Draft Speculation: The Edmonton Oilers

As sorry as the Flames were this year, they laid some real beatdowns on their longtime rivals in both Vancouver and Edmonton. However, the hated foes get the last (technically first) laugh at the 2016 draft, “earning” the opportunity to draft ahead of the Flames at #4 and #5.

When the Oilers step up at #4, there’s going to be a lot of collateral damage for the Flames. Based on what the Oilers and Canucks want, it could certainly prevent what the Flames choose on draft day. Over the next few days, we’re going to try and decode almost all of the plausible moves for the Canadian Pacific rivals, and how they impact the Flames’ decision at #6.

1. Use the pick…

1a. … on a defenceman.

WIthout the first overall pick, the Oilers can’t have the clear cut, next best thing to screw up. Instead, at #4, they can (theoretically) improve some of their weaker points instead of simply taking the generational talent. With a very weak defensive corps in regards to both the NHL level and the prospect depth chart, and the best spot to nab the best defenceman in the draft, the Oilers could look to take a defenceman.

The main debate is between Jakob Chychrun and Olli Juolevi, with Mikhail Sergachev receiving small consideration as a third option. There are two problems here. The first is that the consensus says that regardless of which defenceman they pick, it will be a reach. Not the most efficient use of the fourth overall pick. The second issue is that despite the fact that all three are likely to be good defencemen, the onus is on the Oilers to get this exactly right. If they happen to choose wrong, like they did with Darnell Nurse (for now), the franchise is set back a few more years. At this point, they cannot afford to whiff on the draft again.

With their team still young and cheap, the Oilers are going to want to turn a corner very soon. A defenceman’s development trajectory usually takes two to three years longer than a forward’s. If they use the pick, they want a player who can make an immediate impact. That won’t be a defenceman from this draft.

1b … on a forward.

Should the Oilers keep the pick, this is the most likely option. With Nail Yakupov likely on the move and whispers of Taylor Hall joining him, the Oilers will have to replace their young forwards with an even younger face. Their centre depth (McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl) is solid already, so they’re likely looking for a winger. With the first pick of the second tier of forwards, the Oilers will likely go with Pierre-Luc Dubois, but don’t count out the possibility of Matthew Tkachuk.

Dubois is probably the #1 on the Oilers’ draft list (barring any surprises from Winnipeg or Columbus) due to his production. However, they may feel that he may not be as effective a winger as Tkachuk and may hand the jersey to the London Knight. Despite his reputation as a passenger on an elite OHL line, the Oilers have a few really good players that he can group up with. Stepping into the right situation, Tkachuk’s flaws can be easily overlooked.

There remains the reality that drafting a forward will most likely not solve the Oilers’ problems. As it has been in previous years, applying a fresh bandaid has not stopped the bleeding. If Hall, Yak, the Nuge, and/or McDavid have not turned things around, how will one more forward help?

How does this impact the Flames?

As we’ll explore in more depth tomorrow, whoever Edmonton (or a surprise team) picks will impact Vancouver’s pick heavily, which in turn impacts Calgary’s pick. Also without a clear cut choice, the Canucks are willing to let the Oilers decide for them. Whatever the Canucks decide has a drastic impact on what the Flames will likely do. Stay tuned for tomorrow.

2. Trade the pick

The dangerous thing about the Oilers (besides their entire existence) is the fact that they may just be a few pieces away from a realistic shot at that the playoffs. Should they play their cards right in the off-season, they could have something besides an absolute mess to show for themselves.

As previously mentioned, the Oilers will probably not turn the corner if they actually use the #4 pick. It truly holds more value to the team when it’s not actually in their hands. What the Oilers need are NHL players; more specifically, NHL defencemen (right-handed, preferably). If they want to improve now, they’re going to swap fourth overall for said defenceman and then some.

A name that has constantly been connected to the Oilers is Travis Hamonic. The Islanders blueliner is almost certainly being traded after requesting a move back to Western Canada earlier this season, and the Oilers seem willing to pay the price. Hamonic has a very favourable contract, going for the same term as T.J. Brodie, but at about $800,000 less. He’s been a solid producer for the Isles, and could anchor the inept Oilers defence.

The problem is more so the price and whether or not NYI actually wants to deal. Hamonic plus the Islanders’ first for #4 seems too imbalanced in favour of the Isles, but anything more from NYI would probably be too much. The Islanders are already a very good team; they don’t need fourth overall. If the Oilers want more than Hamonic and the Isles’ first, Garth Snow will be perfectly fine holding out. The Oilers keep their pick.

