Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson has made it clear that Peter Chiarelli will continue as General Manager. Peter Chiarelli has made it clear that he needs to make this team better. He also made it clear that his first-round pick in this years draft could very well be available. “At some point yes I would put that pick in play, it would have to make sense,” said Chiarelli on Wednesday.
Let’s start with this; does it make sense to move the pick at all? The only reason I would hesitate to move the pick is because another expansion draft is looming. It may be poor asset management to move a pick that will become an exempt asset for a player that will need to be protected. While you contemplate that, I’m going to lay out the only three options I see making sense for the Oilers.  I wanted to put together a list of five or ten names but in the end, if it’s not one of these three guys then you are probably just wasting your time. 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Contract: $5,500,000 (UFA 2019)
He doesn’t shoot right but Chiarelli seemed to be ok with that when he was talking about the need for an offensive presence on the back end. Not to mention, his name has been in the rumour mill for over a year at this point. To put it bluntly, Ekman-Larsson would be the best defenseman this team has had since Pronger left town.
Suggested Deal:
To Arizona: Oscar Klefbom, EDM 1st in 2018
To Edmonton: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Larsson is a UFA at the end of next season but the Oilers would have time to get him signed to a long-term deal.
Projected Blueline:
Larsson – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Sekera – Benning

Tyson Barrie

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Contract: $5,500,000 (UFA 2020)
I know there have been constant rumblings that Tyson Barrie could be available for the right price but he is now coming off a career year. Barrie had 57 points in 68 games for the Avalanche this season, that’s good enough for second in the league in points per game among defensemen behind only Erik Karlsson.  Would the Avs still be willing to move him?
Barrie checks off a number of the boxes for the Oilers.
26-years old. Check.
Right Shot. Check.
Can run a power-play. Check.
I tried to make a deal work financially without including Klefbom but I couldn’t get the job done without moving him. 
Suggested Deal:
To Colorado: Oscar Klefbom, EDM 1st in 2018
To Edmonton: Tyson Barrie, Matt Nieto, COL 3rd in 2018
Projected Blueline:
Sekera -Larsson
Russell – Benning

Justin Faulk

Contract: $4,833,333 (UFA 2020)
You have to think there will be significant changes in Carolina this off-season and it’s something the Oilers need to take advantage of. Faulk will most certainly come at a more reasonable price tag than any of the other defensemen we have talked about. The Hurricanes have enough top end talent on the backend to move Faulk. He does have some issues defensively but that’s something the Oilers will have to live with at this point.
Suggested Deal:
To Carolina: EDM 1st in 2018, Matt Benning
To Edmonton: Justin Faulk, CAR 3rd in 2019 and Derek Ryan’s negotiating rights.
Projected Blueline:
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Faulk
Sekera – Russell
If you are able to sign Derek Ryan before he becomes a UFA, like my friend Bob Stauffer has always wanted, it gives you some flexibility with Strome. Could open up something like this for next season.
Nuge – McDavid – Rattie/Grabner as UFA
Strome – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi
Lucic – Ryan – Aberg
Caggiula – Khaira – Kassian
I’m sorry; I couldn’t get through this piece without throwing some projected forward lines into the mix just for fun. Having Ryan and Strome has options for third line centre would really open up even more combinations for McLellan, not sure if that’s good or bad at this point.


Personally, I think the pick should be moved for scoring help on the wing but it sure seems like the General Manager is, for some reason, more concerned with his blueline.
The Oilers have been looking for an offensive defenseman since before Chiarelli took over and for that reason alone I’m not sure he can drop the puck on another season without one.
Could Dougie Hamilton be a sleeper out of Calgary? Would the Sens finally be willing to move Cody Ceci and if they do does he even have offensive upside at this level?
If the Oilers don’t move up in the lottery I’d be surprised if they keep their pick and at this point, it seems like a defenseman is the likely target if they do plan on moving it. Buckle up.


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