Thursday, May 11, 2017

Oil Change

The Edmonton Oilers are coming off their most successful season in 11 years, making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, when they made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Carolina Hurricanes.  The Hurricanes haven't fared much better since, making it back to the post season only once in that same time period, reaching the conference finals in 2009.  Yet, it won't be a off-season of doing nothing for Oilers' supreme boss, Peter Chiarelli.

Just a couple of years ago, the Oilers were built around three players: Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  Hall and Nugent-Hopkins were taken 1st overall, while Eberle was 22nd.  They were suppose to bring the Oilers back to the playoffs sooner.  That it didn't happen was completely their fault, as previous GMs failed to surround them with enough depth, especially on defense.  That has all change in 2017.  So has their roles.

Hall is already gone, traded away to New Jersey on June 29, 2016, otherwise known as "The Day", when PK Subban was also swapped to Nashville for Shea Weber by Montreal, and Steven Stamkos chose to remain in Tampa Bay.  Are Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins next?  Both have a price tag of $6 million per; money that could and will be needed to spent elsewhere.  Neither player made noise during the post season.  Eberle recorded a measely 2 assists, while Nugent-Hopkins had 4 helpers.  Their regular season performances were better compared to the playoffs.

As far as I'm concerned, the Oilers have moved on and are squarely built around Connor McDavid (no kidding), Milan Lucic, Leon Draisaitl, Adam Larsson (who the Oilers got in the Hall trade), Oscar Klefbom, and Cam Talbot.  Other players such as Mark Letestu and Patrick Maroon have seemed to have moved past the former 1st round draft picks.  Trading one or both might be necessary for both team and player.

Leon Draisaitl is a restricted free agent come Canada Day.  The German center is going to get a hefty raise following the year he had in both the regular season and playoffs.  He finished second in team scoring during the regular season with 29 goals and 77 total points, playing in all 82 games.  In he playoffs, he lead the way with 6 goals and 16 points.

In 2018, Connor McDavid is set to become a RFA.  But, the Oilers could offer him an extension this summer.  Don't be surprised if it happens or if McDavid becomes a $100 million dollar man.  Whatever he signs for, it will make him one of the richest players in league history.

Chiarelli will be busy this summer.  Or should, at least.  Seeing how the Larsson-Hall trade worked out, I doubt there will be as much scorn if Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins gets traded this summer, though there still may be the same level of disbelief.

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