Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Wish List

With the free agency discussion period upon us, it’s time for an updated look at The Wish List. I have removed Gustav Nyquist, Kasperi Kapanen, Nik Ehlers from the list in favour of some more reasonable candidates as well as eliminating Brian Elliott after he signed with the Flyers on Thursday morning.



1. Brett Connolly – UFA – RW/LW

Connolly was the number one target on the inaugural installment of The Wish List and certainly won’t be moving off the top spot until he signs elsewhere. There has been a lot of speculation that Connolly and the Oilers would be a good match. Connolly’s agent Gerry Johansson was on Oilers Now on Tuesday and said the Oilers would be a good fit for his client. I agree. Is four years at four million bucks per year too much?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2. Andre Burakovsky – RFA, Washington – LW

I haven’t heard much Burakovsky buzz as of late but I still think he would be an excellent pick up for the Oilers. I’m not sure what the asking price would be but I’d be happy to pick him up and leave him in the top six for the entire season.

3. Marcus Johansson – UFA – C/RW/LW

The one thing Johansson has going for him that Connolly and Burakovsky do not is that he can play all three positions up front. Johansson could start the year as the Oilers third line center but if another player emerges into that role he could very easily move to the wing on the second line.

4. Petr Mrazek – UFA – Carolina – G

Petr Mrazek would be the perfect fit to join Mikko Koskinen in Edmonton. In my opinion, Mrazek would be the best the Oilers could do right and now could most certainly come into Edmonton and steal the number one job from Koskinen. I just worry his price tag may be a little too much for the Oilers to handle.

5. Brandon Tanev – UFA – LW/RW

The Oilers have reportedly shown interest in Tanev and he would be a great fit in the bottom six. We would all need to realize that he doesn’t have top six upside but he would be the key piece on the Oilers third line.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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

I know Ken Holland has said, on more than one occasion, that he likes his blueline but Miller could really be an upgrade on the right side. The Golden Knights find themselves in a spot where they are likely desperate to move Miller and his 3.75 million dollar cap hit.

7. Joonas Donskoi – UFA – RW

Worst case scenario Donskoi can play on the third line but I think he’s the type of player who would put up better numbers given some opportunity in the top six. If the Oilers strike out on Connolly I’d be going hard to get Donskoi.

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

This move would have to come via trade but I still think it’s something the Oilers should explore. The Leafs are desperate for d-men and for the right price I’m sure Holland would be willing to move one of his. Benning for Brown almost makes too much sense for both sides.

9. Daniel Carr – UFA – LW

Maybe Daniel Carr is the ultimate tweener or maybe he’s a guy who just needs a legit opportunity. The Sherwood Park product torched the AHL this season putting up 30 goals and 71 points in just 52 games. He wouldn’t cost a lot and he may be able to get you 15 goals.

10. Brandon Pirri – UFA – W/C

Pirri has always been able to score goals when given the chance. He scored 12 goals in 31 games with the Golden Knights this season which pro-rates to a 31 goal season. At this stage of his career, I have to think all Pirri is looking for a full-time job in the NHL. If the Oilers sign him and it doesn’t work, oh well, on to the next one, but what if it does work? It’s worth a look at this point.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Presumably with the better D on the horizon, I’d think that Talbot would be a much better goalie for the Oilers. Reminiscent of his first 2 years here.
        He wouldn’t come back here though. In fact, I’d bet he’d want nothing better than to go to Calgary… That’s what bothers me a bit…

    • Joy S. Lee

      I have to admit I don’t get all the hate for Smith… wasn’t he spectacular for Calgary in the playoffs? History with Tippett produced excellent results. Oh, and he can move the friggin’ puck, that is a huge advantage for a guy like Connor getting the quick pass off the shoot-in… and if I recall correctly, the #1 strategy against the Oilers (especially with Connor on the ice) is to dump it into the Oilers end and grind; I don’t think people realize what an advantage it will be to have a great puckhandling goalie with 97 and some of the speed they appear to be quietly adding… personally, I think it’s one of the best moves they could make given their current circumstances against the cap and all, with the highest potential impact on the play. Kudos to Holland for recognizing a minor tweak that could turn into a team advantage to be utilized. Betcha breakaways go up a bunch next year!!

  • My only concern regarding Burakovsky is how his point-per-game totals have dropped steadily the last three years. .55 in ’16-17, .45 in ’17-18, and .33 this past season, when he played more games than either previous season.

  • The Whispererer

    6. Colin Miller is a 3rd pairing D, playing below Derek friggin’ Engelland in Vegas. With the exception of powerplay production, Matt Benning gets the 3rd pairing job done at half the price.

      • Plus, I mean…he’s helped his team go pretty far in the playoffs the last two seasons. That has to give him a SLIGHT bump, yeah? Sure, the team sort of plays defence-by-committee, but that only proves that he’s not a weak link. Is he worth more than 3.7 mil a year? That’s the big question.