So can Calgary get in on it?

It’s unlikely. The right handed NHL defenders the Flames would certainly be willing to part with are Dennis Wideman and Deryk Engelland. Neither of them are close to Hamonic in age, talent, or contract value. It is pretty much impossible.

If you’re holding out for that little bit of hope, there are two things that work to the Flames’ advantage. In any deal involving #4, the Oilers probably want a first round pick back as well. The Flames have #6, while the Isles could have a pick in the late teens/early-to-mid twenties. With speculation from Elliotte Friedman about the Oilers’ interest in Wideman (no. 22), perhaps they take him plus a few other pieces to let the Flames move up two spots.

For the Oilers, the difference between #4 and #6 is not very meaningful. Perhaps they could still get Tkachuk at #6 (Nylander also isn’t a bad consolation prize), if not, Chychrun would be a more acceptable pick at that number. They would get an NHL defender, something extra, and a good prospect. The Flames would get their preferred choice (screwing over Vancouver in the process), likely Dubois, while jettisoning some burdensome pieces. It’s a win-win.

Though it’s still extremely unlikely. Wideman has a no-movement clause, a crappy contract, and a dwindling prime. Peter Chiarelli is certainly more competent than Oilers regimes previous, and he is probably well aware that the Dennis Wideman he traded for nearly 10 years ago isn’t the same Dennis Wideman today.

Most Likely Outcome:

The Oilers will keep the pick and select Dubois. I think we’ll hear a lot of noise leading up to the draft, but none of it will pan out. Unlike picks #1-3, there’s not a lot worth sacrificing for many teams to get the #4 pick from the Oilers.

  • Christian Roatis

    Sounds like Juolevi is getting serious consideration ahead of Chychrun from everywhere, which is mildly surprising. Both D shoot left, which the Oilers have no shortage of so maybe they forgo the opportunity to shore up a huge organizational weakness, but I just can’t buy it yet.

    Dubois, Tkachuk and Nylander aren’t that much ahead of the two – if at all in Nylander’s case – so while you can call it a reach, it’s hardly anything to get excited about. Maybe this belief exists because I want one of Dubois or Tkachuk to slip to 6 😀

  • Stu Cazz

    You know you have the Oilers eating out of your hands when they set their off season drafting strategy on what the Flames will/will not do…..ps. you heard it here first…Flames going to draft Logan Brown at #4!

  • Juan Valdez

    Seems highly unlikely the Flames trade up with a division rival.

    Only team I can see them trading up with is Columbus and pretty sure Columbus would be asking for Mikael Backlund in return since they need a centre.

      • T&A4Flames

        Seriously, they may ask for Mony or Bennett but that’s not likely. If…and a big if, CGY considers moving one it’d likely be Bennett as Mony already has 2 years of 30/30. Bennett has already proven to be an NHL player, he was a 4th OA pick but ranked #1 by one of the leading scouting groups so his worth is more than an unproven #3 pick. We certainly wouldn’t be adding our 6th OA and I would expect more in return from CLB.

        • Completely unpopular opinion but I’d move Monahan to CBJ for 3rd + a roster player/prospect

          Yes. He’s a proven 30-30 or 60pt guy. He’s also a proven 16% SH (unsustainable), not a great skater, stickhandler, and a liability defensively. IN this game where goals are a premium perhaps it’s not worth giving up a proven centre who can score you 60pts. But I do worry that his production drops off with growing age and it drops off randomly and very fast too.

          Sometimes you gotta be ruthless make predctions and make cuts while their premium is high. Imagine having JP going forward while Monahan production falls off his just kicks in.

          Bennett is also a much better player based on his underlying numbers – right now he’s the opposite of Monahan. While Mony benefits from luck. Bennets is not benefiting from luck but as soon as those pucks start going in for him.. look out. Also mony kinda stands in his way a bit.

          • SmellOfVictory

            That’s not how SH% works. Monahan has consistently shot above 13.5% for three seasons in a row, with a career SH% of 15%; that means he’s more likely an elite shooter than someone outperforming his natural ability. Seeing the way he shoots and where he shoots from confirms this as a likely scenario. And true, he’s not the best guy on the ice defensively, but he’s also 21 years old – it’s not like he’s going to plateau at this age. As far as Puljujarvi, he’s currently magic beans as far as I’m concerned; maybe he ends up being Marian Hossa 2.0, or maybe he ends up as Michael Frolik 2.0. I’d rather hold onto Monahan than risk everything on a kid who could easily end up the worse player.

