The Wish List: Mid-Summer Edition

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.


  1. Brett Connolly – Signed with the Florida Panthers
  2. Andre Burakovsky – Traded to the Colorado Avalanche
  3. Marcus Johansson – Signed with the Buffalo Sabres
  4. Petr Mrazek – Re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes
  5. Brandon Tanev – Signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins….for six years
  6. Colin Miller – Traded to the Buffalo Sabres
  7. Joonas Donskoi – Signed with the Colorado Avalanche
  8. Connor Brown – Traded to the Ottawa Senators
  9. Daniel Carr – Signed with the Nashville Predators
  10. 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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

  • Kevwan

    I think Holland’s experience with Weiss and Legwand in Detroit has made him leary of Brassard.

    All this talk about an Oilers-Flames trade needs to stop. There’s only been like 2 trades in 40 years for a reason – they don’t want to help each other out. Nor should they.

    • NoBuBlackOPS

      That would never happen look what Toronto gave up to get rid of Marleau just so Carolina could buy the last year of his contract. This offer is not even in the ballpark to get rid of Looch.

  • GoOilersGuy

    The media and all the GMs’ in Edmonton player wish list is not the same as the guy who is getting paid and empowered to do the job! I think Ken Holland has done a great job so far. The bottom 6 is much faster and improved skill wise, we have a back up goalie and we have a little cap space. We have a new coach and staff that players seem to like and respect and look forward to playing for. The OBC has changed and he’s started to work on the scouting side. Ken Holland has done a lot already and he hasn’t really given up assets, other than Sekera. I don’t think we are that far off from being a playoff team. Looking forward to 2019 season.This post is going to get trashed but all the armchair GM’s and Ken Holland critics need to be patient and support our new GM. IMO he is improving the team and the organization and doing it very systematically. Keep it up Ken! Go Oilers!

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      Fair enough, but he made a promise. He had a list that he told STH that he was going to fulfill, and he’s still missing that Top 6. I know there wasn’t much he can do, but he cannot go into training camp with this roster as it stands. If he does, then he’s failed his first offseason.

  • BrandieBear

    I like the conservative approach so far. Let’s be honest, the team was left in shambles and Holland has a giant mess to clean up. Expecting the playoffs in 19-20 I feel is unrealistic. If we can sign someone like Sheahan or Brasard to a reasonable 1 year deal I would call that a win.

    Holland is doing the opposite of Chiarelli. He isn’t rushing into things or over spending. It show he planning ahead and it is going to be painful but I feel like it’s setting fans up for a better future.

  • Muddy

    I honestly can’t understand the logic of trading Lucic for Neil or Eriksson. Lucic himself is only a couple years removed from a 50 point season and it seems like each player is on a similar downward spiral. Lucic has been rumoured to be working with a skills and skating coach in LA for the first time in his career. I wonder if each one of Lucic, Neal and Eriksson all had the same point totals next season which one would you prefer to have on the bench and in the locker room? For me the answer is an easy one, I take Lucic for his toughness and the fact he was in the top five in the league in hits last season. We are actually comparing apples to apples on contracts and to me he brings the best value at this point. Let’s see how he does after this summer of training and under Tipp who has notoriously played into the strengths and attributes of declining players (see Shane Doan). I think it would be a huge mistake to trade this guy to a divisional rival, imagine having to play against him in the 1st round of the playoffs, no thanks.

    • Dean Martin

      Looch plays better hockey with set structure, something that the Oil have not had for a couple of years. I think we will see overall improvement as the set systems return. The goalies & the players that seem to have lost their way will improve immensely, if Tippet’s systems take hold…
      This is why the top players did great, because they could play, as they made it up on the fly… The bottom 6 need a system… Hopefully they get it.
      That, for the most part is what frustrated the team & the fans.

    • crabman

      Lucic is only 2 years removed from a 50 point season but even that year his 5×5 scoring was in decline. It took a huge career PP year to get those 50 points. Lucic’s offense has been in decline for a long time now.
      Neil on the other hand has only had 1 down season. It may be just the 1st of many but I would bet Neil has a bounce back year and scores 15+ goals before Lucic does.
      Neil also doesn’t need to be protected in the expansion draft and if he doesn’t rebound his contract is much easier to buy out very similar to Sekera.
      All those things considered I would make a Lucic for Neil trade.

  • ed from edmonton

    I suspect that the Oil are not as likely to sign a remaining UFA as obtain a player as a salary dump for either pick(s) and or prospects. Rust certainly fits that mold, but with the signing of Archibald RW ha gotten more crowded. Although a RW corps of Kassian, Chaisson, Rust, Archibald would be a marked improvement from last year. Having said all that the two biggest needs on the forward line now is a 3C and another scoring threat (20 goal winger). The Oil might be able to get one of these needs through a salary dump but not both. To address both they will need one salary dump for only picks/prospects and one trade of a Dman for a forward. Benning is the most likely Dman to be tradeable. Can a 3rd pair right shot Dman get a 3C? Maybe.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Can we get some righties? Any right hand shot will excel here. Look at Chaisson, Letestu, Rattie, Benning. All of them showed well. Why? Because the right hand shot gave a dimension that is missing.

    • Arfguy

      Agreed. I wish the Oilers had more right-shot players in their line-up. I am in favour of keeping Matt Benning forever. It sucks that we may have to wait a couple more years before seeing the likes of Bouchard, Maksimov and Lavoie on the Oilers roster.