The Oilers made the Iiro Pakarinen signing official yesterday, although the Nation Network had already reported it over the weekend.
The signing makes sense on many levels, and it should clear up the Oilers expansion draft list.
Here is a quick recap of the rules on the number of players an NHL team has to expose at the expansion draft.
- 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.
Pakarinen has played 77 games the past two seasons, so he qualifies as one of two forwards who need to be exposed. Benoit Pouliot will most likely be the other.
Pakarinen’s signing means the Oilers will protect seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie. The most plausible list looks like Leon Draisaitl, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Patrick Maroon, Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian as forwards. Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Adam Larsson on defence and Cam Talbot in goal.
They don’t have to protect Connor McDavid, Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, Jesse Puljujarvi, Darnell Nurse and Matt Benning because they’ve only been a pro for two or fewer seasons.
So one of Pakarinen, Pouliot, Tyler Pitlick, Jujhar Khaira, Griffin Reinhart, Mark Fayne, Dillon Simpson and Laurent Brossoit will be picked up by Las Vegas, unless they grab a UFA like Kris Russell, Jordan Oesterle or David Desharnais, which is highly unlikely.
Vegas claiming Reinhart makes the most sense, considering how valuable teams view defencemen.
I know Vegas scouted Brossoit closely this year, but he needs to clear waivers and there are many goalies available from other teams who still are waiver exempt for one more year. Taking Brossoit would suggest they expect him to be their back up, rather than expose him to waivers after training camp.
Khaira has shown signs he can be an NHL player, however, his inconsistency likely saves him from being claimed.
Pakarinen’s signing allows the Oilers to protect both Kassian and Letestu, but they also signed him because they feel he can be a regular in their bottom six. Many of his teammates told me he might be the strongest pound-for-pound player on the team. They were impressed by how strong he is, and his pre-season injury limited his development this season.
Pakarinen could replace Matt Hendricks — a grinder who can kill penalties and is responsible defensively. He doesn’t take faceoff like Hendricks, and he won’t fight, but I’m curious to see if he can take his superior strength and use it to his advantage on this ice next season.
- I believe the numbers on a player can sometimes be misleading. I feel Cody Franson is one of those players. His numbers make him look better than he is. Here is longtime Sabres reporter Paul Hamilton’s view of him.“The challenge for him is he’s not very mobile. He did not bring the offence I think they were hoping he would bring. When they signed him to a two-year deal, I think they thought he was really going to help the power play. He helped a bit, but not as much as I think they thought he would. Until he got hurt last year, he started coming on, and there were games where he was Buffalo’s best defenceman, he really started to play better. But, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t a lot of games, just a stretch where I thought he played well. I’m wondering if “Father Time” has caught up with him. He had some major injuries he had to get though. It might be a tough go moving forward. If he gets signed, it might be as a number six or seven guy.”
- Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s contracts will force the Oilers to clear out some cap space elsewhere, but I don’t believe it alters the ability to win. I think the term “Window to Win” is often used incorrectly or is simply inaccurate.
- Patrick Kane doesn’t get talked about enough as one of the great players in the game. Unlike Jonathan Toews, Kane is living up to his $10.5 million contract. He has tallied 195 points the past two seasons. He’s played every game. Sidney Crosby is second in points with 174, Jamie Benn is third at 158, Nick Backstrom is fourth with 156 and Erik Karlsson is fifth at 153. McDavid is 11th with 148, but he only played 127 games. You can see every player over the past seasons here.
- The most disappointing stat for me is only five players have averaged one-point-per-game over the past two seasons. Kane produced 1.19 points-per-game, McDavid 1.17, Crosby 1.12, Evgeni Malkin 1.09 and Nikita Kucherov 1.00. Benn and Backstrom are at 0.99, but sadly in today’s game putting together consecutive seasons of 80 points, assuming a player is healthy, is very rare. The fact McDavid tallied 100 points in only his second season is very impressive, and considering he still has room to mature and improve I still believe he could have a 130-point season once in the next five years. I know the NHL doesn’t want to hear it, but the league needs to take a look at how they create more offensive chances. The easy solution is call the damn rulebook, but for reasons I can’t comprehend the league doesn’t want to enforce the rules. The needless hooking, slashing, crosschecking and obstruction is not entertaining, nor is it good for the game. It would be nice if the NHLPA spoke up about it, but they too lack a clear vision.
ULTIMATE SPORTS FAN
For the seventh consecutive year, we are doing our Ultimate Sports Fan package in support of charity. On June 11th and 12th, I am riding in the 190km MS Bike Tour, and I’ve come up with a pretty good package for the diehard sports fan.
Here’s how it works: You make a $125 donation and you get one entry. If you make a $250 donation you get two entries, and so on.
We only take 100 entries and we will raise $12,500 for MS. The draw will be Friday, June 9th.
This year’s winner will win the following prizes and more.: The final package is valued at over $6,000.00
- The “Oilers experience” at the Oilers home opener in October, which includes tickets, parking, dinner and a behind the scenes tour.
- A pair of Edmonton Eskimos season tickets in the lower bowl.
- A signed, game used Mark Letestu stick.
- A signed Adarius Bowman jersey.
- 20 tickets any Oil Kings game. Also, you will get an Oil King player of your choice to
come to your backyard rink or minor hockey practice for an hour. (Between November 1st and December 15th.)
- Ten tickets to the Rugby Canada Super Series on Saturday, June 17th at Ellerslie Park presented by MB Events. Canada vs USA in the U20 at noon and then Canada’s Men’s team battles Romania at 3 p.m.
- A signed Oilers jersey by every player from this year’s team.
- $500 GC for dinner at Vivo Ristorante
Keep in mind this sold out in two weeks last year, so if you want a chance to win and help end MS get in the draw today.
You can make your donation here. (click Donate Now to the right of my picture).
Thank you and good luck.
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