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!
NHL buyout window opens 48 hrs after Stanley is awarded. So either Wed night or Fri night.
— Tyler Shakur (@FortShox) June 15, 2015
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.
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.
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.