WWYDW: Diving into the bargain bin

With the window to qualify restricted free agents now over, a whole batch of new and interesting unrestricted free agents have been dumped in the bargain bin. Given Edmonton’s ugly cap situation, it makes a lot of sense for Peter Chiarelli to take a dive to find some under-the-radar bargains to add to the roster next season.

The Oilers are looking good down the middle and on the left side of the blueline, but the two biggest needs the team has are righty defencemen and scoring wingers. They currently have about $11 million in free cap room but need to give new deals to Ryan Strome and Darnell Nurse. After that, the team should have about $3-4 million to work with in free agency.

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That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. Which, if any, bargain bin free agents should the Oilers be interested in to fill these holes?

Nov 9, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing Anthony Duclair (10) handles the puck during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s out there?

Tobias RiederOriginally drafted by the Oilers in 2011 and dealt to the Coyotes, Rieder is a good skater who plays an effective two-way game. He can chip in a little offensively and kill penalties. He shoots left and has played all three forward positions in the past.

Riley SheahanThe Oilers don’t have a true fourth-line centre now that Mark Letestu is gone so Riley Sheahan could fill in that role. Save for a miserable two-goal season in 2016-17, Sheahan has consistently been good for around 10 goals since he broke into the league. His calling card, though, is a guy who can win draws and kill penalties.

Anthony DuclairA key piece heading back to the Coyotes in the Keith Yandle to New York deal, Anthony Duclair broke out for 20 goals and 44 points as a rookie in 2015-16. He’s come nowhere close to replicating that since then though, scoring 16 goals over his last two seasons. Still, Duclair is a left-shooting winger who turns 23 years old in August.

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Devante Smith-PellyDespite playing a key role in Washington’s Stanley Cup victory, Devante Smith-Pelly finds himself on the open market yet again this summer. Smith-Pelly scored just seven goals during the regular season, but he matched that in the playoffs with seven goals in 24 games. Smith-Pelly can play up and down the lineup but seems to thrive best in a checking role as he’s never consistently been able to find offence at the NHL level. Welp… Smith-Pelly just signed a one-year deal with the Caps. Moving on.

Daniel Carr: A former undrafted free agent signing by the Montreal Canadiens out of Union, Daniel Carr has yet to carve out a consistent role at the NHL level. Despite some solid AHL success, Carr never played in more than 40 games in a season with the Habs. He’s scored 14 goals in 94 games isn’t flashy, but his AHL and NCAA scoring numbers make him an intriguing risk option.

Nail YakupovEdmonton’s former first-overall pick from the 2012 draft is back on the open market. Yakupov scored nine goals in 58 games with the Colorado Avalanche last season and ended up being a healthy scratch for the team during the playoffs. I have a really difficult time imagining Yakupov returning to Edmonton, but he does sort of fit the team’s current need.

Brandon DavidsonCould we see Brandon Davidson round three? He was drafted by the team in 2010, traded for David Desharnais prior to the playoff run in 2017, re-acquired off waivers last season, and then dealt for a third-round pick at the trade deadline in 2018. He’s a hard-working lefty defenceman who’s familiar with the team so he could be ideal for the seventh defenseman role.

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Dylan DeMeloIf the Oilers are looking for a righty defenceman instead, they could sign former Sharks blueliners Dylan DeMelo. He’s played 133 games over three NHL seasons, and while he doesn’t produce any offence, he plays a calm and consistent game. He’s sort of like the right-handed version of Davidson in that regard.

Jordan SubbanThis would be a gamble. Jordan Subban was dealt by the Canucks to the Kings for Nic Dowd mid-way through the 2017-18 season and Los Angeles decided to let him go. Subban had back-to-back 36-point seasons with Utica in the AHL but imploded for only 13 points in 52games this year. He’s got a lot of skill, but, at 23, is quickly losing his status as a prospect.

Anyone else? These are just the names I found interesting. There’s a full list of unqualified players here.

