Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nugent-Hopkins for Duchene?


My sources tell me that Matt Duchene paid a visit to Daryl Katz' house in Edmonton today.    My gut tells me it's a swap with the Oilers having to send Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and a 2019 draft pick due to Nuge's contract being longer.  Here is the tale of the tape.  Green highlighted cells indicate advantage over the other.

Relatively even players, except Duchene is nearly 50% better than Nuge on faceoffs and Duchene was on a terrible team last season (hence the -34 +/-), but overall, he appears to be a better value than Nuge is right now and you're not locked into Nuge's salary.  It also gives you time to find and wait for Puljujarvi to take McDavid's right wing so you can slot Draisaitl back to 2C and then look at trading Duchene.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Expansion Draft Mania


We haven't had an expansion draft in a long time.  The Las Vegas Golden Knights can pick one player from each of the 30 teams.  Teams are allowed to protect either 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie, or 8 players and 1 goalie.  All 1st and 2nd year pros under contract and unsigned draftees are protected so players like McDavid, Nurse, Benning, Caggiula, Puljujarvi, Slepyshev are already protected and don't count toward the protection count.  This has left teams having to expose some vets for good or bad.  I'm not going to mention the mostly AHL players as I don't think Vegas will look at them. I'm not showing the current UFAs like Pitlick until the Oilers sign them, like they did with Pakarainen.

For the Oilers, they will protect 7-3-1:

Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic (no movement clause)
Patrick Maroon
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Jordan Eberle
Zack Kassian
Mark Letestu

Andrej Sekera (no movement clause)
Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom

Cam Talbot

Which exposes:

Benoit Pouliot - while this is who we want Vegas to take, at $4m, they won't

Jujhar Khaira - very real possibility Vegas snags him, as JJ can score, hit, take faceoffs, and I see him on the Oilers roster, essentially replacing Matt Hendricks

Iiro Pakarainen - being injured for most of the year, I doubt Vegas takes a gamble (see what I did there?)

Griffin Reinhart - surely he gets taken, as decent defensemen are rarer than bottom forwards, and Griff showed he can play

Mark Fayne - at over $3m in the AHL, not a chance Vegas take him

Laurent Brossoit - Vegas won't take him--not enough games under his belt, and I'm wondering if this was a reason he didn't play a lot, and Chiarelli actually thinks there's a real good goalie here.

This all essentially leaves the Oilers roster at:

Forwards: ~$43 million in cap with Leon taking $7m:

Patrick Maroon - Connor McDavid - Jesse Puljujarvi
Milan Lucic - Leon Draisaitl - Jordan Eberle
Drake Caggiula - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Anton Slepyshev
Benoit Pouliot - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian
Jujhar Khaira - Iiro Pakarinen

Now the question marks are on Jesse Puljujarvi, if he makes the team, does he slot in with McDavid, which is the long-term plan obviously?  Does that then push Eberle out to make $6m in cap space room?  It's possible that even if Pool Party doesn't make the team this year, Chiarelli could sign Pitlick after the expansion draft and slot him in, but his injury is a big concern.  He could also look for a UFA like Justin Williams at a lower cost, still trade Ebs and move Anton, Zack, and Iiro up a line, although I would say, not ideal.  If Khaira gets snagged, then it's likely Pitlick gets signed.

Defense:  ~$20 million in cap:

Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera (IR) - Kris Russell (UFA)
Darnell Nurse - Matt Benning
Eric Gryba (UFA)

Sekera will be out until December if all goes well with his torn ACL.  Kris Russell talks have begun but we're hearing over $4m over several years, but the Oilers don't have the cap room unless they move someone out.

The Oilers still need to find a true 2nd pair right handed puck mover at around $3m, and with Sekera injured, although it doesn't count toward the cap, Chiarelli can find a replacement rental at less than $5.5m, but what happens when Sekera returns?  My guess is the Oilers will sign Russell to a 2 year at $4m/yr then trade him when Sekera returns, but that's only if they find a true 2RHD, otherwise, they go over the cap, unless they trade Eberle.  Make sense?  Didn't think so.

Goalies:  ~$5 million in cap
Cam Talbot
Laurent Brossoit

And others like Mark Fayne bring the cap hit just under $73m, which gives the Oilers no real cap room as it stands.

These Benoit Pouliot (2 years left at $4m) and Mark Fayne (1 year left at $3.5m) contracts have really come to bite the Oilers in cap space. That's $7.5 million right there.  If somehow Chiarelli can buy out one of them, then maybe Eberle will stay on another year, but when McDavid's entry-level contract ends after next season, then you need a whole pile of cash to pay for his next big-ass contract.  And if you can't trade Pouliot at that time, you'll have to buy him out AND trade Eberle.

Then after that, you're still paying Nuge $6m to play 3rd line centre.  That's not economical either.

Essentially, MacTavish's tenure has left Chiarelli with a lot of work to do in the next while.  And I have full confidence Chiarelli will make it happen.

Let the mania begin.