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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – What to expect from the Oilers at the Draft and in free agency

My friends, it’s draft week! But before we get there, we still have a week left to kill and that’s why I’m happy to present another edition of the Mailbag. It’s that time of the week where you can tilt your chair back to a comfortable position, put your feet up on the desk, and kill a few minutes of company time. This week, we’ve got seemingly endless wisdom coming for you to let soak into your brain bank. As always, I need your questions to make this work. If you’ve got one, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter (@jsbmbaggedmilk) and I’ll get to you as soon as we can. Without further adieu, the Mailbag.

Mar 31, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Mark Jankowski (77) and Edmonton Oilers left wing Drake Caggiula (91) fight during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

1) Trent asks – What are your thoughts on the Drake Caggiula signing for numbers and term? What do you expect from him this coming season?

Robin Brownlee:

I think Chiarelli overspent (again) by about $500,000 over the term of the deal. All the relatively small overpays add up.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t have much of an issue with it. I looked at comparisons and he was right around average. Sure, you’d like to get a bit lower, but I think Caggiula will improve and, if he stays healthy, his contribution per dollar value will be fine.

Matt Henderson:

I think Drake Caggiula was one of the worst Oiler forwards last year defensively and has been a poor 5v5 scorer for his entire NHL career. I wouldn’t have paid more than NHL minimum for that.

Cam Lewis:

Another slight overpay. It isn’t terrible, but these things add up — $1.75 million for an undrafted college UFA who hasn’t proved much at the NHL level is a bit much.

Christian Pagnani:

It feels like a little much. I expect him to be a serviceable fourth liner.

Chris the Intern:

I don’t mind it. He’s a good third/fourth line player at the moment and plays with some grit. I think he has more to give than what we saw from him last year, but EVERYONE has more to give.

Baggedmilk:

I thought the deal was fine. Actually, I was expecting him to make more than the $1.5 so I was pleasantly surprised. Two years is short enough that this is a moveable contract, gives The Drake a little bit of security, and also gives him something to work for. Let’s see how this plays out.

2) Judah asks – Sam Reinhart interests me. He loves getting in front of the net and scoring garbage goals. In my opinion, the Oilers need someone like that. If we were to trade for him, what assets would you use? Is this a good idea? ( He is also a centre in addition to some RW experience, and we love that centre depth.)

Robin Brownlee:

He isn’t on my radar. Are the Sabres even interested in trading him? If they aren’t contemplating it, the ask goes up. 25-goal men don’t come cheap.

Jason Gregor:

What do the Oilers have to offer up that they want to part with for a player like Reinhart? I don’t see much, and I don’t see Reinhart as someone the Oilers need.

Matt Henderson:

I guess we start with pieces like Strome and add more and more from there. I think the Sabres should be holding onto players like Reinhart. Even if he was drafted too high, he’s a decent young player. Not sure the Oil have what it will take to get the job done because of the position Buffalo is in.

Cam Lewis:

The idea of Peter Chiarelli pulling the trigger on a trade for a member of the Reinhart family gives me anxiety.

Christian Pagnani:

He’s a good player, but I’m not sure why Buffalo moves him. I like the idea of acquiring a skilled right-winger, though.

Chris the Intern:

I get chills down my spine every time I hear the word ‘Reinhart.’ But actually, I wouldn’t mind Sam on the team. We don’t really have anyone too comparable for a one-for-one trade so Chia would likely have to package someone from our bottom six with a pick or something. I would be open to that.

Baggedmilk:

Collect the whole set! He’s coming off a 25-goal season so I don’t know why the Sabres would trade him but sure, why not? As for what you’d move, I have no idea. At some point, we’ll win a one-for-one trade, yeah?

3) Hank asks – A couple of teams like Detroit have mentioned that their first round pick could be in play for next weekend’s Draft. Do you see the Oilers moving up in one of those slots or staying put at #10?

Robin Brownlee:

I see them staying at 10. They like Ty Smith and they can get him there.

Jason Gregor:

I doubt it. Haven’t seen many teams move up recently. Oilers don’t have enough depth yet to part with another pick to move up three or four spots.

Matt Henderson:

Moving up is possible if they can get a chance to land someone like Dobson. Lots of moving parts with that.

