WWYDW: What else should Peter Chiarelli do to improve the Oilers’ roster?

Peter Chiarelli3

With the initial frenzy of the draft and free agency now in
the rearview mirror, NHL teams are now entering their slow summer period.

There won’t be complete inactivity, of course. There are
still bargain-bin free agents out there who will be looking for work right up
until training camp; history suggests we’ll see a fair number of these signed
in July, a handful in August, and then the rest will be sorted out one way or
the other as teams finalize their rosters in the fall. There are also a handful
of deadlines that could spur trades, starting with arbitration and then ending
with teams’ need to be cap compliant for Day 1 of 2016-17.

In this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday, we ask if Edmonton
Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli be reasonably satisfied with his
offseason work, or is there a need to further upgrade the roster?

The Current Depth

Left Wing Centre Right Wing Left Defence Right Defence Goal
M. Lucic C. McDavid J. Eberle O. Klefbom A. Larsson C. Talbot
B. Pouliot R. Nugent-Hopkins N. Yakupov A. Sekera M. Fayne J. Gustavsson
P. Maroon L. Draisaitl J. Puljujarvi D. Nurse B. Davidson  
M. Hendricks M. Letestu Z. Kassian J. Oesterle A. Ference*  
  A. Lander I. Pakarinen      
D. Caggiula J. Khaira T. Beck D. Musil G. Reinhart L. Brossoit
A. Slepyshev B. Yakimov T. Pitlick M. Fraser D. Simpson E. Laurikainen
J. Sallinen K. Platzer P. Russell J. LaLeggia   N. Ellis
M. Moroz   G. Chase B. Betker    
B. Christoffer          

Mileage may vary on line combinations and the like, but the
above includes all of the players currently signed (or, in the case of Jesse
Puljujarvi and David Musil, certain to be signed) by the Oilers who have an NHL
component to their current contracts and who will be playing pro hockey next

My Approach


In Chiarelli’s shoes, there are two primary areas that I’d
be looking to upgrade over the next few weeks.

Right wing. The
idea of relying on Nail Yakupov and Jesse Puljujarvi in the middle-six right
wing slots is decidedly unappealing, particularly since (thanks to Edmonton’s
well-documented rookie bonus issues) there’s a good chance that Puljujarvi’s
deal isn’t a particular bargain next year.

There are a bunch of decent free agents who may be able to
take on one of those jobs. Radim Vrbata, Kris Versteeg, Brad Boyes and perhaps
even left-shot Brandon Pirri or old friend Sam Gagner might fit the bill at
right wing without costing very much at all. That would allow the Oilers to go
slow with Puljujarvi if he isn’t ready.

Power play
Tyson Barrie’s name is the one most often floated, and not
without reason; he’d be a long-term fix rather than a stopgap if the Avs decide
to deal him. If he stays in Colorado, however, Edmonton still needs a power
play specialist for its first unit and has room to add a defender in its
top-six. The obvious name out there is James Wisniewski, who missed most of
last season but can presumably be had on a cheapish one-year contract. He’s a
right-shot, an offensive specialist and doesn’t back down from physical

Failing that, it’s worth remembering that Christian Ehrhoff
used to be a pretty good power play guy for Todd McLellan in San Jose. He’s in
serious danger of falling out of the league entirely at the age of 34, and I
wonder if he’d be willing to sign at seventh defenceman-type money with the
promise of being used as a power play specialist.

It’s also too late to do anything about it now, but it’s also
a shame that Edmonton pulled the trigger on Jonas Gustavsson so quickly. Jhonas
Enroth is still looking for a home, as is Karri Ramo; either would be a
substantial upgrade and would have offered the Oilers better insurance in the
event of injury or another cold spell from Cam Talbot.  

Your View


Are you generally satisfied with the way that Chiarelli has
retooled the roster, or do you see a need for further improvements? What would
you change and how would you go about doing it?


  • 99 to 97

    We could probably find a not too expensive competent veteran that would like to tell his kids he played with the great 97 and take a bit of a haircut financially. Someone like the late Brad McCrimmon. He was partnered in Calgary with a young Al McInnis, then in Detroit with a young Nick Lindstrom, later on with a young Chris Pronger. He wasn’t at all flashy at these stages of his career and had a punch perm instead of a helmet, but he nurtured these future superstars when they were green as grass, told them where to stand on the ice, when to go out drinking and when to get their sleep, etc. THIS is what we need to get the full potential out of our young d. The skill will come. Just have a veteran doing damage control when the rookies inevitably make a mistake.

