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Photo Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW(TE): More PTOs?

It’s almost September! You know what that means? Training camp is around the corner! You know what that means? Professional tryout contracts!

The Oilers have already offered two PTOs that we know about. Scottie Upshall has accepted a PTO and will attend Oilers camp. Brandon Davidson was offered a PTO but declined because he has other actual contract offers on the table.

Away from the Oilers, three others players have signed PTOs. Mark Letestu will try out for the Florida Panthers, Simon Despres will try to crack the Montreal Canadiens, and the Los Angeles Kings will bring Emerson Etem to camp.

There are still a whole bunch of free agents sitting out there looking for a job. That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday THURSDAY EDITION question. Who else should the Oilers bring to camp on a PTO contract?

The Oilers have two main needs. They need depth on the wings, whether it’s veterans for the bottom-six or cheap guys who can score in the top-six. They could also use some help on the blueline in the wake of Andrej Sekera’s potentially-season-ending injury.

Jan 7, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Michael Cammalleri (13) with the puck during the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Wingers

Rick Nash told teams prior to July 1 that he wasn’t sure if he was going to return next season due to nagging injuries. I’m just listing him here to say that he isn’t really an option.

Mike Cammalleri is the next highest-scoring winger on the market behind Nash. He put up 29 points in 65 games last season between the Oilers and Kings.

Troy Brouwer was just bought out by the Flames. He was obviously incredibly overpaid in Calgary but he’s thrived in the past in a bottom-six role.

Alex Chiasson is one of the more interesting names out there. He’s a big right winger who played on Washington’s Stanley Cup team last year. He only scored nine goals in the regular season and one in the playoffs, though. He was once a highly-regarded prospect.

Chris Stewart had back-to-back 28-goal seasons not too long ago. He only scored 10 goals between Minnesota and Calgary last year.

Jason Chimera was a player the Oilers were rumoured to be interested in earlier in the summer. He had back-to-back 20-goal season but fell off a cliff in 2017-18. He used to be a very good two-way player, but does he have anything left in the tank?

Ales Hemsky played just seven games for Montreal last season. His entire season was derailed due to a concussion. Is there any reason to believe he can have a healthy year? Obviously not, but I just had to throw his name out there anyway.

Defencemen

Luca Sbisa was good enough to play for the Golden Knights during their playoff run last spring, but he currently doesn’t have a contract. Sbisa is a lefty shutdown defender who doesn’t produce any offence which might be overkill on the Oilers at this point.

Alexei Emelin is cut from the same cloth as Sbisa. He’s tough, rugged, throws big hits, and doesn’t produce much offensively. He would also be another addition to the Leftorium.

Kevin Bieksa is another one-dimensional shutdown guy, but he plays on the right side, which is helpful to the lefty-heavy Oilers. After playing for rival teams for so long, it would be hilarious to see Bieksa in an Oilers jersey.

Tobias Enstrom was a very effective NHL defender for years, but injuries have derailed his past few seasons. Enstrom is the player I figured would make a lot of sense as an immediate Sekera replacement given his ability to produce offence.

Cody Franson has had success in the past in a special teams role. He’s a right-handed shooter and has a bomb from the point. He’s had a hard time finding work in the NHL, though.


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  • Hemmercules

    Hard pass on that forward list and they already invited Upshall. Can’t hurt to try out one of those Dmen on a PTO though. Can never have enough competition at camp, especially with all the young D in the system. Make them work extra hard for a spot on the big club.

  • Redbird62

    Of the defensemen on the list, Enstrom is the most appealing to me for what the Oilers need accept for the injury concerns. However, given what else Enstrom seems to be considering, I doubt he comes for a PTO, especially with the Oilers having signed Jerabek. Even before Jerabek, the Oilers would not likely have had the cap space to sign him before camp. Not taken with any of the other options either. Given that the Oilers have to trim back the camp roster more quickly this year due to the overseas trip, it might not be advisable to overdo the PTO additions unless you think that extra player has a real shot at beating out someone who is already got a good shot to make the roster. How many PTOs did the Oilers have last year? Did Chris Kelly’s time at the camp lend any benefit to the team being ready for the start of the season?

  • Spydyr

    Instead of washed up players on PTO I would use this strategy. Access your needs the Oilers have said they were doing this going on a decade now. Obviously a right shooting defenceman, a scoring right winger and any player that might help the bottom six. Now compose a list of the other teams players who are entering their first year of waiver eligibility. Scout the crap out of the players that fit both criteria in the pre-season. Now pick up the best few players off of waivers that fill your needs. This way you at least have a chance get a good young player who may be a diamond in the rough or a player that is held back because of the players in front of him

  • ROILYDoGG$

    I would consider both Kevin Bieksa and Franson due to the RH shot aspect.
    If cheap enough and can earn a spot with a PtO why not. Keep Bear down in the farm and Bouchard in junior after the 9 games. More depth the better, Depth I say !

