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Getting Value From Departing UFAs

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The Oilers might be able to turn a departing UFA into a draft pick if they’re active between now and the 2021 Entry Draft.

Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets - Game Four Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

The Oilers are preparing for the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft, which is scheduled to take place in just about a month for today. As of right now, they’ve only got five total picks.

They are:

  • 1st round (19th overall)
  • 4th round (116th overall)
  • 6th round (180th overall)
  • 6th round (185th overall, from Pittsburgh)
  • 7th round (212th overall)

With only five picks, the Oilers would probably enjoy another pick or two to help them acquire a bigger platter...of picks. How? Moving a pending UFA to a club willing to offer a draft pick.

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You need two clubs to tango, but I wonder if a team like Philadelphia would be interested in picking up the rights to negotiate with a player like, oh, Tyson Barrie.

Barrie had a statistically booming year for the Oilers in the abbreviated 2021 season. In 56 games played, he put up the most points among all defencemen. That was heavily weighted by power play time, but 48 points in 56 games will no doubt have plenty of teams looking on There’s a chance the Oilers have interest in Barrie, but it’s believed that Barrie wants to sign a long term deal. The Oilers aren’t in the market for that, so what to do?

Enter Philadelphia. Justin Braun was Ivan Provorov’s number one partner last season while 5 on 5, and the Flyers might want to go shopping.

If Philadelphia wants exclusive early negotiating rights to Tyson Barrie, the Oilers could ship him to Philadelphia for a pick. The pick likely won’t blow anyone’s socks off, but if Philly was really after Barrie, I’d angle for a third round selection for Barrie’s negotiating rights prior to free agency. Let Philadelphia take a crack at signing Barrie for that five or six year deal. For a third round (or even a fourth round selection), you’ll take that ride. Getting a third round pick doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but when you consider that the Oilers go nearly 100 picks from their first round selection until their next one, it’s certainly better than letting Barrie walk for nothing.

Edmonton has what could be a handful of departing UFAs. I think Tyson Barrie is a goner, I think Adam Larsson is going to get a deal between the expansion draft and free agency. If he’s not going to get one done, you call up another club and see if you can grab another draft pick.

I’m hopeful the Oilers can work something out with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. If things go south in a hurry, you call Seattle and see if they’re willing to move a pick to talk to RNH. This is a last ditch scenario, as I think Nugent-Hopkins still has a handful of good years in the top six. Hoping his agent and Holland can work out something amicable.

Edmonton also has a bevy of free agents in the Alex Chiasson - Dmitry Kulikov - Slater Koekkoek vein that won’t draw any attention prior to free agency. For the bigger ticket players, it would behoove the Oilers to make some calls to see if clubs would like to part with a pick in order to get a jump start on negotiations.

Every pick is another dart at the board, and the Oilers don’t have many in this year’s draft.