Happy Canada Day, Nation! As per tradition, today is the day where we can all sit around all day, drinking beer in the name of patriotism while also following along with how crazy the NHL general managers get with their owner’s money. It’s a timeless tradition really, and one that we’ll jump in on regardless of how busy the Oilers actually end up being. My friends, it’s time for the free agency live blog.
The draft is in the books, the Oilers somehow landed Bouchard, and now we’ve arrived at NHL shopping day. Isn’t it exciting? I can’t wait to see what the Oilers do! Actually, I assume it’s going to be a pretty boring day around here since the Oilers don’t really have much cap space to spend anyway. That said, there are still holes to plug and I expect Peter Chiarelli to get some of that patchwork done today with some guys pulled from the bargain bin. If I was a gambling man, I’d bet Gregor’s money on the Oilers adding one or two veterans to their bottom six by the end of the day.
And just because the Oilers probably won’t be all that busy today doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still have a place to talk about what’s going on. You just know that someone is going to get a mental contract that will be worth making fun of regardless of whether the Oilers do anything. That’s why I rolled my ass out of bed to kick things off with this here live blog. Your old pal Baggedmilk knocked this article out from the lake and the plan for today is to update it throughout the day from my phone whenever anything interesting happens. The boys from Nation HQ will handle any breaking Oilers news that happens while I sit around drinking beer and talking to you guys in what was likely the biggest boss move that I’ve made in a while.
Feel free to join in on the conversation and see if you can match up to how day drunk I get. Deal? Deal. Happy Canada Day shopping to the NHL teams and happy Canada Day drinking to the rest of us!
Yesterday, Dusty Nielson summed up the latest rumours about where the Oilers are at and who they’re after and, admittedly, it’s not the sexiest list of UFA targets that I’ve ever seen. Without much cap room, the options are limited but this is still our free agency list and for that reason, we’ll treat it like it’s beautiful. Listed below are some of the names that have been mentioned by varying media members as players the Oilers have reportedly shown interest in, so we’ll have to see how many, if any, get crossed off the list.
The Golden Years Guild:
Blake Comeau (2017/18: 79GP – 13G, 21A for 34 points) – Leading off the ‘culture bringing veteran division’ is Blake Comeau, a veteran of 14 NHL seasons and would certainly be an upgrade to the team’s bottom six. As I wrote on Friday, Comeau played third line minutes for the Avalanche and averaged just under 16 minutes per night (15:52) with his time being split mostly between a checking type of role at even strength and the penalty kill.
Kyle Brodziak (2017/18: 81GP – 10G, 23A for 33 points) – I don’t think I have to remind you guys that the Oilers were really bad on the penalty kill last season (specifically at home) and they could definitely use some veteran guys that know how to do that. Brodziak can kill penalties. He can also win faceoffs, which is another area that the Oilers always seem to need help in and he would certainly check off that box. I can see this deal happening early in the day.
Jason Chimera (2017/18: 74GP – 3G, 10A for 13 points) – As Dusty mentioned in his article, word on the street is that the Oilers could be bringing back another old friend in the form of 39-year-old Jason Chimera. Again, Chimera is a guy that can still skate and kill penalties but I don’t know how much he would still have left in the tank at this point. To me, it seems like there are other options that could make sense for this role, no? I guess we’ll see.
Who else tho?
Tobias Rieder (2017/18: 78GP – 12G, 13A for 25 points) – When the Oilers traded Toby Rieder in March of 2013, the rationale was that he was another small, skilled forward that wasn’t likely to crack the lineup. Instead, they brought in Kale Kessy who is now selling life insurance to friends and family through a pyramid scheme of some sort. Alright, so I made that last part up but you get the point.
Brandon Davidson (2017/18: 51GP – 4G, 3A for seven points) – The Islanders didn’t qualify Davidson which sets him up for a third tour of duty with the Oilers if the organization wants him. A source I trust told me very specifically that Davidson would happily come back to Edmonton if they want him and, looking at the depth chart, he might be a nice fit as the seventh defenceman that can play when you need him.
Daniel Carr (2017/18: 38GP – 6G, 10A for 16 points) – Daniel Carr, an undrafted left-winger that has spent the last four years in Montreal’s system, is a name that’s floated around Twitter a little bit as a potential fit for the Oilers’ bottom six. The 26-year-old Sherwood Park native would definitely come cheap, but I don’t really know much else about him than that. Good idea? Bad idea? Meh.
The ‘I Hope Chia Takes a Swing’ collection:
Anthony Duclair (2017/18: 56GP – 11G, 12A for 23 points) – Duclair being available was a pretty big surprise for me considering he moved from Arizona to Chicago only this past season. Clearly, the Blackhawks didn’t think he was worth the money as they didn’t even tender him a qualifying offer. Now, who knows whether that was because they didn’t want him or they didn’t like the ask but, to me, Duclair looks like a low cost gamble that the Oilers should be all over, especially with the need for skilled wingers.
Nail Yakupov (2017/18: 58GP – 9G, 7A for 16 points) – Okay, so maybe I don’t really think Yak is a good fit to come back here but I am sincerely hoping to see him land somewhere either today or in the coming days. I guess I just wish that he can turn his career into something more than being known as one of the worst first overall picks ever. Remember the kid that bought food for homeless folks? Remember the kid that was filled with joy every time he scored? Remember the slide? It’s memories like those that will always have me pulling for the guy.
- 8:31 am MST – Why the hell am I up so early? On the bright side, Baileys. Here’s to Canada! Thank you.
- 9:00 am MST – Seems like Brodziak is a done deal, huh? I don’t mind that. Oilers need penalty killers and upgrades to the bottom six. Let’s see what happens.
- 9:27 am MST – Andy Strickland says that the Flames and Maroon could be a thing and I think I’m gonna be sick.
- 10:02 am MST – Blake Comeau to Dallas. Scratch one old boy off the list.
- 10:12 am MST – Oilers apparently signing Kevin Gravel. Who is that? I have no idea.
- 12:14 pm MST – GORD DAMN MY LAKE INTERNET SUCK! I’ve been trying to update this for an hour and I’m just now getting through. So obviously Tavares signed with the Leafs for some pretty huge money and it’s going to be interesting to see how they navigate the cap. They’ll be fine this year but they could be in trouble as early as next season.
- 12:16 pm MST – RIEDER! Coming back to finally right the wrong that was Kale Kessy. Sorry, Kale, I’m sure you’re nice.
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