My friends, it’s once again time to put yourself in Peter Chiarelli’s spot and make decisions for the Edmonton Oilers based on what you think would be best for the team. This week, we’re diving into fantasy land to determine whether you would choose to sign Milan Lucic or Kyle Okposo if you were handed the keys to the Oilers’ panel van. Left or right wing – who will you decide?
After Pierre LeBrun told the world that Milan Lucic would be “open and warm” to the idea of signing in Edmonton, Oilers Twitter exploded with contract ideas, trades proposals that could happen as a result of the signing, and everything in between to try and get a deal done. One of the issues that some folks have expressed, in regards to signing Lucic, is the fact that the left wing is one of the few positions on the Oilers’ roster with any kind of depth. Having depth doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade the port side, but I wonder if the Oilers might be better served trying to upgrade the right wing instead? That’s where I need your help.
Left Wing — shoots L
Born Jun 7 1988 — Vancouver, BC
[28 yrs. ago]
Height 6.03 — Weight 233 [191 cm/106 kg]
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Milan Lucic has been on the Nation wish list for a long time, and now there’s a real chance that he could actually end up as an Oiler. Does he fit? I think so. Not only does Lucic have some touch, he also has the aggressive style of play that has been sorely lacking in the 7-8-0 for a long long time. Signing Lucic would not only add functional toughness to the roster, but also create the opportunity to trade away an asset from the left side for help on defense. Besides, it’s not unreasonable to think that Lucic could actually get a boost in production by playing with Connor McDavid, amirite?
Last contract: Three years, $6 million cap hit
Right Wing — shoots R
Born Apr 16 1988 — St. Paul, MN
[28 yrs. ago]
Height 6.00 — Weight 217 [183 cm/98 kg]
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|2008-09||Bridgeport Sound Tigers||AHL||—||—||—||—||—||—||2||1||0||1||2|
|2009-10||New York Islanders||NHL||80||19||33||52||34||-23||—||—||—||—||—|
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|2012-13||New York Islanders||NHL||48||4||20||24||38||-2||6||3||1||4||5|
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|2014-15||New York Islanders||NHL||60||18||33||51||12||-8||7||2||1||3||2|
|2015-16||New York Islanders||NHL||79||22||42||64||51||-4||11||2||6||8||4|
If Milan Lucic is one of the best available left wingers then Kyle Okposo would likely be the best option available on the right side. For the Oilers, the right wing depth needs some work, and if you assume that Nail Yakupov and/or Jordan Eberle gets traded this summer then the right wing situation starts to look even uglier. Okposo would solve a lot of issues on the right side. He’s not as big and mean as Lucic can be, but Okposo does play a heavier style game, and he can also put the puck in the net. Is he a fit? I think so. Although contract demands haven’t been released for Okposo (that I could find) rumour has it that his agent hasn’t heard from the Islanders since the season ended, and maybe that means he gets to July 1st.
Last contract: Five years, $2.8 million cap hit
PICK YOUR POISON
For the sake of this article I’m going to ask that you suspend disbelief and assume that either of these players would be 100% willing to sign in Edmonton. Now that that’s cleared up, I ask that you tell me who you think would be a better fit for the Oilers and why – Lucic or Okposo? I’m also curious to know what kind of contract (dollars and term) you would offer to your player of choice and why you think that would be a fair deal. Both Lucic and Okposo players are the same age, were drafted in the same year, and have both put up similar point totals throughout their careers, to this point. Do you go for the guy that fills a positional need, or do you stack up on the left side? Maybe you don’t like either guy and think it would be best that the Oilers avoid both players? My friends, it’s time to play GM again.