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Photo Credit: David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

Are the Oilers done adding to the Prospect Pool?

A weekend spent stocking the prospect shelves has the Edmonton Oilers in a better position. There is plenty of work to do and we should be seeing more additions for the bubbling under group before summer’s end.

Peter Chiarelli arrived in Edmonton with some outstanding talent (and Connor McDavid on the horizon) like Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse. However, the Oilers drafted few players outside the first round 2007-12 who have emerged as NHL players. Only Anton Lander, Brandon Davidson, Martin Marincin and Tobias Rieder have had any degree of success, although Jujhar Khaira looks poised to make that next step.

Chiarelli must have looked at the 2014 draft list, combined with the prospect pool from previous drafts, and wondered what the hell was going on before his arrival. The restocking of the prospect pool would be further hampered by several trades of draft picks, in payment for Cam Talbot, Griffin Reinhart, Eric Gryba and others. Perhaps most galling are the two picks given up to hire Chiarelli and Todd McLellan, despite both men securing their release from previous teams.

The picks acquired this weekend give the team a much stronger group at several important positions, including right wing and goal. Left Wing got some help, and if Tyler Benson is healthy that position can probably be counted as solid to good. Center wasn’t addressed until late with Skyler Brind’Amour, but in fairness the team is covered at the NHL level with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Strome and Mark Letestu.

ARE THE OILERS DONE?

I think we’ll see more additions over the coming weeks. Spencer Foo has been mentioned often and we should find out in the next few days about his destination. There are other college free agents who will be available this summer and some of them should be attractive to the Oilers (and vice versa). An example is Teemu Kivihalme, who was a Nashville Predators draft pick and is opting out to sign as a free agent in July. College Hockey News has the story here via The Hockey News. A brief thumbnail description:

  • Chris Dilks: Kivihalme was frequently good in a situation that demanded he be exceptional. Listed at 6-0 170 lbs., Kivihalme is a smaller defenseman that relies on his excellent skating and agility to be an offensive-minded puck-moving defenseman. Source

It’s also possible we see a trade involving picks and prospects over the next eight months (most likely trade deadline) meaning procurement is even more important for Edmonton.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Lots of chatter about the Calgary Flames acquiring Travis Hamonic from the NY Islanders in exchange for a package of picks. Many fans believe the Oilers should have offered a similar package and the truth is they probably had discussions about price point during the Eberle-Strome trade negotiations.

Peter Chiarelli may have decided the organization couldn’t afford to sacrifice more ‘future’ for Hamonic and signed Kris Russell instead. Based on the quality of the team’s prospect pool at the time, I am inclined to agree.

  • CMG30

    Anybody remember last summer when the flames fans were bragging that they had the best defence in the NHL? Now they had to go out and mortgage 3 years of the future just to try and prop up the dumpster fire on the back end. Ladies and gents, I present to you the recipe for a perennial one-and-done team. Lol.

    • Harry2

      This is classic Brian Burke. He did the same thing in Van and Toronto (2 1st’s for Kessel). Mortgage the future to make himself look good. These are the types of trades that cup contenders make not middle to bottom of the pack playoff teams.

      Burke is a moron

    • Anton CP

      I guess that the PfffffffLames never realized that defenseman is not the problem but their goalie is.

      Since Kiprusoff retired that PfffffffffffffLames went through: Joni Ortio, Karri Ramo, Joey MacDonald, Reto Barra, Jonas Hiller, Niklas Backstrom, Brian Elliott, and Chad Johnson. This year with expansion draft that many teams need to leave goalies unprotected and somehow that Ben Bishop was traded to Dallas and Marc-Andre Fleury (maybe he doesn’t want to play for Calgary as part of waiving NTC?) was just simply being let go and drafted by Vegas. So now they are taking another aging and injury prone goalie from Arizona when Coyotes decided to go with Raanta. How many games will Mike Smith manages to start next season? Let’s go with over/under 30.5 games then.

  • Randaman

    I agree. Sacrificing future prospect possibilities for Hamonic would have been stupid. Russell brings everything he does in my view. His teammates love him so I see it as a win, win.

    • Spydyr

      I would still like to see a quarterback for the powerplay for the point. I like what Gryba brings but the team needs a shot from the point and a powerplay specialist back there.

