The Wish List

It’s time! The Wish List is here to keep tabs on whom the Oilers should be targeting in both reality and maybe a little bit of a fantasy land as well.

I’m going ten players deep on the initial installment of the Wish List, and the players will be ranked on a combination of the need for the team and the likeliness they can get their hands on them.


  1. Brett Connolly
  2. Gustav Nyquist
  3. Andre Burakovsky
  4. Marcus Johansson
  5. Colin Miller
  6. Connor Brown
  7. Brian Elliott
  8. Kasperi Kapanen
  9. Joonas Donskoi
  10. Nik Ehlers


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1. Brett Connolly – UFA – RW/LW

The former Prince George Cougar takes home the top spot in the first Wish List for a couple of different reasons. First of all, compared to a few other players on this list he’ll come at a reasonable cost, a number the Oilers may actually be able to afford. He’s only 27-years old, has won a Stanley Cup and scored 22 goals this past season despite playing less than 14 minutes a night for the Capitals.

2. Gustav Nyquist – UFA – RW/LW

Nyquist would be number one the list if his projected off-season price tag was a number the Oilers could afford without having to move salary first. He would actually be lower on the list if Ken Holland wasn’t now the man in charge of the Oilers. Holland drafted and developed Nyquist so I’d have to think he would at least get a serious conversation with the Swedish forward.

3. Andre Burakovsky – RFA, Washington – LW

Having Burakovsky this high on the list may not sit too well with many of you but I’m still a pretty big fan of his upside. He scored 17 goals as a 20-year old and has scored 12 goals each of the last three seasons. He played just over 18 minutes on the power play for the Capitals, which worked out to 14 seconds per game, so in other words he wasn’t given any opportunity on the man advantage. I think he has the skill set to play in the Oilers top six and wouldn’t cost them a lot to acquire via trade.

4. Marcus Johansson – UFA – C/RW/LW

Johansson may be higher on this list if he wasn’t driving his price tag up with a pretty darn good performance in the playoffs. He can play all three positions up front and is just two seasons removed from a 58-point campaign with the Capitals. He’s battled injuries the past couple of the seasons but he looks healthy right now and when he’s healthy he’s a hell of a player.

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5. Colin Miller – 3 Years, $3,750,000, Las Vegas- D

Miller is a 26-year old right shot d-man who put up 41 points for the expansion Golden Knights during the 2017-18 season. The Golden Knights are going to have to start watching the cap and for the right price in a trade, he may be a piece they’d be willing to move. Miller would provide the Oilers with a top-four option who can also man the point on the top unit power play. A perfect fit at a reasonable price.

6. Connor Brown – 1 Year, $2,100,000, Toronto – LW/RW

Brown finds himself on this list because the cost to acquire him should be reasonable for the Oilers. He has experience with Connor McDavid and has proven already that he can score 20 goals when given the opportunity to play with some skill.

7. Brian Elliott – UFA – G

I wish the need for a goaltender wasn’t this high on the list but the horrible truth is the Oilers will have to spend some money to shore up a position they’ve already committed 13.5 million to over the next three years. This year’s crop of UFA goalies isn’t overly attractive but Elliott is one of the most consistent of the bunch. In my opinion, if Elliott and Koskinen are the two goaltenders in camp the battle for the number one job would most definitely be an open competition.

8. Kasperi Kapanen – RFA, Toronto – RW

In a perfect world, Kapanen would on the top of this list but I just don’t see how the Oilers could acquire him at a reasonable price. They could sign Kapanen to an offer sheet worth $4,200,000 and, if for some crazy reason the Leafs don’t match, it would only cost Holland a 2nd round pick. As for a trade, the discussion would start with Nurse; I don’t see any other way the Leafs would move Kapanen to Edmonton.

9. Joonas Donskoi – UFA – RW

This wouldn’t be a sexy signing for the Oilers but it could end up being an effective one. He will likely land on a list of affordable options for the Oilers and would come to the Oilers after playing with some skill in San Jose. He spent most of this past season playing alongside Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane so you know he can fit in on a skill line.

10. Nik Ehlers – 6 Years, $6,000,000, Winnipeg – RW/LW

Ehlers didn’t have a great season offensively but I’d be more than confident in him putting up an easy 70 points on McDavid’s wing. There are more reasonable targets that could be at the bottom end of the Wish List but sometimes you need to close your eyes and shoot high. I think the asking price for Ehlers will end up being one of the most debated topics around the NHL over the next three to four weeks. I absolutely love his upside and he will be on this list as long as it exists, or until they acquire him.

