Bob Stauffer had an interesting tweet last night that touched on the Edmonton Oilers adding a 14th forward. We should expect that shoe to drop in the coming days, along with the signings of Ryan Strome and Darnell Nurse.
The Oilers currently have 13 forwards set for the NHL roster: Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ty Rattie, Milan Lucic, Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi, Jujhar Khaira, Ryan Strome, Tobias Rieder, Zack Kassian, Drake Caggiula, Kyle Brodziak and Pontus Aberg.
They’ll have room for one more player, and that could potentially be Kailer Yamamoto if he knocks it out of the park in training camp again this fall. If he doesn’t, the Oilers will need another ‘press box’ forward. It could be Brad Malone, but I think the club prefers he be in Bakersfield leading the Condors.
I may be alone here, but I think Duclair is better than a 14th forward. He’s had some struggles the last two seasons, but almost everyone in Arizona did until the second half of last season. He’s got speed and has a pretty solid shot with good offensive instincts. When we talk about value contracts that can contribute, these are exactly the risks we are discussing.
If you can get Duclair at that number, you’d be foolish not to do it in my opinion.
Elsewhere, Scottie Upshall is an interesting player. He was part of St. Louis’ impactful fourth line with Brodziak, and he’s an Alberta boy and veteran presence who can help on the PK.
I don’t think Jason Chimera has much left in the tank, and there is a reason Lance Bouma spent a good chunk of last season in the AHL with Chicago’s affiliate in Rockford. Tyler Ennis has been injury prone recently and struggled in Minnesota, but he does have a nice shot and could be a decent reclamation project if he comes cheap.
My preference would be to sign Duclair, but if that isn’t possible I’d turn my attention to Upshall. After that, I have a little time for Ennis and that’s about it. My interest level is minimal in both Chimera and Bouma.
Speaking Of Lance:
There’s a narrative floating around out there, and I believe it is true, that one of the reasons the Oilers are looking at Bouma is because of his relationship with Milan Lucic. It is no secret that Lucic is not happy in Edmonton, and a big reason is because the team is so young.
Lucic is a veteran, older than almost everyone on the team. Believe it or not, these guys have lives off the ice too and enjoy being around like minded people. I think Brodziak will help in this area, and I believe Bouma would too.
That being said, this whole thing is kind of ridiculous. The Oilers brought Lucic in to be a leader, to help mold this young core and to help this team win. He was brought in to squash the unhappiness in the locker room, not add to it. This wouldn’t be the best look.
The Oilers need to have the best 23-man roster they can this October. Signing a player just to appease a highly paid veteran would make absolutely no sense, especially if it is a player like Bouma that really hasn’t done much since the 2014-15 season.
Just Say No To Slava:
I can’t believe we have to touch on this but here we are. The Edmonton Oilers should stay as far away from Slava Voynov as possible. I don’t care how good of a player he is, he is a bad person and would be a terrible addition optics wise.
It’s been proven what this man did, and the sub-human act of abusing his wife should come with massive consequences. Among them, in my opinion, should be the loss of his right to play in the National Hockey League.
I really hope Gary Bettman and the league do the right thing here and ban the player. This is a chance for the NHL to actually send a message and get ahead of the other major leagues in a big area. Do the right thing.