Craig MacTavish has made some interesting moves this past year. Some good (Perron, Scrivens, Fasth, Hendricks) and some meh but safe (Fraser). MacTavish knows we have to shore up the defense and change the top 6. But will he do anything about it?
Hemsky stated, as all Oiler fans have, we cannot keep playing merry-go-round in the bottom 6 and bottom pairing. If we do, hello McDavid! Could we use some additions in the bottom 6? For sure, but that's free agency where we should be spending to the cap.
Trade Chips: Gagner, Eberle, Yakupov, 2014 1st, 2015 1st, 2015 2nd, Klefbom, and Marincin.
Needs: Big 2nd line 2 way centre, top 4 left hand shot defenseman, bottom pairing right hand shot defenseman, big wingers to fill the lineup, 3rd line center. Not too many holes....
Here is what I would do if I was Mac T,
Gagner needs a fresh start. Plain and simple. He has great vision but lacks defensive acumen. He isn't big, not exactly light though, but has excellent passing. He doesn't skate well but he works hard. I hope some of the lower scoring teams have interest in Gagner at the draft. 2 years reminaing at 4.8 isn't ideal but it won't break your team.
I see Nashville, Carolina, New Jersey, annd Detroit as potential suitors. Nashville needs scoring, Carolina is looking for a shakeup, New Jersey just because, and Detroit has aging vets and new rookies (Gagner is a young vet).
Whoever we trade Gagner too, we won't win the trade. So we need to take a bit of a risk and try and fill a hole.
Gagner for Riley Sheahan + 2014 2nd
Weiss isn't working out well in Detroit and Gagner gives them a young vet to fill the 2C role or play RW with Datsyuk/Zetterberg where his shortcomings will be masked and his offensive prowess will be accentuated. Sheahan gives Edmonton a big 3rd line Centre who could slide into the top 6 in time. For those who don't know, Sheahan was the runner up for the CCHA defensive forward award. The risk is, he remains a third liner. To me its going after a cheap Jordan Staal-lite.
The much debated 2014 1st, what to do, what to do. The options are to trade it now, draft Ekblad, or draft Draisaitl.
I would use the pick to draft a player here. Assuming the Oilers remain at the 2nd overall pick, I take Draisaitl. He is a 6'2 and 210lb center that can push his way into the hard areas to make plays. 105 points this year and with his size, he is NHL ready however I'd send him back for another year after his 9 game stint.
Oh Em Gee, you passed on Ekblad? Yep. I've stated before, I was not impressed with Ekblad. I will admit, my only viewings are at the World Juniors but I've done reading and listening to other prospect experts. Some of the things they said are what I also noticed at the World Jr's. Mark Edwards stated he is prone to defensive mistakes such as positioning and is more of an offensive defenseman than a defensive one. Great shot and beard though! I noticed him jumping into the play at incorrect times in the tourney but was able to recover due to his skating. Will he be able to do that at the NHL? He also plays smaller than he is.
To me the safe pick is Draisaitl and it is a need for the Oilers. BIG CENTER.
2015 1st round pick:
This may be intriguing for some GM's as they could safely bet the Oilers failing again and finishing near the bottom. This would give them a great shot at McDavid, the first generational talent since Crosby.
Eberle + 2015 1st + Klefbom + both 2015 2nds (from Det above) for McDonagh + JT Miller
Oilers get a top pairing Dman and a big gritty winger/center. The real explaining I need to do is why would New York make this trade? They just traded their captain, they signed Girardi, still have Staal, McIlrath is coming. They need more young scoring. St. Louis is great but how many years does he have left? After St. Louis, Eberle would be leading them in scoring. They also get a potential top 4 guy in Klefbom and an additional shot at McDavid.
Sign Kulemin for a defensive forward with a great release. Could be a 20-20 guy here.
Sign Goc for more centre depth.
Sign Winnik for more grit
Take a run at Markov.
I didn't do the cap calculations but we save money on the Eberle deal and the Gagner deal.
Hall Nuge Kulemin
Miller Goc Yakupov
Winnik Sheahan Perron
Hendricks Gordon Pitlick
Having Miller in the top 6 is a risk but he is showing he can score in the AHL but he adds size and can win puck battles on the boards. Can also slide in the middle too if things need a shakeup. So winning puck battles + Goc's 2 way play/faceoffs + Yakupov getting open could be chemistry. If Miller doesn't work, he will have value to move for a more experienced winger.
This leaves Nurse and Draisaitl developing at a correct pace and hopefully gets us close to the playoffs. Nurse would eventually replace Markov and Draisaitl would replace Goc. I feel like this team makes us harder to play against and has our future in order with young big players like Nurse, Miller, Draisaitl, Moroz, and Greg Chase.