  • The Fall

    Benning has stated locally that he will take the best player available several times now – that means a forward. The Oilers pick seems completely random at this point. You’re right that Dubois is the likely pick; I can’t see much movement in the division. Especially since Tree has been stealing from Benning recently.

    What are the stats on top five picks actually moving? I’m having a hard time thinking of any since the lockout.

    ….2008 (3rd Tkchuk) 2010 (2nd Kessel)

  • Parallex

    I think the Oilers probably want to trade the pick and get blueline help… but for the life of me I can’t think of a suitable trade partner. The article talks about Hamonic but here’s the thing, the one thing that has been made clear is that Garth Snow wants to Trade Hamonic for… Hamonic. Or more accurately a player like Hamonic. The way I figure it any deal with the Oilers probably starts with Klefbom (or maybe Nurse) not the 4th overall pick.

    The way I figure it Edm best most likely play is to trade down with one of Vancouver, Calgary, Arizona to get one of 5/6/7 + extra and then use that to draft a D-man. Their top 4 woes won’t be solved with the #4 pick.

    • Backburner

      There is no way Snow is getting a straight up D for D trade for Hamonic. That’s why he held on to him for the playoffs.

      He will eventually have to take what he can get for him, although it won’t come cheap, and Snow has the all the cards.

      • Parallex

        Well… he’ll only have to take what he can get for him in the event that Hamonic presses the issue (holds out/becomes publically impatient etc.). Otherwise he doesn’t have to do anything.

        I think the broader point is that the Islanders are trying to win now so “futures” won’t get it done. Even if Snow eventually relents on his “D for D” stance he’s more likely to want Draisaitl or Hall as the centerpiece of a deal not the #4 pick.

    • Baalzamon

      The article talks about Hamonic but here’s the thing, the one thing that has been made clear is that Garth Snow wants to Trade Hamonic for… Hamonic. Or more accurately a player like Hamonic.

      This has never made sense to me. I mean, I get that Snow doesn’t want to hurt his defense corps (he doesn’t actually want to trade Hamonic after all), but any team that targets Hamonic in a trade is a team that wants a talented, established, young defenseman. Why would that team trade away the very thing they’re looking for?

      It’s about equivalent to if the Flames had traded TJ Brodie for Dougie Hamilton. Doesn’t make sense.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Why would any team bow to Snow’s obvious disadvantage. Why eould any team trade a comparable d man just to help Snow out. Myself I think it might be Eberle.

      • The GREAT Walter White

        It’s not a competition with Snow, princess, it’s a competition with the other Western teams….

        To me Eberle has negative trade value: he is not worth his contract. So I can’t see a straight across trade…..but we’ll see.

        WW

      • Parallex

        I wouldn’t trade Hamonic for Eberle even if they had similer cap hits and Eberle costs more. If the Oilers want Hamonic they’ll need to move one of Hall, Draisatle, or Klefbom. They’re not gonna get him for anything less.

        And Snow isn’t at a disadvantage. Hamonic isn’t holding out or anything.

        • EhPierre

          Hamonic actually said he’s content with playing this season with the Isles but kindly requested to be in Western Canada by September so sure Hamonic isn’t doing what Drouin did and publicly throw a tantrum but I’m sure Snow has a deadline regarding Hamonic.

  • Backburner

    The Flames and Oilers could really help each other out here… I’m sure the Flames would be willing to give Wideman away for a bag of pucks, because they need to free up some much needed cap space, and the Oil desperately need right shooting D that can skate 20 mins a night, and Wideman only has a year left on his contract.

    The Oil can beef up their D this year, but they are going to have to be a little realistic this year.

    There aren’t too many teams willing to part with an elite Defender for this years 4 overall pick.

    I’m guessing they’ll try to sign Yandle, and trade the 4th overall to the Isles for Hamonic, or to the Blues for Shattenkirk.

    As a sidebar: Does anyone see the Flames Kicking tires on Hamonic? A young right shot top four D, with that kind of contract is not high on the priority list obviously.. but does it seem like to good of an opportunity to pass up? Especially now that Russell (and hopefully Wideman) will be gone. The Flames really don’t have anyone to fill out the top 4?