What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers be in on any of these unqualified free agents?


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  • Burns14

    I’ll throw a couple names out there. Kevin Connauton or Fredrik Claesson on D. Neither are sexy names, but you could certainly get Claesson cheap as a 7th guy on the back end.
    As an extra forward, would Rocco Grimaldi be open to coming here? Had a great AHL season, and could be a good option as an extra forward. Another name I’d look at is Connor Brickley out of Florida. Both guys, when drafted, were projected as top 9 forwards. Might be worth taking a flyer on one of them.

    • OilersGM

      Claesson played well for Ottawa in the playoffs 2 years ago but I think we are ok at 7th D. We need a stop gap top 4 RD who can QB a PP until Bouchard is ready. I wouldn’t mind Reider for bottom six who can kill penalties but we still need a top 6 right winger.

    • Freddie the fog

      That’s the playing in Edmonton “tax” . Overpays is the price of doing business when your a Northern Outpost with brutal winters, that hasn’t had any real playoff success since 06. Although reaching in 16-17 , winning a round was a nice accomplishment.

  • Abagofpucks

    Cant help but think petey is up to something , After milans agent saying hes comming back i still hear media types and others say different . Maybe there just saying that …. right?

  • OldOilerFan

    Deal Lucic if you can. Probably have to take a contract back in the process but at least try to save up a few $ in the process. Then bring back Maroon and Davidson.

  • TKB2677

    I am disappointed to see Yakupov’s name listed. When shopping in the bargain bin you are looking for cheap guys that can play in the NHL. Yakupov is not an NHL player. He was scratched for half the season when he was a Blue and was scratched for basically the entire last 1/3 of the season for the Avs. Oilers fans need to come to grips with the fact that he was a BUST. It’s not the organizations fault. If you are a #1 overall pick and you can’t be a full time NHLer, I am not talking top 6 forward, I am talking a top 12 forward, that’s on you.

  • ed from edmonton

    I would be quite ok if the oil land Rieder and Davidson. I think Rieder may be expecting something north of $2.5M. That might be too rich for the Oil.

    • Freddie the fog

      Lets give Davey a break already. Another your through here would just b silly. And redundant. Lets go another way. Great kid , has some tools but let’s move on.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    Steven Santini, D, not a great point producer but a decent +/-…
    Might have some experience with Larsson in Jersey?
    Plus, the Oilers need more Italian blood…

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Oh, and Joe Morrow D. Winnipeg picked him up at the deadline…
      Now they can’t sign him due to being tight to the cap… tighter than Oilers when they are finished I think? Chevy has a ton of work to do, hope his lakefront is in cell range?

  • Soccer Steve

    Honest question: do we have to give Strome a new deal? It doesn’t matter anymore that he was traded for Eberle. He just isn’t very good for the money we are required to pay.

  • cmandev77

    I am going to try and sign Carr, Davidson and Sheahan. Carr is a cheap goal scorer and could do well with Draisaitl much like Rattie has with McDavid. Davidson makes a great 7th D for this team and Sheahan makes a great 4th C for us. I would trade Aberg for a pick and use that money to hopefully pick up Duclair.
    Nuge – McDavid – Rattie
    Carr – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi
    Lucic – Strome – Yamamoto (Enough skill here to help Lucic bounce back)
    Kaira/Duclair – Sheahan – Kassian/Caggiula

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Sekera – Russell
    Nurse – Benning
    Davidson – Bear (I want Bear in the AHL as much as possible)


    • Glencontrolurstik

      Move on please from Davidson… 3 times is a sign of weakness…
      We show enough of that in other areas… If he was good, then yeah, but it’s meh for me. Try something else, like I mentioned above…

      • bcoil

        I think Davidson’s issues if there where any was because of the Coaching last year ,This year we have Trent Yawney and Paul Coffee working with the D men and I expect a lot of improvement in all the D because of it

        • Glencontrolurstik

          I too believe that Yawney & Manny (more than Paul Coffey) are great coaches, much better than we had. But four NHL teams can’t be wrong?
          Lets move on from Davidson already. And buck the trend of the Oilers always going back to previous cast-offs. I’ve even heard fans considering it’d be a good idea to re-sign Yakapov? Are you kidding me?

