The Edmonton Oilers are bringing in big defensemen via trade, draft and free agency at a rapid clip. Three new men arrived during draft weekend and free agent Day One, and there’s more movement to come. Who will last the season? Who will be here next fall?
Chiarelli: “There are teams that aren’t
necessarily hard and heavy but they strip pucks. They’re hard on
battles, they win more than their share of battles … they [can be] heavy
but they’re not huge. A lot of that has to do with the coach, the
philosophy of the organization, that’s part of what I hope to instill.”
The Bruins under Chiarelli had a mostly veteran group (he worked very hard in his first twelve months to acquire veterans under control contractually) and brought along young defensemen in a measured fashion.
I have it on good authority* that Lou wasn’t going to come to the Leafs unless they got Martin Marincin first.
*I made that up
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) July 23, 2015
- Martin Marincin (Perceived as lacking a physical element to his game)
- Keith Aulie (Certainly tough enough, speed might have been a concern)
Best case scenario for Oilers fans is that Griffin Reinhart continues the Braydon Coburn career path. http://t.co/BYFV9E303H
— Blue Bullet Brad (@BlueBullet1981) August 20, 2015
- Andrej Sekera (Complete skill set, can play top pair)
- Eric Gryba (Tough as nails, toughest zone starts in Ottawa last season)
- Griffin Reinhart (Big defender, good positional D and physical)
The GM also added several defensemen at the entry draft and the organization is having a long look at Loik Leveille this summer/fall.
SIGNINGS AND WALKING AWAY
The Oilers signed a few RFA’s (Brandon Davidson, Justin Schultz, Brad Hunt) and some entry-level deals (Joey Laleggia, Ben Betker) but the new hires were signed in March before Chiarelli’s arrival—I don’t think it would have made any difference.
Friedman confirms that Colorado went hard after Andrej Sekera. https://t.co/vZRkGwums5
— Cody Nickolet (@Avs_Tweets) July 9, 2015
Edmonton’s current depth chart (invites included) looks like this tonight on blue:
Andrej Sekera—Complete defenseman with the entire
range of skills.
- Mark Fayne—Stay at home blue.
- Oscar Klefbom—A big part of the future.
- Justin Schultz—I’m somewhat optimistic about Schultz this season.
Nikita Nikitin—Early word has him in good shape and looking
to make good.
- Eric Gryba—An underrated addition.
Andrew Ference—Veteran took on difficult zone
starts and I think he’s been a good captain.
Griffin Reinhart—I don’t think he makes the
opening night roster but it’s going to be close.
- Brandon Davidson—Inexpensive and an adequate depth player. Could make the team.
- Darnell Nurse—Top 4D, only a matter of time and it won’t be long.
- Brad Hunt—AHL impact D, tough depth chart for him, ahead and behind.
- David Musil—Smart player who will be applying for the same job as Davidson.
- Jordan Oesterle—He has wheels. Chaos for sure, but there’s some promise.
Dillon Simpson—Oilers bringing him along slowly, he’s a smart defender.
- Martin Gernat—He had a horrible season from the start of camp to the season-ending injury.
- Joey Laleggia—Awesome power-play potential.
- Ben Betker—Skates very well for a really big man.
- Caleb Jones—Nice range of skills, size and speed. Maybe a little shy offensively.
- Ethan Bear—A personal favorite, fine passer, mammoth shot.
Loik Leveille—Red Line had him at No. 77 and compares him in
style to Jason Garrison.
- Colton Waltz—Another tough defenseman. It’s a trend folks
- Kevin Davis—Cody Nickolet of WHL From Above: “an efficient puck-moving blueliner, owns an extremely smooth and comfy skating stride. Solid positionally.“
“In the event Edmonton doesn’t score, same problem – you have a defenceman in deep, and a team in scramble mode.” http://t.co/BxMTOQnmz9
— Patricia Teter (@Artful_Puck) August 18, 2015
FINAL SEASON AS AN OILER?
- Justin Schultz—He’s going to be expensive next summer, Edmonton may move him if the performance isn’t strong.
- Nikita Nikitin—He’s UFA, could be dealt at the deadline.
- Eric Gryba—They’ll sign him or deal him, Gryba is UFA 2016. I think they sign him.
- Andrew Ference—If he continues to erode, could be bought out.
- Brandon Davidson—They like him but he’s waiver eligible. Too close to call.
- Brad Hunt—I think he’s too one dimensional to survive the uptick in quality on the depth chart.
- Martin Gernat—Conditioning issues have him way down the depth chart. Halfway out the door.
— Heather Marginet (@margih99) September 8, 2015
LOCKS FOR LONG-TERM EMPLOYMENT
- Andrej Sekera—Signed through 2021.
- Mark Fayne—Signed through 2018.
- Oscar Klefbom—About to sign long term.
- Griffin Reinhart—Chiarelli sent away two valuable picks for him. He’s here to stay.
- Darnell Nurse—May be the best defenseman on this team in a couple seasons.
Those are my guesses. Thoughts?