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.