Will Bob Nicholson Clean House?

Yeah. I thinks so.

If Nicholson had finished his evaluation of the current management group and concluded that they were the right group going forward he would have made that announcement by now but it was clear in his press conference that he wants to wait until the playoffs are over.

The only reason to wait for the end of the playoffs before an announcement is he has decided that the current group just isn’t getting the job done but hasn’t settled on the replacements yet. There may be potential pieces to this puzzle who are currently working for other teams and Bob hasn’t yet had the chance to recruit them.
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The Oilers Win Connor McDavid!

About the only thing the Edmonton Oilers can win in recent history is the draft lottery and they’ve done it again. Unless something really crazy happens the Oilers will select Connor McDavid with the first overall pick who has been projected to be a generational talent similar to Sydney Crosby so I thought it would be a good idea to do some comparisons.

These are stats from the draft years for Connor McDavid, Sydney Crosby, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov
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Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames

LuckyImage by hillary h

Ok, so Calgary is having a pretty great season so far right? I mean their 3 points away from leading the entire NHL after going 9-5-2 in their first 16 games, not bad for a team that most people thought would be battling Buffalo for last. Meanwhile the Oilers have 13 pts in their first 15 games and sit just 1 point out of last place in the western conference. Obviously the Flames are a better team right? No, of course not, lets take a deeper look.
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Oilers Sign Tkachev …. Or Not!

UPDATE: The NHL has ruled that the entry level contract that the Oilers have signed with Tkachev is ineligible due to the fact that he did not play a full season in the North America last season. Tkachev will re-enter the draft next season because Oilers.

The Oilers have signed Vladdy Hockey to a 3 year entry level contract this morning. The move will most likely turn alot of heads because of Tkachev’s size (he’s reportedly only 141 lbs) but I’m thrilled they could add such a skilled player to the system for nothing but money. Tkachev has had a great pre-season run with the Oilers and has certainly earned the 3 year deal which will likely keep the player in the system for the next 5 seasons as he is eligible to return to Jr for 2 more years.

Of course many will point out that Tkachev is a long shot to ever make the NHL because of his size alone and to be honest I completely agree. He’ll definitely need to beef up if he ever stands a chance to play in the NHL but I love that the Oilers are giving him the opportunity. He certainly adds a lot of skill to the system and even if he never plays an NHL game there is value having him play along side other prospects to help their game. The fact that Bogdam Yakimov is in the conversation to make the team out of camp this season has a lot to due with having Tkachev on his wing for a large portion of the camp.

The Details

Tkachev will receive $550k in year 1, $575k in year 2, and $600k in year 3 along with a $55k signing bonus each season.

This is a great day for the Oilers and a great day for Vladdy Hockey!

Should He Stay or Should He Go?

The Oilers have a huge whole in their center depth and Leon Draisaitl has a real shot at making the team this upcoming season. Before the draft I posted the last 20 3rd overall picks in the draft to get an idea of what we could expect of the Oilers pick this year and I thought it would be interesting to see how long it took those players to be NHL’rs.

The table below shows the number of games played by the past 20 3rd overall picks in the first 3 years after they are drafted.

Player Drafted Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Radek Bonk 1994 42 76 53
Aki Berg 1995 51 41 72
JP Dumont 1996 0 0 25
Oli Jokinen 1997 8 66 82
Brad Stuart 1998 0 82 77
Henrick Sedin 1999 0 82 82
Marian Gaborik 2000 71 78 81
Alexander Svitov 2001 0 63 40
Jay Bouwmeester 2002 82 61 NA
Nathan Horton 2003 55 NA 71
Cam Barker 2004 NA 1 35
Jack Johnson 2005 0 5 74
Jonathan Toews 2006 0 64 82
Kyle Turris 2007 3 63 0
Zach Bogosian 2008 47 81 71
Matt Duchene 2009 81 80 58
Erik Gudbranson 2010 0 72 32
Jonathan Huberdeau 2011 0 0 48
Alex Galchenyuk 2012 48 65 NA
Jonathan Drouin 2013 0 NA NA

In 20 years only 3 players have played a full season in the year they were picked 3rd overall, and 5 played half a season. The other 12 either didn’t play at all or had a real small sip. Based on history I think we can expect Draisaitl to return to Jr this season but should be worried if he doesn’t make the team in the 2015/16 season.

Oilers sign Fayne and Pouliot

As per the Oilers official twitter:

The Mark Fayne deal is 4yrs $14M with a cap hit of 3.5M and the Benoit Pouliot deal is 5 yrs $20M with a cap hit of $4M.

