Yesterday was a great day if you’re a big fan of minor league signings. Ty Rattie and six others including Keegan Lowe were signed by the Oilers to help fill Bakersfield. Zero of these players are likely to dress for the Oilers in the upcoming season, and the Oilers still have some roster issues nearly 24 hours into free agency.
I’m starting to make peace with the idea that the Oilers are going to stand pat on defence. I’m not really wild about it, but unless something hilarious happens in the next few weeks and cap space is magically spawned (please, don’t deal Nuge), I think the Oilers are going to fly with what they have on defence.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
Based on Peter Chiarelli's avail Ryan Strome likely to get an extended look at Center where Strome told Chiarelli he was "more comfortable"— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) July 1, 2017
If Strome is going to get ‘an extended look at center’, you’ve got your top three locked in at McDavid, Strome and Nugent-Hopkins. That would put Leon next to McDavid. So far, so good?
Great. Now comes the sticky part. Who plays 2RW, 3RW and 4RW?
Here’s your list.
- Jesse Puljujarvi: 4th overall pick from 2016 will be given every opportunity to make the big club this year. 29 points in 38 games with Bakersfield this past year translates to about 62 over 82, a veteran signing could see him get another year in California.
- Zack Kassian: Just signed a three year deal for 1.95MM a year. He’ll be a bottom six fixture. You and me both know he ain’t goin’ nowhere.
- Anton Slepyshev had ten points in 41 games with the Oilers last year. (4-6-10) He added three goals in the playoffs. A good chance he’ll be on the opening night roster.
- Iiro Pakarinen finished with four points (2-2-4) after missing significant time with a knee injury. Can spell on the fourth line.
- Drake Caggiula got some time at C, got some time on the wing. Eighteen points in sixty games. His most common linemates were Benoit Pouliot and Anton Slepyshev. It’s absolutely possible he could be shifted to the right side if things got dicey, but it’s a better chance he’ll be on the left side with Benoit Pouliot finding himself in Buffalo.
- Can Jujhar Khaira play on the wing?
They can’t fly with what they have on the wing. There were entirely too many question marks when Jordan Eberle was here. Now that he’s on Long Island (and no replacement has yet been found), the cupboard is looking especially bare.
Several wingers remain available, though some were scooped yesterday. Radim Vrbata signed a one year deal in Florida for 2.5MM. But there’s still a Thomas Vanek, an Ales Hemsky, a Jaromir Jagr if the price is right.