THE 50-MAN LIST ENTERING FREE AGENCY

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!

CURRENT 50-MAN LIST

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
    time)
  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. 

HOW MUCH ROOM?

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 NHLNumbers.com under the Oilers RFA’s and I suspect they’ll walk him. Ross is already signed for next season in Europe. Source


    • 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

  • 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

    • 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.’

  • only players that should be moved/bought out imo are Ference and Nikitin, maybe Purcell but he’d fill in a spot in the Top 9 and could be helpful.

    That said, having Klefbom and Reinhart in the Top 6 next year is crazy considering we can build around two big bodies! Defence is the only real problem and a couple of zits in the forward lineup. Best case scenario:

    Pouliot – RNH – Eberle

    Hall – McDavid – ????

    ???? – Lander – Yakupov

    Hendricks – Gordon – Klinkhammer

    Pitlick 13F

    ???? – Fayne

    Klefbom – Schultz

    Reinhart – Gryba

    Davidson

    Talbot – Scrivens

    This lineup gives Draisaitl and Nurse both a full year in the AHL to develop or the Oilers can simply plug them in the holes with Drai in the 3LW spot and Nurse in the Top D spot. If we do choose to fill our holes with vets I’d hope we get Paul Martin out of Pittsburgh with the right money and term. 2 yr 5M AAV? Sekera would be a better choice for LHD but I think Martin has more to teach our young defenseman than Sekera could. Would also love to have Franson but I don’t see him in our lineup unless Chiarelli opts to trade Schultz for the 2RW F or 3LW F that we need. We can also just slot in Purcell in the 2RW F spot because he has only one year left.

    Free Agent Targets: Curtis Glencross and Paul Martin

    • passelin

      Aren’t we still going to need Gazdic as the 13th forward?
      We’re a little better now perhaps with Reinhart and Gryba, but we’re still short the ability to bang and crash/fight on the D – like Gator.

      • SKOilFan

        Everybody cries about Gaz, but the first time McDavid gets smoked by a goon they’ll all be crying about how he wasn’t in the lineup that night to protect Connor.

        • Joy S. Lee

          Gryba and Nurse have a much better chance of actually being on the ice at the same time as McDavid, and either one of them should do nicely making sure everyone knows not to touch their meal ticket. The necessity of a face puncher will no longer apply here, as players who play today’s game are capable of filling that role now. That’s just the way it goes, but I don’t think we’ll be crying anymore. If anything, for the first time in a long, long time, there may be more questions about guys like Darnell going over the line, than guys going around it.

          • bradleypi

            Did you notice that Kassian never went near another oiler the rest of the year because every time he was on the ice gaz was calling him on… gaz couldn’t prevent Kassian from hitting gags but he can make sure he doesn’t do it again. That’s what the enforcer role is. He can’t see into the future and stop plays before they happen…..

          • Jaxon

            Fair enough.

            As a counter-point I’d like to also present the fact that Kassian didn’t lay a finger on anyone else for the rest of the year, other than staged fights.

        • Joy S. Lee

          Gazdic won’t be on the ice if and when McDavid gets a dirty hit. He may not be in the lineup. The Oilers will require some toughness on McDavid’s line and on the D, which is probably the softest in the league.

          Regular NHL Oilers players will need to step up and protect their teammates. Are there enough of them?

    • radicator

      I like Ference as a captain and can’t think of anyone ready to replace him as such, except maybe Hendricks. But I also think that he’s the odd man out now that we’ve brought in Gryba.

    • toprightcorner

      Slip Chris Stewart into that spot beside hall and McDavid to be “The Protector” he put up some good numbers back when he was with the Avs….

      Slip Francois Beuchimen in beside Fayne for 2 years …

      Steady mean Dman not afraid to shed the mitts …

      Two tough players very much needed in this BIG Bad western conference!!!

      Have a nice day 🙂

  • Czar

    LT, do you think they should be looking for another goalie or are you confident Scrivens will rebound this year? I wouldn’t be against more competition in the crease.

