How much should the Edmonton Oilers worry about the expansion draft?


One of the interesting arguments that came up last night in
the context of the Jacob Trouba discussion was the expansion draft, with the
suggestion being made that Darnell Nurse’s exemption from that draft would make
it extremely difficult for the Edmonton Oilers to contemplate a trade involving
one for the other.

How great a worry is that, really?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Protected Lists


The rules of the draft allow the Edmonton Oilers to take one
of two approaches when they draw up their protected list. They can opt to
shield seven forwards, three defencemen and a single goaltender, or else they
can safeguard eight skaters and one goaltender.

Mileage will vary on exactly who the team should protect,
but two reasonable guesses at those lists might look like this:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  • 7-3-1 approach: Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan
    Lucic, Benoit Pouliot, Patrick Maroon, Leon Draisaitl, Nail Yakupov (or Jujhar
    Khaira, Zack Kassian, etc.),  Andrej
    Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Cam Talbot.
  • 8-1 approach: Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan
    Lucic, Leon Draisaitl, Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Brandon
    Davidson (or Griffin Reinhart), Cam Talbot.

With the first list, the Oilers would certainly lose a
defenceman—in all likelihood Davidson or Reinhart. With the second list, my
guess is that they would lose either Benoit Pouliot or Patrick Maroon, but it
might also be one or the other of Davidson or Reinhart.

A Trouba Addition

Bob Stauffer, above, noted the expansion draft as one key
reason not to look at a Nurse-for-Trouba deal. Jason Gregor, in
his piece last night
, made the same argument:

The other issue I see from an Oilers stand point is, if you
acquire Trouba for Nurse, it means you have to expose Brandon Davidson in the
expansion draft and lose him for nothing. Is Trouba worth both Nurse and
Davidson? I’m not sold he is long-term. I believe the June expansion draft will
impact any trade involving Trouba.

Stauffer and Gregor are two of the most respected voices in
Edmonton media, and for good reason. In this hypothetical case, though, I
really don’t see the big deal. Let’s imagine our Edmonton protected list again,
but this time with a Trouba addition, which virtually guarantees that the
Oilers go with eight skaters and one goalie.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  • Protected list: Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan
    Lucic, Leon Draisaitl, Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Jacob
    Trouba, Cam Talbot

When we looked at the 8-1 list above, an expansion team
would have a choice of one of Pouliot, Maroon, and either Davidson or Reinhart.
In this latter case, they’ll have the choice of one of Pouliot, Maroon,
Davidson and Reinhart. I don’t think
it makes that much of a difference, really; Las Vegas still only gets to pick
one player and if they go for a defencemen they’re getting the third-pair left
shot option from the Oilers. Given that Edmonton would still have a young
Klefbom signed long-term and a 30-year-old Sekera signed long-term for those
first two left-side positions, that isn’t anything they can’t afford.

There are a lot of teams with legitimate expansion draft
worries—I did
a mock-up for Bleacher Report
earlier this week and teams like the Red
wings, Islanders, Lightning and Jets are going to be in terrible shape. The
Oilers, on the other hand, are in a better position than the vast majority of
NHL teams. They can afford not to worry overmuch about what happens next June. 


  • Toggel

    When you make a trade to solidify a playoff calibre D-core the least of your worries should be losing your 5th D or 6th best forward.

    Nurse for Trouba seems like a no Brainer. Have a top 3 D locked up long term all just entering their prime to support McDavid.

  • PlumbOil

    I hate to say it but Davidson would have to be part of the package if a Trouba deal is to be made. It’s worth a serious look. Trouba has a lot of offence that can be unlocked and provides us with the right shot puck moving 2nd pairing dman!

  • aspin

    I would not trade Nurse for Trouba at all. Was surprised to see Jason’s position completely change from what he said in his June 20th article:

    It is too early to worry about which player the Oilers might lose in the expansion draft. If Chiarelli adds two quality defenders and the Oilers have more than three competent D-men this is a good problem. It shouldn’t be looked at as a negative. He could trade Brandon Davidson, for instance, before the expansion draft if necessary. The Oilers need to improve now, and suggesting Chiarelli only add one defender to protect others in the expansion draft is a loser mentality in my eyes. This organization needs to improve today, not worry about which player they might lose to Las Vegas in 12 months time.

