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Monday Mailbag – Winners and Losers from the NHL Draft and first days of free agency

alt
baggedmilk
11 months ago
Happy Monday, Nation Citizens, and welcome to another fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and break down all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at winners and losers from the NHL Draft, the Yamo/Kostin trade, free agency, and a whole lot more. If you’ve 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.
Jun 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; The draft order before the 2023 NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
1) Blake asks – Who were your winners and losers from the NHL Entry Draft?
Jason Gregor:
Too early to say who are losers, but Chicago is clearly a winner with Connor Bedard. I’m curious to see how the top-two Arizona picks do.
Robin Brownlee:
The Chicago Blackhawks. Once you get past Bedard at No. 1 and arguably a couple of other guys — Carlsson with Anaheim and Fantilli with Columbus — it’ll take at least 2-3 years to figure out who won and who lost.
Liam Horrobin:
Chicago is an easy winner considering they got Connor Bedard and then also Oliver Moore in the 1st round. I’ll say the Edmonton Oilers were a loser. Not because the players they got are bad but just that they only had three picks in such a deep draft.
Baggedmilk:
To be a little bit different, I’m going to go with Philly for landing Matvei Michkov. I know he’s still got a few years left on his deal in Russia but that kid could be the steal of the draft.
Dec 13, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Klim Kostin (21) flips the puck forward against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
2) Terry asks – Yamamoto and Kostin were traded for future considerations, and my question is whether everyone felt that cap space alone was a fair return for those two assets?
Jason Gregor:
Yes. Detroit acquired Kostin and decided to take Yamamoto and buy him out. I like Kostin, but taking $3.1m off the Oilers hands is a deal I’d make every day.
Robin Brownlee:
More than fair, given the situation.
Liam Horrobin:
Adding another pick would’ve been great but to be honest is there a big difference between a 6th or 7th-round prospect to future considerations?
Baggedmilk:
I hate it. I get it, but I hate it. Had the cap not stayed flat then I bet Kostin would still be here but these are the decisions you have to make when you get only $2 million of movement in the last four years.
Oct 5, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Connor Brown (28) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
3) Trent asks – By the time this gets posted, we’ll be through the first couple days of free agency. What was the best deal on day one, and what do you think is the worst?
Jason Gregor:
Matt Duchene one year at $3m was the best. Justin Holl three years at $3.4m to Detroit was a stunner.
Robin Brownlee:
I really like the Connor Brown signing by the Oilers because of the terms of the deal. It’s a good bet. I think the Maple Leafs got sucked in by signing Ryan Reaves to a three-year deal at $4.05 million. Not a ton of money, but he’s 36 and he’s a tough guy too often left without a job to do in today’s NHL.
Liam Horrobin:
Blake Wheeler to the New York Rangers for $800K was an absolute steal. The worst might be Alex Killorn to the Anaheim Ducks – it’s a lot of money for a guy who is now 33 years old.
Baggedmilk:
Love the Connor Brown signing here in Edmonton, that rocks. Around the league, I like JVR to Boston for $1 million, Blake Wheeler to NYR for $800K.
Apr 11, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes right wing Jesse Puljujarvi (13) skates with the puck against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
4) @OilersPain asks – Hindsight being 2023, and since a couple of seasons ago, a lot of people viewed these guys as borderline untouchable or really good, how do you feel about Yamo, Jesse, Bear, and Jones not being qualified?
Jason Gregor:
They are who I thought they were when moved. Jones and Bear are third pairing defenders on non-playoff teams. Puljujarvi was never a top six despite his biggest supporters. When healthy he could be a third liner. Same with Yamamoto. Both complementary forwards who benefitted from playing with McDavid and Draisaitl.
Robin Brownlee:
I’m not sure many people had any of these guys being borderline untouchable, but there was way too much hoopla by some about how great Puljujarvi was based on one season of really good underlying numbers. Now, two double-hip surgeries. I think he’s done in the NHL. Yamamoto looked promising during his 20-goal season, but he’s a small man trying to play a big man’s game and there’s wear and tear on him already. Bear can’t stay healthy. As for Jones, I was never as high on him as some were.
Liam Horrobin:
I feel like it’s just unfortunate because all of them have shown promise in their careers. Hopefully, they can all land on their feet and continue to progress.
Baggedmilk:
First of all, how dare you. Second, I was hoping Jesse would be the RW solution for this team for 10+ years but it just didn’t work out. As for the others, I’m not going to dance on anyone’s grave. I like Yamo a lot as a player because he’s hard on pucks and likes to get in the fight but he’s a small dude. I feel for Ethan Bear because he can’t seem to stay healthy. Caleb Jones is what it is.
5) Pat asks – Edmonton had only three picks in what was said to be a very deep draft. How do you think they did despite the lack of selections?
Jason Gregor:
Their second round pick was well received from scouts I spoke to. They think Beau Akey could be a solid player. The 6th and 7th rounders, regardless of any year, are going to be long shots. Goalies are very difficult to project. Day started the season very well, had a lull, and then played well and took the starter job in the playoffs. Matt Copponi is entering his third year in NCAA and in the 7th round why not. I’d rather draft a 19 year old player who teams have a better read on what he might be than a player who just finished his 17-year-old year.
Robin Brownlee:
Who knows? A lot of pundits like Beau Akey from Barrie at 56. As for the other two, they were taken 184th and 216th. Anybody who says they know how they’ll turn out isn’t telling the truth.
Liam Horrobin:
Beau Akey is a player that has a bright future and looks like he is a very exciting player. Matt Copponi has a high work ethic so perhaps he can make it some day. I was surprised they took a goaltender in round six. It felt a little unnecessary considering they have four goaltenders in the organization under 25 years old.
Baggedmilk:
I wish I had an answer for you, but the reality is that I’m completely checked out from the draft these days so I’ll just have to trust the scouts here. We shall see.

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