      • Czar

        I hope you’re right and he will be playing for his next contract so there’s no lack of motivation.

        I just hope he works on his stick handling or is outfitted with a shock collar for when he goes wandering.

        PS Great interview with the Reinhart’s on Saturday and enjoyed the grades on Bleacher report, especially the Bruins.

    • pkam

      ya but you don’t want to carry 3 goalies and you wont be able to trade scrivens. if your gonna give jultz another year, bring back nikitin and Purcell, you might as well give scrivens another try too…

      here’s hoping Talbot doesn’t face plant on this team like the last 4 we had or we’ll be looking for 2 goalies again next year

  • Czar

    With Nurse, Klefbom, Reinhart and Shultz anchoring the d for the next five years.

    We can widen our dman search to high quality vet.

    Guys like Martin and Beauchvin are possible adds

  • Czar

    With Nurse, Klefbom, Reinhart and Shultz anchoring the d for the next five years.

    We can widen our dman search to high quality vet.

    Guys like Martin and Beauchvin are possible adds

  • 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.

  • camdog

    Somebody jinxed the Eskimos with the trade Nichols talk on Friday morning. I won’t name the offender, you know who you are! Oh well maybe the back ups turn out better than Reilly.

  • 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?

  • 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.

    • toprightcorner

      Can’t sign offer sheets until July 1 and Calgary will have him signed by then, based on rumours of asking price, they will likely sign him for $7+ mill a year which would be awesome with Giordano, Monahan, Gaudreau, Hudler, Colburn, Russel and a starting goalie needing to be resigned next year. They will go from tons of cap space to almost none in a year.

  • CornDogsBruh

    I’m hoping Pitlick is back but I don’t see Chiarelli bringing him back. Was a fan of him while he played for Medicine Hat. If he can overcome the injury bug he will be a very good NHLer

  • CornDogsBruh

    Time to dump guys with zero ability or potential. Nikitin, Ference, Khaira, Moroz, Gazdic, and Kessy. Teams need to stop wasting space on status quo, and at least make bets on minor leaguers who have potential to play in the nhl for more than 10 minutes a night

  • SKOilFan

    UFA targets Green, Mattius,Chris Stewart…move out Nikitin(bum)Percell(slow non physical forward)Gordon if we sign Mattius(3 million dollar 4th liner)Keep Ference for one more year if Nurse isn’t ready unless you can trade and sign another UFA. Gryba is back-up if we don’t sign Green,Franson. Pouliot-Nuge-Ebs…Hall-McDavid-Yaks…Dri-Mattius-Stewart…Hen-Lander-Klink…Klef-Green…Ference-Shultz..Rein-Fayne…7th D-MAN- Gryba. Nurse down in minors unless he plays better in camp and preseason than other D-men. But I’m just a monday morning GM so we’ll see what happens coz I think PC is not done moving people so after free agent frenzy day is over probably get a better idea on where he’s going with the team. GO OIL!!

  • Spydyr

    R Teddy Purcell (Speed only real issue)
    Personally i have a huge issue they way he plays the game. Like he has eggs in his pockets. He will not finish the season here.

  • toprightcorner

    Different POV on Shultz…

    Give him the same experienced veteran for the whole season,

    Give him the same coach for the whole season,

    Put him in a position to get 40 points ( 9 more than this year)

    But sign him for 3 years right now or we have another Petry situation.

    After all the bitching and moaning from the local fans Petry turned out to be a $5.5M dman on a play off team.

      • toprightcorner

        I would put Klefbom and Fayne ahead of Schultz right now. Shultz is not making up for his lack of defense with offense, if he could at least do that he would actually have a bit of value. Hopefully he can turn it around with a dedicated off season and new coaching staff.

        • Fair enough. Fayne is the best defencemen at his prescribed role, unfortunately the depth is not there to let everyone play where they should. Schultz has still led the Oilers in scoring from the backend every season but he’s playing far too many minutes at 5V5.