    • That's My Point

      Bouchard is the “NEW” savior of this hockey team.
      He definitely doesn’t need FOUR years of juniors.
      He’ll learn a lot more in the NHL this year.
      He’s the answer to the Oilers power play that we’ve all been waiting for.

      • Big Nuggets

        If its a choice between dominating junior and getting dominated in the NHL I’ll take junior for development. We don’t know how good Bouchard is yet. He was 10th overall with numerous defensemen taken before him and many people had Dobson and Wahlstrom rated ahead. I’m excited for Bouchard too but I’m sick of pkaying kids over their head in the NHL. I would give him 9 games and assume he needs to be sent down. If he crushes it in those 9 games then by all means keep him on the team. Just don’t expect it.

      • rivid

        Anyone who makes such a suggestion has not been paying attention for the last 10 plus years. No, to Bouchard in the NHL, let him working on playing better defence in a developmental league so he is ready and confident when the right time comes.

  • Chris Prongers Rake

    We need RW help, I would take a flier on a PTO with Chris Stewart, he’s young, has size and can skate. If the Rattie experiment with McDavid fails, Stewart could be an option and could be like having a RW version of Maroon.
    On the back end Sbisa or Enstrom are the 2 I would look at but what do I know….

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      You don’t want Stewart. He can’t skate. He’s slower than Looch. Most times he looks uninterested in playing. He scored 6 of his 10 goals in his first 6 games then tailed off to nothing.

  • toprightcorner

    Signing players to a PTO does NOT affect them to claim players off the waiver wire. Now none of the above players are world beaters, looking at someone who had a good season sometime in the past 2-3 years and had a drop off season last year can be worth taking a shot on just to see if maybe they can bounce back.

    I would invite Chimera as a forward because he scored 20 goals in 2 out of the last 3 years. Coming back to his home town may inspire him and he can bounce back to score 15+ goals. He still has speed to burn and is good on the PK. If he scores from the 4th line, great. If he gets back to 20 goals and bumps up to 3rd line, great. If he can be another PK option to keep Draisaitl, McDavid or Nuge to minimal PK minutes and spend more time in scoring situations, great.

    If in the preseason, he doesn’t show he can bring anything to the team, fine, release him and look to the waiver wire.

    I am not as in love with Franson as Lowetide or the other analytic types, but a right shot on the PP is something the Oilers could use. If he doesn’t show anything on the PP in preseason, release him. If he can get shots to the net with McDavids juicy saucer passes, that is a good thing. With all of the forward offense on the Oilers PP, a right shot dman on the point may be all they need and that player doesn’t even need to be high quality. Franson could easily be a 3rd pair specialist playing 12 minutes of very sheltered hockey, with 4 minutes of theat on the PP. Again if it doesn’t work, let him go.

    My point is, that even though the waiver wire is a more likely spot to pick up a better player, it doesn’t mean the Oilers are forced to choose from one or the other. PTO is a free look at a player within your system. Most never work out, but every once in a while, that player just clicks with the team.

  • Abagofpucks

    I wonder if Cody Franson knows why he just can’t stick with a team, look’s like he’s got all the tool’s but never learned how to use them kinda thing too bad.

  • Bills Bills

    Pretty sure the Oilers are at 49 contracts. If they sign Upshall which I am guessing they will, that’s 50. Even if Sekera is on LTIR, I would think his contract would still count. So if they do bring in another PTO, it should make things interesting. It also makes it likely that if PC does want to bring in another body on D, that Upshall is not getting signed or PC will be trading a contract or two out.

    • OriginalPouzar

      Not quite – Bouchard, Safin, Maksimov will all have their contracts slide and not count against the 50 if not in the NHL.

      Even Yamamoto is subject to slide if not in the NHL.

      • Bills Bills

        Right, my bad but they do count until they are assigned and only if they play less than 11 games. I actually expect Yamamoto and Safin to go to Bakersfield this season and Bouchard to get at least 9 games. So starting the season it is likely that only Maksimov will be assigned to junior and have his contract not count.

  • Foxconn

    It astounds me how Max Noreau is not on a list like this. He was the best defenceman at the 2018 men’s Olympic hockey tournament by far. The Oilers could use him.

  • McJeetz

    Chris Stewart would be a fantastic pick up for the right side, 3rd line. 30yrs old, 242lbs, can skate, good for 25-35 points. I would take him over Caggiula 10 times out of 10

      • Oilerz4life

        I stand corrected, overpay Chiarelli has done an outstanding job of managing the salary cap, no questionable signings or trades. He hasn’t been gifted the enviable position of getting the best player in the game to build around, nor pushed the cap ceiling with massive overpays , not at all, excellent fiscal and roster management, sorry.

        • Bills Bills

          So tell me again, how many holes? You can’t blame a GM for injuries or bad individual performances. And regardless as to the things that I don’t believe PC was right to do, I would still rather be right here than where we were under MacT or Tambellini.