  • aspin

    Trouba is not an incredible defenseman by any means and he does not have that x-factor that nurse has. We have not had a defenseman that can skate, handle the puck and punish you with his hits or fists since Pronger left. Guarantee we would regret trading Nurse. There are very few defencemend like him in the league. To have to watch him dominate in another city for the next 20 years would be painful.

    • kiaora

      I’m not so sure. Nurse might be that player you want, but last year indicated he probably isn’t (the next coming of Pronger would have gone first in draft, Seth Jones is well ahead of him). He was basically on a par with Reinhart in terms of performance. He has the physical tools but the jury is out over whether he has the hockey sense, it might come, but for most D players drafted it doesn’t. Whereas Trouba has proven he is at a minimum a top 4 d, and a more rare Right shot one at that. Add in our relative weakness at RD and it would be silly not to consider the trade. A big call for management to make, smart to get their media folks to talk up Nurse re hope of a trade, but it may not work, as Winnipeg will have some choices.

      • aspin

        Can you tell me what specifically Trouba brings that is so incredible? He is not a PP quarterback that we are looking for. He is actually not all that gifted offensively at all. He is not incredibly physical or incredibly great defensively. Everyone seems to be focusing on that he shoots right. I am a Right shooting defenceman. Does that mean I can come and replace Nurse.

        • kiaora

          What does Nurse bring that is so incredible, being a left hand D, who put up basically the same performance of Reinhart and wasn’t capable as a 6/7 D last year? I think Nurse has good potential, but the key is, “potential”. Its more likely than not, that he won’t make it as a top 4 D, his stock dropped last year significantly with many now questioning if he will ever make it in the NHL. Klefbom for example, had a much stronger first year in the NHL, because he had the hockey sense, he was solid where Nurse (and Reinhart) were shakey. Trouba has that solidity as well.

          As to Trouba, he isn’t the best possible fit for us (very hard to find that), but he would instantly improve our D significantly. If we get Trouba for Nurse and a bit extra, it will be a steal, I think odds are we probably won’t. I wouldn’t want us to give up a top forward for him like Eberle or Nuge.

  • TruthHurts98

    I agree with Stauffer. And if PC and TM were really impressed with him at the WCOH they’ll make a good offer. If not they’ll be going after someone else. No matter who it is I hope they upgrade the D a bit more. Btw Sekera is looking pretty good in the WCOH!

  • Strottie

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost Pouliot in the upcoming expansion draft.

    Pouliot has a couple things going for him that will be appealing to Las Vegas:

    1. He’s a veteran that still has offensive and defensive acumen

    2. He has a 4 million dollar cap hit with two years remaining on his contract

    Almost any mock expansion draft I’ve seen has the Las Vegas Whatevers well under the cap floor. Most estimates peg them at around 39M in cap hits after the draft. That means GM George McPhee has to hand out a bunch of garbage contracts and/or overpay for the free agents available next summer. McPhee is a very smart man,and completely deserving of his new postion, and I think the short term and slightly inflated cap hit Pouliot possesses will be attractive to him.

    That said I wouldn’t doubt that there’s still a chance we lose Davidson if he isn’t a part of the potential Trouba trade. But if that means the deal to pry Trouba out of Winnipeg is Davidson, Nurse, and somethi g like our 2017 3rd, you can’t not make that deal. Reinhart or Oesterle are viable options to fill the hole left by their departure. Two or three years down the road, one of Jones and Niemelainen will be competing for that slot, so it’s not like a long-term solution to the bottom pairing is needed.

    Having Trouba anchoring a top 4 or top 2 spot with his right shot for the next decade is much more valuable than whatever Davidson or Nurse may be bringing when you consider the competition ahead and coming up behind them. Please pull the trigger Chiarelli!

    • daryl

      That is a huge over payment Davidson is the only one to trade he has a lot of skill and a good contract which the Jets would like, hate to see him go but I would do that even add some peices like Jones. Nurse is or could be the next Pronger and if he is would you like to have him on the other side of center ice?

  • I agree Jon.

    Forwards will be at a premium and the Oilers will expose 2-3 good ones. (depending on if Yak is an Oiler then)

    There will be Dmen available from many teams, but not quality forwards.

    If LV takes anything other than a forward from EDM given the premium on them, I’d be shocked.

