The Edmonton Oilers had a disappointing second-round outing against the Stanley Cup-winning Vegas Golden Knights, despite having the best fight against them in the playoffs, and will now look for ways to improve. the weaknesses exposed by Vegas. They only have about $5 million in cap space to run it, so they’ll either have to be efficient or pull out some of their own money.
So what is their biggest priority this offseason? Jason Gregor joined Daily Faceoff Live to talk about where the Oilers will likely be looking to improve their roster this summer.
Jason Gregory: I think they will see if they can somehow change their right defense. But it would be a big move, because it will likely mean Cody Ceci is out. Bouchard isn’t going anywhere, and I’m pretty optimistic I think Vincent Desharnais is going to be the ultimate fine developer with his size. He needs to improve his skills with the puck, and that’s what he’s going to do this summer.
Kailer Yamamoto, I’m not expecting him here, so that means you have a top-six forward position on the right wing, and you’re either going to play with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. There is no right wing position available in the NHL that is more attractive to a right winger than being able to play with either of these two guys. If I’m Ken Holland, I use that. And I wonder if there are guys in the free agent market. Tomas Tatar shoots on the left, but he can play on the right side, would he sign a one-year contract, come here, increase his stats, be successful and who knows what would happen. The only unfortunate thing about Tatar is that he never really did anything in the playoffs, so that’s a problem.
I don’t think they need a third line center. I think Ryan McLeod is the guy they’re going to use at center. He has great speed, skates, kills penalties, he gets the crumbs on the second unit of the power play, but I think he really stepped up in the playoffs last year. He’s a young man, and he’s just going to emerge. He’s probably going to get a $2 million deal this summer, so I think McLeod is their third-line center. They need a fourth-line center, and potentially some inferior players if Klim Kostin leaves the KHL, which I think is probably a low percentage chance.
So I think the right winger in the top six, if I’m a right winger, and I know Connor Brown’s name has been associated with Edmonton a lot, and that makes sense. That’s the only change that could be significant, and it doesn’t have to be a big scorer because Edmonton is scoring goals. Scoring goals is not their problem, they need to find a right winger who is good offensively, but also reliable defensively.
You can watch the full episode here…