      • I just want someone with a big shot for the PP. Point/half-wall or whatever. They haven’t had a strong shooting option in a while. I’d bet that when (if) they add that piece the PP will jump a few percentage points.

        • ScottyPrime

          It’s not the sexy answer I know but Klefbom finished in the top ten for shots by D-men this year and actually had a top 25 shooting percentage too with 6.0%. The guys got a cannon and last year was his first real season of using it. I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that he’ll improve on those numbers slightly, if not by a ton, and if the teams rocking a D with a top 8 or so shot rate and top 20 or so shooting percentage we’d be pretty spoiled to be asking for something better.

      • toprightcorner

        Oilers were in the top 6 of the league on PP, so that isn’t a priority. Also, the costs for getting that player are ridiculously high. KlefBOMB was really getting his stride on the PP last year as he trusted Larsson to back him up and he could finalyy think offensively. I think he will be a very good option for the next few years. The plan is likely to grow their own, Benning will get some 2PP time this year and Bear could be the cannon they need in 3 years or so.

  • Joy S. Lee

    I like the looks of some of their picks… especially Yamamoto… and that they now have some forward prospects to develop and work with. Chiarelli and co are balancing out the depth of the roster. If they land Foo and maybe a well-targeted free agent… they will have restocked the cupboards in a relative hurry. I can’t say enough about that… when I looked at that prospect pool two or three years ago, it was practically a void. Now, we are able to bring up players who can fill in admirably at the NHL level, and now we can have exciting players developing in the system while we’re at it. There’s been a huge change in the pool, all while becoming a better NHL (playoff) team. Well-deserved kudos for that.

  • McDavid's Comet

    Calgary paid a steep price for Hamonic, and his ability to stay healthy may be a problem for them. Visually their defence looks pretty good and, it will be interesting to see how they will measure-up against the Oiler’s potent offence. Charelli made the right choice going with Russell; the man is a warrior.

    • Anton CP

      Calgary are out of their minds, Hamonic is overhyped and I don’t know why everyone look at him as the can’t-miss defenseman. He did not show any signs of either puck moving nor lock down abilities with Islanders and what made everyone think that he will be any different when he is on another team?

      • braddos

        Agreed, and from what Islander and eastern eyes say he seems to be slow footed and overrated. A slow Falmes D-man for McD sounds great to me. Burke will run that team into the ground like his other teams. To much leveraging the future for now.

  • Welp, at the very least we’ll get a really good look at Hamonic next year. I have West Coast bias and don’t pay much attention to the East. My instincts tell that McDavid will make him look average a few times a game, just like Dougie Hamilton.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      depending on who’s playing the right side this fall, RW could actually be a position of really good strength for us with possibly Foo, Puljujarvi, Leon, Nuge even, and returning Kassian and possibly even Pitlick.

    • toprightcorner

      Lets not put too high of expectations on Foo. He was far less offensive than Caggulia was in their college careers. Foo will most likely be a 3RW and provide good offence for that line with about 35 pts a year. He will NEVER replace Eberle’s offence, not even close.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    The day the Oilers are done with adding to the prospect pool is the first day of the next decade of darkness.

    Still remember Lowe declaring at the ’07 draft their rebuild was done after taking Riley Nash.

    With the pool growing can they afford to be a bit more discriminating of who they add? Absolutely.

    But if they see players they feel can impact this organization they have to make offers.

  • Just facts

    I think there may be an overestimation of the strength of Calgarys D by some. Gio (one of the few Flames I like) will be 34 by the time the season starts and costs $6.75 M, signed till 21/22, with a full NTC for the next three years. Living in Calgary heard many times over the course of last season the local press being down on Hamilton.Their top 4 costs $3m per year more than the Oilers and they have no 3rd pairing with the youth and experience of the Oil. So aging, inconsistency, lack of experienced depth and cost may create some issues for them, especially if Smith has one of his periodic down years. Not to mention their trading of picks will really limit their ability to makes deals at the trade deadline.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      ^what this guy says.

      Flames were a playoff team in 2015 that seemingly only got better with the Hamilton addition…then they fell to 4th last in the league before falling to 6th in the draft.

      Wonder how Flames fans will feel next year if this pick is in the top-3? Not an impossibility especially after all three teams picking 1-2-3 were well outside of those picks before the draft.

