We now know who will be on the opening night roster for the 2015-16 Edmonton Oilers. In this week’s edition of WWYDW, we’d like our readers to do two things. First, predict which of the players currently on the roster won’t be there by July 1, 2016. Secondly, we’d like to know who should be gone but won’t be and who will be gone but shouldn’t be.
The Current Roster
- Left Wing: Taylor Hall, Benoit Pouliot, Anton Slepyshev, Matt Hendricks, Rob Klinkhammer, Luke Gazdic
- Centre: Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Anton Lander, Mark Letestu
- Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Teddy Purcell, Nail Yakupov, Lauri Korpikoski
- Left Defence: Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Griffin Reinhart, Brandon Davidson
- Right Defence: Justin Schultz, Mark Fayne, Eric Gryba, Andrew Ference
- Goal: Cam Talbot, Anders Nilsson
Obviously, none of us has a crystal ball with which to predict what’s going to happen in this upcoming season; we’re all guessing at which players will fade, which players will break out, and how Peter Chiarelli is going to handle everything that happens.
Here’s how I see it by position:
- Left Wing: Depth changes. Klinkhammer’s deal expires and I don’t imagine he’s brought back. Hendricks’ age makes him a prime candidate for a trade if he plays well.
- Centre: I don’t think there’s much pressure to make a move here. Most of the players are young and cheap and it’s always possible to move somebody to the wing if it’s decided that Leon Draisaitl must play down the middle.
- Right Wing: Purcell’s contract status and the likelihood of the Oilers missing the playoffs mean he’s an obvious trade candidate. I really wonder about Yakupov; my suspicion is that he isn’t part of the long-term plan.
- Left Defence: Two of these guys are signed long-term and Reinhart obviously isn’t going anywhere (save perhaps the right side, which we might also say about Sekera). Davidson’s the only obvious candidate here for an outright departure, and only if they want to clear out a depth spot for one of the AHL prospects next year.
- Right Defence: It could be everybody. Schultz’s deal is up this summer and he’s a trade candidate; I’d probably put him at 50/50 or close to it. Ditto for Fayne, who is signed long-term but was brought in by the previous administration and in some ways is an odd fit. Gryba was brought in by Chiarelli, but he’s a pending free agent and will have value at the deadline; the Oilers also have plenty of prospects who will be pushing for roster spots. If Ference can’t find a way to carve out a regular role on the team this year he’s a buyout candidate, and my expectation is that’s what will happen to the final season of his deal.
- Goal: This is where I really have no idea. It depends on how Talbot and Nilsson show this year and whether there’s a feeling that Brossoit has earned a backup job for 2016-17. Assuming Talbot secures the job, right now I’d guess at Talbot/Brossoit as the tandem for 2016-17.
The second part of the question was which move that I expect to see would be a mistake, and Yakupov is the obvious choice. He has real offensive potential, albeit probably in a secondary role, and if he doesn’t break out this year he’s not going to command enough coming the other way to be worth dealing. Ironically, if he has a great season it might bolster the case to move him for help elsewhere.
That’s how I see it; what does our comments section think?