It's quite clear to every NHL hockey fan that the Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish will be busy during the upcoming draft and free agency period. The Oilers lack size, depth and defense, with holes to fill there is no doubt that MacTavish will have his work cut out for him.There is a lot of speculation as to what the Oilers are going to do surrounding the 7th Overall pick.
Here is my take:
In my opinion the Edmonton Oilers can draft Sean Monahan or Darnell Nurse. Monahan being a 6'2" physical presence up the middle would add to that depth and size factor that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner doesn't bring to the roster at this point in time. Monahan who had 31 goals and 47 assists in 58 games for the Ottawa 67's of the OHL is projected to go 7th overall with the current Edmonton Oilers pick (via TSN's Bob McKenzie.) Meanwhile Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds big 6'4" defense man Darnell Nurse is ranked No.9 by McKenzie, Nurse a left handed physical body on the back end could be another option for MacTavish if Nurse isn't picked by what a lot of people are referring to as "wildcard" team the Carolina Hurricanes. Nurse could be a better version of Theo Peckham where he can fight, hit and play some defense while chipping in with some points. Darnell Nurse collected 12 goals and 29 helpers for 41 points in 68 games with 116 penalty minutes.
If MacTavish and the Oilers elect not to draft but trade the 7th overall pick, there are in my mind 3 guys that they could go after. Flyers defense man Braydon Coburn (28 years old). Coburn is a 6'5" physical guy with size and good defensive ability, Coburn is a $4.5 million cap hit in 2013-2014 (via Cap Geek) which may just be to rich for Philadelphia's blood. I believe that the Oilers could send the 7th pick and a prospect being either Tyler Pitlick or David Musil to pry Coburn from GM of the Flyers Paul Holmgren.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf (28 years old) . Phaneuf who is native of Edmonton could be that physical defense man much like Coburn however, Phaneuf has some offensive upside with a cannon for a shot. Phaneuf collected 9 goals and 19 assists for Toronto in the shortened 2013 campaign, he appeared in all 48 games. Dion is a $6.5 million cap hit (via Cap Geek) in 2013-2014. I believe it would take Czech winger Ales Hemsky, a prospect and the 7th pick to get the captain out of the hands of Dave Nonis and the Maple Leafs.
Another member of the Leafs back end Jake Gardiner (22 years old). Gardiner isn't a rough and tough player on the back end but a lot like current Oiler Justin Schultz. Gardiner only played 12 games for the Leafs collecting 4 assists however, he had 7 goals and 23 assists in 78 games during the 2011-2012 season for Toronto. Gardiner will be a $1.16 million cap hit during 2013-2014 (via Cap Geek) I believe it will take either fore mentioned Ales Hemsky or center Sam Gagner a long with that 7th overall pick.
My reasoning for these 3 trade options being only defense man is because there are way more forwards available in free agency, I also believe that Devan Dubnyk is a decent enough goaltender for right now. Free agents that I think would fit the build of power forward, mean to play against with skill would be front running with David Clarkson, Ryan Clowe and Nathan Horton. Anyone of those players would fit the top 6 skilled build that the Oilers could use, they need to fill out that top 6 with a player with one of these guys maybe replacing Ales Hemsky if he gets dealt. I would also like to see MacTavish go after at least 3 players to fill out a depth role on there bottom 6, maybe Clarke MacArthur, Tim Connolly and Steve Sullivan or former Oiler Danny Cleary. Any number of options are on the table for MacTavish and it should be an interesting off season for the Oilers.
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