Photo Credit: © Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: Reclamation Projects

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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? 

  • Bringer_Of_Snow

    I’ve been campaigning Ho-Sang for 3 years now. Projected to be a top 15 pick, dropped because of some attitude issues. Hasn’t done a whole lot, but his speed and skill is absolutely there. Put him with 97 or 93 and I feel like he will have success. With Lou on the island, he is buried and won’t get a chance there. He should cost either a B prospect or a late pick.

    Pull the trigger. If he doesn’t work out, send him down. ZERO risk.

    • NickL89

      What does “attitude issues” actually mean? Ignoring the coach? Complaining about who he plays with? Spouting off to the media? I don’t know if we want to invite that into the dressing room! Especially being only proven in the AHL

  • Osmosis_jones

    I want the Oilers to take a run at signing Jakob Silfverberg this offseason. I don’t think he would break the bank but his size, speed and hands along with being a right hand shot is exactly what we need.

  • Strottie

    The problem is, what does Edmonton give up to acquire such reclamation projects? The Blackhawks gave up Schmaltz, definitely a piece of value, for two lesser kids who might combine to be equal to Schmaltz. The duo might be better, but the key here is Chicago gave up the better piece in the deal in order to help manage their cap in the offseason: Schmaltz was going to be due for a considerable raise. Strome and Perlini MIGHT combine next season to what Schmaltz makes.

    Of course, if the cost to acquire any of these kids is low and makes sense, sure, move on them. But teams not named the Oilers don’t tend to give up on talent unless they absolutely have to. Teams like the Blackhawks do so because of financial constraints. Sprong has an extra year; the Penguins will not move on from him until next season if they feel that they need to. The Islanders are not in a situation where they need to move Ho-Sang: he’s neither due for a raise or going to bring back anything of substantial value. Carolina combines elements of PIT and NYI: they have neither a lack of cap space and Zykov has additional term. They won’t move him out until they feel that there really isn’t anything there.

    Milano is an interesting case, and given Edmonton’s LW situation, might be worth taking a flyer on. The trick is what it will cost. Columbus doesn’t have much in the way of futures, and their situation regarding Panarin and Bobrovsky basically determines how they perform next season.

  • camdog

    An entire article on reclamation projects and no mention of Rattie or Spooner? Kassian was a reclamation project that worked.Tobias Reider and Chiasson look good. Thats a lot of reclamation projects on forward. In 2-3 years hopefully our prospects in Bakersfield yield some returns and we don’t have look to fill pretty close half the forward roster via reclamation projects.

  • Drinking my Oilers problems away...

    What is it with people who write about the Oilers and reclamation projects. The Oilers have been a reclamation project for over 10 years now so I think we’re covered on that front all ready…