddy Purcell
Leon Draisaitl Derek Roy Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Rob Klinkhammer
Matt Fraser Anton Lander Tyler Pitlick
Left Defence Right Defence Goal
Oscar Klefbom Justin Schultz [New Starting Goalie]
[New Shutdown Defenceman] Mark Fayne Ben Scrivens
Andrew Ference Nikita Nikitin
Darnell Nurse Martin Marincin

Within the limits if MacTavish’s statement, I’d add a new centre, defenceman and goaltender that the team can count on. Looking at NHL Numbers’ free agent list, we can see what the options look like.

  • Goal: Antti Niemi. The goalie options stink; Niemi’s the only really established starter on the market and if this hole gets filled via free agency he’s the clear choice.
  • Defence: Paul Martin. I like Martin because he has a range of skills, can play left or right side and has a proven track record of performing with monster minutes. He’s not the only good defenceman on the market this summer, but most of the left-side options (Francois Beauchemin, Christian Ehrhoff, Marc Methot, Zbynek Michalek, Jan Hejda) either seem unlikely to sign in Edmonton or like uncertain bets to fill the role. There’s a long list of right-shooting defencemen who might be of interest, but the left side of the depth chart seems like the priority to fix.
  • Centre: Antoine Vermette. There are a few options out there but on the whole the centre position isn’t really a great place to find free agents. I really like the idea of a guy like Shawn Matthias in place of Derek Roy, but he’s not a guy who should be counted on for top-six work.

If we’re limited to three moves, those are three I see as being at least semi-plausible and which I think will go a long way toward addressing need. But who else out there is worth looking at?


  • The Last Big Bear

    Would all the Idiots just shut up?!? Ok ok you want to see changes at the top. It doesn’t matter what you think. I no longer spend any time reading your posts. I’m sure most intelligent people ignore you as well. So stop wasting your time typing here and just go hang out at the bar and blather on about how firing Lowe will change everything. And in however many years when Lowe is gone and the Oilers are respectable again you can go on about how you were the first one to say that Lowe should be fired! And your were right all along, and, why didn’t everyone listen to you.
    You are an Idiot. Just shut up.

  • The Last Big Bear

    1) Devan Dubynk – best UFA Goalie on the list

    2) John Boychuk

    3) Keep, Drasaital, Nurse, Slepyshev, Yakimov in AHL until January, return Eichel to BU

    4) if you get McDavid have him play the wing next year

  • Joy S. Lee

    Yeah so I guess we are not making the playoffs next year either. I would’ve gave up Eberle plus maybe Pittsburghs pick for Bogosian but I’m not sure Winnipeg does that deal.
    As a side note, I’m in Barcelona and went to an FC Barcelaona game versus a team called Villa Real (who I’ve never heard of before). Barca dominated the play and won 3-1. During the second half of the game as this Villa Realteam was getting completely dominated, I mentioned to my buddy that these guys lmust be the Oilers of Spanish soccer ( totally outclassed and not looking like they belong). There was a local guy sitting next to me and he laughed and told me he enjoyed hockey and always liked the oilers and watched whenever he could. He asked me to explain how the Manager (Lowe) was still in charge of the team? Of course I had no logical explanation for him and he muttered something along the lines of: if they keep the same people in charge of the losing that they were destined to keep to keep losing. I nodded my head in agreement and told him that in my hometown there were about 1.2 Million people asking the same question.
    He also asked me how come the top players on the team were so small and so “not hit nobody”. Again I laughed, with no real logical answer.
    Anyway, I found it funny that half a world away, a casual observer had the same questions that we do.

    • Joy S. Lee

      Listen, I don’t want to bemoan the management of the team on and on like seems to happen here – justifiably so – and it’s getting rather redundant, but I find Frank’s comment to have significance. A casually, untrained enthusiast sees what ails the team while the management team (with a whole bunch of rings) directly involved and in charge of it can’t seem to figure it out. It practically defies logic.

  • knee deep in it

    Carl Soderberg is a 29 year old 6’3’center scoring at .6 pts per game. He might be a decent fit between Purcel and Pouliot

    UFA this summer and Boston is in a world of cap hurt.

  • knee deep in it

    what about that Dubnyk kid down in Minny for goalie? he is playing lights out….anybody know anything about him?