I’m quite happy with these signings, we know that the Oilers have to offer either more money or more term to convince a UFA to come to Edmonton. Its nice to see the team get a couple of guys who have good possession numbers.

Holy Shit, What Just Happened

The Edmonton Oilers have traded 24yr old center Sam Gagner to the Tampa Bay Lightning for 28yr old winger Teddy Purcell. Gagner never seemed to improve in Edmonton from his rookie season way back in the 07/08 season where had a career high 49 points as an 18yr old. He’s never been able to get to the next level offensively or play the strong 2-way game that the Oilers desperately need and this past season the majority of the fan base in Edmonton turned on the young center, and apparently so has Craig Mactavish. In Gagner’s 7 seasons with the Oilers he has played under 5 different head coaches which I’m sure had a substantial impact on his development, I’m eager to see how he performs in a more structured situation in Arizona.

Thats right Arizona! Soon after the trade to Tampa, the lightning traded Gagner and BJ Crombeen to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 6th rd draft pick. The Lightning also retained 1/3 of Gagners salary in the deal. This is the new NHL where GM’s are willing to trade good players on bad contracts for very little return so that they can make cap room for UFA hunting.

This new NHL is very interesting for a team like the Oilers who have about $20M in cap space available before signing Jeff Petry and Justin Shultz, they’re is a great position to make deal similar to what the Coyotes did to acquire Gagner and Crombeen. Take the Boston Bruins for example who have under 6M in cap space to resign RFA’s Tory Krug and Matt Bartkowski and replace the offense of Jerome Iginla, they would love to rid themselves of Chris Kelly’s $3M cap hit. Does a trade sending Chris Kelly and Jonny Boychuk (3.367M cap hit) to the Oilers in exchange for a pick and prospect make sense for both sides? Boston would clear up 6.3M in cap space while the Oilers would add a good top 4 right handed defenseman and a 4th line center to a team that desperately needs these types of players. Of course Boychuk and Kelly would need to waive no trade clauses to make the deal happen but this is the type of deal MacT needs to be looking for to improve the team.

Oilers Get Their Man

The Oilers signed defenceman Nikita Nikitin this morning to a 2yr contract at 4.5M per year. The dollars are a tad high for a guy who played 3rd pairing minutes last year in Columbus but the Oilers had to pay for that short term. I’m sure Nikitin was probably looking for a 4-6 year term in the 3.5M to 4M range but the Oilers were looking to add a bridge player to give Nurse 2 more seasons to develop before making the jump to the NHL.

The Good

Nikitin looks like a good candidate to play along side Justin Shultz which should make a solid 2nd pairing playing some sheltered minutes. He’s a real NHL defenceman with experience who has shown success in the past playing against tough competition and he’s only 28yrs old. He really does fill a hole on the team and will push Nurse back to Jr this year.

The Bad

A pretty big overpayment at 4.5M per season and even though the Oilers do have the cap room to sign the deal I worry about how this contract will affect the negotiations with Petry and Shultz or another UFA defenceman (Stralman).

On the bright side Nikitin should slot in on the 2nd pairing and only makes $900k more than the Oilers were paying Nick Shultz last season.

What To Expect From The Draft

We know that if the Oilers don’t trade the 3rd overall pick they’ll take one of Ekblad, Draisaitl, Bennet or Reinhart, but what can we expect from these kids? Below is a list of the past 20 3rd overall picks:

Player GP G A P
Druin 0
Galchenyuk 113 22 36 58
Huberdeau 117 23 36 59
Gudbranson 169 5 16 21
Duchene 337 105 158 263
Bagosian 352 37 77 114
Turris 316 69 93 162
Toews 484 195 245 440
Jack Johnson 490 44 146 190
Cam Barker 310 21 75 96
Horton 627 203 218 421
Bouwmeester 846 76 268 344
Alexander Svitov 179 13 24 37
Gaborik 810 347 357 704
Henrik Sedin 1,010 193 649 842
Brad Stuart 985 77 245 322
Oli Jokinen 1,169 317 423 740
JP Dumont 822 214 309 523
Aki Berg 606 15 70 85
Bonk 969 194 303 497

While there are a couple of misses in there its pretty clear that we can expect a real solid NHL player and have a chance at landing a legit superstar. Just keep your fingers crossed that the Oilers end up with a Jonathan Toews and not a Cam Barker!