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Who else do you think belongs on this list? Brandon Pirri, Tyler Myers, Tristan Jarry, Andreas Athanasiou are a few names that have certainly popped up over the last month but I’m not ready to put them ahead of anybody else on the Wish List. Let me know who you think should be in the top ten next time around.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • OriginalPouzar

    I was all over Nyquist as the one established top 6 option but then I realized a few days ago that he will be 30 when the contract kicks in and, given he’s going to want term (at least 4, if not up to 6, years), I think its a non-starter. Paying players for their 30s is the way of the past for successful teams (except a short term deal of a “finishing deal”).

    I’d like Nyquist but, unfortunately, he will very likely not provide value for the contract and is likely already going to be on the down side of his offensive peak.

    Its just not a good fit like I though he was but I do believe that Holland will be very interested.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Colin Miller is a bit of buyer beware – while he’d be fine replacing Russell as 2RD, in actuality, he’s not been more than a 3D at evens on Vegas, for two straight years. 6th or 7th for 5 on 5 TOI and playing behind Engelland on the right side. He is a 3rd pairing guy an PP2 guy on Vegas.

    He’d play 2RD on the Oilers as per current roster construction, however, like Russell, isn’t a true 2RD.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Burkaovsky is who I wanted to acquire at the trade deadline. He did not have a good season and, although was better in the 2nd half, is not worth his $3.25 qualifying offer. I wonder if WSH will qualify him, try to re-sign him to a lower contract before, try and trade his RFA rights or simply let him walk?

    If the Oilers weren’t in cap hell, I wouldn’t mind a one-year overpay at his QO rate but the Oilers can’t afford that, even if the risk would be minimal on a one year term.

    Perhaps, WSH could let the Oilers talk contract with him and work out a trade of mid-round pick if the Oilers and the player could agree on a contract around $2M.

    One year to see if there is any chemistry in the top 6 with McDavid/Drai/Nuge.

    • toprightcorner

      Caps won’t qualify him and he will become a UFA because they can’t afford him. He will likely sign a 1 year show me deal for about $1.75, a little less than Reider.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I would add:

    – Brandon Pirri – he is a no brainer cheap signing if the is willing. He has good scoring rates and his advanced metrics, both rates and relative to the team are very good. For a cheap $1M or so contract – he’d been a great bet for a value contract.

    Instead of Miller, my target on Vegas is Cody Eakin and maybe Pirri’s UFA rights can be added.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Whenever I mess around on Capfriendly I always find a few bucks to squeeze Pirri in. Worse case scenario is he is an AHL player. Best case he finds a role in the top 6 here.

  • Gary Chalmers

    We don’t need a back up goaltender if you shore up the rest of the roster, and Brian Elliot?…..Dear God, Please No!
    Koskinen was the back up we needed last year, put a better team in front of him, and bring in Montoya for cheap.

    • Montoya? really we sent him to minors
      You think he comes and plays here again. Elliot is no better than talbot. And imo it doesn’t matter what goalie you bring in our goalie coach will ruin them

      • wiseguy

        You know who’s available and due to recent play can be had at a lower $$ than last year? Talbot. No need to worry about Schwartz ruining him because he already did.

  • Ehlers missed 20 games last season and still managed 21 goals while being bounced around the lineup, not used on the #1 power play and misused by Maurice. I would hate to see him traded because if he were McD’s winger he would be a 40 goal 80 point player for years.

  • TKB2677

    I am not a fan of signing Nygvist. On paper he checks a lot of boxes but I am not a fan of signing players coming off good seasons (career high in points), who played on a playoff team that went deep, who will be 30 in Sept. That SCREAMS overpay on a contract and a player who won’t live up to it.

    I like the idea of Connelly. Big right shooting player who you know is a really good 3rd liner and looks to be able to play up. Plus he just turned 27 so he should have 3-4 good years left before he starts to decline.

    I am a big fan of buying low on Burakovsky. He’s only 24, can fly, has size but he hasn’t been able to figure it out totally with Washington. You know he is a decent 3rd liner and has top 6 potential written all over him.

    Ehlers would me my dream addition but you’d have to free up cap space. I’d offer a 1st for him.

    I’d go after Miller. They need a right shot that can move the puck, bring some offense and play in the top 4. The Oilers and especially their fans are dreaming if they think they can add a big name guy. So they should concentrate on the more subtle guys.

  • FanBoy

    From Vegas, I would target Haula and Eakin because they need to shed some serious cap. Miller I would stay away from because he’s making too much for a 3rd pair defenceman. Also I’d try trading Russell to a team in need of LHD like FLA.

