This is my first post and The Oilers Rig and while much of my stuff may not be, because smarter and more articulate people than I can say the same things in a better way, this one is going to be Oilers related. I’ve seen a lot of discussion recently on what the roster could look like if GM Peter Chiarelli hadn’t made some of his more notable trades. This got me looking at it in a bit of a different way. I’ve wondered what the team might look like if Chiarelli had connected on his first big swing at the trade market. Chiarelli was hired in the Spring of 2015, just after the Oilers had won the McDavid Lottery and before the draft. On draft day the talk was surrounding Connor McDavid entering the league, but a side story developing was the Boston Bruins looking to trade Dougie Hamilton. Now we all know what happened and we don’t need to get into it too much, the Flames landed Hamilton for a combination of draft picks and it was widely reported that the Oilers were in on the discussions with a similar package to offer. The problem being the Bruins had a different price for the Oilers. But what if? Could the Oilers finally be favored to win the Western Conference? If they were, then Oilers fans would certainly be wagering on the team using bonus code bet365 with the hope that they’d win the Stanley Cup. Let’s say Edmonton landed the deal that Calgary benefited from. Calgary sent picks 15, 45 & 52 to Boston as compensation for Hamilton and Edmonton had possession of picks 16, 33 & 57.
First things first, if Edmonton makes this trade, they aren’t available for what they wound up being used for. When Chiarelli missed on Hamilton, he continued on his search for a defenseman. The one he wound up settling on was Griffin Reinhart. To the chagrin of Oilers fans, Chiarelli gave up the first two picks of the package that could have been by trading 16 & 33 overall for Reinhart. That’s the first and most obvious path on the alternate timeline. Acquiring Dougie Hamilton would have meant not acquiring Griffin Reinhart, who wound up leaving in the expansion draft and is currently playing in the AHL for Vegas. Edmonton would have found their defenseman already and wouldn’t have a need for trading for Reinhart or the pieces that were “required”.
The final pick in the package would have been 2nd round pick, 57th overall. This is where more debate comes up. The 57th pick was used as package with picks 79 and 184 to trade for Cam Talbot and pick 209. The argument could be made that Edmonton would not have had the required picks to get Talbot and we would have missed on him, but I’m inclined to believe that he is someone that the Oilers targeted and the return was more a matter of what they had available and it would have simply required other pieces such as maybe the pick they would wind up giving up to San Jose for the pointless reason of hiring a coach that they fired. That was a pick that didn’t have to be given up that year and could have been included in the trade with the Rangers along with some other picks. The consequence of this is that Edmonton may not have a few of their current prospects from the 2015 or 2016 drafts such as Jones, Bear or Lagesson. This would have an impact, but one that I believe would have been offset and not impacted the current roster.
A year after the 2015 draft, Reinhart proved not to have the break out season he needed to have to make that trade worthwhile. Edmonton was still looking for a defenseman. With Klefbom having a healthy season, the addition of Sekera, Nurse graduating to the NHL and the emergence of Brandon Davidson, the search was specifically looking for a right handed defenseman, a role Dougie Hamilton would have filled. This proved to be costly as Edmonton gave up Taylor Hall to attain Adam Larsson. With the newly found cap space from moving out Hall, they signed Milan Lucic on July 1st and would add Kris Russell to close out the offseason.
In the alternate time line, Dougie Hamilton fills the role of top pair, right handed defenseman and Edmonton doesn’t need to trade away a star player like Taylor Hall. Without the cap space, signing Milan Lucic doesn’t make sense and it’s fathomable that Edmonton’s attention is elsewhere and maybe the second player that came for a tour of Edmonton ahead of July 1st, 2016, Jason Demers, is targeted and signed instead. If Edmonton has Hamilton and Demers, they likely don’t feel the need to add Kris Russell. Is this all speculation? Absolutely, but nothing is a stretch to imagine. It’s possible that a year with Dougie Hamilton instead of Reinhart means the Oilers finish higher and don’t get Jesse Puljujarvi, but McDavid likely still gets hurt and the Oilers probably struggle anyways for that season. There’s a lot of ways things could have gone differently if such a change was made to history, some are harder to predict than others, but it doesn’t make it less interesting.
If Edmonton had landed Hamilton on Draft Day 2015, there’s a feasible chance that the starting lineup for the next game is as follows:
Would that have worked out exactly so? Definitely not. Would there have been new and different factors at play? Yes. One of them could be that Calgary still has the 15th selection in 2015 with Matthew Barzal on the board. Weigh your options if you think that’s frightening enough, but I had fun with this time line theorizing….in a masochistic kind of way.