    Seriously though back out his crater year (where he was a new dad) and he has the same 0.915 sv% as Niemi. Anyone who has kids knows the first year is brutal, you are a walking zombie.

  • Andresito

    Yikes. That roster is all but guaranteed to be a bottom feeder again. Its safe to say this core wont work. How many more years of being eliminated by november until thats figured out? We play in the West and that wont change. Its too much of the same. A “bold” move is needed. (Buff and Win just made one so u cant say theyre impossible.) Did you give up on Lander already? If he gets .5 ppg hes a good 3rd line C.

  • Concur

    3 added pieces have to go with our resignings.
    Yakupov 3.5
    Klinkhammer 1.0
    Lander 1.0
    Shultz 4.0
    Marincin 1.0

    I like the mention of 3 positions up the middle to fill.
    Niemi 5.0
    Boychuck 6.0
    tha leaves 4.0 or less for a center if nothing is found they can resign Roy for 2.0 that gives them a cushion of 2.0 under the existing cap and what ever the increase is for future trades/acquistions.

    • Joy S. Lee

      What you’re suggesting makes some sense. However, I overheard that it’s also entirely possible that next year’s salary cap could be reduced by $8-10 million. If so, everyone would be scrambling, wouldn’t they?

  • Joy S. Lee

    BTW, for WWYDW? I’d trade every veteran for whom I could get a favorable return… for picks. But I’d make sure I chose the right players with those picks! (For example, besides Eichel, McDavid or Hanifin/Crouse/Strome, I’d find a way to draft a couple of goalies with picks from the top half of the draft.)

    That would help with salary cap issues, as well as establish our youthful depth. And then I’d go about securing as many competent free agents as necessary (I’m aware of our limitations with this). It’s addition by subtraction, I know, but I think they HAVE TO go young again in order to compete long-term… if they can ever get back to that competitive stage again.

    Hey, you kind of asked. I would go way beyond the 2 or 3 players MacT is talking about, let’s put it that way.

  • Concur

    The way the Oil have been playing lately without Hall, I would move him in a package deal to address one of main needs. You have to build a team around a 1C, 1D or a 1G. Teams that have had recent success in the play-offs have these players a Franchise Players not wingers.

    Love Hall as a player but I think they could move him and address those needs.

    I would also like to see the Oilers make a pitch for Phaneuf if the Leafs are willing to retain some salary. As an Oilers fan living in SW Ontario all the talk is about the Leafs and everyone hating on Phaneuf, he’s not that bad of a D-man just being asked to do too much for a bad team.

  • Jaxon

    Players that might be decent free agent targets:
    Johnny Boychuk RD, NYI.
    Christian Ehrhoff LD, PIT.
    Thomas Greiss G, PIT.
    Blake Comeau, LW, PIT.
    Scottie Upshall, RW, FLA.
    Marcel Goc, C, STL.

    Kenny Morrison, RD.
    Matt O’Connor, G.

    Could trade for:
    Cam Ward, G, CAR. Dustin Tokarski, G, MTL. Tristan Jarry, G, PIT

    If you bring in the Germans (Ehrhoff, Goc, Greiss) together they may be willing sign a bit cheaper and they may provide some great mentorship for Draisaitl.

    You may also have a chance at getting the Northern Alberta free agents (Boychuk, Comeau, Upshall) at a more affordable long term price to come back home.

    I’ve heard the Oilers have interest in O’Connor as they have shown in Morrison in the past. Morrison was at their prospects camp a couple years ago and is from Lloyd, so they may have an inside track on one of the most coveted college Ds out there.

    I would be looking at moving Hendricks & Fasth for sure. Purcell may be able to fetch something decent and I haven’t been overly impressed with him this year. Move Petry if you can’t sign him. I love Gordon but Goc is comparable and cheaper. If D Roy will re-sign at a reasonable rate then great. If not then get something for him. Dump Nikitin any way you can.

    I think Boychuk would be the only one that will demand a big salary but remember he does own a big house in Edmonton that, I seem to recall, he rents to an Oiler. That screams someone that would love to play in Edmonton.

    Ehrhoff is decent but hasn’t had a great year and hashad some injury issues so maybe he can be signed a bit cheaper.