Just because I like to live a life filled with fantasy, (must be the years of losing that required me to develop a vivid imagination) I thought it would be fun to see what a roster would look like made up of all Oilers past and present, that are still active in the NHL.
*[CURRENT TEAM IN SQUARE BRACKETS] - BLANK IF CURRENT OILER
1a - Cam Talbot (2017 stats: GP 73 WINS 42 GAA 2.39 SV% 0.919)
1b - Devan Dubnyk [MIN] (2017 stats: GP 65 WINS 40 GAA 2.25 SV% 0.923)
There is not a wealth of Oilers, past or present, that are still active. We finally have a bonafide starter which is something we were starving for. Talbot is a big reason why the Oilers are contenders today. Dubnyk when he was here had flashes of brilliance but never developed the confidence to be the goaltender he is today. Now he is Vezina quality and has really polished his game.
Left - Oscar Klefbom (2017 stats: GP 82 POINTS 38 PIM 6)
Right - Adam Larsson (2017 stats: GP 79 POINTS 19 PIM 55)
There are some other options from previous regime defencemen but I like the Swedish duo of Klefbom and Larsson. Larsson brought the promised stay at home, shutdown, reliable defence. And Klefbom, who was now relieved of some weight he previously shouldered defensively, was able to evolve his game. He found his offence and legs knowing that Larsson had his back.
Left - Andrej Sekera (2017 stats: GP 80 POINTS 35 PIM 18)
Right - Justin Schultz [PIT] (2017 stats: GP 78 POINTS 51 PIM 34)
Schultz was a player in Edmonton that was expected to do too much right out of the gate. He showed the offensive flair early but was pushed too early into positions that made him a liability. If only he was utilized in less minutes with offensive zone starts and powerplay time. If only there was a 2017 Klefbom and Larsson ahead of him to protect him. Sekera is a balanced player that can provide some stability and allow someone like Schultz to jump up with his offensive touches.
Left - Darnell Nurse (2017 stats: GP 44 POINTS 11 PIM 33)
Right - Jeff Petry [MTL] (2017 stats: GP 80 POINTS 28 PIM 22)
Petry was one of my favourite defencemen when he was an Oiler. He struggled a bit in Montreal the first season he was there but has since found his game again. He's a great defensive defencemen. Darnell Nurse is good in a third pairing environment and a partner like Petry would allow him to gain confidence and develop his offense. I like that he has some bark and some bite.
Just missed the cut - Kris Russell, Brandon Davidson, Matt Benning, Adam Clendening.
Left - Taylor Hall [NJD] (2017 stats: GP 72 G 20 A 33 POINTS 53)
Center - Connor McDavid (2017 stats: GP 82 G 30 A 70 POINTS 100)
Right - Leon Draisatl (2017 stats: GP 82 G 29 A 48 POINTS 77)
OMG. Imagine if Hall had stayed and this was the first line. I cried real man tears when Hall was traded. He was my favourite player of the non-McDavid/Draisatl era. A line like this, in an imaginary world where hall never left, would be one scary scary line to play against.
Left - Milan Lucic (GP 82 G 23 A 27 POINTS 50)
Center - Sam Gagner [CBJ] (GP 81 G 18 A 32 POINTS 50)
Right - Jordan Eberle (GP 82 G 20 A 31 POINTS 51)
Eberle has been a polarizing player this season but he still puts up points at an elite rate. Gagner when he left was looking like he was on a steep decline but has since found a second wind. And Lucic was a solid reliable pick up providing a big body. He is a little lazy bearish at times but is still a solid hockey player. This line would be a secondary scoring line with a different feel.
Left - David Perron [STL] (GP 82 G 18 A 28 POINTS 46)
Center - Ryan Nugent Hopkins (GP 82 G 18 A 25 POINTS 43)
Right - Tobias Reider [ARI] (GP 80 G 16 A 18 POINTS 34)
This would be your scoring line without the heavy matchups. I was totally against the trade of Reider for Kyle Kessey. They traded Reider because they want someone bigger and pooptier apparently. Why they were so hung up on size regardless of play is stupid. Somehow adding a few inches and pounds automatically made a team better. The return for Perron I thought was good. This would be a deadly line though if it didn't need to worry about matchups.
Left - Patrick Maroon (GP 81 G 27 A 15 POINTS 42)
Center - Mark Letestu (GP 78 G 78 G 16 A 19 POINTS 35)
Right - Kyle Brodziak [STL] (GP 69 G 8 A 7 POINTS 15)
Letestu found sound offence on the powerplay but still played a good fourth line game and Maroon apparently found a pot of gold of offence a lot of which was contributed to having McDavid feeding him and distracting others. Brodziak was a solid fourth liner for St Louis even if he was an offensive player. A heavy fourth line that can actually contribute and play but would can be used in a limited manner.
Just missed the cut - Zack Kassian, Andrew Cogliano, Jason Chimera, Adam Cracknell, Ales Hemsky, Chris Vandevelde, Nail Yakupov, Drake Caggiula, Magnus Paajarvi.
So that was my fun time wasting exercise. I'm surprised at the number of current Oilers that made my final cut. It really makes me excited and confident about our team next year. I think they have a very real chance of contending. I hope Chiarelli and crew make some smart moves to make the little tweaks needed to bring this team all the way.
Who would you take out and put in instead. Did I miss someone major, it's possible, I'm writing from New Zealand and catching games here is a bit difficult with the time differences.
Let's go Oilers.