    • Glass

      I mean Valimaki, Fox, and Kylington are all stellar D prospects, so I think they’ll be okay. Not a Flames fan, but by the time Gio is off the books they’ll have a young gun ready to step in.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Last season the Flames were a basically one-pairing defense, with Dougie (50)and Gio (39) providing most of the points from the backend. Brodie (36) had a down year with being paired with the likes of Wideman, Grossmann and later Engelland or Stone. Giving up a 1st for Hamonic hurts the most, but it does give the Flames a true top 4.
      Have two prospects with NHL experience, a highly-rated offensive prospect, and a marginal NHL D-man for the 3rd pairing, while not ideal, does leave some options. Talks of also re-signing Stone for depth. Aging and inconsistent is not really what comes to mind.

      As far as depth of prospects, the Flames were able to deal a college prospect and still have a full cupboard.
      Finding space to use some of the forward prospects is more of a challenge.

    • McDavid's Comet

      Montreal wanted more for Subban, can’t imagine what you are proposing gets it done but it would be a start. Would need more to even intrigue Nashville.

      Dumba is no Ellis but he is supposedly on the market; I would assume he is now priced at the Hamonic range. Would Dumba that be worth it, a 1st and 2x 2nds?

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        not from us. i quite frankly find the asking price from some of these GM’s a joke !! they act as though you are getting a franchise player when a lot of times you aren’t and are getting a good complimentary player. i suppose i can’t blame GM’s for trying to get the moon and stars for their players, especially if they like their jobs.

    • Tombstone

      I was just having fun with that comment. Of course NSH wouldn’t make that trade. I was actually mocking CGYs trade with Hamonic. A handful of picks, get itπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  • toprightcorner

    Anyone thinking that trading a 1st, two 2nds AND Russel for Hamonic are smoking too much pot before it is legal. Russel was Oilers property and just had to be signed, meaning those draft picks to have a marginal improvement in that area would have been sheer stupidity. I like Hamonic, but no where near that price.

  • nuge2drai

    I’m feeling good about how many positions are filled long term on this roster.

    We have roughly 20 mil in cap space. My wish list has a veteran scoring winger like Marleau.. that would be about it.

    Klefbom Larsson

    Sekera Russel

    Nurse Benning

    This defence is put together for the next half decade. They will improve as a group with familiarity and experience.

    Maroon McDavid Strome

    Lucic Nuge Marleau

    Cagguila Draisaitl Puljujarvi

    Khaira Letestu Kassian

    Pouliot/Foo/Slepyshev/Pakarinen

    This forward group has the potential to stay together for a long time. Great Center depth (McDavid, Drai, Nuge, Letestu, Strome, Cagguila, Khaira) with a great mix of size and speed.

    Chia has done a great job putting this team together. #Harvard

  • nuge2drai

    I’m feeling good about how many positions are filled long term on this roster.

    We have roughly 20 mil in cap space. My wish list has a veteran scoring winger like Marleau.. that would be about it.

    Klefbom Larsson

    Sekera Russel

    Nurse Benning

    This defence is put together for the next half decade. They will improve as a group with familiarity and experience.

    Maroon McDavid Strome

    Lucic Nuge Marleau

    Cagguila Draisaitl Puljujarvi

    Khaira Letestu Kassian

    Pouliot/Foo/Slepyshev/Pakarinen

    This forward group has the potential to stay together for a long time. Great Center depth (McDavid, Drai, Nuge, Letestu, Strome, Cagguila, Khaira) with a great mix of size and speed.

    Chia has done a masterful job putting this team together. #Harvard

  • Oiler Ogre

    Listen Oil Nation. What are we talking about here! I read these comments and I see talk about Yamamoto and Foo taking spots on this roster for the upcoming season. Seriously? This is a late first round pick and a prospect we haven’t even acquired yet! And you folks are ready to give them a spot on the roster!? Have you learned nothing over the last decade? These guys have never played a game in the NHL and you want to give them a spot? They haven’t even had a practice! Not a game! Not a game! We talk in’ about practice! Not a game! We talk in’ about practice! Be better fellow Oil fans. Be better.

  • SeethingRed

    Love that on an Oilers prospect thread 80% of the comments are about the Flames! Man the Russell deal haunts you guys even if you aren’t willing to admit it! Ill admit I haven’t seen Hamonic play a whole lot..but I’ve seen plenty of Russell… that contract is baaaad, not Lucic bad but baaaaad!