A few days ago, the Arizona Coyotes gave up on a couple of former top prospects and the Chicago Blackhawks decided to take a gamble on them thriving after a change of scenery. The Hawks sent solid young winger Nick Schmaltz to the Coyotes for former first-round picks Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini.
If this works out for Chicago, they’ve caught lightning in a bottle. Perlini was the 12th overall pick in the 2014 draft but hasn’t been able to translate his game to the NHL level. Strome was the third overall pick in the loaded 2015 draft and poor skating has held him back from becoming the star many expected he would be when he was selected right after Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.
As we know, the Oilers are in a bit of cap bind, so it’s difficult for them to make a major addition to the roster. They also aren’t really in a place to make a big rental splash for a player like Wayne Simmonds or Mark Stone given the fact that draft pick could end up in the middle of a draft that’s looking to be pretty deep. With that in mind, Edmonton seems to be a prime team to make a Strome/Perlini buy-low-and-hope-for-the-best type of reclamation project acquisition.
A few names come to mind when thinking of potential reclamation projects…
- Josh Ho-Sang: Drafted by the Islanders back in 2014 with the 28th overall pick. He’s had apparent attitude issues in the past and now has a salty relationship with the Islanders. Still, Ho-Sang is a hell of a talent and has 17 points in 21 AHL games this season.
- Sonny Milano: Another winger selected in the first round of the 2014 draft who hasn’t found his way yet. The Blue Jackets grabbed Milano with the 16th overall pick in 2014 but he hasn’t consistently been able to crack the lineup. He’s currently got nine points in eight AHL games this year.
- Valentin Zykov: A former second-round pick by the Kings who was traded to the Hurricanes in a deadline deal for Kris Versteeg in 2016. Zykov has been excellent at the AHL level but can’t crack Carolina’s lineup. He had 33 goals in 63 AHL games last season.
- Daniel Sprong: The Penguins’ second-round pick from the 2015 draft. Sprong managed to crack the lineup in his rookie year immediately after being selected in the second round but hasn’t been able to stick around since. He scored at a point-per-game clip in the AHL last year.
All those players profile as exactly what the Oilers need, which is wingers who can produce offence. Of course, these things don’t always work out. Back in 2015, the Oilers dealt two draft picks to acquire a reclamation project in Griffin Reinhart and that worked out miserably for them. They lost out on drafting players like Mat Barzal, Kyle Connor, and Thomas Chabot for Reinhart, who never came close to panning out.
What say you, Nation? Are there are buy-low options you feel the Oilers should be looking for right now? Is this more prudent than making a rental acquisition to push for a playoff spot?