The Edmonton Oilers now look forward to summer and there will be changes. Peter Chiarelli has made roster improvements each of the last two summers, there are fewer holes this time and enormous deals are (probably) a thing of the past.

One of the early items, and a big one, is the expansion draft. With the season put to bed, I thought it might be an idea to revisit the potential protected list. Let’s start with the expansion rules, designed to satisfy Vegas’ new roster. According to the rules, Edmonton must make available:

  • One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.
  • Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.
  • One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.

Currently, these requirements can be satisfied by leaving Mark Fayne, Benoit Pouliot, Mark Letestu and Laurent Brossoit available. After watching Letestu rip it up in the playoffs, it makes sense that the Oilers may want to protect him. How can they do it? It’s actually fairly simple in fact, they could sign RFA Iiro Pakarinen (he played in 63 and 14 games in the last two seasons) and we may see that as a transaction in the coming days.

Jujhar Khaira, Andreas Athanasiou join Edmonton Oilers phase two practice

For our purposes today, let’s assume that happens. Edmonton signs Pakarinen, making him (and Benoit Pouliot) available for the expansion draft.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


  • Goal: Cam Talbot
  • Defense: Andrej Sekera, Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom
  • Forwards: Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle, Patrick Maroon, Zack Kassian, Mark Letestu.

I believe this could be the actual protected list when it comes down to it. Peter Chiarelli can pull back all of the eligible forwards with substantial offense, and a few veteran role players. I have been hearing (and reading) about Jordan Eberle may be made available, that seems a waste of assets but perhaps the Oilers want cap room that badly.


  • Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, Nick Ellis

The Oilers are damned lucky this expansion draft doesn’t come next season, they would be in a massive spot of bother. Let’s look at the new eligible list.


  • G Laurent Brossoit, D Mark Fayne, D Kris Russell (ufa), D Griffin Reinhart (rfa), D Jordan Oesterle(ufa), D Dillon Simpson (rfa), D David Musil (rfa), C Jujhar Khaira (rfa), C David Desharnais (ufa), L Benoit Pouliot, R Tyler Pitlick (ufa), R Iiro Pakarinen.

I think the Vegas Golden Knights are likely to choose one of Griffin Reinhart, Jujhar Khaira or Benoit Pouliot. Push comes to shove, I’m guessing Reinhart. You?

  • FISTO Siltanen

    George McPhee is a regular reader of this blog and I can’t stress this enough how disappointed I’ll be if he takes Pouliot. World class player. Really hope he takes anyone but him.

  • Thumby

    $5 says they expose Ebs and pou because both are multi million dollar boat anchors whose salaries can pay for real talent and desire (insert picture of Draisatl here)…

    • CSPmyHart

      You really think Ebs has no trade value whatsoever? Cant believe how many bone heads like you that just say leave him exposed. Who do you really need to protect instead of a player that just had his worst season of his career, and still managed 20 goals and 50 points? I really hope they TRADE Eberle. But leave him unprotected? Nonsense, sir.

  • Ryan68

    Let’s ask ourselves; does Eberle’s contract make him valueless? What is a realistic return for him at $6M/yr? Should he be exposed, does Vegas grab him to: A. Make the cap floor?
    B. Have someone who might be able to score?
    C. As a possible reclamation project?
    He might even be a good fit in Vegas as he would undoubtedly be top dog as he once was in Edmonton. Perhaps even package him with Nuge and Pouliot as it would give Vegas a potentially respectable top line and get some valuable draft picks in return. There might be some “there” there. The big mistake Chia could make is thinking he’s got thoroughbreds when they’re just mules. Their pedigrees don’t matter anymore. At 25 & 27 Nuge and Eberle are the players they are going to be. He’s got some big dollar deals coming up. Being a GM is like playing poker, the most important thing is the size of your stack.

    • CSPmyHart

      Nuge literally turned 24 less than a month ago. Still 2 years out of his prime if not 3. Ebs I will give you, he needs a fresh start. But Nuge?! Doesnt put up points? Do you watch? He may have had a down year but for one look who he was playing with, generating points and generating offense are 2 different things. Everyone loves to point out his faceoffs but what 24 year old smaller center is a great 2 way player and faceoffman at 24? It doesn’t happen. Nuge has consistently improved on his full sheet of ice game and he is well on his way to being a shut down 2 way forward in his prime.

      • russ99a

        Nuge has a shocking lack of strength/physicality for a player of 24 when they should be getting stronger. I believe this is a factor as to why he doesn’t go into the tough areas or play an effective cycle game, and also the years of him and Eberle trying to score the perfect goal will take years to undo.

        This will limit his ceiling. We can find a better defensive center with physicality, faceoffs, a cycle game and secondary scoring for a lot less that $6 over the next 4 seasons.

    • WildcatOil

      Those 3 contracts won’t still exist when Vegas is competitive. No point for theme to trade picks for them. No point for theme to trade picks ever really.

      That said, they should have a surplus of second pair defenseman. They’ll be starved for offence and Eberle is a contract that could both help them reach the floor and expires soon enough that it’s not a huge risk.

      I’d be real curious if they can snag one of those dmen in a trade. Someone like Demers?

      • RJ

        I don’t think anyone knows what will happen around this expansion draft, but I’ve seen more than a few teams suggest an active trading market. I wouldn’t expect LV to move picks, but another team might be open to making trades to strengthen their team.

        Maybe there’s a player in Arizona, Carolina or Florida etc that the Oilers could move an Eberle or Nuge or Poo for.

    • The Rookie

      I could see something along the lines of eberle or poo to NJ for Kolvachuk. Would have to be other pieces each way to make it work but a trade centered around those two makes sense to me.

