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Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

PTO Talk and a Big Hypothetical

  • Did anyone else get super tired of watching that dude drink a beer through his hot dog last night? It was straight up like every second video on my timeline for a solid 30 minutes so I tweeted my rage about it and then turned off Twitter notifications for the night. It was peaceful.

However, when I woke up, I saw that me saying “I’m signing off for the night” had actually prompted people to fire over some Oilers-related questions. So I figured I’d dig into those here.

The first few are basically all PTO-related.

The Oilers actually do have an open spot in their forward group that could be left to an open competition. Here’s how I see the forward group right now:

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  1. Kane – McDavid – Hyman
  2. Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
  3. Foegele – McLeod – Puljujarvi
  4. Jannmark – Ryan – Shore/UFA add

If they end up trading Foegele to clear up some salary cap space, then there will be two spots open. Although, I would imagine that Dylan Holloway would be the front runner for that position on the third line.

If they end up bringing back Sam Gagner, he could very well end up taking that spot on the fourth line. He can bring you a little bit of offence at 5v5 and help on both the penalty kill and powerplay.

If Gagner comes back and Foegele isn’t traded then I don’t think that a PTO for a forward makes sense. If Gagner comes back and Foegele is moved, then I could see Ken Holland wanting to bring in a PTO candidate to create some competition for that spot on the third line. No matter how highly you think of Dylan Holloway, you don’t just want to gift him a roster spot.

As for Sprong and Svechnikov specifically, they’re both interesting options for different reasons.

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Svechnikov is 6’3 and coming off a season where he played 71 games with the Winnipeg Jets. He wasn’t very productive, scoring seven goals and adding 12 assists. All seven of those goals did come at 5v5 however. His on-ice possession numbers were average and the Jets did get outscored when he was on the ice at 5v5. He doesn’t kill penalties either so he wouldn’t help in that. I would pass on him. Just doesn’t really do anything that well. I’d rather take the chance that Benson can surprise and take a roster spot.

Daniel Sprong hit the 14-goal mark over 63 games last season with the Kraken and Capitals. So he’s more productive than Svechnikov. He also doesn’t kill penalties and I’m someone who would like most of my bottom six wingers to have some PK experience. He mainly played a middle-six role with the Caps last season and his most common linemates were Lars Eller and Connor McMichael. The Oilers are thin on the right side so Sprong could be a decent option, I just wouldn’t have very high hopes for him.

If they were to move Foegele and wanted to bring forwards into camp, I’d prefer that they look at Phil Kessel, Zach Aston-Reese, or Evan Rodrigues. 

Rodrigues would be my first choice. He scored 19 goals in 82 games last season, although seven of those goals came on the powerplay, and he spent over 300 minutes on a line with Sidney Crosby. He can play with skill and would be fine if the Oilers needed to put him in the top-six for a bit. He also spent just over 30 minutes on the PK last season, so he’s at least experienced there.

Aston-Reese is interesting because I just straight up like the way he plays. I think he could be an ‘Archibald-like’ physical presence and I think there’s more offense in this player than he showed last season.

Kessel would be a solid RW option too. I think he has 20-goal potential on a line with McDavid or Draisaitl and he could help the Oilers build out a solid second powerplay unit. Is he past his prime? Obviously. But that doesn’t mean the Oilers couldn’t milk a few more solid years out of him.

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This makes a lot of sense because Dekeyser is a left-shot defenseman and he has a history with Ken Holland, who is the only GM to have ever signed Dekeyser to an NHL contract. The Oilers could use a veteran LHD in case either Broberg or one of the other younger defensemen isn’t ready for full-time NHL duty.

Dekeyser played 917 minutes at 5v5 last season and quite frankly got caved. The Red Wings were outshot 392-299 when he was on the ice (44.83 SF%). The goals were 27-27 which is somewhat encouraging I guess.

He spent most of the season on a pairing with Moritz Seider, 670 5v5 minutes to be exact, and from reading what people who covered the Red Wings had to say last season, Seider carried that pairing. Injuries have been a big part of his decline and that should be noted.

If Dekeyser is in the “best shape of his life” come training camp then maybe it’s not the worst bet to make. He wouldn’t be my first choice though.

My top choice, if the money could work, would be Calvin De Haan. He can play both sides, bring the team a dependable veteran presence, and he shouldn’t cost that much. Also, why not just look at bringing back Kris Russell for $1 million? That would make sense too.

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I WANT TO KNOW…

I floated out a question from the Oilersnation Radio Twitter account and I’d love to hear your take in the comment section.

For the sake of this argument, let’s me throw out two hypothetical trades for you (I love doing stuff like this).

CHI RECEIVES: Jesse Puljujarvi, Warren Foegele, a 2023 first round pick, and a conditional 2024 second-round pick (becomes a first if EDM makes 2023 Cup Final or Kane resigns)

EDM RECEIVES: Patrick Kane at 50% retained ($5.25m cap hit)

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OR

ARZ RECEIVES: Philip Broberg, Warren Foegele, a 2023 first-round-pick, and 2024 second-round pick

EDM RECEIVES: Jakob Chychrun (3 years at $4.5 million)

Which package would make the Oilers a better team?

I get the appeal of adding another 90+ point forward to this lineup, but the Oilers need to solidify their backend. While it would suck giving up on a prospect like Broberg, I would love to see Chychrun here for the next three seasons and it would give the Oilers three really good LHD.

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What’s your take?