Cam Lewis:

Somebody will go off the board meaning a good player from this draft’s known Top Nine will be available at No. 10.

Christian Pagnani:

Is there really much of a difference from the sixth pick to the tenth pick in this draft? I bet they stay at 10.

Chris the Intern:

I think the Oilers are going to draft their tenth overall pick. Unless something falls into Chia’s lap, I don’t think he’s going to go out of his way to trade the pick in case things go wrong. He’s on a very short leash so every move he makes has to be perfect.

Baggedmilk:

I think they’ll stay put in the 10th slot. They’re going to get a decent prospect there that can help in the future and I think someone will slide that we don’t expect. Who? We shall see.

4) Garrett asks – Looking at the free agents that will be available this summer, do you think there are any complementary players that would work to fill out the roster? Any examples?

Robin Brownlee:

I’d at least call on Vanek. Not a big favorite of mine, but he can produce and the Oilers could use some of that.

Jason Gregor:

I’ve said Vanek for months, on a one-year deal. Also Valtteri Filppula on a one-year deal could work. Rick Nash on a one-year pact could pay off. And I like Leo Komarov, but on a pay cut from his current $2.9m cap hit.

Matt Henderson:

I’m on Team Vanek. The Oil need to save cash and look for home runs from the bargain bin.

Cam Lewis:

Bringing in Grabner and Vanek would solve a lot of problems and there’s virtually zero risk attached.

Christian Pagnani:

I like Grabner and Comeau. Also anyone competent with a right shot.

Chris the Intern:

This will be an exciting summer because there are a ton of free agents on the market, and a ton of high profile players on the trading block. I personally have my eye on James Neal, obviously. I would also like to see the Oliers take a stab at Cam Atkinson if possible.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t expect them to do much, to be honest. Would it be surprising if they did something like pick up a Chris Stewart-type that would add cheap depth to the wings? No. I don’t think they should get Chris Stewart but that’s the kind of thing that I’m expecting. I guess it will all depend on how much space they have left after the Nurse and Benning deals. Vanek might work. Grabner. Something like that.

Oct 30, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Ottawa Senators defensemen Erik Karlsson (65) tries to check Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

5) Jenn asks – What do you make of the situation in Ottawa and how do you see the Senators moving forward from this?

Robin Brownlee:

It’s poison. I don’t see any way Mike Hofffman and Erik Karlsson can co-exist after what’s happened. Hoffman’s gone for sure. I’m not sure Karlsson sticks around either. Why would he want to? Then, there’s the situation with assistant GM Randy Lee. It’s a tire fire in Ottawa.

Jason Gregor:

Eugene Melnyk needs to sell the team and the current debacle might encourage him move on. He needs to shoulder the blame for much that is wrong with his organization, business wise, but I don’t see how he was supposed to know Randy Lee would creep on a bus driver and that, allegedly, player’s significant others would be the ultimate troll to a fellow player’s wife. Those horrible action are on the individuals. That being said, I don’t see how Pierre Dorian will get fair value for Mike Hoffman, and if the investigation proves Hoffman’s fiancé Monika Caryk is guilty, very few teams will want to acquire him. But what happens if Caryk is proven innocent? It is terrible situation, and I don’t see how the Senators rebound quickly.

Matt Henderson:

Ottawa is screwed. Their owner is a douche, they have team officials under investigation for sexual harassment and more, the best player in franchise history is on the verge of leaving, and their top forward asset has become toxic in a hurry. Time to pack it up. This franchise needs to change its owner, management, and go through a painful rebuild. They should probably also move to a different city, get a new name, and apologize to that guy who gave part of his liver that one time.

Cam Lewis:

The league has to step in and push Melyk out. The entire franchise is a joke and that starts at the top.

Christian Pagnani:

It’s a mess. What do you even do? Hard to burn it down and rebuild when Colorado has your first-round pick. Maybe try to work out a trade where you’re getting your first back with Karlsson going the other way, because I’d be shocked if he wanted to re-sign. Trade Hoffman for all you can get. Same with Duchene if he’s not re-signing. Hope Melnyk sells the team so you’re not understaffed with no money.

Chris the Intern:

It’s absolute chaos. I love the drama, but I do feel horrible for the Karlssons. If the accusations are true, then it’s truly pathetic.

