reinhart griffin

The Edmonton Oilers brought home some NHL players and prospects who may be NHL-ready from the 2015 draft. As we head toward free agency—RFA and UFA—it’s important to know who is on the 50-man list and how much room remains. Things get tight in a hurry!


NHL teams don’t announce or display their lists, but it’s fairly easy to figure out (some Euro contracts, like Brad Ross, are a moving target). Here’s the 50-man list currently as I know it:

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  1. G Cam Talbot (Perfect fit for the Oilers turn north)
  2. G Ben Scrivens (suspect
    he’ll return in a backup role)
  3. G Laurent Brossoit (AHL
    starter and plenty of opportunity to move up)
  4. G Eetu Laurikainen (new
    hire, AHL backup or ECHL starter)
  5. D Nikita Nikitin (No. 1
    candidate for buy out to my eye)
  6. D Mark Fayne (Looks like help is on the way)
  7. D Andrew Ference (5-6-7D
    likely role for coming season)
  8. D Eric Gryba (Another D-zone blue with NHL experience to help Fayne, Ference)
  9. D Oscar Klefbom (Does he play with Schultz, get heavy O-zone starts?)
  10. D Griffin Reinhart (Suspect he’s in the NHL to stay this fall)
  11. D Darnell Nurse (I think he’ll push the veterans this fall)
  12. D Brad Hunt (He’ll see NHL
  13. D David Musil (Could get some NHL time)
  14. D Jordan Oesterle (Fast and skilled, could surprise)
  15. D Dillon Simpson (Probably a full season in Bakersfield)
  16. D Martin Gernat (They may try to get him off the roster)
  17. D Ben Betker (May need to
    spend some time in the ECHL if it gets crowded)
  18. D Joey Laleggia (Can learn
    plenty from Hunt and Oesterle in Bakersfield)
  19. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Don’t forget Nuge, he’s a big part of the future)
  20. C Anton Lander (Important
    player for 15-16)
  21. C Boyd Gordon (veteran could
    be trade bait by deadline if things break right)
  22. C Leon Draisaitl (Man
    amongst boys in Memorial Cup)
  23. C Bogdan Yakimov (Big C still developing, factor down the line)
  24. C Jujhar Khaira (Solid
    checker, offense may keep him from NHL career)
  25. C Kyle Platzer (New pro has two-way skills)
  26. L Taylor Hall (Rumor of a new C coming in may help spike numbers)
  27. L Benoit Pouliot (A rugged
    winger with skill)
  28. L Matt Hendricks (Had a
    wonderful year, can he do it again?)
  29. L Luke Gazdic (More toughness to help this coming season)
  30. L Ryan Hamilton (he’ll be
    the veteran hand in the  minors helping to guide the kids)
  31. L Anton Slepyshev (Can’t wait to see him in TC)
  32. L Mitch Moroz (Should see way more action in Bakersfield in 2015-16)
  33. L Kale Kessy (Lost season to injury, another chance in 2015-16)
  34. R Jordan Eberle (Top RW primed for a big year)
  35. R Nail Yakupov  (He’s still here, people!)
  36. R Teddy Purcell (Speed only real issue)
  37. R Rob Klinkhammer (4line RW, crash and bang)
  38. R Iiro Pakarinen (Has a chance to make the team)
  39. R Andrew Miller (A strong
    option for NHL time in 2015-16)
  40. R Greg Chase (His game should flourish in pro’s)

That’s the list as I see it, now here’s a list of players who will (or may) be added later in the year:

  1. C Connor McDavid: He’s been drafted and when he signs McDavid will go on the 50. There’s a slide rule but he won’t slide, this is an NHL player. Wanye told me!
  2. D Justin Schultz (RFA)
  3. D Brandon Davidson (RFA)
  4. D Keith Aulie (RFA)
  5. C Kellen Lain (RFA)
  6. L Matt Fraser (RFA)
  7. L Curtis Hamilton (RFA)
  8. R Tyler Pitlick (RFA)
  9. G Tyler Bunz (RFA)
  10. L Josh Winquist (no contract)
  11. R John McCarron (college draft selection)

Many of these players will probably be cast away, but players in bold are the most likely to return. Keith Aulie might have been a candidate but Gryba’s addition may block him. Matt Fraser could also be back, depending on what Edmonton does in free agency. 