    • Orange nation

      The fact that he played with nurse in Sue Saint Marie helps as well too. Great powerplay numbers and good even strength plus he kills penalties. I think he would be a pretty good pickup.

  • The Whispererer

    Joonas Donskoi might take a run at Toby Reider’s record. He had 0 goals in his final 34 games, and 1 in 12 playoff games. 1 for 46 !
    I acknowledge that he does bring other things to the table.

  • Redbird62

    Brett Connelly strikes me as a risky bet for a UFA signing if he’s getting paid off his 2019 career year. Does anyone know, besides getting to play a full season what was different for him that saw him jump 50% on goals and 75% on points over his career best. At least with Chiasson we could see the jump in shooting percentage and time with Connor and Leon. He is also not a penalty killer nor very effective on the power play. He might work out, but 4×4 would scare me (sounds a lot like the Poulliot deal). And please, whoever it is, no NMC’s or NTC’s.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Why not try Scotty Upshall on a PTO again… An injury prevented that happening last season… Not too many options without moving out a contract & what the Canes had to give up for Marleau, it’s not looking great. Let Upshall know now though, so he can start training to get ready… He and Chaisson have been pretty comparable over the years to my eye.

  • FutureGM

    I like the idea of Colin Miller. Slots in at 2RHD to allow Bouchard some seasoning time. Would be a replacement for Russell and balance out R-L Dmen. We could then look at moving Kbomb out for a scoring winger and allow Nurse to take LHD1 and Sekera LHD2.
    Of course Sekera would be preferable to move, but I feel as though the oft injured Klef would fetch a bonafide scorer where Sek would not

  • Ken Holland

    We need to focus on goaltending and the 3C spot before the wings.

    Order of priority:

    1B Goalie (Mrazek or Varlamov)
    3C Center (Kadri if possible)

    If we do the above and trade Benning for Brown and Russell for cap space – we coulf have a solid opening day roster for next season.

  • Svart kaffe

    I’d be really surprised if Holland and Mrazek worked out their differences. It low-key ended badly in Detroit when Holland didn’t get rid of Jimmy Howard and gift the net to Mrazek. And I think that situation went to arbitration and Mrazek’s eventual leaving of Detroit.

  • Kelly Youngblood

    Definitely like the idea of Brandon Pirri coming aboard for less than a million a year. Low risk big reward if Edmonton gets 12-15 goals out of him. Brett Connolly and/or Burakovsky would be fantastic !!!!!!!

  • Petey Summers

    This from Cam Cole article a few years back. The article holds more credence today than back then. Explains why Edmonton is having a difficult time.

    How is a poor team playing in a cold climate with lousy travel supposed to improve if two primary avenues, trades and free agency, are pretty much non-starters? Edmonton gets the odd free agent, but always at an exorbitant price.

    It really leaves only the draft, and development, both of which take a lot of time and, alas, a good eye for talent, which the Oilers in particular — considering its run of horrible finishes leading to consistently high draft picks — have sorely lacked.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    There are rumours that the Oilers are interested in Mike Smith, and I have to ask. Why? Why are they interested in a injury prone, past-his prime goalie? And why from Calgary?

    Here are several reasons why they shouldn’t.

    1. Smith is dumb: He’s constantly playing the puck when he shouldn’t be, let’s in easy goals at times, and then glares at his team like it’s their fault. Really Mike? It’s their fault you decide to go behind the net and play the puck, lose the puck battle, and then just stand there like an idiot when your teammate decides to try and do the job you couldn’t?

    2. Injuries: He’s old, his body is worn out by hockey standards, and he suffers the odd injury every now and then. I’m not saying any other goalie we sign (or Mikko himself) won’t get injured, but Smith is more likely to get injured, and for a longer period of time.

    3. The fans: Let’s be honest here. We as a fanbase can be TERRIBLE on-line. In person, we are actually pretty decent. But on-line we are RUTHLESS. And we have been known to turn on goalies in an instant. The forward depth is lacking, the defence can be good but usually isn’t, yet we’re always blaming the goalies for the failures of the team. And we’ve been known to run goalies out of town (Dubnyk, Brossoit, Talbot). As old and injury prone Mike Smith is, I don’t want him to come into a fanbase that will eat him alive after a bad game or two.

    There are better options available out there. So please, please, PLEASE, do not sign Mike Smith on July 1st.

  • TKB2677

    Can the Oilers not sign a 37, going to be 38 yr old goalie PLEASE!! I know the Oilers need a good back up. I know that Smith had a really good playoff but he wasn’t very good for the bulk of the season. The Oilers can not afford to have their goalies play poorly or take awhile to figure it out. Plus and this applies to ALL players, the chances of any player playing well at 37 aren’t that good.