“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!!!
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
…Brent Seabrook has been a vital cog to the ‘Hawks dynasty. Will need an extension like the Phaneuf deal. Stud D and a leader
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) July 8, 2015
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.