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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Top Free Agent Targets for the Edmonton Oilers

As per tradition around these parts, I’ve taken the questions that have come in over the past week, relayed them to our writers, and copied and pasted their words of wisdom right here on the ol’ Internet machine in a brand new edition of the Mailbag. Today, we’re looking at realistic offseason targets, trades vs. free agency, first round exits, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.

Jan 9, 2020; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar (90) looks on from the ice during warm ups prior to the game against the Edmonton Oilers at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

1) @bleedingblueoil asks – Who is your top “realistic” free agent target? Tatar/Hyman would be mine I think.

Robin Brownlee:

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I like Hyman because he scores 5×5 and he’s coming off a contract with an AAV of $2.25 million, as opposed to Tatar who is already at $5.3 million. That said, if Hyman is looking for more than $5 million a season, which has been speculated around Toronto, he’s getting pricey. I’d also look at Blake Coleman out of Tampa Bay. He’s coming off a $1.8 million AAV and he scored 12 of his 14 goals at even strength.

Baggedmilk:

I think Blake Coleman is the most realistic free agent for me, though I expect he’ll have his choice of suitors. Obviously, it would be great if it was Landeskog or something like that but there’s no way Colorado lets him walk — that’s not what good teams do.

Cam Lewis:

I would prefer the Oilers add a couple of forwards rather than splurging on one and this year’s market is ideal for such a play. Some combination of Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar, Blake Coleman, or Brandon Saad would be good.

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2) Anna asks – Is it realistic to expect that Ken Holland fills the holes in the roster through free agency alone or will he also have to make some clever trades to rebalance the team? Do you think we got both this offseason?

Robin Brownlee:

Holland will have to make a combination of free agent signings and trades. Even with more cap space, he doesn’t have enough money to overpay too many players from the UFA market even if they want to come here.

Baggedmilk:

I hope we get a combo package with both free agent signings and trades. Relying on free agency won’t work because then we’ll get stuck with more Milan Lucics and Benoit Pouliots on the books long after they’re gone.

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Cam Lewis:

It isn’t easy to build a team through free agency because the reality is you have to overpay for players. You can tweak and add depth to your roster on the open market but each contract you sign carries a risk of blowing up. Think about the year in which Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo, Loui Eriksson, and so on were signed and every single one of those deals ended up being a problem.

Mar 3, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) during the game between the Stars and the Oilers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

3) @Tealerino asks – Do you guys think the Oilers sign or trade for a longer-term partner for Nurse, or do they go with a Bear/Bouchard combo and spend elsewhere?

Robin Brownlee:

I need to know what happens with Tyson Barrie and Oscar Klefbom before I can even guess about pairings.

Baggedmilk:

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I wish we knew more about what is going on with Klefbom because that would be a major addition in itself. If our first two LHD would be Nurse and Klefbom then I think we’re in a pretty good spot. Until we find that out, I really don’t know what to expect on the back end.

Cam Lewis:

Darnell Nurse is going to command a huge salary and even Adam Larsson won’t be all too cheap to keep around. Spending more money on the blueline might not be realistic, especially given the holes up front.

Mar 9, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) battle for a loose puck during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit:

4) Clay asks – We saw the top two teams in the North Division lose their opening rounds in a painful way but I want to know who everyone thought was worse: Edmonton getting swept, or Toronto blowing a 3-1 series lead?

Robin Brownlee:

Toronto. A sweep stings the pride, but the series with Winnipeg was close despite the result, Blowing a 3-1 lead in a series you’re favored to win is tougher to take. It just doesn’t happen very often.

Baggedmilk:

Toronto’s collapse is way worse. Don’t get me wrong, getting swept was horrible but there was no point in the series when the Oilers were only one win away from moving on and blew it.

Cam Lewis:

Edmonton’s loss was quick and ugly but blowing a 3-1 lead to the lowest-seeded team in all of the playoffs is a huge embarrassment. I’ll take being swept by the Jets over that. Both are awful, though.

Feb 6, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Tyler Benson (49) and San Jose Sharks forward Alex True (70) look for loose puck during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

5) @huge__jayness_ asks – Who do you see getting a really good look or promotion from the Bakersfield Condors for this season?

Robin Brownlee:

If you count McLeod as an Oiler and not a Condor, then it’s linemates Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody for me. Oilers need the offensive contribution they’ve shown capable of producing at the AHL level.

Baggedmilk:

I’d guess Benson, but even then I don’t know that it’s necessarily a sure thing either.

Cam Lewis:

You’d think Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody have earned an extended look by this point. I don’t think Rafael Lavoie is all that far off either.

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