Oilers have had a very busy week, numerous trades, and our Stanley Cup, the Draft.
On June 25th, the Oilers traded their 5th round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Nikita Nikitin. Oilers then signed Nikitin on June 26th to a 2 year, 4.5 million dollar contract. Nikitin put up 2-13-15 in 66 games played in the 2013-2014 season. His career high is 7-25-32 in 54 games played in the 2011-2012 season.
I like this trade/deal. Oilers have a lot of cap space so they can throw this money around, it may not be for the best player, but it still fills a gap at defense that has been a problem for quite some time. Nikitin is also a two way defender; he has a defense mind but can still put up a decent amount of points. Plus he adds experience to the back end of the Oilers.
Next, there was the Draft. Oilers picked third overall, and although there was speculation that there could have been a trade to move the pick, Oilers decided to keep it.
Leon Draisatil was picked third overall. Draisatil is a 6’2, 209lb, Playmaker from Cologne, Germany. He played for the Prince Albert Raiders in the Western Hockey League and in the 2013-2014 season he put up 38-67-105. As you can see, he has great vision, but can also put the puck in the back of the net. He also made a significant increase in points, from 58 in 2012-2013 (21-37-58) to 105 (38-67-105, both seasons he played all 64 games.) That is a 47 point increase.
I also like this choice by the Oilers. They pick up someone who can make plays, but also can score. Although he may need to work on his defensive game, he is also a big body, and he can only get bigger. Grit and size is what you need in this league to win, and the Oilers are starting to get this.
The last significant move by the Oilers this week is the Gagner-Purcell trade. Teddy Purcell is 6’3, 201lb and is a gritty 3rd line Right Wing. This past season he put up 12-30-42 in 81 games played, compared to Gagner’s 10-27-37 in 67 games played. Purcell’s all-time best season is when he put up 24-41-65 in 81 games played while Gagner’s is 13-36-49 in 79 games played (his rookie season.) Purcell is what the Oilers desperately need, gritty bottom 6’s players who can actually play. But this also leaves a gaping hole at the second centre spot. So hopefully Oil fans can expect something big come July 1st, right?
This was a great trade by the Oilers if they can snag a 2nd centre from the free agency or from another team using a trade. I really except MacT to do something big here, or the Oilers will not make the playoffs next year.
All eyes will be focused on TSN when the free agency happens on July 1st… Stay tuned!