This entire blog will be split into three: Forward, Defense and Goaltending. This blog will be about Edmonton's forwards.
In this blog I will be keeping track of Edmonton's cap salary remaining. Without signing anyone this yet, Edmonton is at 18 million remaining. Last season Edmonton had one of worst centre depth. This season it looks like they may have on of the best (on paper anyways). This off season is going to be very exciting as Edmonton already signing a very experienced coach in Todd McLellan and an equally experienced GM in Peter Chiarelli. It really looks like Edmonton's future is bright. In this blog, I am going to explain what I would do this offseason if I were GM for the Edmonton Oilers. I would make certain trades that may help the Oilers as a team. Don't forget that all of this is hypothetical and that I am not Chiarelli.
Edmonton currently has six free agents forwards unsigned this offseason. Four of these said free agents are Restricted Free Agents. Edmonton should keep around Derek Roy and Tyler Pitlick. From the previous season played, it looks like Roy would be the most expensive forward. Pitlick would be a cheap extra winger if he were to signed. I'd sign him for 2x750k. Now let's talk about Derek Roy. Roy, after joining Edmonton found instant chemistry with Nail Yakupov. Roy had 1 goal and 10 points in 26 games in Nashville and was even sent to Milwaukee for a brief stint. When he came to Edmonton he scored 11 goals and 11 assists. Roy also has the ability to win faceoffs and he plays well in his own end. He is a veteran to the game, and he really improve Yakupov's all around game including defense - which drastically needed improvement. Roy has the skill still to be able to be in the NHL and make some smart plays. If I were GM I'd pitch Roy 1.5x1. While he is still a very good player, he just turned 32, and he will not get any younger. Roy would be a good fit for Edmonton's first line to mentor Yakupov and Draisaitl on the third line, but long term I don't see him playing for Edmonton after next season if signed.
So assuming Pitlick and Roy get signed Edmonton would be at around 15.75 Million.
Now let's talk about Edmonton's Centre "issues". In 2014 Edmonton drafted Leon Draisaitl 3rd overall. The problem comes when Edmonton luckily won the first overall in the 2015 entry draft. No doubt Chiarelli will pick Connor McDavid - the highest touted prospect since Sidney Crosby in 2005. So what happens to Draisaitl? Well here's what I would personally do if I were McLellan. I would move Draisaitl to the 3rd line and play with the experienced Roy and Yakupov, who is ready to break out. Throughout Yakupov's career he has played on his off wing,, playing right wing but being left handed. If I were McLellan I would try him out on the left side. Do not forget these lines are hypothetical and could be changed around. My lines would look something like this:
Without any forward signings this offseason:
I would then sign a right wing with leadership and skill for that third line. This line would probably be extremely ineffective; but there are a few decent right wings that would be good for Edmonton's right wing. Let's run the top five in my opinion. Justin Williams from LA, Micheal Frolik from, Winnipeg, Joel Ward from Washington, Kyle Brodziak from Minnesota and Dan Cleary from Detroit. The three most prolific players from this list I would be targeting if I were GM would be Williams, Brodziak and Ward. First off, Williams. Williams is 33 years old and he has been in the NHL since 2000 and has already won 3 cups! He has a lot of playoff experience and he is even nicknamed "Mr. Game 7". This previous season playing for LA he registered 18 goals and 41 points. I think he could bring a lot with his experience, skill, his ability to be tough player, defensive abilities and mindset. He gained a lot of these skills from playing with the Kings and I think these skills would help Edmonton a lot. Out of these three players Williams is the player I would target the most. I would be willing to give him no more than 3.5 million. My pitch for him would be 4.25x3. The reason why the contract is only three years is because he can only get older and eventually Edmonton will have that leadership that they currently from lack Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins.
The next player in my list of top 3 that I would be attempting to sign is Kyle Brodziak. Brodziak, who is a former Oiler, is 31 years old and has been a regular in the NHL since 2007. His best year was in the 2011-12 season where he scored 22 goals and 22 assists playing 2nd line minutes. His previous season though, he only registered 9 goals and 20 points. If I were Chiarelli, I would keep Brodziak in mind not for his scoring, but for his rough play and his mindset that he would do anything to win. Another really skill that he brings to the table and what would be great for Edmonton is his ability to play a two way game. I compare his game style to a Matt Hendricks type player. Hendricks was Edmonton's best role player this
season and having another player like him would be awesome I think this would bring a lot to the third line. I would pitch Brodziak no more than a 1.5 million dollar contact. My pitch would be 1.5x2.
The last free agent forward I'd be looking into is Joel Ward. Ward is 34 years old and has only been in the league for 7 years. Out of this list he is the oldest and the least amount of playing time, which is why he is 3rd on my list. Regardless of his age, he is a physical presence with a scoring edge. Ward has been in a winning culture of some sorts and since being a regular his teams (Nashville for 3 years, Washington for 4) has only missed the playoffs twice. Ward played in every game the previous numbers putting up surprisingly good for a grinder with 19 goals and 34 points. I think Ward would be an important part of Edmonton and I would at least make a pitch to him to sign. He's a scoring grinder with size and he isn't afraid to be a physical factor on the ice. Ward would be the cheapest of the three players I think Edmonton should go for. If I were GM I would propose a moderately priced, short term contract for Ward. The contract that I'd pitch would be 3.5x2.
Line 1: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
This was Edmonton's most effective scoring line last season. All three of these players had incredible chemistry and I expect them to be back together. Regardless of any signings.
Line 2: Hall-Roy-Yakupov
Yakupov and Roy had chemistry all season last year. If you put Hall with them you would expect a scoring threat. Roy has the skill to center this line and dish off to both Yakupov and Hall.
This line is more or less sheltering McDavid from a ton of ice time. Playing with on of those said right wings would bring leadership and a better two way game.
Line 4: Klinkhammer-Gordon-Hendricks.
Edmonton's 4th last year was extraordinary. All three of these players played their role well and were able to score the odd goal. When Eakins or Nelson needed to protect a lead, this line was on a lot of the time.
Edmonton's forward lineup has improved a lot in the past 5 years. It's only a matter of time until Edmonton makes the playoffs and is a powerhouse. Let's review the cap situation.
At the start of this blog Edmonton had about 18 salary cap remaining. So Roy and Pitlick are already signed when I am GM. This leaves the three other players and will leave Edmonton's cap in one of three places.
Edmonton's current Cap with Roy signed is 15.75 Million
Out of the 3 players listed above I think I would go for Williams the hardest. Williams is better all around than the other two players listed. Ward and Brodziak would be the backup plan if another team signs William first. So with me as the GM, here are the three scenarios we're looking at when it comes to the salary cap.
If Williams were to be signed Edmonton's cap would be at 11.5 million.
If Brodziak were to be signed Edmonton's cap would be at 14.25 million.
If Ward were to be signed Edmonton's cap would be at 12.25 million.
Whatever happens this offseason, us Oiler fans should be excited. I think we'll have one of the best offensive cores in the NHL with these signings. The next blog should be out before the draft. I've already wrote the frame of it, I just need to change up some errors and thoughts. Tell me what you think of this and how I could improve! Thank you for reading folks.