    • PrairieStew

      I should hope that the Flames would try to be in on Hamonic. With the Islanders likely losing Okposo, Nielsen and Bernier to free agency, perhaps they’d like to replace them with younger guys with more cost certainty.

      I would offer Bouma and Colborne and their pick of one of Sieloff, Wotherspoon, Kulak or Culkin. If they are interested in the rights to either Mattson or Rafikov as well I’d add that in for free.

      • T&A4Flames

        Hamonic would be awesome but at this point, he’s certainly not a priority. And with the pending expansion draft, w likely would not be able to protect all of Gio, Brodir, Hamilton and Hamonic. So the cost wouldn’t be worth likely 1 year of Hamonic.

          • Baalzamon

            That’s right.

            I think there’s a provision where if the player still has junior eligibility it doesn’t count as a year of pro. For example, Kylington just played pro last year, but his ELC slid because he was still junior eligible. And it’ll slide next year too.

            In other words, I don’t think Kylington can be exposed to an expansion draft until 2019.

    • Baalzamon

      Presumably because literally the very next pick was used on Rasmus Ristolainen, who is both better and right-handed.

      In other words… the Oilers are kicking themselves. Ristolainen just had a 40 point season for the Sabres. Imagine if the Oilers had a defenseman capable of that feat.

  • FireScorpion

    I look forward to the Oilers making a mess of their pick either by trading it and losing a deal or picking what history will prove to be the worst of the top picks

  • THe Flames have more of what the Isles want/need for Hamonic.
    They could trade Kylington or Andersson + their 6th overall OR DAL pick (if it’s a first) +roster player + kylington/andersson.

    I’d be interested to see if tehre’s some sort of three way deal here between Oilers Flames and Isles that could be worked out.

    Would be pretty great as a fan.

    Crazy big Trade Idea

    To NYI – Giordano + Roster player from EDM
    To CGY – Hall + 4th overall
    To EDM – Hamonic + 6th overall + Wideman (2,000,000 retained from CGY/Roster player from NYI

    something to this effect.

    CGY goes out signs a 4/5 D in UFA
    Rolls with Dougie, TJ, Nakladal, Jokipakka, UFA D, and some combination of Kulak, Wotherspoon, Andersson/Kylington.

  • Styxx

    Edmonton could be amenable to swapping their #4 pick for #6 and RH D-men Dennis Wideman and Rasmus Andersson.

    Per Hockey’s Future “Colt’s Andersson is the best of the NHL-drafted defenders in the OHL in 2015-16”

    • Backburner

      No way Calgary gives up Andersson. He’s our best defensive prospect.

      I could see Calgary packaging #6 and Andersson maybe to the Jackets for #3.

      But that’s a risky move.

      • Styxx

        Andersson and #6 for #3 from CBJ would be better! Flames would go up to the next tier and get a “sure thing” RW who would likely be able to make the team this year.

        Speeding up the 1-3 years a #4-#6 pick would take to mature is a real issue for the Flames…they need to fully establish their core group asap and get another Top 6 (right)winger into their line up this year.

        Gotta give quality to get quality…love Andersson but he’s 2-4 years away and we have other D prospects almost ready for the 4-6 D spots.

  • OilsWell2014

    Wow and I thought us Oiler fans were delusional about how we over value our players. I wouldn’t give you a 4th round pick for Wideman much less the 4th overall… Maybe if you gave us Hamilton and we’ll talk.

    Other than that I don’t see Oil/Flames even talking. I personally hope they are able to move the pick to the Isles in a package for Hamonic. Anyways, keep dreaming. It helps to kill time here at work!!

    • Baalzamon

      Is this the post you’re referring to?

      Edmonton could be amenable to swapping their #4 pick for #6 and RH D-men Dennis Wideman and Rasmus Andersson.

      So you’re saying you wouldn’t trade a fourth rounder for an offensive defenseman, the sixth overall pick, and a top D prospect?

      Yeah. We’re the ones overvaluing our assets.

    • Cfan in Vic

      Yep, literally nobody wants Wideman. Even with only one year left on that horrible contract, he’s got a no-trade, can’t defend worth a damn, and had zero offensive mojo this season. He’s actually got tremendous negative-value. Anti-value?

  • Jeremy

    Edmonton have two trades available for them.

    Firstly to Montreal. Subban as the target. The price is Hall/Eberle + Yakupov +#32.

