I think the entire hockey world knows that the Edmonton Oilers are big-game hunting on the blueline.
Names like Travis Hamonic, Tyson Barrie, Justin Faulk, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jason Demers and even PK Subban are being tossed around in relation to the Oilers and every single one of them are excellent targets.
The issue is the cost of acquisition. Each of those guys would come at a steep cost, and with the exception of Subban, most of them are likely not worth what it might take to acquire them according to what is being discussed in the media at the moment. Certainly none of them beyond Subban are worth parting with Taylor Hall.
But this article is not about those players. If the prices remain too high and Pete Chiarelli cannot add a high-end Dman this week (and honestly, even if he can...the Oilers need more than one addition on the blueline) there are still a number of affordable options that may not be the sexy targets of the day, but could improve the Oiler blueline in a real way at a manageable cost and who all fit into the long-term window the Oilers are building towards to compete for a Stanley Cup.
If you follow me on twitter, you'll know most of these names as I've touted them for months, but since I've struggled to find time to write about them in more detail, I should give proper shout outs to those who did so first. Darcy McLeod has done a wonderful series of articles that feature some great work examining potential right-shot Dmen at his blog and "Supernova" has also discussed many of these names over at the Oilers Rig. Please go check out their work.
Severson might be familiar to Copper & Blue readers as Derek Zona championed the cause of choosing him with the #32 pick in 2012 rather than Mitch Moroz. Severson is only 6 months older than prized Oiler prospect Darnell Nurse, but he's already been a full-time NHL player for nearly two seasons. He's a very strong possession player and contributes a reasonable amount of offence given his limited experience. He also has a year remaining on his entry-level contract so he is very affordably priced for next season. Severson would be a guy who would ideally begin as a 3rd pairing guy on a contending team, but if larger options fail, he has a track record that suggests he could survive quite well in a second pairing. Under that scenario I'd want to add some additional depth, but I'd probably do that anyway...Severson is likely the most ready for a top 4 role of all those included in this list.
This might be the guy I'd most like to see Edmonton acquire, though I don't know if the fact he is in the Bruins organization might inhibit that effort as it apparently did with Dougie Hamilton last year. Miller looks to me like a guy who may be on the cusp of becoming much more than he is considered to be today. He just had his first year in the NHL. playing 42 games with the Bruins. He currently slots in behind Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller on the Bruins depth chart on the right side (They are in the market for a top pair Dman I believe) so unless he can leap frog both those guys (which is actually probably likely in terms of performance) a full-time job in Boston might be hard to come by. If Edmonton could acquire him for Nail Yakupov or a package including Griffin Reinhart it has the potential to be a steal. Miller performed very well in his stint in Boston despite a narrative that he "lost his confidence" his results were simply outstanding.
After all of the failed Oil King experiments acquiring another is certainly something I can see people being skeptical of, but Pysyk can play. He's fallen out of favour in Buffalo for reasons I can't understand despite being a strong possession player on a team that apparently values analytics. Pysyk isn't going to set the world on fire offensively, but he could be very effective in a tandem with Brandon Davidson, and honestly his acquisition price is probably low enough that if he ended up being the guy you lose in the expansion draft, you say "dammit, he was a nice fit for us" and move on. He's a bonafide 3rd pairing Dman on the right side and the Oilers currently don't have much of anything there so Pysyk could be a decent addition.
I've been championing the cause of Zach Redmond for almost a year now. The guy is criminally underrated and that's great for the Oilers. Even better, he's a pending UFA. Redmond has struggled to get the opportunity to play full time in the NHL and therefore his salary is less than $1 million and he can likely be had for that on the market this July. Ideally, I'd LOVE to see Redmond as the Oilers #7 Dman next year, since you can probably get him for that role and that salary, but honestly, if he was their full-time #6, he'd handle it just fine. He compares very well to Brandon Davidson in many areas. Woodguy did a more detailed write-up on him here which says everything I would about Redmond. With the way injuries occur so frequently in today's NHL, teams need to be at least 4 deep on both sides of the blueline. With Nurse, Oesterle and Reinhart, the left side is covered in spades and all of those guys can be sent down without clearing waivers, which means they don't need to be the #7 guy to start the year. Redmond is the ideal candidate to be #7 because he can be your 4th option on the right side when he's probably more than good enough to be in the top six full-time.
If I had my choice I'd like to see Edmonton acquire two of these guys, though I can see a clear scenario where there are spots for all three of Severson, Miller and Redmond on the Oilers next season as the #4, 6 and 7 guys on the depth chart if Edmonton strikes out elsewhere.
Ideally, the Oilers acquire a couple top 4 Dmen, which would still leave room for one of the Severson, Miller, Pysyk trio to play on the 3rd pair. Signing Redmond as the team's #7 guy just makes sense no matter what else happens.
There is a world of uncertainty regarding what may happen over the next two weeks, but if you hear any news of the Oilers acquiring any of the above players, you can feel confident that they are getting a player who can play and hopefully they can do so at a relatively low cost.