The Oilers Rig

Oilers Offseason Moves Part 2 – The Forwards


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.

fun with defense

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.

fun with offense


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. 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.


  1. B

    March 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I would sign Oskar Osala over Daniel Winnik

  2. jdude (oilersfan)

    March 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    those moves would all be fine with me. Most importantly to me is a veteran top 2 D-man

  3. Clayton Dorcas

    March 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Why trade for Stewart when Nick Ritchie may be a bigger better version of him, plus Ritchie is young and will want to play in Edmonton. If we don’t get Ekblad Ritchie makes the most sense. We can trade Gagner and either Yakupov or Eberle, I love them both but we only need one. We trade for a bigger checking center or re-hash Hall at center, giving him the summer to train with the understanding he will be a center from not on. We need size and grit in the top 6 but we do not have to trade assets for it, maybe trade down a few spots and get that second rounder back. We can trade for a top 2 defender, some excellent checkers for the 3rd line, and a center if we need it. Bring Lander up and hope Pitlick can become and NHLer, I also hope Klefbom can prove he can stick or we trade him for someone more durable. I think Nurse may be an upgrade next year after watching Marincin, but I think he should play one more year in Jr. I understand the want to trade for assets now, but we can find what we need in the draft so why trade away for it when we will have to move another piece?

  4. Dave Gordon

    March 9, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Clayton – The problem with drafting for need over trading for what we need right now is that it doesn’t do anything to improve the team immediately. The Oilers are a team that needs to get better right away, 8 years with no playoffs its time to do something about that now.
    As for Ritchie I like the player, but there are questions about his ability to stay healthy. He’s also ranked 10th by ISS scouting. When is the last time a player ranked 10th has played in the NHL the first year after his draft. It doesn’t happen that often
    I do however agree with the Oilers drafting for need over best player available this year.

  5. Clayton Dorcas

    March 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I do understand we need help now, I just hate the idea of trading our depth for quick gains. If we want a long term plan for success we will need to continue to develop players, if we trade 2 to get 1 we will be back in this boat in a few years. Yes we need a top D man and yes we have to trade for him, and our issues at center will need to be dealt with by trade or moving Hall permanently. We can get a big winger in Ritchie who is hovering around 10 or 11 only because of past concussion issues. Every scout I have seen interviewed expects him to be the steal of the draft because he will play in the NHL next year when there are no guarantees for any of the top 5 this year. Many liken him to Lucic, not too many of them available and it would cost us Hall to get him. No matter what it will be interesting and I trust Mac T will do what he can. He has said he will not move the future for immediate needs, we will see how that works.

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