“His first meeting with Edmonton at the Combine lasted 25, 30 minutes. They just kind of talked about general stuff, then he left! He was kind of surprised they didn’t talk a little longer!” Daren Millard, moments before Connor McDavid’s draft moment. In fact, a longer visit wasn’t necessary. The die was cast.


The McDavid lottery changed everything. Any red blooded Oilers fan knows this and doesn’t have to be reminded of the Peter Chiarelli media avail, the Todd McLellan press conference, the McDavid draft and the trades that brought a starting goalie plus defensemen.

Another way to look at this: Better free agents!!!

  1. July 1, 2009: Oilers sign 36-year old Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $15 million dollar contract. The cap hit yearly is $3.75M. Source
  2. July 5, 2013: Oilers sign 34-year old Andrew Ference to a four-year, $13 million dollar contract. The cap hit yearly is $3.25M. Source
  3. July 1, 2015. Oilers sign 29-year old Andrej Sekera to a six year, $33 million dollar contract. The cap hit yearly is $5.5M. Source

Three GM’s signed those deals (Tambellini, MacTavish and Chiarelli) and each time a younger player with more productive (and healthy) years has been procured. What’s more, Sekera this summer was one of the best available free agents and Edmonton won the day.

Elliotte Friedman: Edmonton had to fight off a lot of competition for Andrej Sekera. Colorado, Detroit and San Jose all went hard for him. The Oilers were
aggressive with the sixth year, which made the difference.



oilers current roster july 7

The Oilers have a strong forward group now (if Leon Draisaitl makes it on the wing, Edmonton’s actual skill will increase in the top 9F) but remain a team with some defensive issues. I think the team has three defenders who can play top 4D next season—Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne and a still-too-young Oscar Klefbom—but that fourth defenseman for the big minutes doesn’t appear on the roster.

Peter Chiarelli’s options are:

  • Run Justin Schultz on the second pairing with Oscar Klefbom, effectively turning it into a duo that needs protecting.
  • Run Darnell Nurse in the role he’ll eventually earn, in the hopes he’s a quick study.
  • Use the buyout window to say goodbye to one of Nikitin or Ference, and sign Christian Ehrhoff.
  • Make the trade for Brent Seabrook (or Brent Burns, etc) that will fast track the rebuild and given the Oilers a legit chance for the playoffs 2016 spring.

In the case of Sekera (and possibly Seabrook, if it comes to pass) the acquisitions are for players with plenty of track left, veterans who are in their window to win championships. By agreeing to come to Edmonton, Sekera is betting on Stanley coming to our town in the next six seasons, as Seabrook would be doing if he agreed to be dealt to Edmonton.

I think the signing of Nikolai Khabibulin was a retirement contract, and Andrew Ference’s deal was too close to the end for him to be anywhere near his prime. The Sekera acquisition is far more dynamic and we can trace it back to McDavid.

The kid changed everything. Absolutely everything. Including the calibre of player willing to come to our town. Amazing.

    • CofC

      Seabrook is tempting, of course. We would be a much better team with him for maybe the next 3/4 years. But he will cost way too much, both in salary and players traded to get him, and will be a VERY expensive anchor we can’t get rid off for the second half of that contract. We would soon be in the cap crunch Chicago is in now, without the three cups they have won. It’s a mirage. This is less about Seabrook than about how we project Nurse, Klefbom and Reinhart to ultimately turn out. We are not going from 62 points to Cup contention in one or two years. With a buyout or two we could add Erhoff for a couple of years. It’s not as sexy, but it makes more sense.

    • I am curious to hear what Oilersnation thinks about Darnell Nurse and how long it will *likely* take for him to be a real impact player with the Oilers? I know it’s impossible to predict for certain, but for someone with his speed, size, strength and what he has done recently for Canada at the WHC as well as the OHL playoffs vs. the likes of McDavid, when should we realistically expect to see him as a top 4 defenseman possibly top 2?) with the Oilers?

      Everyone expects McDavid to have am immediate impact with the team and I do understand that Dmen typically take longer to develop but am I being way too optimistic to think he’ll be a top 4 dman in 2015/16?

      • vetinari

        Nurse is a quick study but I figure three more years. This year to learn the faster pro game and learn to play against men. Next season to learn other player’s tendencies and weaknesses. And then the season after to put it all together and dominate while starting his peak years.

      • Joy S. Lee

        I think this has burned in Nurse’s gut since the day he got cut from the Oilers last year. Some guys just make up their minds. Darnell Nurse seems like one of those guys.

    • vetinari

      Justin Shultz is better then Dougie Hamilton. Dont listen to the jaded fans who think Mr. Shultz wouldnt put them thru the boards in a rec game.
      6 X 6 36 million contract.

    • Johnnydapunk

      I’m prepared for a rain of trashes for this idea, while I would love to see Burns on the team, I don’t think it would be realistic that he would be available for trade. Seabrook would also be nice but again not so sure on availability.

      I would be happy to see if Oduya would sign here as he does log in top 4 D minutes and won’t be a first pairing, but valuable nonetheless. Think contract talks have stalled so he may be worth a shot.

      The other player I would be monitoring situation wise is Holtby, he still hasn’t signed a contract with the caps and I don’t think he is asking for crazy money, if the Oil can give up Scrivens, someone else and I don’t know a mid round pick, the Oil would have a Number one goalie sorted, and a good stable backup in Talbot. I’m sorry as much as I like Talbot, this 1 and 1A stuff for goaltending just doesn’t work with the Oil and a proper proven number one who is ideally young-ish would do wonders for not just this season, but the future.

      I’m happy with the moves so far, but there are just a few little pieces that need sorting before I can feel really good (I’m not including the McDavid Joy though as that makes everything amazing )

      The Oil have done more than most others to improve and give credit to Katz, Nicholson and Chiarelli. There has been a no f**kery to getting stuff done that I don’t think I’ve ever seen with the Oil before.