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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Obscure Alternatives

It feels like the summer of crazy when it comes to NHL trade possibilities. The changing of the guard in the Western Conference, the closeness of competition in the Eastern Conference, and the upcoming expansion draft have a large pool of possibilities in play.

I spoke to prospect expert and former scout Simon Boisvert today about the expansion draft. The conversation surrounded the protected list for Edmonton, and including Mark Letestu on the list over prospect Jujhar Khaira. Simon and I agreed on how we would proceed, but it was his followup answer that surprised me.

Boisvert suggested the Vegas Golden Knights may choose to secure Laurent Brossoit from Edmonton’s list, allowing them to have an inexpensive and NHL-ready option for backup goalie. The club could then proceed to draft starters who could be traded, keeping one starter and having Brossoit as part of the tandem.

It got me thinking about Edmonton’s roster in a different way. As in, who might be available for trade and who might be vulnerable to the expansion draft?

OBSCURE ALTERNATIVES

I wonder if we have properly explored some of the possible trade and expansion options available to Vegas and other clubs. Let’s start with what is probably the most likely protected list:

  • 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 is the consensus list, speak now or forever hold your peace. I have been operating under the idea that (once Iiro Pakarinen was signed) the Golden Knights would be deciding between Jujhar Khaira and Griffin Reinhart. Reinhart is less attractive than Khaira, in my opinion, due to the sheer number of defenders who are available. That said, based on what we know now, those two men would be my guess for selection by the new NHL team.

VEGAS STATE OF MIND

If we’re thinking like Vegas, as Boisvert did today, maybe this isn’t the slam dunk it looks like. If I approach it from the Oilers pov, Khaira and Reinhart are the obvious items for a team building an entire organization. They are young, can grow with the group and are under control for several more years. Let’s look at the players who could be selected or traded.

  • G Laurent Brossoit: As explained above, this is a low-cost and NHL-ready option, provided by a team with no obvious top end option. Makes a helluva lot of sense, because Vegas can then draft starters with the rest of their allotment and trade the excess. Great damned idea (not mine, Boisvert’s).
  • RD Mark Fayne: There are very few RH defenders and Edmonton might sweeten things if Vegas chooses the veteran.
  • LD Griffin Reinhart: Remains a strong option, Vegas will want some continuity on the roster in the early years and GR should be in the NHL for the next several years. Even if he is a third-pairing option, that can have value for a new team.
  • LC Jujhar Khaira: A big, strong young forward who is just ending his entry-level deal. I would protect him over the veteran Letestu, partly because Khaira is under control for several more seasons.
  • L Benoit Pouliot: He remains an NHL player despite the major falloff in offense this past season, the Golden Knights may find him attractive as a two-way option on LW. Edmonton would probably be willing to throw in a sweetener.
  • R Anton Slepyshev: Although he is ineligible, Slepyshev is an interesting option. If the Oilers could acquire a more proven scorer (Vegas would pluck from another NHL team), then sending the young Russan to Vegas could make sense.
  • R Tyler Pitlick: Although he is a UFA, the Golden Knights may choose to approach him (or Kris Russell, although the veteran defender would likely prefer to sign with an established team) to see if a contract offer would be agreeable.

Thoughts?

  • Ready to Win

    It seems like every fanbase (and probably GM too) in the league is hoping that Vegas is going to relieve their team of a bad contract. Vegas may have to take a few so they can hit the cap floor, but with 30 teams trying to dump a contract on them, the sweeteners will probably have to be really sweet.

    • justDOit

      $54 million, across 23 players, is only around $2.3M per player. I don’t think the cap floor will be that difficult to hit.

      But you’re right, I see no reason on Gord’s white ice why McPhee will bugger his salary structure up by taking on a contract like Dustin Brown’s. Unless the sweetener is way over the top, or the offer is delivered Bugsy Siegel style.

    • toprightcorner

      If a team wants Vegas to take a bad contract, my guess is that the sweetener would have to be good draft picks or high quality prospects. They will want that benefit to be an impact player when said bad contract is up. Dustin Brown for example would likely be a 1st round pick or the teams #1 prospect plus a 3rd round pick. I would think Vegas will take at most $10 mill a year in bad contracts and it will be a 30 team bidding war to be a part of that.

  • toprightcorner

    The reason the Oilers (and I) would protect Letestu over Khaira is that they would likely want to resign Letestu for anothe 2 years when his contact is up. His playoff value is so high for the Oilers as a depth vet who does everything from win faceoffs, PK and PP.

    I doubt Vegas even sniffs at Khaira as a 4th line player is easy to sign or trade for than to waste a pick on them.

  • RJ

    Too many articles propose dumping bad contracts in LV. Your article suggests something far more interesting.

    The best part of LV as a trading partner is that there are no ties between players and the fans in LV.