  • dangilitis

    Isn’t that the key thing exactly as they pointed out, though? That with the 8-1 option, they can protect Davidson as well? Wouldn’t be able to protect him specifically in any scenario that brings Trouba to town. He may very well be the 3rd pairing D option in that scenario, as you point out, but he would be a much better option than Reinhart.

    I guess the ultimate question is, would you rather the team have depth (e.g. Nurse or Davidson in future bottom pairing means 1 will likely be overqualified), or have an upgrade in the top 4? It’s a gamble either way, but it is directly related to what you think Trouba is going to bring now (important factor) and what his ceiling is, compared to the 2 of Nurse AND Davidson. For me that’s a really tough call. I know some smart people have projected that neither Nurse or Davidson will be as good as Trouba, but I believe it’s way too premature to make that conclusion about Nurse and Davidson’s contribution and likely lower financial needs are nothing to overlook. 3rd pairing D are replaceable, however, and we do have some D bubbling under. All things equal, what would probably tip me towards going for Trouba is that he is an ideal fit on the R side, but that’s provided his contract terms are actually as reasonable as he suggests.

    • Strottie

      What I was more trying to get at is protecting Davidson is less of an issue because it’s less likely we lose him to expansion if we don’t protect him. In the event we do, there’s options for the bottom pairing. If you pull the trigger on Trouba, protecting in a 4-4-2 manner (Brossoit is protected just because you can in this fashion, not because you need to) is going to expose Pouliot, who is going to be more desirable than Davidson.

      I’m trying to temper the brakes on my own expectations of Davidson as well. By no means do I think he’s someone we should look at getting rid of. He’s shown a lot of promise for a low pick that’s gone through hell and back. At the same time, he had a really quiet run through the AHL and has only shown one good year in the big leagues. It doesn’t mean he can or cannot reproduce those results. Right now he’s very much an unknown variable in terms of the effect he’ll bring next year. The same goes for Nurse: he’s got all the tools to be a long-time NHL’er but hasn’t shown it yet. I don’t want to actively trade either of them, but if it’s netting you a guy like Trouba, you can’t say no. Henderson put some stuff up regarding Trouba on Twitter last night that should really excited anyone who has even a minimal understanding of how usage and fancy stats go. He would easily have a positive impact next season.

      It’s less about having a very deep and effective left side and more about balancing the top 4 while giving the team a good powerplay option. If the Oilers want any shot at a playoff series this year, Trouba is the guy to get. Not enough has changed to get us into the dance and the right side rearguards are nonexistent beyond Larsson. The next best thing is Wideman, which would be a failure of an acquisition knowing guys like Trouba, Vatanen, and Jones were available at one point or another this year. Trouba is young and really good. Unfortunately you have to pay to get guys like him when management vehemently refuses to procure and develop guys like Trouba.

  • VicOilFan

    The only way I see making a trade for Trouba is if it is for a D man who will have to protected (i.e. Reinhart or Davidson plus another prospect d man, Musil for example or a pick, probably a 2nd). Another factor would be whether they can sign him for a two year bridge. It would be interesting to have this D for opening night:


  • I am Batman

    It’s gonna be Eberle…. I can already feel it.

    In what universe Chia gets rid of Hall but keeps Eberle?

    If anything, Hall is more Chia, and McLellan ‘s style, Ebs doesn’t fit in this team.

    It’s him, it’s gotta be him.

    Nurse is staying, good times

    • Boom or Bust

      Your a funny guy… You have the deepest hate for Eberle it’s comical. Don’t get me wrong friend, I was appalled with his lack of hustle..the way he gives up on plays and I also wouldn’t be heart broken if he’s traded. But you got some real deep rooted hate for the guy! Did he steal your girl or something? Here a question…if Ebs plays well with McDavid this season and puts up insane points…plus pulls his head out of his ass and works hard….would you still hate him?

      • I am Batman

        Of course not.

        Key for me is “works hard”, if he does, I will stop my hate for the Ebs.

        Now… why would he? It is no coincidence that he really declined after he signed the contract. There is no hassle, no back check, no fore check, not even expression of angst and / or anger when we are getting killed out there, he is a cruiser and nothing makes it look like it is going to change.

        IF he puts up points, IF he starts working hard, IF he pulls his head out of his ass….

        Those are a lot of ifs.

        IF my grandmother had balls she would be my grandfather. You get what I am saying champ?

    • OnDaWagon

      Yeah, I mean why keep a natural goal scorer? They have that “Russian Phenom” sniper, right? You know, the one that’s been a bust since his rookie season?

