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Monday Mailbag – Is it time for the Oilers to trade the first round draft pick?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
4 months ago
Happy Monday, Nation, and welcome to a brand new Mailbag to help you get your week started and break down what’s happening with the Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at Jay Woodcroft’s extension, the atmosphere at Rogers Place, roster upgrades, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft talks with his players in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
1) Laura asks – What was everyone’s first reaction to the Jay Woodcroft contract extension? Any surprise the Oilers stuck with their man instead of looking at potential options like Barry Trotz or Paul Maurice before he went to Florida?
Jason Gregor:
Not a surprise at all. No reason not to bring Woodcroft back. He had 2nd best P% in NHL since he was hired and won two playoff rounds. I wouldn’t have looked elsewhere.
Robin Brownlee:
Any surprise? No. If 26-9-3 and .724 doesn’t get you a new deal, what does?
Cam Lewis:
It would be a pretty bad look on the organization if the guy who led them to a mid-season turnaround and deep playoff run was cast aside and replaced with yet another name from the omnipresent game of veteran coach musical chairs. Woodcroft did more than enough to earn himself the gig here.
Baggedmilk:
Absolutely not surprised. Woodcroft crushed his chance to win the job, and I’m happy to see the Oilers give him a three-year deal.
May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane (91) scores a goal against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) in the first period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
2) Kevin asks – Do you think the Oilers will wait for the Evander Kane contract decision before approaching free agents if his grievance with the Sharks extends beyond July 13th? I know he was excellent for us but does it even make sense to wait for him?
Jason Gregor:
I don’t see Oilers being a big player in free agency as they don’t have much cap space unless Duncan Keith surprises us and retires. I think trades are more likely at this point. Kane’s arbitration delay could limit the number of teams who sign him, as some won’t wait. I still wouldn’t give Kane any term longer than three years, ideally two.
Robin Brownlee:
Unless there have already been “informal” discussions about what contract might keep Kane here and the numbers add up for both sides, it makes no sense to wait.
Cam Lewis:
The Oilers don’t have the salary cap room to be aggressive in free agency so they’re fine to wait and see if Kane eventually winds up re-signing at a number that works for them.
Baggedmilk:
This Kane thing is going to be wild to watch. Who knows what his arbitration result will look like and that’s what makes this whole situation weird from the the jump.
3) Clay asks – I was lucky enough to go to a couple of playoff games on this past run and the atmosphere at Rogers Place was excellent. Naturally, the playoffs are a different beast but what would you like to see the Oilers do more of during the regular season to create a better atmosphere in the building?
Jason Gregor:
Teams can’t create the atmosphere. The best ones are organic and started by fans. The Oilers did nothing special that made the crowd more involved or boisterous in the playoffs. It is up the crowd. You will need a select group of fans who start cheers/chants and that is the only way the regular season atmosphere will improve.
Robin Brownlee:
I’m probably not the right demo for this question. I don’t care about playlists, the obligatory boom box bumpa-thumpa in most rinks and the need to have some form of noise during every play stoppage. Win games, play entertaining hockey even when you lose, provide good food and beverage service and value for the dollar in those areas and you’re on your way.
Cam Lewis:
I really liked that the Avs turned into some kind of 2000s karaoke during their playoff run. Playing classic sing-along songs rather than aggressively intense EDM music might be good for the vibe of the crowd at Oilers games.
Baggedmilk:
I want more of the bumpa-thumpa Brownlee was talking about. Bumpa-thumpa for everybody, I say.
Jun 2, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) scores on a shot against Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) and defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) defends in the second period in game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
4) Allen asks – I’ve been watching the Avalanche a lot during the playoffs and I’ve noticed their speed on defence a whole lot, which makes me wonder what everyone thinks the Oilers need to upgrade on their roster and what they have too much of?
Jason Gregor:
They need to improve their size and speed on the blueline.
Robin Brownlee:
A lot of teams look slow compared to Colorado. Speed is always a useful upgrade. No difference here. They need an upgrade in goal. They need the kind of numbers from Jesse Puljujarvi that actually show up on the score sheet. They need an encore from Zach Hyman.
Cam Lewis:
More scoring when Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl aren’t on the ice, a blueline that’s more mobile, and more consistent goaltending.
Baggedmilk:
I’d love to see an upgrade on defence, but I think every team would probably say that. The time is now, and Ken Holland needs to find a way to make this team better.
5) Turner asks – Right now, the 29th-ranked pick in the draft is Ryan Chesley, a defender from the US National Development Program (which has given us Trevor Zegras, Cole Caulfield, Jack Hughes, and, well…Auton Matthews). He’s dropped a bit because his offense has tapered off…but his defending has grown by leaps and bounds. If he’s still around when the Oilers draft, do we take him, and throw another talented D-man into the hopper, then trade a prospect like Samorukov or Broberg as part of a big deal…or, knowing we have plenty of kids marinating in the AHL, trade the pick? Does that make it easier? (For the record, the 28th and 30th ranked players don’t seem that appealing.)
Jason Gregor:
I’m curious how you can say players aren’t that appealing? Have you watched them regularly? Craig Button has Connor Geekie ranked 29th on his list. He is 6’3”, 195-pound centreman who scored 24 goals and 70 points in 63 games as a 17-year-old in the WHL. Virtual identical stats that Ryan McLeod had (and McLeod was a year older). To be drafted in the first round means you are one of the best 32 players in your age group in the world at the time. That is impressive. Suggesting none are appealing is rather insulting IMO.
The truth is the scouts who spend hours watching these players won’t know for certain how well they will transfer to the NHL. But whether it is Geekie, Noah Ostlund, Jimmy Snuggerud, Jagger Firkus, Gleb Trikozov, Calle Odelius Tristan Luneau, Luca Del Bel Belluz, Chelsey or other players ranked around there all of them have potential and are appealing.
Based on the recent past draft history for the Oilers, I think they will look for a scoring forward or a D-man who can skate, has good puck skills, and has size. I do not see them trading Broberg because they draft a D-man 29th overall. The draft pick won’t be helping them for a few seasons at least, while they feel Broberg is NHL ready now.
Robin Brownlee:
No idea. His ranking varies depending on what service or outlet you’re looking at. I don’t know the kid. Are you really talking about trading Broberg as part of a “big deal” based on what Chesley might be? He’s outside the first round on some lists. I don’t know where the Oilers have him ranked.
Cam Lewis:
The Oilers need cheap talent constantly coming through their system and the first-round pick is their only pick in the top 100 this year so it won’t be moved unless it’s to move down and stockpile more draft picks. I’m sure Ken Holland will entertain the 2023 first-round pick in trade talks, whether that happens in the off-season or around the trade deadline is hard to say.
Baggedmilk:
The Oilers don’t pick until the fifth round after 29th overall so if Holland is going to trade that pick, I’d bet it’ll be for more selections later in the draft. Book it.

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