    The second trade is to the Islanders after they lose Okposo to free agency, or realize they won’t be resigning him. Eberle /Hall for Hamonic.

    They most likely complete both trades and keep #4 for themselves to draft a forward

      • Parallex

        No kidding.

        I don’t think either of those trades happen (to say nothing of both). Hall for Hamonic could happen I suppose but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

          • Stu Cazz

            Much like previous Oiler management I’m afraid you are over valuing the Oiler core. Given the fact (Ebbs, TH, RNH) do not make the players or team around them any better combined with their contract value you are immediately at a disadvantage….

          • Backburner

            Hamonic is actually a top 2 Defenseman.. Especially on the Oilers.

            Eberle and Hall got embarrassed this year by their own coach, and had their names dragged through the mud by the media. Their character has really been questioned.

            There are going to be 5 or 6 teams interested in Harmonic, Snow will get a lot for him.

            Bidding starts with Hall, Draisaitl or Klefbom and the 4th.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            Would you trade Bennett’s future for Hamonic?? Well if you won’t do that why in the hell would you think Edmonton would trade Draisaitl. I mean we both know how he turned out this year in comparison to Bennett!
            Not putting down Bennett but think about the trade you are actually considering!

          • Backburner

            Edmonton will have to give up something to get a top D. Look at what Columbus gave up for Jones, Calgary gave up a 1st and two 2nds (which was a steal) for Hamilton.

            The Oilers have to realize at some point you can’t hold on to your assests forever, because eventually they will depreciate.

            Think about what Hall would have got the Oilers 2 years ago..

            If the Flames didn’t have Gio, Brodie, or Hamilton.. I would expect that they would have to consider trading Monahan or Bennett for a top D.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            I don’t disagree that they have to give up to give but Draisaitl is 20 years old and looks to be a centerpiece for Edmonton for the next 10 years maybe. I don’t think Edmonton would do that deal.
            I’m to the point however that I think there is a big deal for a “true” #1 and willing to give up almost anybody other than Connor and Draisaitl to get it done.

          • MontanaMan

            Hall is overrated and has the hockey IQ of a broom. Coupled with the fact that no high end players want to go to Edmonton, you will overpay every time. Fact.

          • Kevin R

            Actually, I think Yakupov would have gotten Seguin when Bruins were bailing on Seguin. Now Yakupov has a fraction of the trade value. I would say that Eberle & the # 4 would get Hamonic & maybe their 2nd. I would do that deal if I were the Oilers & get Nurse playing with Hamonic & start building that back end around them. Klefblom & Sekera would be a decent 2nd pairing. Bottom pairing guys are easier to search for, you may even have a few candidates for that bottom pair already (Davidson)

          • Mcline

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA.

            Taylor’s got a pretty impressive resume, and has a cap hit of 6M over the next 4 years. Gaudreau is projected to get 8M+

            You’re hilarious.

    • Backburner

      I could see a potential deal there for Subban.. his no trade kicks in July 1, and the Habs could be really interested in Pierre Luc-Dubois.

      But I’m sure the conversation starts with Hall and the #4 pick.

      I really don’t think they would have any interest in Eberle, Yakupov or #32.. those are just spare parts. Their value has really dropped off a cliff this year.

  • Jeremy

    Not an Oiler fan at all. Contracts need to be moved for trade to happen.
    Subban has worn his welcome out in Mtl. His cap hit is 9 MILLION next year. Yak and Hall cost 8.5 million .

    Okposo I believe is gone from NYI as an UFA. They will need to move somebody to replace him. Eberlee has enough talent to play with Tavares.
    As we all know Hamonic wants to come to Western Canada. It’s a deal that helps all teams out.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Since the Hawks’ quick exit from the playoffs, I have had a reoccurring dream in which the Hawks trade one of Seabrook or Keith to the Oilers for Edmonton’s 1st rounder and/or one of their promising young forwards.

    I am dead certain if the Oilers do not trade their first pick for a defenseman, they will draft a defenseman unless one of the Finns is linked to ISIS and drops out of the top 3.

  • Randaman

    I can’t really take anything Christian says seriously.

    First of all, the three defense men he mentioned are all LHD. We have ten or more of those. They will draft Dubois or Brown.

    I also understand why Flams fans come to Oilers Nation to stir it up after reading some of the Oiler fans comments here. Haven’t been here for a while. All in fun, right??

    Flames suck! LOL Enjoy the dome for another 10 years losers