    I would offer up a 2nd in 2020 and this year’s 3rd rounder and Brodziak for Haula and Eakin


    Extras: Lucic/Cave


    Extras: Persson


  • Cowboy Bill

    From that list I like Brett Connelly , Colin Miller , Connor Brown and Jonas Donskoi simply because they are the most affordable . Miller also has played with Nurse and Brown was a teammate of McDavid’s . So those two in particular would be good fits . But Connelly & Donskoi also be welcomed additions.
    I’ve never been a fan of Brian Elliot and would prefer Petr Mrazek or Curtis Mclhinney added to the list .

  • Slick77

    I see it this way. The Leafs are in BIG cap trouble and negotiating from position of weakness. How about Benning, McLeod, and a 2nd round pick OR NYI’s 3rd round pick for Kadri? Benning would be the Leafs second best RH d-man, McLeod replace Marleau after this coming up season.
    Imagine a third line of Khaira – Kadri – Chiasson/Kassian.

    • Wesley41

      A 4+million dollar 3rd line centre is not great cap management my friend! He would need to be a second line centre on the Oilers to consider him and then that means trading Nuge,sorry not worth it Kapanen makes more sense trading with the Leafs! A top 6 winger at 4 million is better then 3rd centre with no scoring help on his line who won’t get the ice time he needs to provide his usual offensive output!

      • Slick77

        The Oilers need more support on the bottom 6 right now than on the top 6.
        The advanced stats showed this past season that the Oilers were one of the best teams in the league with McDavid on the ice, and one of the worst when he was off. So the Oilers need to build up their bottom 6. Plus in the next few years the Oilers will be saving cap space from their defence when Bouchard and Samorukov make the NHL. Plus Kadri will be able to replace McDavid on the PK and keep him fresher in games.
        With the Leafs last season as their 3rd line centre Kadri averaged over 16 minutes per game and to over 40 points. Where would have the Oilers been this past season if they could of gotten 40 points from their third line?

        • Wesley41

          With the cap as it is Nuge would have to go and I would rather have Nuge for a bunch of reasons.Im sorry buddy but there are too many moves,cap considerations and history or bad penalties at the worst times to Trade for Kadri but at least your ideas are out of hope and not the doom and gloom of another poster on here so have a good one bud!

          • Slick77

            Not enough time in the day to worry about the negatives.
            I think the Oilers can make the cap work and keep RNH. With the Nygard signing the Oilers already have added to their bottom 6 for cheap (925K cap hit).
            IF this occurs and the Oilers get Kadri for Benning and with Nygard the Oilers add 3.525 to their cap. Which would bring their projected cap space to 7.233 to sign a 1a goalie and resign Chiasson. Bear and Jones has a cap hit of 720K and Lagesson has a cap hit of 742K and Persson 1 million, and they are all waiver exempt with 2 of them making the team as well.
            Also if we get really lucky three of them make the team and makes Russell expendable which would clear up another 4 million in cap space.

    • Serious Gord

      I think Kadri would make an excellent third centre if they do the right thing and trade RNH this summer. He can likely be had for cheap because of his serial failures in the playoffs.

      • Wesley41

        That is extra work that doesn’t make sense.Kadri at 3rd for over 4 million is pointless,I’m assuming you would split Conor and Leon if he his 3rd line centre and you trade Nuge.We don’t have winger depth or cap space and he wouldn’t get the ice time needed to make his contract worth it.Plus he has a history of bad penalties when his team needs him the most!

    • Odanada

      Kadri took a first round playoff suspension 2 years in a row.
      As effective as he is in the regular season, his selfish play has really cost the Leafs in the playoffs.
      No thank you.

    • If they can make it work, I think that adding Kadri would be a good move. His contract is a good deal no matter what line he plays on. The Oilers could use what he brings… especially if they find a way to move out Lucic.

  • Boukalz82

    Miller would be a great addition. Coming into his prime and haven’t seen many people talk about how he played in the soo with Nurse also.. I have heard the habs may have interest in Lucic, I wonder if they would consider something like Lucic, the 8th pic and Yamamoto for Shaw and the 15th pic? I would then try to package up a Bear or similar prospect/pic with the 15th pic and swap if to Vegas for Miller and 17th pic. I’d send Benning to leafs for Brown if that deal is still there. I would see if Buffalo has interest in bringing back Sekera to clear up some cap space to go after a goalie or maybe even a winger (Sherry?). I like Varlamov. From my math the cap would be close..
    Drai MCJ Brown
    Sheary Nuge Shaw
    Gagner Cave Puljujarvi
    Nygard Khaira Kassian
    Klefbom Larson
    Nurse Miller
    Jones Russell
    Varlamov Koskinen

