READY, STEADY, GO!

laurikainen

The Edmonton Oilers have already started the procurement portion of the offseason, adding Finnish goalie Eetu Laurikainen, signing Russian flyer Anton Slepyshev and winning the draft lottery. New GM Peter Chiarelli and new coach Todd McLellan have miles and miles of miles and miles to go before the fall roster is ready, and that process begins soon. As in, now!

nikitin capture

BUYOUTS!

This could happen soon baby soon, and there are candidates. Surely Niki Nikitin is under consideration, although both Craig MacTavish and Scott Howson remain in the room when decisions are made, so perhaps we’ll see a stay there.

Andrew Ference is not able to play top 4D at this point in his career but I suspect the organization will keep him for at least another year. You may feel that’s a bad idea, and the team needs to infuse youth into the lineup if they’re going to get better, but my guess is there’s one more year for the captain as a reward for time served (don’t shoot me, I’m just reading the tea leaves).

Teddy Purcell gets some mentions from fans in regard to a buyout, but for me he’s miles from the problem. Overpriced? Oh yeah. Unproductive? I don’t think you can make that argument. He’ll be here one more year at the $4.5M number and then sail on down the line. There’s no real reason to buy out Purcell unless the coach wants to improve foot speed at all costs—and if that’s true there’s a mile of players who are in trouble. 

talbot capture

TRADES!

I believe this is the first thing we see from Chiarelli—a trade for their starting goalie. If we read the tea leaves and believe the ‘goalie shopping’ rumors, then it makes sense Edmonton isn’t going to wait for free agency—and that Antti Niemi isn’t likely coming here.

The Oilers may have some free agent blue they’re interested in—I’ll guess Cody Franson, Andrej Sekera, Mike Green—and that will likely delay a trade for defense. Goalie? One suspects we’ll see a trade and it might include a 2015 draft pick. 

chara capture

ANYTHING BEFORE THE DRAFT?

Great question. I do think the Oilers may make a move in the next few days, giving them a chance to address some of their significant issues. Why? If Peter Chiarelli goes into the draft/free agency with all of the current holes/issues, getting things done might be an issue. Consider:

  • A starting goalie
  • A veteran defenseman, prefer a RH
  • Another D if he’s available
  • Someone resembling an NHL forward for the Matt Fraser role

That’s a lot to do in a one week period. Getting a goaltender seems like the first option from here. Make sense? I think it does.

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    Brandon Carlo : Best defensive defenseman in the draft . Great skater and heady/smart , with exceptional lateral mobility and balance not generally seen on such a big frame of 6ft.5inches . Right handed defenseman who will just get better as he creates more offence . Physical when required and sound positionally. Very good passing skills and headmaning the puck to forwards . My choice for #16 , or definitely #33 if somehow still available .

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    Lowetide
    Sounds like you have been drinking too much of the trading coolaide that infected Mike Milbury (when he was Islander’s GM) and the whole Philly organization (for the last two decades)!

  • Natejax30

    What if…we got Ramo and Talbot as our goaltending duo next year…I like the look of that tandem, and let them battle for starts…

    Also, on defence, wouldn’t it look good to do what the islanders did last year with boychuck and leddy?

    Maybe a seabrook and an Odouya? Or a Seth Jones and a cam fowler? Something like that…we can wish big, realistically I think we are 2 good d-men away from something pretty special.

    I am tired of the talk that Edmonton won’t be a playoff team next year…that should never be acceptable, use what you have to build a playoff team. Hall and ebs aren’t kids anymore, they are 5 year vets, and it’s time to get to the show, enough already.

  • Canadian Hockey Fan

    I am also getting tired of people saying the Oilers won’t make it next year. I think they will be there come next April. Remember the days when a 33-37-12 record was good enough to make it in. The Oilers and Sharks were the last two teams with losing records to make the playoffs, which I believe was in 1999. Would like to see that happen again so we could see some real upsets.

  • YFC Prez

    No sense buying out NN, if he comes into camp out of shape and ineffective he can be sent to the minors…then off the books totally at the end of the season. Same with Purcell who is going into his contract year, why buy him out when he’s playing for a contract and at the very least can garner a second round pick at the trade deadline.

  • El Pindo

    Keeping Andrew Ference probably means you can’t sign Paul Postma to play with Marincin/Davidson/Nurse.

    Any of those three paired with Postma would rock 3rd pairing minutes.

  • El Pindo

    If this draft is as deep as they say it is, well then we better be getting back somethign pretty incredible for the number 16 pick. In 2003 some names that went around 16th or later are Parise, Getzlaf, Burns, Perry, Boyle, Eves, Eriksson, Bergeron, Crawford, and of course Weber.

  • bradleypi

    LT – I think you threw that MacTavish/Howson comment in there just to rile people up. (Is that trolling?).

    – No buyouts.

    – No choice. They have to pick up at least one goalie. I think they’ll be okay with Scrivens, as long as he’s a 1b or a 2.

    – They will try to sing UFA Free Agents. Probably won’t have much luck. Any of your Franson/Sekera/Green would be good news.

    – Trades. That’s going to be tough. I’m sure draft picks are on the table. Roster players, only if good value. It’s not that they won’t be in the market shopping, there just is nothing that will get much in a return, unless they deal from the top of the deck.

  • bradleypi

    LT, why the continued emphasis on goaltending? Hasn’t history (the Oilers’ in particular) shown that if average goaltenders are surrounded with a solid core/system that they will often have success (or the opposite in the Oilers’ case)?

    Just look at all the journeyman goalies that made the playoffs this year. IMO, unless you’re courting Lundqvist, Price or perhaps Luongo, having a solid defense will produce a larger impact on wins and losses. The era of the goalie is long gone.

    As it stands now, I feel like the Flames have 5 defensemen that are better than every D-man on the Oilers. That’s a much larger problem than Ben Scrivens and I’d prefer to see Chiarelli address that shortcoming.

  • Jaxon

    Trades – Don’t trade the future for next year.
    Next year we’re not winning the cup. Good young players will be worth more in a few years once they have proven themselves. Make those trades once you are close to the cup.
    Have a plan and stick to it.
    Pay too much for what we want now.

  • iamSean

    IMO buying out a player is not necessary unless we are desperate for cap space now. Try to make a trade happen, retain some salary, get something in return. In Nikitin’s case I doubt we could trade him even retaining salary: see if he plays better this season without injury, buy him out if we need the cap space.