      If he’s here all year, I hope he learns how to play hockey. Something he hasn’t shown since Ralph Krueger’s Skype experience.

      Also, let assume both him and McDavid played all 82 games last year, together. Based on what he accomplished in a dozen games, he would have had about 16 – 18 goals. That does not qualify as a sniper.
      He needs to learn how to play hockey, at the NHL level.

      • I am Batman

        Natural goal scorer….

        Oilers are 25th place in the league in goal scoring, digest that one up kid.

        In a team with Eberle, McDavid, Hall, and others…. 25th place out of 30…. oh, it is not his fault, it is the guys selling the tickets, the general manager, the goalies, the defence, my sister and sometimes even me with my negativity

  • Serious Gord

    Both Gregor and stauffer would never had agreed to a suggestion that hall be traded for larrson. Gregor remains of the opinion that that was a bad idea. Stauffer less so.

    The piece for proven rhd with youth and upside is very high – see above – and trouba is exactly that. Stauffer and Gregor can pooh pooh it but a deal sending nurse et al for trouba seems worthy of discussion.

    That is reinforced by Jonathon explaining that regardless of whether nurse is traded Davidson (or something better) is likely to be gone to Vegas next season.

  • oilbaron

    If your gonna lose davidson in the expansion draft, might aswell add him to the package to get trouba. Im sure other teams will be allowing a more coveted d man go unprotected than reinhardt. If we lose maroon or pouliot, whatever.

  • Chet.

    Ahh, the season is upon us. Training camp has started, there’s more hockey write ups each day, fans are severely underrating their players for some other team’s player.

    Oh it feels good to be back.

    edit: Chiarelli isn’t going to overpay for a player that has requested for a trade. Reinhart + a pick seems like an actual fair trade offer.

  • Rebuilding the Rebuild

    Rienhart and Pouliot for Trouba makes a lot of sense for both teams. Jets need LW, and left shot defenders. They get a legit roster player and a legit D prospect. Means we lose Yak, maroon or Davidson to expansion? I can live with that. Money in and out would be comparable. We sign Versteeg, possibly expose him to expansion.

  • 24% body fat

    Reinhart, what a waste.

    We could have two stud prospects who dont need to be protected.

    I was at the oilkings game last night and He was there. Looked so out of shape.

  • knobert11

    I think it would be nice to worry about winning first and then figure out the rest later.

    we spend too much time speculating over nothing for a last place team!

  • daryl

    Start with Yak and Reinhart and if nessesary go with Davidson can’t see any scenario where we keep Davidson any way. If we get Trouba we will lose Davidson will be very sad when that day comes.

    • OTOF2

      Are you trying to tade for Trouba or a bag of pucks? Why would The Jets want the Oils mistakes? Yak and Reinhart have absolutely no trade value. Time to put the kool-aid down.

  • Oliveoiler

    Nurse maybe, and I repeat maybe, will be the tough D we have been hoping would be ours for a lot of years. But he is a leftie. I would trade him for Trouba.

    However, Reinhart was a #4 pick, Yak a #1 pick and we have Musil, Simpson and several other LHD to offer as a sweetener. I’d rather go that route.

    Klefbom, Sekera, Larsson, & Davidson should be our guys to keep, Davidson has earned his spot the way all D men should, through hard work and development. He is the poster boy for that.

    Our focus should be on getting that puck moving PP QB RD, AND another good back up goalie on a 2 way deal perhaps. But first of all that elusive RD is there for the picking, it can be done, let’s do it.

  • Am I right?

    What do ppl think the trade value of Eberle is? If it’s not so much in your mind, why not leave him unprotected. It would open up a spot plus take the light off everybody else and shave $6 million to go towards the Connor savings account.

    Trash if you think his trade value is high and/or this is stupid.
    Props if you think his trade value is low and shave $ 6 million.

  • dsanchez1973

    The people saying we can’t do this trade as we will lose Davidson are insane. Remember these two factors:

    1) Davidson has played sixty three games in the NHL. They were 63 good games. He looked good. But 63 games is not exactly a proven commodity; would it absolutely floor anyone if he came out, had a poor start to the year, and was sent back to the AHL? Remember the year before? He played 12 games, was -5, and had 1 point.