  • The future never comes

    You know why alot of playets dont work out here? Because we have unrealistic expectations of them, exhibit A is Burakovsky where he is expected to be a second line player if he is here. I saw a cult of hockey writer have Nygard pencilled into a second line position before he stepped foot in the NHL. Not to mention the Strome’s and Rieder’s of the world. Pump the breaks on some of these projections and maybe we wont be out with pitchforks 5 games in when they don’t live up to what they never were.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Anyone else seeing this pattern? The no name guys can compete and beat the supposed superstars on a regular basis. See this years playoffs and World hockey championships for proof. Team Finland with zero NHL goals beat Canada, Russia, and Sweden. There is more to winning than having the players with the best stats. We need to tap into that. I’m starting to think a team of hardworking guys with decent skills, and a game plan beat all the supposed elite player rosters regularly. The skill level is closer than ever amongst hockey players worldwide. I’m also starting to think paying the top few guys too much ensures you will not have a great supporting cast.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Really, I wouldn’t read much into that… The NHLer’s over there are there for a post-season party & to catch up… Oh yeah, they’ll play a little hockey while they are at it… As far a World Championship to take seriously,… don’t, I know the NHLer’s don’t.

    • wiseguy

      Interesting that the 2 teams in the finals do not have a player paid more than $7.5 million between them. Oilers may be in trouble for a few years until the cap goes up and the percentage of the cap that the top players chew up drops.

  • Gary Chalmers

    I’m completely lost how the media and people on this site think backup goaltending is one of the biggest reason the Oilers lost last year. We get Koskinen, still a bad signing, Klefbom gets hurt, Sekera is still hurt, over reactionary trades, Manning and Petrovic, are made which weaken our already weak forward group, and further slow down the overall mobility of our D, but back up goaltending is the a still an issue. The back up goaltender should be the last thing Ken Holland worries about fixing.

  • Oilersrule

    They need a scoring , skating winger to play first or 2nd line . They need a decent goalie to share time with Koskinen. Defence should take care of itself starting next year and they have ways to acquire cap space with their defence coming up. Lucic should be looked at as a 3rd,4th liner and very few minutes some nights when playing better skating teams . If they add a decent scoring winger a good goalie and a decent 3rd line winger or centre who can skate I believe this team to be much better especially with a healthy sekera coming back who is still the Oilers most experienced, arguably smartest hock IQ defenceman.

  • Copper

    Leafs are in cap hell. More so than the Oil. They may need to move both Nylander and Kadri. Frees up space to sign Marner, Kapanen and Johnsson. Can’t take salary back which makes it difficult for the Oilers

  • After last season, Larsson is no longer an effective top pairing D. That’s a MASSIVE hole on the team that Holland needs to recognize. Being able to play Larsson down a pair opens Nurse up to be more effective on the attack.

    Klefbom – ?
    Nurse – Larsson
    Sekera – Benning

    I have no idea who’d replace Larsson in the top pair, but of the UFAs you’d need someone who can play more than 19-20 min per game:
    $6.5m – Karlsson
    $4.5m – Strahlman
    $5.5m – Myers
    $1.3m – Polak

    To do so, you must trade $4m Russell for ~4th round pick after July 1 and shed more cap somehow.

    Resign Gravel as the 7th as a low-cost no-risk experienced LD in case of injury.

    Jones, Bouchard, and Persson need more AHL time and I’m sure Holland would agree. Bouchard and Persson would eventually replace Larsson and Benning. I’d consider trading Benning to free up space cap wise and roster.

    • cityofchampions

      I think one of Jones or Persson makes the team out of camp, and I’m sure Holland agrees (as per press conference). Let’s see how Larsson does with a healthy Klefbom (I know, its an oxymoron) and more structure and a healthy defence core around him. Still need another 2nd Right Shot Dman for the top 4 (who should pretty much split time equally, easing the pressure on Larsson even further). Sekera pairs with Benning or Jones (I would prefer the latter, moving Benning for Brown or another similar winger to play with Nuge). Long-term Bouchard and two of Jones/Persson/Larsson make up the right side D.

  • Joy S. Lee

    I see 9 viable options on this list; Forget Elliott. Donskoi can drive a line and if his ticket is reasonable, I’d be all over that. I like the idea of Burakovsky and Miller. From the comments section, Dumba, Jenner, Zuccarello and Ehlers are fantastic options, but I imagine too much $.