      • CSPmyHart

        Kovalchuk is going to turn into a bidding war. Try Ebs/Pou and our first pick maybe? I dont know if that’s a smart move but that might be what it would take.

      • Reg Dunlop

        A 34 year old who hasn’t played NHL hockey in 4 years. I imagine his old contract would have to be honored, about 9 mil annually for 8 more years. Any thought of acquiring him is insanity. Maybe crazier than trading for Ovechkin or the Sedin twins.

  • Kingoiler78

    I wouldn’t even consider protecting Ederle or RNH. They bring nothing of value when they are on the ice. The best scenario for Edmonton would be to have LV pick one of them up in hopes of just clearing one of those ridiculous contracts.they are who they are and what they are is garbage. Sorry to any other oiler fans on here who are fans of any of them but let’s be honest, RNH doesn’t get points, he’s a minus player and can’t win a face off if his life depended on it. That’s one of the worst contracts in the NHL. We will need that cap space to sign our real stars. They wouldn’t bring a return worth anything anyway so the best possible return would be the cap space.

    • CSPmyHart

      So leave 2 players exposed for nothing instead of trading them for at least a small return? So cap space > cap space + a small return? Gotcha, makes perfect sense. Nuge is 24 years old and has consistently improved his 2 way game. What 24 year old small center is perfect in the dot and 2 way game? Hint, they dont exist other than a very special few. Point is, Nuge still has a few years to get into his prime. Dump ebs contract for whatever you can get. The Oilers arent ina tough cap situation yet. Moving ebs and letting RNH develop for another 2-3 years puts them in a more than manageable salary situation.

  • The Rookie

    Vegas doesn’t need to take on bad contracts to get to the floor. Roughly $55 million for the floor for a 23 man roster is an average of $2.39M per player. That’s not a lot. So why take a bad contract off of another team, they would be better off to over pay for their own free agents in the off season and take a mediocre player from each team at an affordable contract.

  • tileguy

    I still don’t see the logic in trading Davidson for David Desharnais. Lil D really did not add anything to our team this year that Lander couldn’t of replaced. If we had kept him we would of lost him in the draft (and might of proved valuable when we lost a couple of D in the playoffs). Now we loose Davidson, lil D (he won’t be resigned) and somebody else in the draft. You can always get a draft pick for Poo, Nuge, Ebs or whoever.

  • Oilers8597

    I say Chiarelli works the phones now for Ebs and find a trade, My first hope is Ebs and a pick to Jersey for Kovalchuk, or even if it’s just for picks and preferably we don’t have to hold back some of his cap hit to another team like Carolina or Islanders or something, if there is nothing available then I would definetly leave him exposed for Vegas, gonna need the money for other big signings and other free agents right away

    • Twitch

      anyone that says 14 smokes crystal meth. 93 has more tools to his arsenal like speed, 2-way play, faceoffs and determination even if 14 is a better pure scorer

  • Johnny Zylon

    Ovechkin will be on the market this offseason. Caps are done with him and I think he is done with Caps. Imagine him and McDavid teamed up. Poo, Eberle, Nurse, and a 2nd round pick could be enough. Maybe Pitlick too.

  • Pouzar99

    I would say Reinhart for sure, but if the Oilers want to hold onto him then Chiarelli might be willing to talk turkey with McPhee and work something out. There might even be a way to convince McPhee to take a marginal player as part of a wider deal in which they get Eberle in exchange for, say a third line center with size, experience and a good faceoff record that is on another team’s protected list.

  • Geek freak

    Not getting the Jordan Ederle hate on totally. Yes, he looked bad in the playoffs + regular season, 6M is a big number! But hold on a minute, this IS a career 20+ goal (scorer 50+ point guy) we are talking about (career!!).. do not know J E, not a friend.. but hold on a minute, the guy is better than others in the same category and salary!! Why the hate on… I give you that he could be much better, but to give away?? Does not even make sense!! I think oilers nation fans need to stop looking for “anybody out side 2016 team” is a failure or has no value.. not to try and protect a 26yr old 20 goal scorer on a bad year!! My god!! No excuses for not performing in the playoffs, but there is still a lot of value if you can step back and do some research on value of career 20+ goal scores!!

  • Finnish Oiler fan in Edmonton89

    Letestu had to put up 11 pts in 13 games for lowetide to finally be for the idea of keeping him

    We won’t forget how all season long you constantly pushed for idea of exposing him

    Without him our powerplay is missing a key guy. I don’t know why it took so long for him to be a regular on PP either, I remember him lighting the oilers up while on Columbus’ PP quite a few times

  • Markkenko

    As is, I say they will likely take Reinhart. With some sort of deal, they may take Pou.
    As per the whole Eberle topic in the comments, I say he is traded somewhere like Florida or Carolina. Will be interesting to see what could potentially come back as return.

  • russ99a

    The Oilers have been trying to move Pouliot all year as per insiders, with no interest.

    I don’t think Pouliot or Reinhart in his one game did enough in the playoffs to warrant outright selection, due to their longstanding issues of Pouliot with poor systems play, bad penalties, lack of offense and contract; and Reinhart with lack of footspeed, puck moving skills or offensive acumen.

    IMO if a straight pick, it’s Khaira or Broissoit.

    If the Oilers try to get Vegas to take Pouliot, it will take a lot of assets to get them to select a negative value player, maybe even something along the lines of Jones or Bear and a few picks.

    There’s an outside chance of Vegas signing one of our UFAs before the draft, most likely Russell or Pouliot, which then would count as our expansion selection.

  • Copper

    Lowetide, you forgot Lander RFA. Vegas has said they plan to build through draft. That puts Pouliot and Fayne in play. NHL players today, deadline deal for picks each of next two seasons