In a way, the Oilers current position in the standings complicates the life of Peter Chiarelli. I think the smart play here is for the Edmonton general manager to keep his powder dry—get through this season without dealing off assets for short-term help. What does that mean for the deadline? Well, they used to call it thinking outside the box, but the Oilers were creative at the deadline one year ago and we could see it again this time. What would it look like?
As you can see, the Oilers have done a solid job of staying in the playoff race through the entire first half of the year. Still, as with every season with the Bettman point, danger lurks around every corner. In spite of the record, and performances from men like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Cam Talbot, injuries and lack of balance entering the season means there are some roster concerns.
For instance, if Todd McLellan uses Leon Draisaitl on RW with McDavid (and he should, at least in the short term), that means there is a hole at center. If the coach doesn’t want to use Jonas Gustavsson in the backup role, should PC trade for a more suitable player?
On the other hand, why spend assets (picks, prospects, young fringe NHLers) on rentals? One answer might come from last trade deadline, when the Oilers acquired Patrick Maroon from the Anaheim Ducks. Maroon, 29, had 204 games of NHL experience when he arrived in Edmonton, and was a plug-and-play option for the Oilers. That kind of player may be available this deadline too, and if the acquisition is under contract for next season it gives Edmonton a chance to test drive the talent.
WHAT ABOUT THE EXPANSION DRAFT?
I think the deadline could benefit Peter Chiarelli, and aid the Oilers in their expansion efforts as well. Example: Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun mentioned in his Sunday column today that the Oilers were on the lookout for a forward, and in the same paragraph mentioned that Boston needed a defender.
Interesting. Ryan Spooner is mentioned by Garrioch, and if we run his numbers (40gp, 7-12-19, he makes $950,000 and is RFA this summer) and look for an approx match among Oilers blue, we come up with Brandon Davidson (9gp, 0-1-1, he makes $1.425M) as a close salary match while also being a substantial enough talent to cover the deal (I would argue Davidson has more value than Spooner, but am biased).
There are reasons why this deal won’t happen—Edmonton doesn’t have enough depth to trade a defender, at least until Darnell Nurse returns—but the overall thrust of the trade would allow the Oilers to go 7-3-1 in expansion and not worry over Davidson’s availability.
- Goal—Cam Talbot
- Defense—Andrej Sekera, Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom
- Forwards—Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle, Patrick Maroon, Ryan Spooner, Mark Letestu
Now, you can choose your own 7th forward, I picked Letestu because the forward group doesn’t have enough righties—ideally, the Spooner acquisition would address that area. Anyway, I think there is a way to help this team for the playoff push, at the expansion draft and into next season—using the Patrick Maroon template of grabbing a useful NHL player, under contract, who is perhaps on the outs in his current town.
Lineups (subject to change) are courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com
- It is very rare for the advanced stats and the visual to line up perfectly, but last night was an example. Damned shame the Oilers were in a bit of trouble, but a hot goalie can drive a man or woman insane. Big two points last night.
- The last time these two teams met, it was an unusual night. Craig Anderson shutout the Oilers, in a 2-0 win at Rogers Place on October 30. News of Nicholle Anderson being diagnosed with cancer had broken earlier, and Anderson was expected to be away from the team. An injury to Andrew Hammond, and encouragement from Nicholle Anderson, brought the veteran goalie back to the rink, where he performed admirably. Even more heartening, the news in regard to the cancer has been encouraging.
- The Oilers are 2-1-0 on this road trip, with a chance to get two more precious points before the end of the trip. It is the third game in four nights, however. That is a tough nut for any NHL team.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
- SensChirp: One of the advantages to the mostly unnecessary five day break was it was supposed to give the Senators a chance to rest any lingering bumps and bruises. That’s why it came as a bit of a surprise when Bobby Ryan was announced as a scratch moments before puck drop. Even more puzzling when you consider the fact that was on the ice for practice last night and took the warm up. Boucher mentioned after the game that he’s hopeful Ryan will play tomorrow but would not confirm if it was an injury. Sort of strange. Source
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GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers give up a quick goal on a two-on-one featuring Pageau and Lazar. After that, both teams settle in to an edgy, physical affair.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score in the second period on the power play, but so do the Senators. Edmonton heads to the final frame down a goal.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers tie it late, a wonderful individual effort by Connor McDavid proves unstoppable. Erik Karlsson puts the game to rest 17 seconds into the overtime and Edmonton comes home 2-1-1 for the road trip.