Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee has let it be known that once he receives expansion protected and available lists, he is going to be open for business. A small window of opportunity exists and could mean we see all manner of transactions. Could one or more benefit the Oilers?
Before the original expansion in 1967, the Chicago Blackhawks were having a tough time setting their list. Instead of leaving two quality players available (and then pulling one back when the other was selected, Chicago dealt Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the Boston Bruins for less than 100 cents on the dollar. It might be the most famous bad trade in the game’s history.
Managers do unusual things sometimes and we will no doubt see several surprises leading up to and during the expansion process. How can this benefit the Oilers?
WHAT MIGHT BE AVAILABLE
In order to project the expansion protected lists, I went to CapFriendly and had them do the dirty work of compiling 30 protected lists. I then went to work on 29 teams (Oilers aside) looking for possibly useful roster players for the Oildrop beginning in 2017-18. I will tell you that cap hit was part of the priority and that roster weakness was also a consideration. Here’s what I came up with. I was not concerned with Vegas Golden Knights draft rules, but did comply for the most part in order to get a final list that looked reasonable. I am not suggesting this should be a reasonable estimate of an expansion list.
- Goalies: Ryan Miller (VAN); Mike Smith (ARI); Antoine Khudobin (BOS); Anton Bibeau (TOR). Remember, I’m not interested in any of these guys (well, maybe Khudobin)for Edmonton, but wanted to satisfy both the roster makeup and cap requirements of an expansion team. None of these men would be a priority for the Oilers.
- Left Defense: Brandon Davidson (MTL); Derrick Pouliot (PIT); Fredrik Claesson (OTT); Mark Barberio (COL). I think the Oilers will carry 4 LHD next season and we know who they are (Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart). Expansion and trades could change that, and there are good things about all four of these defensemen listed. Pouliot has great potential, Davidson is a fine defender. I could see the Oilers making a deal for either man.
- Right Defense: JOSH MANSON (ANA); Mark Pysyk (FLA); Ville Pokka (CHI); Ryan Pulock (NYI); Ryan Sproul (DET). When I asked the computer to create the list, everything looked fine but Anaheim. Josh Manson is a very good defender and would be an extremely nice fit for the Oilers. Righty blue, effective defensively, this would be a major addition in my opinion. The problem for the Ducks is that they have several fine defensemen who need to be protected, and the computer went with Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler (while waiving Kevin Bieksa). If Manson is available, he would be a perfect fit. Pysyk is also a very interesting name, he has quietly stepped up and would be a fine option. I also like the others, specifically Pulock, but their acquisition would be less costly and could probably be done without a third party.
- Center: VLADIMIR SOBOTKA (STL); Vladislav Namestnikov (TBY); Adam Lowry (WPG); Erik Haula (MIN); William Karlsson (CBJ). Sobotka comes with risk (maybe he stays in Russia), including the possibility his skills have eroded over the years. Last I looked he was busy being very productive in the KHL playoffs, though. Adam Lowry is another interesting player, and Namestnikov/Karlsson may add to the skill.
- Left Wing: Benoit Pouliot (EDM); Michael Raffl (PHI); Jordan Nolan (LAK); Micheal Ferland (CGY); William Carrier (BUF). No one especially vital at this position, Edmonton should be covered for next season (depending on Pouliot) and they have options like Jujhar Khaira on the way for depth roles.
- Right Wing: Craig Smith (NAS); Lee Stempniak (CAR); Jannik Hansen (SJS); Michael Grabner (NYR); Devante Smith-Pelly (NJD); Brett Connolly (WAS); Valeri Nichushkin (DAL). Several of these men could help as scoring options, Stempniak will probably play until he is 50 and Grabner could cash passes from any of Edmonton’s big C’s. I am most intrigued though by the Russian Nichushkin. I understand he is regarded as a high risk, and he does have another year on his KHL deal, but depending on price he would be a very nice buy low option. I bet Slats would have done his due diligence.
What about you? Care to try? It takes awhile but is a lot of fun and maybe you can find a gem or two as well. Click here if you dare! 🙂