Oilers Offseason Moves Part 2 – The Forwards
- Updated: March 8, 2014
On Thursday I posted an article about the moves I would make if I was Craig MacTavish this off season in an attempt to improve the team now. I focused on the defense as I believe that the goalie situation, if not set, is more stable now with Scrivens and Fasth and I’m also of the belief that you build winning teams from the goalies out.
A quick review on the defensive moves I’ve made; I added Nikita Nikitin from free agency, Tyler Myers in trade, and was able to draft Aaron Ekblad. I also extended Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Taylor Fedun and Mark Fraser.
I’ve got my Armchair GM slippers back on and today I’m going to make some changes to the forward group. In an effort to keep some consistency there isn’t going to be too much that’s new to the team. You may remember yesterday that when I “traded” for Tyler Myers I also got Chris Stewart in return for Sam Gagner, Martin Marincin and the 2015 Oilers 1st round pick. Some people have commented that I’d be paying too much for those players, some that the deal wouldn’t be enough. I think that Marincin and the 1st pick in 2015 are huge give aways on my part but show a willingness to get better now and not to worry about how deep the draft in 2015 is.
Chris Stewart was traded from St. Louis to the rebuilding Buffalo Sabres and I’ve got a feeling that the Sabres aren’t done trying to acquire young talent and high end draft picks. That being said it’s one of the reason Stewart and Myers were available, and Stewart is a bigger power forward that will play in the top nine.
Stewart is 6’2” 230 lbs, he can hit, he plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and can put the puck in the net when needed. His career high in points was back in 09/10 when he was with the Colorado Avalance when he managed 64 points with 28 goals. Last season he did well to with 36 points in 48 games. What I’m saying is he might just be the power forward the Oilers are looking for.
I’ve got Stewart penciled in on the third line, but he’s going to be able to move up and down the line up, slotting in on the right side where ever coach Dallas Eakins sees fit. You’ll also likely Stewart playing plenty of minutes on the power play being the big body hanging out in front of opposing goalies.
After getting rid of Sam Gagner the Oilers were left with a hole at the second line center position. I’m going to make my big splash into free agency to fill this hole. On the first day of the free agent period I’m going to make a huge offer to UFA center Paul Stastny. I realize that in order to get the talented center I’m going to have to over pay him, and give him term. Stastny signs on the dotted line for 5 years, bringing him to 33 years old, and 7 million per year making him the highest paid player on the team.
Stastny will be an immediate difference maker as the second line center playing between David Perron and Nail Yakupov most of the time, this line will hopefully be able to build some chemistry and the veteran Stastny will aid in Yakupov’s development on the defensive side of the puck.
The next and final add I’m going to make via free agency is Daniel Winnik. Winnik is a good option on the third line along side Boyd Gordon and Chris Stewart. He’s big, physical, responsible defensively and annoying as hell to play against. He’ll add some experience to the team and some leadership to the dressing room, all qualities that the Oilers can use more of.
Daniel Winnik is currently having a pretty good year and because of that he’s going to demand more money than the current 1.8 million he’s making now. Because we’re the Oilers we are also going to have to overpay to get him. I’ve signed Winnik to a 3 year 9 million dollar deal.
On the back end I’ve added Tyler Myers, Nikita Nikitin, and Aaron Ekblad and up front we’ve brought in Paul Stastny, Chris Stewart and Daniel Winnik. That’s 6 new players to come in and learn a new system but with the exception of Ekblad they’re experienced. One thing they all have in common is size, there isn’t one player here less than 6 feet tall and all of them are over 200 pounds.
It’s a long season and the Oilers have a lot of improving to do but I think that the changes I’ve made will go a long way in accomplishing what needs to be accomplished; the ability to keep up with the bigger teams in the pacific division and ultimately a spot in the playoffs.
The other thing that I’ve managed to do is keep the oilers under the cap. CapGeek.com has the cap projected at $71,100,000 for next year and the final cap projection for the roster I have built is $70, 336,500 leaving the team just more than $700, 000 to play with, and depending on who gets sent down to the minors throughout the year that number is likely to be a little lower.
Now on the note of the salary cap, it has been reported that due to the decline of the Canadian Dollar the salary cap may be as low as $68 million next season, and if that is the case well than none of my moves really make a lick of difference. Quite frankly really they don’t make a lick of difference any way, like I said; I’m not a GM nor am I qualified, there are some other things to consider when putting and NHL roster together and under the team I’ve built here I would most likely run into cap issues in the coming years when looking to extend players like Nail Yakupov, Aaron Ekblad and Justin Schultz two years down the road.
I’ve had a ton of fun writing this though, I’d like to know what you think and what you would do/like to see done. Feel free to comment below, or tweet @Rustyknuckler with your thoughts.
Thanks for Reading.