  • McNugent

    How about we dont sign Strome and than we have 6-7 million to sign a Ufa or trade for one…

    I’m sure we can get a solid nhl player who will contribute more than Strome if we go that route.

    • The Whispererer

      Oilers have already issued a QO for $3.0 million to Strome. Unless Strome walks away to play in Europe or the KHL next year, the Oilers are committed (although they might get him to agree to a multi-year deal for a slightly lower amount). Unless, of course, they trade him to another team; but since you don’t seem to think he is worth an Oiler contract, why would any NHL team want him ?

  • elliotsmom

    After the disappointing season, Chia and Nicholson announced that there is a plan in place going in to this coming season. By the looks of things, I’d say the jury is back, and there is not, and never was a plan. So far there has been very little improvements: a backup goalie we know nothing about and is overpaid. Caguilla and Benning both overpaid, a buyout that was not necessary…..and a nearly empty wallet. How is this October going to be any different than this past April? Hopefully these new coaches can work some magic

  • ifiwasgm

    Bring Yak back. He was one of the few that could play with McDavid (be it only a 10 game stint). I think there might be enough cap space to bring him in at league minimum (thank you Chia).
    Hall and Eberle did nothing with McDavid

  • toprightcorner

    I would sign Duclair to a 2 year deal for $900k. If he doesn’t work out, he can go to the AHL without a cap hit or be an add on in a trade if needed. His speed can really benefit him.

  • OnDaWagon

    Yakupov>>>>”but he does sort of fit the team’s current need”. Really? He fits their NEED? I got this all wrong. I thought we needed good players.

    What is it about you people and this boy? He was no good here. He was no good in St. Louis. He was no good in Colorado. What on this earth makes you think, all of a sudden, he’s an answer for one of the teams problems? Groundhog Day

    • ed from edmonton

      Some people can’t admit they were wrong about Yak. Still think he will be a Hart winner if only:

      1. coach doesn’t like him;
      2. Russians are not given a fair chance;
      3. Doesn’t get to play on the PP
      4. Doesn’t get to play with a top center
      5. The team doesn’t seem to understand winning isn’t the objective, its to let Yak do his thing (whatever that is).

      • Moneyball

        I hear you yakupov and puljujarvi get all the excuses. My English is bad… “I was not coached properly”, “I was not coddled enough by management”etc…

      • Glencontrolurstik

        I think his problem is that he lacks ANY smarts?
        I do know that he has the attention span of a goldfish, as we were at a house party years ago. He was their playing board games with everyone.
        Lets just say that it wasn’t a language barrier…

    • Big Nuggets

      We are looking for cheap wingers with scoring potential and Yak is cheap and has scoring potential. Even while getting run out of the league Yak still put up 9 goals in just over half a season. It is entirely likely that in a scoring role he could put up 20 goals(or more). Its just a question of does he give up too much defensively and is he too annoying as a teammate that he can’t stick anywhere.

  • Kevwan

    To bad Joe Morrow signed back with the Jets. He looked OK in the playoffs.

    TBH I havent seen alot of these guys play and if I did it was a few years ago in junior. For the offensive forwards like Carr the Oilers should be attractive – a very real chance to play with Leon or Connor..

  • FanBoy

    Rieder – 2.1M for 1 year. This is basically a show me deal for him.
    Sproul – 750K for 1 year. Reunite him with Nurse, see what happens. Showed well in limited games last year.
    Peca – 900K for 1 year. Showed well in limited games and minutes. Good for bottom 6.
    Chimera/Hendricks – 850K for 1 year. Veteran presence in locker room. Probably won’t get to play much unless injuries. I think Hendricks fits the bill perfectly.