  • knee deep in it

    Gustavsson dalary is only 800k and you can bury fist mill in the ahl. We can still sign enroth and let them battle for the backup with zero effect on cap.

    The only cost is one of 50 contracts

  • Oilerz4life

    The Gustavsson signing could prove to be a mistake. There is a plethora of defensive defensemen on the roster. Hopefully Chia-Pet isn’t done retooling the D, but not at the expense of center depth.

  • db7db7db7

    I’m not a big fan of playing Davidson on the right. I’d like to trade 2017 1st + Yak for Barrie. Then I would sign Kris Versteeg to a cheap 1 year contract.



    Nurse back to AHL for the season to work on his offensive game.

    I still hate Fayne with Sekera, but maybe he find another gear this summer.

  • hags437

    A few thoughts:
    Eberle is not an elite goal scorer. He’s good but not elite.
    Eberle is soft and not very good defensively.
    Lucic will make Eberle better in these areas because of threats of bodily harm.
    Yakupov is not a good hockey player.
    Hall got traded and people are still angry.
    Hall isn’t coming back.
    Oilers in 2016-17 will be better than the 2015-16 Oilers.

      • hags437

        He’s not elite. Ovechkin, Stamkos, Pavelski, Seguin and a few others are elite. Eberle has 145 goals in 425 games. Not elite. He didn’t make the top 15 snipers in the NHL in a December 2015 ranking. As an Oiler fanatic and fellow Saskie I like Ebs. But elite he is not. I suspect we’ll agree to disagree

        • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          hags437 wrote:

          “He’s not elite . . . Eberle didn’t make the top 15 snipers in the NHL in a December 2015 ranking.”

          So is Ebs not elite as a sniper? Or as a scorer? Because while on the subjective “sniper” list he doesn’t rank (nor does Patrick Kane, Tarasenko, or Malkin), he ranks pretty well against the same snipers on the slightly more objective scoring list:

          The Top 15 Snipers in the NHL, December 2015:

          15. G. Landeskog

          14. J. Skinner

          13. J. Pavelski

          12. M. Pacioretty

          11. M. Duchene

          10. J. Carter

          09. R. Nash

          08. J. Neal

          07. T. Seguin

          06. T. Hall

          05. J. Benn

          04. C. Perry

          03. P. Kessel

          02. S. Stamkos

          01. A. Ovechkin

          Source: http://www.rantsports.com/nhl/2015/12/04/the-15-greatest-snipers-in-the-nhl-right-now/

          The Top 15 Snipers in the NHL (December 2015) & the non-elite Jordan Eberle ranked by GPG for 2015-16:

          16. R. Nash, 0.25

          15. G. Landeskog 0.27

          14. J. Carter, 0.31

          13. T. Hall, 0.32

          12. P. Kessel, 0.32

          11. J. Skinner 0.34

          10. M. Pacioretty, 0.37

          09. J. Neal, 0.38

          08. J. Eberle 0.38

          07. M. Duchene 0.39

          06. C. Perry 0.41

          05. J. Pavelski, 0.46

          04. T. Seguin, 0.46

          03. S. Stamkos 0.47

          02. J. Benn, 0.50

          01. A. Ovechkin 0.63

          The Top 15 Snipers in the NHL (December 2015) & the non-elite Jordan Eberle ranked by $/Goal:

          01. Benn: $129K/ goal

          02. Pacioretty: $150K/goal

          03. Seguin: $153K/Goal

          04. Pavelski: $158K/ Goal

          05. Neal: $161K/Goal

          06. Ovechkin: $184K/Goal

          07. Duchene: $188K/Goal

          08. Stamkos: $192K/ Goal

          09. Eberle: $194K/Goal

          10. Skinner: $204K/ Goal

          11. Carter: $212K/ Goal

          12. Hall: $231K/ Goal

          13. Perry: $253K/Goal

          14. Landeskog: $255K/ Goal

          15. Kessel $262K/Goal

          16. Nash $371K/Goal

          I see your point. Coming in at 8th and 9th of 16 I guess he’s more “middle of the pack” than elite.

          • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            You might want to take that up with Hags437 who claims that “Eberle is not an elite goal scorer.”

            As to the “round out the rest of your game” would you say that Patrick Kane has done that with his hitting, blue paint work, corner play, etc.? Or is Kane not an elite player either?

            Just for fun, two questions:

            Q1, Who had more hits last year:

            a) Nick Bonino

            b) Duncan Keith

            c) Daniel Sedin

            d) Johnny Gaudreau, or

            e) Jordan Eberle?

            Q2, Eberle played 1.5X as many games as McDavid but he had more than 2.0X as many hits, true or false?


            Q1: Eberle had the most hits of Bonino, Keith, Sedin and Gaudreau.

            Q2: True, Eberle had 2.3X as many hits as McDavid.

        • Hall isn’t elite either but fans treat him like that some people think Hall is better than Gretzky and the Hall trade was worse than the Gretzky trade when Gretzky was actually sole,not traded.

  • Oiler Al

    I think that Puljuljarvi should start his Oiler career in the AHL. That leaves you with one actual top 3 RH winger..thats Eberle. Sorry Yak is not the answer, plus he is really a leftie.

    Kassian is a 4th liner as are guys like Pakarinen, Pitlick, and Chase etc.You need a goal scorer on the 2 nd and 3 rd lines.

    Should have signed Stepniak or Parentaeu on a short term ,cheap deal to tide us over.[There is not much else in the UFA bucket now.]Don’t think Versteeg is the guy, but might have to do.Verbata and Hudler are not cheap and might not be able to skate with this group. Some sort of trade is the probable way to go.

  • FireScorpion

    Wow kook at that depth chart. It’s shocking to say as the Oilers are a bottom of the league team but their future actually is now and they aren’t very good at all
    There is nothing in the system. If these players can’t do it I fear for another cold 10 years for you all

  • Dreadguy

    It is clear that the Oilers need another RHD, but until it is know where Leon will be development wise next season it’s too risky to even think about trading Nuge. We all saw what happens when a team has poor depth at C. Besides, with Nuge and Connor, Draisaitl should be reasonably sheltered from other teams top lines/d-pairings. This is how you develop talent properly. Along the same lines, even though I personally think Eberle might not be a fit for the Oilers long-term, if he gets traded now it will be the same story for Pool Party – another rookie Oiler (albeit a VERY good one) being expected to produce top six #’s right from the get go. IMO, Pete is probably waiting for Burns to hit the market next summer, trying to find a temporary solution with little cost, or working on a much bigger deal than a one-for-one (Barrie) with the Avs.

    Edit: How about Eberle and a draft pick/mid-range prospect for Iginla and Barrie? I know Iggy is 39, but he plays RW, got 47pts last year, is one heck of a role model, and plays the game the right way. Very good mentor for Yak and Pool party IMO.

  • Ron Burgundy

    I know its now Thursday, but for WWYDW, I would:

    1. Sign Dan Boyle, Marek Zidlicky or Wisniewski to a 1-year deal

    2. Sign a guy like David Jones or Brad Boyes to a 1-year deal to slot in on the right wing and keep Pulj’s seat warm.

    3. Start Pulj in the minors, no matter how good he looks in camp. Bring him up only if there’s an injury in the top 6.

    4. Build a time machine and go back in time to not do the Fayne, Reinhart or Gustavson deals, and make Sekera’s deal shorter.

    5. Wait until January and then start making daily calls to St. Louis for Shattenkirk, who I don’t see any way St. Louis will be able to keep and who should be cheap to acquire. Maybe even for Fayne and Reinhart!

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Trade prospects an/or Yak and/or 2017 1st round pick together to get Tyson Barrie. If not, try for Cam Fowler.

    It would be nice to have RNH and Neon Leon be interchangable 2-3 centermen. At any rate, with Tyson Barrie in our lineup, we would be a playoff contending team.

    If we could ever get Hampus Lindholm hip-hip horray, but Bob Murray isn’t Kevin Lowe, so fat chance.

  • GCW

    Three spots left on the 50 man roster?

    1) Sign Versteeg to a one or two year deal, ideally one. Need to spread the offence across the lines and allows TMac to run:

    Lucic – McDavid – Yak/JP

    Maroon – Nuge – Eberle

    Pouliot – Leon – Versteeg

    I don’t think they can afford to put Eberle with McDavid now that Hall is gone.

