My friends, we’ve reached that horrible lull between the season ending (yeah, yeah Stanley Cup something something) and the NHL Draft and I thought that we could use this time to put together a to-do list for Peter Chiarelli.
Even though I know that Peter Chiarelli probably has a list of goals he’d like to accomplish in the coming months, he hasn’t reached out to any of us for our feedback and that’s where he went wrong. We know what needs to be done around here, and we know what it’s going to take to make it happen, so why not use our collective mega minds to put together a list that’s on point for Chiarelli to take care of throughout the summer. Cool? Cool.
I’ll get started.
THE MCDAVID EXTENSION
This is one of those things that we all know needs to get done, and I think it will get done, so I’m not going to spend too much time on it. If he can get a contract signed that starts with a ‘nine’ then I’ll start building the Chiarelli statue myself. I made a clay elephant once when I was in Grade 1 so I think I can handle it. Personally, I think it will fall somewhere around $10-10.5 per year but we’ll see how close I get.
THE DRAISAITL EXTENSION
If Connor is the franchise, then Leon Draisaitl is likely slotting in at a close second. Unlike Connor, Leon needs a new deal before next season and the question will be whether or not they take him to the eight-year max or not. Last summer, there were questions about whether or not Drai could produce away from Taylor Hall and he responded with gusto. This year, people are wondering if Big Sexy can keep rolling with his development, so there’s a potential risk of going too long on a deal. Will he answer the bell again? I wouldn’t bet against him.
THE SEKERA PROBLEM
With Andrej Sekera out for 6-9 months with a torn ACL then I’d like to know what Chiarelli’s backup plan is for the time he’ll be out of the lineup. Let’s not just go into the season assuming that Darryl or Reinhart (if he’s still here) will be able to handle those minutes reliably without the Sekera security blanket. What are the options? What’s the plan?
PP SHOOTER PLEASE
Even though the Oilers did reasonably well on the power play this past year (MARK-LE TES-TU *👏-👏-👏👏👏), just imagine how good they could be with a big shooter from the point (or half-wall, I’m not picky). Adding a player that is a legitimate threat to shoot would go a long way to open up space for the other players on the ice, as well as bolster the power play numbers. Who is that guy and how can we get him?
THE EXPANSION DRAFT
While the Oilers are in a decent spot in regards to the Expansion Draft, they’re still going to lose a player that can help. We already know that the Oilers are likely to go with the 7-3-1 approach, so which forwards/defencemen will end up exposed? Are you going to protect Mark Letestu? Are you willing to lose Griffin Reinhart and leave yourself open to further criticism after losing that trade?
WHAT ABOUT 💩?
If it hadn’t been for Jordan Eberle’s lacklustre playoff run, then Benoit Pouliot would be way higher on the list of 7-8-0 whipping boy targets. Peter Chiarelli moved on from Pouliot once already in Boston and I wonder if he’s going to work any magic to rid himself of that contract this summer. With two years left at $4 million per, the Oilers would likely have to take back a bad contract in order to move on, but maybe that’s a risk that Chiarelli will deem necessary? Maybe nobody wants Pouliot? Maybe the Oilers will make up some injury that will banish him to never-never-land like the Maple Leafs did with Joffrey Lupul?
Even though this year’s crop of free agents isn’t the strongest in recent memory, there are still some names out there that could be in the mix. If the Oilers trade Eberle, would they try to chase TJ Oshie? It’s unlikely, but it’s possible. Would Chiarelli want to bring in a dusty old Jarome Iginla as a piece for the bottom six and also a mentor for some of the young players? Maybe Ales Hemsky would be interested in getting the band back together? If the Oilers are looking to add centremen that can play in the Western Conference, then maybe Martin Hanzal (he’s so hot right now) would make sense?
KEEPING SOME SPACE
Even though there are new contracts to get done and potential free agents to sign, Peter Chiarelli needs to make sure that he leaves himself some cap space so that he can make some moves at the deadline. Whether the cap remains relatively flat at $73 million or gets a slight bump to $77 million there will be some tough calls to make to ensure that the Oilers are in a good cap spot moving forward. With the 2017-18 season being the last cheap McYear of Connor’s ELC, the Oilers need to make a legitimate push at advancing beyond the second round. A big part of that will be making sure that the salary cap is managed successfully.
WHAT DID I MISS?
I know there are things that Chiarelli needs to do that I’m spacing on right now, and I need you guys to point them out for me. Maybe you just think I’m nuts and want to tell me my list sucks, but I don’t think that’s the case, and I think if you look deep within yourselves you will know that I’m right. Either way, I’d like you guys to tell me what else Peter Chiarelli has to think about or get done before the start of next season to make sure that the Oilers can not only repeat the successes of this past year, but exceed them. Taking the next step will likely take a bunch of work, but that’s why I’m glad it’s ol’ Swag Daddy that has to take care of it – we just need to make the list.