    RNH/McDavid/Rattie – Solid 1st line
    Rieder/Draisaitl/Aberg – Fast AF
    Lucic/Strome/Puljujarvi – Solid 3rd line
    Caggiula/Khaira/Kassian – Solid 4th line
    Hendricks/Peca – Peca can rotate with any of the bottom 6

    Sekera/Benning/Russell – rotate any of the bottom 3 D. But if we’re trying to trade Russell or Sekera next season, I’d think we’d put them in the best situation to succeed and that’s 3rd pairing in limited minutes.


    Unless Lucic, Sekera, or Russell are traded, we HAVE to bank on two or three of our wingers to have great seasons. The one bright side I see in our current situation is that we don’t have room to make another Lucic deal which is probably for the best.

    • GK1980

      I think this team is stuck with the roster they currently have. Chia doesn’t have enough hockey smarts to actually pull off a deal that would significantly improve the oilers. Connor will have to lead this team into glory.

    • ROILYDoGG$

      I like the lines. Just the 2nd worries me if the wingers can score playing 2nd pair. Hoping Aberg comes very very ready to camp to get a spot.
      Also I would inquire on J Subban and Riley Nash. Only if both don’t break the bank. Sign Subban on a 2 way

  • madjam

    There is nothing out there to help the Oilers next season , nor is there much left of the team to be anywhere near a playoff team . For the 4th year in a row Chia has failed miserably at getting a defensive quarterback . We’ll be occupying the basement once again . I hope they somehow surprise me , but I very much doubt it .

    • GK1980

      I too am very sceptical about this season. Even with the one good season the past 13 years I am out of patience. This team needs to start winning NOW. If not I’m jumping on the Jets bandwagon.

      I love this game but the oilers have soured me on it, apart from the magician McDavid.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Yeah, when looking at the roster, compared to last year, you are right.
      But, I’m a firm believer in saying that the roster was not the issue last year.
      The coaches lost the room early & couldn’t recover. The coaches have been fixed to my mind and we will see a huge improvement…
      I have to believe…

      • Big Nuggets

        I’m optimistic that the new coaching and healthy defensemen will make this roster look like a whole new team. I really like the new assistant coaches. Klefbom and Sekera are both integral to team success and should both be healthy. Not to mention we have a lot of young players that have room to grow. I actually think it will be a good season. But it’s best not to get too optimistic with this franchise.

  • belair

    C/W Austin Czarnik, C/W Shawn Matthias, C/W Joe Colborne, RW Jannik Hansen, C/W Matthew Peca

    Interesting trade option: RW Brett Ritchie. Was Ryan Strome’s teammate in Niagara in their final season. He scored 41 goals that year.

  • camdog

    Those who thinks the Oilers should let Strome walk and hit the UFA market should stop commenting on NHL hockey. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence, especially when it comes to UFA. In case people forget the Oilers players acquired via free agency include Lucic, Sekera and Russell. It shouldn’t need to be stated but to get good, even bad UFA’s to sign in Edmonton you need to overpay.

  • TKB2677

    The Oilers need to sign NHLers. Yakupov is not an NHLer. When you are making 875k which isn’t that much above league minimum and your current teams decides they would rather lose your rights than qualify you, you aren’t an NHLer.

  • Opi

    Your preferance … please … lolo …

    A) Having the terrific problem of fitting these guys under the cap …

    Maroon … Hart Trophy winner … German Dude
    Hart Trophy winner … Hyphen … Tkachuk
    Cammy … Calder Trophy winner … Ebs14
    Khaira … Letestu … Caggs



    OR …

    B) Having to settle for plugs like this to fill out the depth within the hapless Oil organization …?

