Next up, I'll be tackling proven players from teams in Metropolitan division in an effort to pilfer talent from a host of the deeper teams in the league.
RD, Trevor Van Riemsdyk
A brilliant example of an under-the-radar “3rd pairing Dman” who was nothing but effective this past season. Excelled in consistent minutes against 2nd pairing-level competition (thanks to Faulk needing heavy sheltering). Rocking a team-relative +12.02 GF% the past two years despite playing with generally underwhelming partners, he's more than ready for the next step. Even if he doesn't, he'll evidently bring excellent value as a 3rd pairing guy, as well. May be hard to get him with the rumblings surrounding Faulk being the odd man out, but it may be possible thanks to the tenuous situation surrounding Carolina's management and said management's desire to get tougher. I have no idea what they'd want, though.
Cost: Benson and 2019 3rd
C/RW, Derek Ryan
Solid two-way RC that- barring substantial regression- would represent a substantial improvement on Letestu. Stylistically, he's not all that dissimilar to our much-maligned, ex-4th line C; he's got great positioning in every phase of play, he's a reasonable playmaker and has good faceoff numbers. Pretty ideal fit on a 3rd line or the anchor of a strong 4th line.
LW/RW, Matt Calvert
Boasting speed, responsible play and a solid shooting arsenal, Calvert offers an avenue for a team like to Oilers to introduce more speed and ability into their bottom-6. Adding an excellent forecheker and solid penalty-killer like him would go a good way to providing Todd the tools he'll need to get this team competing again. He's not a guy I'd commit big dollars to, but I could be enticed to offer some term in exchange for a lower cap hit (ala Pitlick).
C, Chris Wagner
He's a gritty RC with the capacity to make and take a pass. As evidenced in last year's playoff series against the Ducks, this guy can be an absolute spark plug and dish out some big hits. Under the presumption that my other deals are going through, he'd be my replacement for Kassian- except at C.
LW, Chris Kreider
With the Rangers claiming full rebuild mode around the deadline this year, there exists an opportunity to add established NHL talent at the cost of mostly expendable assets. In this case, Kreider is a valuable potential addition in both style and substance. Needless to say, his big frame is an attractive asset to a team like the Oil and, when combined with his blazing speed, offers a tantalizing combination. As Draisaitl has consistently played his best hockey when paired with good players that can back off the opposition with their speed (Merkley, Hall and McDavid), I think Kreider would fare extremely well on Leon's flank.
Cost: 2019 1st and Safin (in place of the Nyquist trade)
C/RW, Jordan Weal
Fast and talented, Weal is a prime example of an AHL-scorer turned NHL role player. He's not amazing defensively or strong on the dot but he can outscore other team's bottom-6 players and fill in on the PP if injuries strike. Slot him alongside a guy that can play the give-n-go game and you'd see a productive 4th line for the first time in years. He's a tad pricey in cap hit though, so I wouldn't give up too much.
Cost: 2019 4th
While TVR would be a great addition, I'm not convinced he'd be enough of an upgrade on Benning to justify paying the assets it would cost to acquire him. As such, I'll settle on signing Chris Wagner to a one-way deal worth 800 thousand for 2 years
Next up will be pillaging the Metro's minor league systems