    There’s no way Anaheim trades Silfverberg to Edmonton. Wouldn’t happen. Teams don’t trade quality players within a division.

    But if LV picks Silfverberg, what trade would benefit the Oil and also benefit LV?

    Silfverberg for Nuge.

    The Oilers get a speedy top-6 RW that can put up points, and has a decent cap hit. LV gets a potential face of the franchise. He’s young enough to keep getting better. He plays a responsible two-way game. He earns too much to play a 3C role in Edmonton long-term, especially with Drai and McDavid’s contracts coming down the pipe.

    Depending on your opinion of either player, you may want LV to throw in a 3C from the dozens they’ll see. Maybe the Oil throw in a Reinhart or Benson to sweeten the deal. Maybe picks switch hands.

    But it could be a lot more than simply hoping they’ll take Poo.

    • Kale

      with the goalie options that Vegas will have to choose from I’d be very surprised if they took LB. But like you said, wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for EDM.

  • Kale

    But if EDM doesn’t protect Letestu Vegas will very likely pick him. Whereas if they leave Khaira unprotected Vegas will probably go with someone else. Why lose one when you can have both! Haha

  • Oilers8597

    If Vegas get’s LB I hope Chiarelli get’s Halak to back up Talbot, hopefully he learned his lesson when he signed Gustafson last season, and by the way, not a flipping chance I’m taking Jujar over Letestu, I don’t know how you can say that after the season he just had and how cheap he is

  • RJ

    Normally teams don’t have the depth at RHD to trade away. LV could, depending on who they select.

    So what would it take to pry away a Pysyk/ Petrovic/Hamonic/Manson from LV?

    I’m still trading Nuge. Maybe they throw in picks. Maybe they dump Benson, and maybe LV sends back more than a D. Maybe they agree to take Poo or Fayne as well part of the trade.
    If LV acquired Nuge, they get a young former #1OV who plays a solid two-way game and is better than any C they’ll see in the expansion draft. He could be the face of the franchise for five years or more.

    The Oil finally get depth on the RHD. Larsson, Petrovic, Benning with Bear in the minors. And then they find a decent #3C with size and can win a faceoff for less than $6m/year.

  • TruthHurts98

    Can’t understand why PC would expose Letestu. He’s a million times more valuable in the playoffs than Ebs for example. Khaira hasn’t proven he can play a full season in the NHL, let alone a career. The potential is there, but how often have we seen it fizzle. I hope he thrives here and continues to progress. My guess is LV would take Reinhart unless PC gets creative. Not a chance on Brossoit, there are 10 backups far better and more established. If they take him we’re all laughing, Ellis looks to be just as good with plenty of upside to me.

    • Freddie the fog

      They wouldnt b taking Broissoint as their #1-2 goalie. They may draft 8 goalies because their is quality available and 12 dmen..again same reason. And then start dealing goalies and dmen to get better scoring options at the fwd positions. Their fwd choices are super thin . Certainly in terms of proven goal scorers

  • Jaxon

    I’m pretty sure they won’t have to worry about losing Brossoit as there will likely be amazing to great goalies up for grabs with a longer track record than LB like Murray, Luongo, Grubauer, Raanta, Howard, Dell, Domingue, Hutton, Halak, Hutchinson, Pickard, Ward and Niemi.

    Vegas is also given a pre-expansion draft window to try to sign UFAs and RFAs. This means that they will get first shot at offering money to Miller, Budaj, Bishop, Bernier, Condon, Mason, Nilsson, Kinkaid, McElhinney, and Johnson.

    Those are a lot of options before they even start sniffing around Brossoit. I think they’ll get thier 3 or 4 goalies from that list without even considering Brossoit.

  • toprightcorner

    Here’s an idea….

    The Oilers should look at making a trade for a forward from a team that will have to leave a quality forward unprotected and lose him for nothing. This should make those prices a little cheaper than normal. Silfverberg, Neiderreitter and Zibanijad are prime candidates that may not be able to be protected. If the Oilers can trade for one of these players, they can protect them, leave Letestu unprotected and maybe make a deal with Vegas not to take Letestu.

    Chairelli has a possible opportunity to have a stronger team after the expansion draft than before.

  • JDogg

    My understanding is that in the later half of the season (and into the playoffs) the Oil had not only an elite PP, but also an elite PK. Pouliot was a big part of that PK forward group. I feel like that isn’t brought up enough. I would think special teams would be a challenging aspect for any expansion team, and a huge stabilizer for a team trying to find an identity and keep games close.

    I know the $4m for two more years is steep, but it’s not unrealistic for him also in a top 6 forward role there, especially if the new scenery helps him find the offense he had just two seasons ago.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    For all the complaints about BP the Oilers PK went from a liability in early March to a strength in the playoffs.

    I don’t think it was a coincidence that this turnaround happened when Pouliot returned to the lineup. Only concern for me is that 5th year on his contract.