    Rattie, Persson, Lowe, Patrick Russell & trading for a guy like Vesey that will never ever play in the bigs, yes …

    • TKB2677

      So your optimum line up has looks like 2 right shots for your enter forward group in Eberle and aging Letestu. Your second line center is a 50 pt center in Nuge because remember, he was flanked for YEARS with your Hart Trophy winner and Eberle and that’s all he could put up. Your 3rd line center is a second year player who yes he is offensive but is brutal defensively and terrible at faceoffs. Your 3rd line left winner is an old, can’t skate vet. Your right winger is an inconsistent, small, non physical, doesn’t know what the word back check means, not overly fast, 6 mill Eberle. So you have to play them in sheltered mins because they will get completely destroyed 5 on 5. None of them can kill a penalty.

      On defense you have a top pairing of Klefbom who’s when healthy is a 2-3 dman. You have a right shot Benning who’s a 5-6 dman but at least he’s a right shot. Then you have a second pairing of all lefties, one of which is coming off a major knee injury and your 3rd pairing has Gryba who’s not an NHLer anymore. You have next to no offense in your defense and you only have 2 right shots

      You expect them to make the playoffs?

  • Jaxon

    Demelo is a pretty interesting option for RHD.
    You mentioned “while he doesn’t produce any offence, he plays a calm and consistent game”, I would like to present this for his perceived lack of offense:
    His 5-on-5 P/60 of D who played more than 1000 minutes in the last 2 seasons is the 10th highest in the NHL. The main caveat being that he was playing fairly sheltered minutes just like Sergachev, Mayfield, Pulock and Butcher.

    Player – P/60 – Team – TOI/GP
    Brent Burns – 1.42 – S.J – 18.67
    Erik Karlsson – 1.41 – OTT – 19.89
    Dougie Hamilton – 1.29 – CGY – 16.51
    Andrei Markov – 1.27 – MTL – 16.71
    Mikhail Sergachev – 1.23 – MTL/ T.B – 12.88
    Victor Hedman – 1.2 – T.B – 18.21
    John Klingberg – 1.19 – DAL – 18.33
    Roman Josi – 1.17 – NSH – 17.78
    Jacob Trouba – 1.15 – WPG – 18.16
    Dylan Demelo – 1.12 – S.J – 13.34
    Ryan Ellis – 1.12 – NSH – 17.74
    Matt Niskanen – 1.12 – WSH – 17.63
    Charlie Mcavoy – 1.1 – BOS – 18.13
    Scott Mayfield – 1.09 – NYI – 15.24
    Tyson Barrie – 1.09 – COL – 18.24
    Jake Gardiner – 1.06 – TOR – 18.23
    Ryan Pulock – 1.06 – NYI – 15.60
    PK Subban – 1.04 – NSH – 17.89
    Alex Pietrangelo – 1.04 – STL – 18.97
    Seth Jones – 1.04 – CBJ – 18.44
    Jared Spurgeon – 1.02 – MIN – 18.38
    John Carlson – 1.02 – WSH – 16.74
    Matt Dumba – 1.02 – MIN – 17.80
    Paul Martin – 1.01 – S.J – 16.51
    Josh Manson – 1 – ANA – 16.33
    Nick Leddy – 0.99 – NYI – 17.60
    Will Butcher – 0.97 – N.J – 12.96
    Thomas Hickey – 0.97 – NYI – 14.97
    Jaccob Slavin – 0.96 – CAR – 18.31
    Keith Yandle – 0.96 – FLA – 16.76
    Radko Gudas – 0.94 – PHI – 15.76

    Darnell Nurse – 0.79 – EDM – 17.54
    Oscar Klefbom – 0.74 – EDM – 16.95
    Andrej Sekera – 0.73 – EDM – 15.56
    Matt Benning – 0.73 – EDM – 15.16
    Kris Russell – 0.63 – EDM – 17.00
    Adam Larsson – 0.56 – EDM – 18.13

    Nurse is the highest Oiler with .79 P/60

    EDIT: Do I think he has a chance at being a long term solution at 2RD? Highly unlikely. Could he challenge the current roster for 2RHD & 3RHD? I think so. Does that help the Oilers? Not sure. But, as I said, he is an interesting option to look into.