With the hustle and bustle of the opening weeks of free agency now behind us it’s time to take a look at what’s left. First of all, let’s take a look at the last edition of the Wish List and where everyone ended up. As you will see, the Oilers went 0 for 10 on the late June edition of the list which is kind of frustrating because they had the cap space to bring in at least one of these players.
- Brett Connolly – Signed with the Florida Panthers
- Andre Burakovsky – Traded to the Colorado Avalanche
- Marcus Johansson – Signed with the Buffalo Sabres
- Petr Mrazek – Re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes
- Brandon Tanev – Signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins….for six years
- Colin Miller – Traded to the Buffalo Sabres
- Joonas Donskoi – Signed with the Colorado Avalanche
- Connor Brown – Traded to the Ottawa Senators
- Daniel Carr – Signed with the Nashville Predators
- Brandon Pirri – Re-signed with the Vegas Golden Knights
One thing we need to remember is that the Oilers may have been offering similar deals to a few of these guys but in the end, the players simply decided to go to a different market. I was told by a source that the Oilers never really even contacted Daniel Carr, a target that many of us thought would make sense.
WISH LIST JULY 16th
The mid-summer list is a little more difficult to put together simply due to a severe lack of options. The good news is that the Oilers still have three to four million bucks to spend, the bad news is that there aren’t many attractive ways to spend it.
Riley Sheahan (C)
I have Riley Sheahan at the top of the list for two different reasons. He wouldn’t cost them any assets and he’d be a perfect player to put in the middle on the third line and simply leave him there. Ken Holland is familiar with the player, and I think he would come at a pretty good price if he’s still available in the middle of August.
Bryan Rust (LW/RW)
Bryan Rust can play both wings and comes from a winning program in Pittsburgh. The Penguins don’t have a lot of wiggle room right now and have been mentioned as one of the teams possibly interested in Jesse Puljujarvi. I like Rust because worst-case scenario he’s a third liner but with the Oilers current lack of depth on the wings he could even skate alongside McDavid if needed.
Tyler Johnson (C/W)
He’s way too high on the list because this would be such a longshot acquisition but it’s not a Reality List, it’s a Wish List. Johnson would be a perfect compliment to Nuge on the second line and skates well enough to play with McDavid if Tippett feels the need to split up the dynamic duo. Tampa Bay still needs to move some salary to help get Point signed. They have also been mentioned in Puljujarvi rumours.
Brian Boyle (C)
Boyle would be a good fit on the third line here in Edmonton but I’m starting to get the sense the Oilers want him a little bit more than he wants them.
James Neal (LW)
James Neal is only on this list for once reason, he’d be the return in a Lucic deal. As I mentioned Monday on Inside the Nation a Lucic for Neal swap makes sense for both the Oilers and Flames. With the exception of last year Neal has scored at least 21 goals every single season he’s played. Could he simply have lost his game beyond the point of recovery? Maybe, but I’d bet a lot of money he scores at least 17 goals if he’s with the Oilers next season.
Derick Brassard (C/W)
He’s coming off what most of us would describe as a disastrous season but he still scored 14 goals. Brassard split last season between the Penguins, Panthers and Avalanche. I could see him as a third line centre and second unit power-play contributor. In a pinch, he could play with Nuge and the last time I checked the Oilers are in a bit of a pinch.
Thomas Vanek (W)
Vanek produces offence, it’s that simple. He scored 16 goals with the Red Wings last season and actually buried 24 goals split between the Canucks and Jackets in 2017-18.
Mathieu Perreault (LW)
He hasn’t excelled down the middle but I think he could play the role of third line centre simply to provide a veteran presence in the bottom six. Despite seeing limited offensive opportunity behind some big guns in Winnipeg he has scored 45 goals over the past three seasons. The Jets could use some d-men, cough, cough, Russell.
Julius Honka (D)
I’ve been told the numbers don’t look too good on Honka but for a discounted price I’d be willing to take the fresh start approach with the 23-year old defenseman.
Nikolaj Ehlers (W)
A man can dream.
It’s not a sexy list with the exception of Johnson and Ehlers but it’s a list that, at this point in the off-season, I’d still describe as reasonable.
Previously by Dustin Nielson:
- OILERS TOP TEN PROSPECTS: Post-Draft Edition
- The Great, Good, Bad & Ugly of the Broberg Pick
- NHL Draft Day Targets
- Nielson’s Final Mock Draft