On this, the eve of compliance buyout season, I thought I would put my Edmonton Oilers summer addition wishlist in writing. I’m going to keep contract extensions off the following list, but it should be noted that signing extensions at reasonable price points, for Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry especially, will be high on management’s to-do list as well.
Edmonton Oilers Off-Season Wishlist: Free Agency, Trades, and the Entry Draft
Also keep in mind that the following represents an ideal but realistic scenario for me, and while I’d love to see each of these moves get done, that’s probably still wishful thinking.
1) Bring in Kulemin and Grabovski
Rumour has it these two would like to be a package deal this UFA season and I hope the Oilers get in on the action. I wrote about Kulemin in-depth here already, touching on his role change under Randy Carlyle and how that transition affected his overall game and offensive production especially.
Kulemin and Grabovski as two-thirds of a tough-minutes second line would be a huge step forward for this Oilers team.
2) Sign Daniel Winnik or David Moss to complete the checking line
I also wrote about Winnik and Moss on this blog, and I really like former as a possible addition for the copper and blue. If the Oilers checking line is to consist of Boyd Gordon at centre and Matt Hendricks at leftwing, then there is the logistical problem of having either Hendricks or Winnik play their off-wing on the right side. A quick Google search revealed that there are some reports of the ducks trying Winnik at right at certain points during the season—if anyone can confirm or deny, please do let me know—but at this point, I would still list the addition as an imperfect fit position-wise.
David Moss could be a slightly better fit in that he is a RW, but I worry that his best years may be behind him, and would hate to see the Oilers sign a declining player to a longer-term UFA deal (though that’s usually the theme of UFA season, isn’t it?).
3) Draft Leon Draisaitl or Sam Bennett
I’m of the belief that Aaron Ekblad will be gone before the Oilers take the podium on June 27. That means that the Oilers will be left to draft one of the three top centres. While I think they would be happy to welcome any of Draisaitl, Bennett, or Reinhart to the organization, I think the two names I’ve mentioned above are the best fit for this team going forward.
I’ve been waffling on which one of Bennett or Draisaitl I’d rather see join the Oilers, and to tell you the truth I’m still on the fence. I’ve written about both of them on this blog already. See Bennett here and Draisaitl here and here.
Maybe I’m reading into Dallas Eakins’ comments at the draft combine a little too much, but I do feel like Edmonton might be leaning towards Bennett if what he said is any reflection of the organization’s plans on draft day. You can read more about that here.
It’s all going to come down to who is still on the table at number three.
4) Trade Sam Gagner for 2014 picks or in a package for Double-Dion
Many Oilers fans cringe at the prospect of Double-Dion Phaneuf suiting up in the City of Champions, but I’m with Lowetide in thinking that he would instantly make this team better.
Would Sam Gagner, Martin Gernat, and a mid-to-late round pick do it? Would that be an over-payment? An under-payment? I can’t say for sure.
I still feel the most likely scenario for Gagner is that we see him dealt at the draft for a pair of mid-round picks—most likely a second and a fourth. Though a second and a third would be ideal, giving the Oilers picks in both those rounds, that might be asking for the moon.
5) If Double-Dion doesn’t come to town, then get a top-pairing defenseman any which way you can, MacT
Matt Niskanen and Andrei Markov are the cream of the crop when it comes to UFA defenders. Names like Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian, and Double-D have been mentioned in trade rumours ad nauseam.
The bottom line is that the Oilers desperately need a minute-munching pillar on the back end, a top pairing guy, and this upcoming off-season will go down as a failure for MacTavish and the Oilers front office if they can’t bring one in.
Hall – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Kulemin – Grabovski – Yakupov
Perron – Bennett/Draisaitl – Arcobello
Hendricks – Gordon – Winnik/Moss
Gazdic – Lander
Phaneuf - Schultz
Marincin – Petry
Klefbom - Ference
Is this line up a realistic goal? A pipe dream? Does it make the Oilers any better, or more importantly, good enough to contend for a spot in the post-season?
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