This is Iiro Pakarinen. The young Oilers winger has endured an injury and a long recuperation since training camp. Now he is in the every night lineup and posting some offense. Pakarinen is among 48 skaters on Edmonton’s 50-man roster currently. As we get ready for the trade deadline, here is a look at each man and his status with the club moving forward. Photo by Mark Williams, all rights reserved.
- Cam Talbot—He has nailed down the No. 1 job and would have to be considered one of two strong candidates for Team MVP. Signed through summer 2019.
- Jonas Gustavsson—Lost his NHL backup job, is not fairing well in the AHL. UFA this summer, unlikely to return.
- Laurent Brossoit—He was rolling in the AHL at career average levels (and that is good), but had three tough outings around Christmastime. Has been only okay in current NHL audition, anyone’s guess about where he lands this fall. RFA in 2018 with arb. rights.
- Nick Ellis—The big story among prospect goalies at the pro level, he has done very well in his AHL time (22, 2.69 .921). One of Peter Chiarelli’s college signings, he has another year after this one before RFA status.
- Eetu Laurikainen—He hasn’t played in some time and lost the goalie battle (meaning ECHL) in the minors. RFA this summer, unlikely to return.
LEFT DEFENSE (11)
- Oscar Klefbom—Enjoying a breakout offensive season, still progressing as a defensive player. Signed through 2023.
- Andrej Sekera—Signed through 2021, he is an intelligent two-way defender playing good hockey.
- Darnell Nurse—RFA in 2018, he has made big strides this season (before injury). His contract number would benefit from shy offense between now and his next contract.
Brandon Davidson—Injury once again impacted his season, but he is
back now and working his way to complete health. Has one more year on a
value contract and then is RFA with arb. rights. Vulnerable to expansion.
- Griffin Reinhart—Poor start to the season, including a noticeably early exit from training camp. Struggled, but a back injury (ironically) seems to have turned his season around. Now playing top minutes in Bakersfield. Entry-level contract ends this summer.
Dillon Simpson—He made his NHL debut (3gp, 0-0-0) and looked good
doing it. Solid AHL defender and callup option, he is RFA this summer with arb. rights.
- David Musil—Another solid defensive season for Musil, he is RFA and arb eligible this summer.
- Mark Fraser—UFA this summer, no idea if he will return.
- Ben Betker—Had a good start to the AHL season, then a long layoff before showing up recently in the ECHL. RFA summer 2018, he looks good.
- Caleb Jones (slide rule)—He has been quality in the WHL and WJs, he is a substantial young defenseman who should be a feature player next year in Bakersfield.
- Andrew Ference—A fine career, waiting for his contract to run out.
RIGHT DEFENSE (7)
- Adam Larsson—He has been as advertised, a defense-first option who has helped settle the chaos on defense. Signed through 2021.
- LD Kris Russell—Todd McLellan loves him and plays Russell against tough opposition. He is UFA this summer and there is a good chance he signs long term.
Matt Benning—Quality rookie performance, he has faded a little
recently. He is RFA in summer 2018, and is going to cost a little based
on what we have seen.
- Eric Gryba—Big man has the 7D job and has played 31 games. Could return next season. UFA.
- LD Jordan Oesterle—Injuries early derailed him, but he has come on strong and looked good in an NHL audition. He will be UFA this summer.
- Mark Fayne—AHL most of the season, he is steady and reliable there. Has one more year at $3.625M before going UFA, we can assume PC will make every effort to deal him.
- Ethan Bear (slide rule)—Posting a big offensive season, it will be fun to see how well he performs as a pro this season.
- Connor McDavid—Brilliant present and future. Final year of entry-level deal in 2017-18. Too soon! Next contract will be a large number times a large number, and no one will complain.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—No real answer for his season, hasn’t been himself and has been in trade rumors all season. Signed through 2021 at $6M.
- Mark Letestu—Another impressive year, and his contract runs another year after this one. Some believed it was a poor contract, has turned out very well so far.
Drake Caggiula—Speedy center-wing has been up all year and shown
signs of what might be. Still wonder about his offense. He is RFA summer
- Anton Lander—The modern Guyle Fielder, he is tearing up the blacktop in the minors. RFA with arb. rights this summer.
- Jere Sallinen—A disappointing free agent signing, RFA this summer with arb. rights.
- Kyle Platzer—Has been unable to find consistent ice time. RFA in 2018.
- Henrik Samuelsson—Just arrived from the Coyotes organization, hasn’t done a lot in early days. RFA this summer.
Zachary Pochiro—was part of the Nail
Yakupov trade and took some time to report to Norfolk. Posted good numbers after and is now in the AHL. RFA this summer.
- Bogdan Yakimov—Playing in the KHL this year. RFA this summer. I know what I would do.
LEFT WING (8)
- Patrick Maroon—Making $1.5 million through 2018 summer, Maroon is a 20-goal man alongside Connor McDavid. A dangerous contract negotiation coming up.
- Milan Lucic—This isn’t the season anyone envisioned, but they have until the summer of 2023 to make it work.
Benoit Pouliot—A disastrous season that began with a goal-scoring
flurry, followed by a ton of offensive-zone penalties and then crumbled
into a season-long slump. $4M a season, UFA 2019 summer, this could be
- Matt Hendricks—UFA this summer, he has been a warrior since being traded to the Oilers.
- Jujhar Khaira—Based on his current performances, he should be ready for fulltime work this fall. He is an RFA this summer.
- Joey Laleggia—A revelation at the minor league level since moving to LW from defense, RFA with arb. rights this summer. Could extend his Oilers career.
- Braden Christoffer—continues his minor league career as an energy winger. RFA 2018 summer, there isn’t a lot of offense.
- Tyler Benson (slide rule)—Effective junior when he is healthy. Probably another year in junior.
RIGHT WING (10)
Leon Draisaitl—Terrific season (second in a row) and he is RFA
(without arb. rights) this summer. His contract is going to be a major
discussion point of the offseason.
- Jordan Eberle—He is posting his least successful season, and it comes at a bad time. Eberle is a UFA in the summer of 2019, and is probably costing himself money. A big recovery season solves all worry, but will it be in Edmonton?
- Zack Kassian—He is an RFA with arb. rights this summer, suspect the Oilers get his name on a contract long before then.
Anton Slepyshev—RFA in 2018 summer, Slepyshev is on the verge of
establishing himself as an NHL player. Value deals are vital, he might
- Iiro Pakarinen—As mentioned at the top, weird year filled mostly with the injury. RFA with arb. rights, part of his appeal is a value deal.
Jesse Puljujarvi—The first year of his entry-level deal is going
about as planned, although he posted the NHL time and then went to the
farm. May be back soon.
- Tyler Pitlick—UFA this summer, he was so good in half a season I think he gets a contract.
- Taylor Beck—He is RFA with arb. rights this summer, and posted a strong AHL season. I imagine this year gets him some offers, but we could see him back next season.
- Patrick Russell—One of PCs college signings, his speed and skill are a little shy compared to the others. RFA summer 2018.
- Greg Chase—Like Kyle Platzer, cannot seem to get into the lineup often enough to establish himself. RFA 2018.