The Edmonton Oilers spent the first decade of this century striking out in the first round, but finding quality NHL players in the later rounds. The current decade seems to have seen a flip—mostly successful first-round selections but day two is a bit of a wasteland. One of the repercussions of this drafting issue is about to make itself known at the deadline this year. What’s in the cupboard? Not as much as you think. (Brandon Davidson photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).
CURRENT PROSPECT LIST
This is my take on the current prospect group, your mileage may vary. I do a December look at the entire Oilers organization in terms of prospects, the summary available below.
For Edmonton, there are two things needed from this list:
- A bunch of players pushing up through the system and maintaining a trajectory that resembles an NHL player.
- Tradeable assets for the deadline and summer. Now, it often takes not much to get a role player at the deadline.
I think you can make a case for Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyler Benson (if healthy) and several defenders qualifying as players pushing their way up, but what about that second points? Jordan Oesterle? David Musil? I wonder if Edmonton has a strong tradeable option in the minors, junior or Euro. Forced to name someone who could bring back a substantial piece, I will name Caleb Jones, or Ethan Bear. .
WHO GOT TRADED LAST YEAR AT THE DEADLINE?
Teams who were trading youngsters and picks for veterans with expiring contracts paid a stuff price again last season. Here is a sample:
- Chicago traded Philiip Danault (2011 first-round pick) and a second in 2018 for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. Blackhawks made a ‘going for it’ trade. Danault was a No. 26 overall and the 2018 selection should be around No. 55, so Edmonton could offer this kind of package in a trade. Unlikely to be spent on expiring contracts, however.
- NY Rangers traded Aleksi Saarela (2015 third rounder) and two seconds for C Eric Staal. That is a lot to give up, Saarela is an undersized skill forward with terrific speed and second-round picks are good bets. Edmonton could cobble together someone like Saarela (Paigin might be a comparable), but do not have this year’s second—and of course would not be acquiring a rental.
- Los Angeles traded Valentin Zykov (2013 second-round pick) and a fifth rounder in 2016 for Kris Versteeg. Edmonton could satisfy this ask, Anton Slepyshev would be a similar talent.
- Washington dealt Connor Carrick, along with a second-round pick and Brooks Laich to Toronto for Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round selection. This was a nifty deal, some interesting elements in it (Winnik had one more year to go on his deal, and Laich was a salary dump). Toronto got two fine pieces, Carrick could be a productive defender for a long time.
- Anaheim dealt a conditional third-round pick to Buffalo for W Jamie McGinn. This was the trade that allowed the Ducks to send Patrick Maroon to Edmonton. The condition on the pick was this: the third became a second if Anaheim won two playoff rounds and McGinn played in half of the games. Anaheim would lose in the first round against Nashville, so the pick remains a third. For Edmonton, this kind of ask could easily be satisfied.
- Boston dealt a second-round pick in 2017 and a fourth in 2016 to New Jersey for Lee Stempniak. A famous deadline name, Stempniak is a handy damn skill player. I think we could argue that Arizona has a similar player this trade deadline in Radim Vrbata, and Edmonton could satisfy this price.
- Dallas traded D Jyrki Jokipakka, F Brett Pollock and a second-round pick to Calgary for Kris Russell. This was a handsome price paid for a few weeks of Russell. Edmonton could cover this kind of ask, but it would represent a large portion of available assets.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO EDMONTON?
If we use my list above, I think the top 10 listed prospects have enough value to move the needle a little. Now, Edmonton isn’t going to trade Jesse Puljujarvi, and there are others on the list who are unlikely to be dealt. However, this gives us a frame of reference for how much value Edmonton has in its arsenal. We should also be aware that injuries to Tyler Benson and Tyler Pitlick’s free-agent status would also impact value. What else is there?
THE OILERS IN THE 2017 DRAFT
- First Round: No. 23 overall
- Third Round: No. 82 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)
- Third Round: No. 85 overall
- Fourth Round: No. 116 overall
- Fifth Round: No. 135 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)
- Fifth Round: No. 147 overall
- Sixth Round: No. 178 overall
- Seventh Round: No. 209 overall
THE OILERS IN THE 2018 DRAFT
- Edmonton has all of its picks for the 2018 draft
NHL teams are going to be interested in players like Brandon Davidson, who is inexpensive, signed for next season and has enough experience in the league to suggest he can be a plug and play addition. He would be a reasonable comparable for names above like Philip Danault and Connor Carrick. I don’t think Peter Chiarelli has a ton of available assets to move, but he does have a few.
TOP 10 TRADE ASSETS FOR THE DEADLINE
- 2017 first-round pick
- 2018 first-round pick
- Brandon Davidson
- 2018 second-round pick
- Caleb Jones
- Jujhar Khaira
- Ethan Bear
- Anton Slepyshev
- Griffin Reinhart
- 2017 third-round pick (No. 82)