    2) As long as Sekera, Larsson, Klefbom and in theory Trouba are on the team, he’s at best the 5th defenceman. End of story. 5th defenceman, even if young and cheap, are supposed to be something that can be replaced without the team collapsing (Oilers recent history notwithstanding).

    Now, whether the Jets would accept Nurse+ for Trouba, who knows. But it does seem to be a plausible starting discussion.

  • pynetime

    It seems to me the main thing most people on this site are worried about, myself included, is we don’t think Griffin Reinhart is any good and maybe we overvalue Brandon Davidson a little bit.

    Our main concern is that we’d lose Davidson for nothing, and up until reading this article I was terrified of that! But when your top four would look that way with Trouba it’s really no big deal.

    I think it’s reasonable to assume that Griffin Reinhart will be solid bottom pairing D-man as early as this year and beyond. If not, it will sting because of what we gave up for him but we also have plenty of left shot D-men in the system who should be able to fill that role at some point in the near future (Musil, Oesterle, Simpson,….).

  • RogueJedi

    I don’t think a deal gets done without Nurse going the other way. But I drool at the possibility of icing Klefa/Larsson as 1/2 and Nurse/Trouba as 3/4 in a few years.

    • Moe Sizzlack

      Next season maybe..

      If Sekera can go to the World Cup Finals playing top pairing minutes then I think he plays top pairing minutes for the oilers … Atleast this season anyway

      With his NMC he won’t be the guy volunteering to leave Connor and The new rink for The Peg!

  • TKB2677

    You have to keep the expansion draft in mind of course but you can’t let it handcuff you in making decisions. The goal is to improve the team and win hockey games. If a deal comes up that addresses a need and improves the team, you have make that deal. People can speculate who the Oilers will protect, they can speculate who other teams will protect but nobody will know for sure until the lists are submitted.

    In addition, who a team might protect today, could easily change at the end of this season. A vet you expect to be good, could fall off. A rookie you didn’t expect to be good, could easily shock you. You don’t know who Vegas will take because it will be based on who’s available. People seemed really concerned about losing Davidson, there could easily be 7 way better Dman than Davidson available.

    At the end of the day, the Oilers are going to lose 1 player. If the fortunes of your team are solely based on losing 1 player, then your team is in trouble. The Vegas team will need offense, I think Vegas will be targeting the Oilers for offense. Because of the dmen the Oilers could potentially make available, I don’t see any of them being big point producers and I don’t see any of them being higher than #4’s. Davidson and Reinhart are probably going to be the 2 notable guys and I think there will be better guys available. If I am Vegas, I am looking at Pouliot and Yak. Pouliot is a valuable utility guy who’s good on advanced stats, can play both your teams, a vet, signed to a reasonable price can play on any line and do alright. Based on his production, he’s a 20 goal guy. Yak is a former #1 that hasn’t panned out with a variety of reasons. Some are Yak’s fault, some are the teams fault. Skill set wise he should be a 20+ goal guy. He’s young, should be cheap, should be fired up to get a fresh start. Vegas could use some flash and dash. Given where he was drafted, he’s have some name recognition. Plus McPhee does love his Russians.

  • Moe Sizzlack

    Davidson, Yakupov, Simpson and 3rd round pick for Trouba !!

    Got your top 4 LD in Davidson

    solid prospect in Simpson

    A bonus in former 1st overall Yakupov if he can find his OHL scoring touch

    And a future draft pick …

    If we need to switch Caleb jones for Simpson then let’s get’r dun, son!

  • oilersOne

    If it took Hall to get only Larsson in return then you guys really have no idea of value if you think Davidson and some slop will get that trade done. Sadly, I think it will take a Nuge or Ebs type player to start and maybe even a pick to boot. Sadly, I don’t see this deal getting done. Nobody wants to see the Oil strengthen their D-core, to go with McDavid and finally some stable goal-tending. Least of all Winnipeg.

    • dsanchez1973

      I’ll agree with that – if you can get Trouba for Davidson and some other non essentials, I’m gonna be even more furious about the Hall trade tho.

      • daryl

        Trouba is hardly Larsson everyone over estimates this guy he is good but he is not as good as Larsson. He has actually regressed some what not that I wouldn’t like him on the team but not at a huge over payment. Davidson and a piece like Jones would be fine.

  • oilersOne

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to fleece the Peg for a decent D-man but I just don’t see this trade getting done first-of-all and secondly, not where we win the trade.