    I am not a Gagner fan, but if he is willing to play right wing, he would be another choice. Frankly the Oilers missed badly not grabbing Parenteau.

    2) Sign Wiz or trade for Franson if he can be had cheap

    Klefbom – Larsson

    Sekera – Fayne

    Davidson – Wiz/Franson

    That allows the Oilers to place a power play specialist in the roster who could move up in case of injuries. Would also help the Oilers in their bonus crunch and show nurse and Reinhart to develop properly in Bakersfield. Neither should be brought up until they are over ripe.

    I would certainly prefer Ramo over the monster, but the foolish Fraser signing has that blocked now even if they wanted to add him as well. So, two moves left.

    The team will not contend unless they bring in another right wing and another defender. There are cheap options out there, so it’s completely foolish not to go get them.

  • Why is everyone forgetting about the Oilers lack of centre depth? If McDavid, Leon, or Nuge get injured like last year, then you have Letestu and Lander again playing a level up above their actual level.

    If Nuge is traded, then the Oilers seriously need a true middle-six centreman, not a bottom 6.

    McLellan even agrees that most teams’ top 6 match up well and cancel each other out. But it’s the 3rd line that makes the real difference.

    Oilers didn’t have a 3rd line last year.

    Korpikoski – Letestu – Yakupov?

    Maroon – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi is certainly an improvement but the Oilers won’t be able to afford McDavid + Draisaitl + Nuge salaries. (~$21m total?) and one of Draisaitl or Nuge will have to go.

    This will work while McDavid is on an ELC, but in under two years, Chiarelli will need to find a true middle-six centreman for $3-4m.

    • Ed in Edmonton 1

      Agree that long term you can’t have McD, LD and RNH as 3 centers, just too many $. Either one has to move to a top 6 wing or someone has to go. Maybe Khaira can develop into an economical bottom 6 venter within the next 2 years.

      • Admiral Ackbar

        If Pitt can have Crosby, Malkin and Kessel on 3 separate lines, I think it’s possible to have 3 high paid Cs. Find enough guys like Sheary & Rust to plug in. What matters is being strong down the middle and on the back end. Wingers can be plug-n-play.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    James Wisniewski would be a terrible addition.

    He is well past his prime, and isnt what the Oilers even really need. He has a decent shot, but he is injury prone.

    Tyson Barrie or Bust!

    • Admiral Ackbar

      I think Wisniewski would be a great addition. If he can be signed for under $2mil for 1-2 years, that’d be a great stop-gap until the kids mature (Bear) or a better player can be signed/traded for.

      In the middle 6, a cheap, quick winger would do the job. The longer we wait, the better I feel about getting a reasonable player at a reasonable price. The Oil are already overpaying a few ppl: Lucic (only by a bit, more a term issue), Pou, Letestu, Fayne. It’d be good to chase a few value contracts that also address a need.

      • Cowbell_Feva

        Wisniewski a great addition? I think he could have been that guy we needed….4 years ago…..but he was hurt then too.

        The Oilers need something more significant than him. Barrie/Fowler type guys after Larsson on the RD.

        I’m not worried about the middle 6 forwards. I’m worried about the blueline providing at least SOME offense.

  • 24_McClelland

    If the price of Adam Larsson is Taylor Hall, and Chiarelli was good with that….it begs the question, what does he give up to get what the team still desperately needs?

    I’ll be shocked if the Oilers go into the upcoming season not still needing the RH D that can play minutes, and contribute offense 5×5 and on the PP. Chiarelli should have used Hall (plus pieces if/as necessary) to address that need. He put the cart before the horse.

  • flamesburn89

    I actually don’t mind the Oilers blueline, just wondering where the offence is going to come from on the backend if they’re not able to pick up one of the guys JW mentioned. Will it be a more of a by committee approach?

  • flamesburn89

    This far into summer, seems like Yakupov might actually be staying in Edmonton. Sink or swim time for the kid. Either he figures it out and starts producing, or they have to cut bait with him for whatever they can get. If he can light a fire under his own ass and start progressing, maybe he can turn into next season’s Jonathan Drouin? Even if he just becomes a 20 goal guy, there’s value in that.