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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson - USA TODAY Sports

Hazy on the Starboard Side

The Edmonton Oilers are going to bring back a lot of the 2016-17 roster, with only Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot, Matt Hendricks, Tyler Pitlick and Brandon Davidson (among veterans who played a lot) exiting among regular players.

The shakeup for Edmonton will occur mostly on the wing. LW has incumbent veterans Patrick Maroon and Milan Lucic, and chances are Jussi Jokinen will also line up there. Add in youngster Drake Caggiula and the (now waiver eligible) best LW prospect on the farm in Jujhar Khaira, and there seems to be some consistency and enough proven talent to have success in 2017-18.

RIGHT WING

Last season, the Oilers RW at-bats were used on Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, Zack Kassian, Anton Slepyshev, Tyler Pitlick, Jussi Puljujarvi and Iiro Pakarinen. Eberle and Pitlick are gone and Leon Draisaitl appears destined to play center in 2017-18.

WHAT DOES THIS TELL US?

The trade for Ryan Strome gives Edmonton a RHC who can take draws on his strong side while Connor McDavid (or Leon, or Nuge) take their strong side LH draws. I am not a faceoff zealot but a lot can happen in the seconds after an offensive zone win or defensive zone loss and winning faceoffs probably doesn’t lead to wins (or I haven’t read the study proving it).

We know Todd McLellan likes centers who can play wing and wingers who can play center and Strome’s presence gives the team a different look.

ANYTHING ELSE?

It’s pretty clear by now that Peter Chiarelli wants to see what Jesse Puljujarvi and Anton Slepyshev can do, might want to throw Drake Caggiula in that sentence as well. One of the reasons we know Puljujarvi is in the plans surrounds the cap and cap bonus issues.

This year, the Oilers are carrying an overage on entry bonuses that lands somewhere shy of $1 million. Management must be calculating the maximum, otherwise we’d be seeing more activity in my opinion (and we could see it when LD signs his deal).

PROJECTED ROSTER AND CAP 2017-18

  • This could have some incorrect numbers (cap overage) and of course Leon Draisaitl could come in at more or less than $8 million.
  • The estimate ($73,344,000) includes all bonuses available ($7.525M) which is extremely unlikely.
  • Bonus numbers include Connor McDavid ($2.85M), Jesse Puljujarvi ($2.5M), Darnell Nurse ($850,000), Anton Slepyshev ($600,000), Drake Caggiula ($425,000), Matt Benning ($300,000).
  • I think it’s fair to assume Connor McDavid will max out, but Jesse Puljujarvi’s bonus hit is something the Oilers shouldn’t have to consider as likely. Right? Well, Leon Draisaitl cashed one year ago, and Peter Chiarelli may feel like being conservative entering the season, wishing to guarantee no overages for 2018-19.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

If the Oilers sign Leon Draisaitl to a major deal ($7.5M+) and then close up shop for the summer, there’s a very good chance what I’ve written above is close to accurate. Only a very conservative cap approach to 2017-18 would have Peter Chiarelli—who spends to the cap annually—stopping so far from this year’s cap.

SOURCE

  • OriginalPouzar

    Strome has to contribute, yes, but he can’t be expected to put up Eberle type numbers – his best season was slightly worse than Eberle’s worst season. He’s simply an inferior offensive player that does have some room to grow.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I also think, as I’ve expressed on numerous Oiler sites, that a main reason why another player has not been acquired with the excess cap space is the 50 contract limit. We will be at 48 contracts when Leon signs (50 but two will slide, Wells and Benson) and management likely wants to keep a couple of spaces available for mid-season acquisitions. Sure, an addition can be made now but management needs to ensure its a very good bet to improve the team materially this year as it will limit the ability to upgrade mid-season.

  • madjam

    Strome will once again put up 50 plus points playing RW on first or second line ,and readily match Eberle’s output last year . He’ll also add to our speed , size and truculence as a bonus . Puljujarvi should do rather well making adjustments this season and not being the youngest player in NHL this season . Kassian better than his numbers last season and they should improve this season . Slepyshev will do fine in bottom six . Dark horse to make team could very well be E.Bear , adding a lot of new dimensions to club .

  • Oilercory99

    I think if Strome plays the wing with Mcdavid or Draisaitl we should see some good numbers from him!! I think he needed the move here to really jumpstart his career and I’m sure he will make the most of It!! Puljujarvi as well,he’s a year older and was thought of as being as good or if not better than Lainne. He’s had some North American style hockey in him now and a year older and I think he’s gonna have a 50pt season if he can got his groove because he’s got the best chance

  • Oilercory99

    I think if Strome plays the wing with Mcdavid or Draisaitl we should see some good numbers from him!! I think he needed the move here to really jumpstart his career and I’m sure he will make the most of It!! Puljujarvi as well,he’s a year older and was thought of as being as good or if not better than Lainne. He’s had some North American style hockey in him now and a year older and I think he’s gonna have a 50pt season if he can got his groove because he’s got the best chance with the centers we have!!

    • inverno76

      Puljujarvi should start the year in the AHL. Bring him up in Nov/Dec if he’s producing. This kid needs to gain confidence and learn to dominate. What’s the rush?

    • OriginalPouzar

      No.

      Acquiring players to fill the unused cap space is complicated. Lets not forget, we can only really sign a player for one year as we essentially have no cap space for the following season.

      Additionally, there is a 50 pro contract limit that we are approaching with the two contracts that slide – acquiring another contract is potentially limiting in-season player acquisition.

  • oldTymeOilerfan

    Strome 1st line RW: maybe to start the season, but longer term, I doubt he will take that spot. If JP catches fire, we’ll probably see him and Slepyshev in 1-2…. Kassian deserves a long/strong audition there. He’s big, strong, has wheels and hand skills, etc. He could be the big SURPRISE on the RW. “Ceiling unlimited” for him, imho. 🙂