        • bradleypi

          Last year fayne had 8 points and was -21. Schultz had 31 points and a -17. Not sure how that makes fayne better than jultz? And before you use the classic oilersnation argument about jultz getting all the offensive zone starts I will say this. If Fayne was a better dman then he would be getting offensive zone starts. Am I wrong?? Oh and jultz is better than klefblom too. But you will see that this coming winter

          • Jaxon

            sometimes I wonder if you even watch the oilers play…

            Schultz is better than Klefbom? I’ve read some stupid things on here, but that one is up there.

            Schultz is chaos in his own end, a complete disaster, not only that but for a guy who’s suppose to be offensive he has a terrible first pass.

          • bradleypi

            In this town if you don’t play defense like Jason Smith your no good. But sorry you can’t have 6 defenseman like Gator on your team. . And I also loved Gator.

          • bradleypi

            But yet jultz ended up with a better plus minus than both of them guys. Hmmm. Isn’t faynes main responsibility to keep the puck outta his own net?? He wasn’t very good at it. And ya jultz can make some bone headed plays in his own end but why are we surprised by this? Did someone try to fool and convince you that jultz is a stay at home d? We all knew when he was signed that offence is his strength, defence not so much. And saying he’s a complete disaster is a little much. Nothing like being a drama queen. And ya I watched darn near every game last year. You should think of doing the same

          • CMG30

            I shudder to think what Shultz’s +/- would be if he was allowed anywhere near the defensive end of the rink.

            If his only contribution to the team is in the offensive end, why even employ him? Might as well just run 4 forwards.

            Here hoping Schultz is a late bloomer…

          • bradleypi

            Schultz started in the offensive zone against the weakest competition available.

            Fayne started in the defensive zone against the second toughest competition available.

          • bradleypi

            I guess I have to say it again. I’ll spell it real slow for you. Schultz gets the offensive zone starts BECAUSE HE IS BETTER at hockey than fayne. Why on earth would you give an offensive guy defensive zone starts and a defensive guy ozone starts? Do you see where I’m going with this?

          • hagar

            To think that a D man that takes on the other teams toughs is less valuable is very misguided. Each skill is needed. And thats why when you find a Dman that can do both? Its a Godsend.

            Shultz given his push should at least be a break even +/-.

            Admittedly Fayne should do better as well.

            I agree Schultz was thrust into a role early by the masterminds MacT/Lowe/Eakins with the expectation he would learn quickly. Had there been a bonafide #1 with him maybe that coulda worked as it stands we all have to wonder what damage this has done to his development.

            This team having Nikitin and Ference to add to Schultz has just rippled through the lineup. Hopefully Chia picks up a decent D in trade or UFA and both Schultz and Fayne can be given more suitable partners, proper deployments, and a coach that has a clue. And I bet we will see both these players in a different light.

          • Very good point. People don’t acknowledge that good teams have a mix of skills. Mike Green just put up 45 points despite being used as a #5 defenseman in Washington because they also have Orpik and Alzner to play the heavy d and Carlson and Niskanen to be the two-way guys.

            The Oilers don’t have the right personnel to run a proper defence. They have one two-way guy, one offensive guy and 4 heavy d.

          • Like, you can be an absolute pushover in the defensive zone yet still have a nice wrister (Schultz) and good speed. Or you can be a good all-around player, like Fayne.

            Schultz didn’t start in the defensive zone because he isn’t anywhere close to as effective as anyone else on the team in the zone.

          • Joy S. Lee

            Okay smart guy, let me spell it out for you real sloooooowwwww… picture last year… Schultz is still here, but imagine for a second that some better defensemen were on the team. For the sake of argument, let’s say a couple of guys like Griffin Reinhart and Eric Gryba. Let’s throw Darnell Nurse on the team while we’re at it. Now we have some depth. So…

            …The coach has a big game to win – we really need this one – and lineup decisions to make. Is the Justin Schultz of last year even playing? Where in the rotation? Ahead of Reinhart, Klefbom, Nurse, Fayne, Gryba… let alone Nikitin, Ference, Marincin, Davidson, or Aulie?