Baggedmilk:

It’s a trainwreck in every way. Former wives have come out against Hoffman’s fiance, the cops are looking into it, and it’s all playing out in public. I don’t know how things will end up but I would guess that neither Karlsson or Hoffman are Senators for the upcoming year. For Hoffman, I even wonder who will want him on their team until this whole thing is resolved. It’s a sad, weird, creepy, dark story that seems like it’s only just beginning.

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  • rivid

    Baggedmilk you asked what other teams would want Hoffman, l would say every one of them. Every GM wants to win and think that their hockey team will help change them. He’s a guy that put the puck in the net. If Evander Kane can find a home l’m sure Hoffman will be just fine.

      • rivid

        Doubt many GM’s would agree with you, oh and to answer your question because he can score goals. Do you really think that this is an isolated incident? There are so many problems that happen on teams that are hidden from the media and become rumors….. just as Dri and how he got his concussion..

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    1. Good signing. 0 problems with it.
    2. Yeah no. There are better players for the Oilers to pursue. And knowing BUF, they’ll ask the sun and moon just like EVERY other GM.
    3. Pick Boqvist at 10. I don’t give a rats ass if he’s “dropping” he’s a RHD who can quarterback a powerplay. And what do the Oilers need most? A RHD who can quarterback a powerplay.
    4. Vanek or Grabner. I feel they sign though, I hope Peter tells them how toxic this fanbase is. The negativity around here lately is sickening.
    5. All I can say is, oh boy. Poor Sens fans.

  • CMG30

    Chirelli has put the Oilers in a tough spot. Tons of holes to fill, most self inflicted and very few assets to move. Worse, cap space is at a premium after a few to many overly generous contracts to bit players. We need to cross out fingers and hope like crazy that Talbot pulls another outstanding year out of the bag. This will go a long way to re-valuing some of our assets and give the rest of the team a chance to bounce back, setting us up for the next summer. This year, don’t overspend on price or term, and stop mortgaging the future by flushing assets on short term fixes and gambles. That’s something only acceptable when making a run at the cup, not trying to get into the playoffs…

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Not a good situation. (Screwed, glued and tattooed?)
      McDavid 12.5M, Draisaitl 8.5M, (big chunk for 2 players)
      Lucic 6.0M, Kassian 1.95M. (enough has been said about these 2 already)
      Did I mention NMC contracts. (Limited options to correct).
      Lack of secondary scoring. (Poor prospect depth).
      Inconsistent goaltending (47th SV%), who is the future #1?
      Peter Chiarelli

  • RexHolez

    I don’t know anything about the Hoffman/Karlsson thing, but can you really get a protection order against someone because they said mean things to you on Twitter? There has to be more to it right?

      • Sasky89

        He’s already bigger then a guy like Spurgeon, and roughly the same size as Karlsson was at the 08 draft (not saying they’re in the same league) but it’s reasonable to assume a 17 year old can pack on weight. We traded Hall and drafted Nurse to defend against the Getzlafs and Kopitars, we need a dynamic offensive player with speed on the back end. If this kids healthy and Dobson is gone why not take him?

  • E-Mac

    Would really love to acquire RFA Anthanasiou from Detroit. Guy has size and is lightning fast. Easily scores 25-30 playing with Drai or McJesus. If he shot right he would be even more perfect.

    Don’t know if this makes sense, but it seems like Detroit is a few years away so trading for Anthanasiou may be possible.

    And if the comments that Detroit’s 6th is in play, then… 10th and Yamo for 6th and Anthanasiou could make sense assuming Detroit sees upside in Yamo.

    • RexHolez

      Please no. Ristolainen is not a good defenceman. Guys like Kris Russel and Roman Polak out score him 5v5. He’s also bad at moving the puck out of the zone and defending. His only quality is on the power play. Klefbom is a much better defenseman.

  • RJ

    Reading the Athletic, pick 1 & 2 are locks, but picks 3-9 are potentially available.

    It’s a very weird draft year. Zadina is projected as a lock at 3, or he could drop to 11.

    All off-season I’ve read how the Oilers need a scoring winger and RHD depth. Can they trade up without getting fleeced?