If we guess that McDavid, Schultz, Davidson and Pitlick are added, that puts Edmonton at 44 before free agency. There’s plenty of room on the 50-man list for a top defenseman and more. Peter Chiarelli’s summer is just getting started but clearing the way as he’s done suggests we can expect a few additions via trade and free agency before training camp.

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Note: Brad Ross, part of the Marincin package, appears on under the Oilers RFA’s and I suspect they’ll walk him. Ross is already signed for next season in Europe. Source

  • Joy S. Lee

    ^why walk away from Jultz when he’s been given a full season with Todd McLellan? He could still turn out to be a serviceable defenceman under proper coaching.

    • pkam

      Are you surprised? I have been hearing the same for years. Get rid of Petry, Lander, Dubnyk, etc after 2 or 3 seasons. It is not the first time, and won’t be the last.

    • Double Dees

      because I like to aim higher than “serviceable”

      I compare him to a poor mans yandle. yandle is decent in the reg season, but when the intensity ramps up he becomes a liability. Jultz is already a liability and he’s never even been in a meaningful game. I’ve seen enough from jultz, don’t need to give him another year, mclellan is a good coach, not a miracle worker

    • CornDogsBruh

      Todd MacLellan seems like the type of coach who will call out players who are not giving 100% and I’d like to think Schultz is one of them. Eakins had no time to call him out, he was too busy looking at the sky for divine intervention or worrying about his hair. Nelson tried, and probably could have got Schultz to play the way he was projected to, had he been given a longer shot at it. I say Maclellan can and will do it, it’ll be ‘my way or the highway buddy.’

    • passelin

      So your hope is that we get absolutely nothing in return for a player who hasnt turned out as well as we wanted? Why not hope we trade his rights for an asset or he has a rebound year? I hope chia isnt foolish enough to let shultz go for nothing.

      • CornDogsBruh

        yes. I hope we let him go for nothing and sign one of the many superior ufa upgrades which will cost no assets. that way we get a better defence with no assets acquired or lost. I see no down side

        • CornDogsBruh

          The downside is in not aquiring an asset when we could have hes a rfa, we could probably at least get a fourth or fifth round pick for his rights from a team looking to take a chance on him. Its just stupid to let him walk when we could easily get something in return

      • bradleypi

        I’m with you on this one. I’d let pitlick walk. What has he ever done that oilersnation loves him so much? He’s not a banger, he doesn’t score a bunch of goals and he’s always hurt. Time to part ways

  • YakCity1039

    I wanted Schultz gone, but right now I’d give him another 1 year deal to see how he is under McLellan. If he’s still the same player, be done with him at the trade deadline.

  • CornDogsBruh

    For me, the perfect July 1st starts with the Oilers signing Franson, Sekera and a versatile gritty forward to play in the top 9, and then ends with me blackout drunk wrapped in a Canadian flag celebrating the greatest offseason I can remember as an Oilers fan!

  • Axiv

    Oilers fans need to relax with Schultz. So, he hasn’t lived up to the expectations we had for him (based on the hype he had as a UFA and how good he looked in the AHL during the lockout). I watched most of the Barons’ games during the lockout, and the biggest difference between that Justin Schultz and the one we have watched the past two seasons is his confidence. It was at an all time low under Eakins, but which player’s wasn’t (honestly)? Schultz was fine as a rookie (def. issues) and without a doubt looked better the last couple months of the season under Nelson. He obviously still wasn’t a Norris level (thanks, MacT), but there was no doubt that he was an NHL defenseman. Last I checked, this team can’t afford to be getting rid of NHL defencemen, especially for nothing (for those who have the bright idea to not even qualify him to avoid a 3.6M cap hit).

    Sure, the past nine years have been hard, and for me last season was the most disappointing so far, but letting your emotions get the better of you and joining the O.N. mob that seems to want to jump down Justin Schultz’s throat won’t make the pain go away, and it certainly won’t make the Oilers better.

  • camdog

    Pitlick can’t stay healthy, and Pakarinen is likely taking his spot. Cut him loose and add an inexpensive UFA 2-way forward instead.

    No need to cut Schultz loose at his lowest trade value. Even if he’s not a fit long-term, we should see if McLellan can boost his play if only for his deadline or offseason trade value.

    • Alsker

      Re: Jultz. If his contract(3.675M qualifier) prevents us from Sekera/Chara/Franson, then what. Ference/NN/Jultz = 10M for #5,6,7 d man. Craziness in a cap world. We must qualify him before July 1 or select arbitration(which is binding if we pursue it) or walk away. Which do you choose?