            Please note the emphasis on ‘game to win,’ as opposed to ‘goal to score.’ That really is the essence of the argument against your preposterous notion that Schultz is the best D-man on the team. The best players lead teams to wins. I haven’t seen Justin doing an awful lot of that in his time here, more like the opposite, leading the team to losses by making weak to brutal plays. You excuse his defensive zone abilities by saying he’s offensive, yet name me an NHL coach that would accept such a ridiculous expectation. I mean, just because you start in the o-zone, doesn’t mean it won’t end up in your zone at some point in your shift. If Schultz can’t play D… he can’t play in the NHL. And especially if he’s expecting paycheques north of $4M. Your entire argument is laughable.

          • radicator

            Before you call anybody “smart guy” realize Maruncin is no longer a part of this organization…

            Christ Stewart and Francois Beauchemin are the two UFA’s we need to be targeting in this Big Bac West Confrence!!

            Stewart can play body guard to hall and McDavid and Beauchiman can play against opposing top pairs with Fayne … Francois and Stewart are both mean players who will both fight and help both offensively and defensively

          • Joy S. Lee

            You may want to reread the “picture last year” part as I was referring to the ‘what if this were the case last year…’ Marincin was still here. And besides, I called him “smart guy” because he was insinuating the person he was responding to was dumb for not getting what he was saying in his original comment. But it wasn’t that the responder wasn’t getting what he was saying, it’s that he was disagreeing with him. So his reference to the other person being stupid was completely irrelevant, and not really fair. I thought he deserved a little of his own medicine, is all.

            And count me in to see what Chris Stewart might bring, but heard he may be expecting big dough, which could be a challenge after we sign a quality D-man. (I’m hoping for a bit younger and maybe a bit of a skill upgrade on Beauchemin, but I don’t think he would hurt our back end, either – short-term.

          • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

            Chris Stewart would gladly take 3mill per for 3 years = 9mill. Total

            Give Francois the same thing we gave Nikitin…

            All of a sudden we ain’t such a small/soft team, without dressing Gazdic!

            Stewart, Gryba, Hendricks, Pouliot, Klinkhammer and eventually Nurse….hopefully Reinhart

          • Schultz is easily better than Reinhart and Gryba, he’s not without his flaws but he is the Oilers only threat to score from the back end. Since he’s been in the league he is 32 overall in d scoring in the league.

            You may not want him killing penalties and starting in the d zone but there is nobody else on the roster that can replicate his offense. He’s the best option on the power play.

            His entire career has been spent playing with Nick Schultz, Andrew Ference, Nikita Nikitin and finally Oscar Klefbom and he has looked at his best when playing with Klefbom. Give him a real partner and slot him correctly in the lineup and I think we would notice an entirely different player.

          • Joy S. Lee

            Seriously… you just told us that Justin Schultz is a better defenseman than Oscar Klefbom or Mark Fayne. Seriously? I mean… REALLY????

            That may sound like I’m asking for an answer, but I’m not. No amount of spin or verbal diarrhea can convince me that Justin Schultz has been a better defenseman than those two… unless you smoke me upside the head with a two-by-four prior to asking me the question again… who knows, I might get it wrong if that were the case?

            Let’s forget zone starts and all of that stuff for a moment, and just talk about the player. As for how you know the anointed one is going to make a massive improvement… you don’t. But you’re willing to guess on the side of faith, and that’s fine since the young man still has potential. And he will have real coaching this year, so there is hope. But what he didn’t have before, and may still not have now, are will and determination. When he starts showing me some of that, we can put him in the conversation with Klefbom and Fayne, but until then… not a chance, no matter how many games of ‘let’s pretend’ you want to play.