With news breaking on Tuesday that Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic has rescinded his request for a trade to western Canada, the offseason plans for the Edmonton Oilers changed dramatically.
The Oilers need to add two defenders before next September if they want to compete for the playoffs and Hamonic was the name at the top of almost everybody’s list.
So what options do they have now?
Well the obvious names still exist. Sami Vatanen will likely be moved out of Anaheim, Jason Demers is a free agent and the emergence of Colton Parayko could allow Kevin Shattenkirk to shake loose. Justin Faulk is rumored to be on the move out of Carolina and there is a good chance Colorado moves on from Tyson Barrie (per Elliote Friedman). But the Oiler’s might not get one of those players, never mind two.
So who else is out there for Chiarelli to look at?
Well there are some factors that work in Chiarelli’s favour, the first is that the stagnant salary cap could force a lot of teams to trade away younger players coming off their entry level deals.
The other, is the looming expansion draft. If teams can only protect 3 d-men, that means some quality top 4 defenseman could be made available.
Here are some candidates the Oilers could acquire:
David Savard – 25 years old – Shoots: Right
Savard is a very strong two way defender who got used heavily in the defensive some, starting his own end or the neutral zone 71.7% of the time. His possession stats aren’t out of this amazing, but are still solid (47.5% CF%).
The St. Hyacinthe native is used to facing tough competition in Columbus and doesn’t give up a lot of high danger chances, his 11 high danger scoring chances against per 60 is close to the average amongst NHL d-men.
The Jackets were terrible on defense last year, but they could be looking to shake up their roster after 2 poor seasons. Savard is definitely a name to watch.
Another factor that could lead to Savard shaking loose is the looming expansion draft. Jones and Murray will both need to be protected and that leaves only one spot for Jack Johnson, Cody Goloubef or Savard to be saved from the expansion franchise.
There’s no doubt that Savard has the highest value and the Blue Jackets may be tempted by the package they would get back.
Zach Bogosian – 25 years old – Shoots: R
Very similar to Savard in a lot of way. Age, shoots right, similar offensive production. Bogosian would be a perfect fit in Edmonton.
If Buffalo is interested in the #4 overall pick, then Bogosian may be a price they’re willing to pay. They had Ristolainen, Pysk and Casey Nelson (only played 8 games) all playing the right side towards the end of the year while Bogosian was hurt. All 3 of those players are younger than Bogosian, so if the Oilers offer a nice enough package, there could be a deal.
The Oilers have a lot of wingers, and the Sabres aren’t particularly strong in that spot, so that cause some mutual interest.
Johnny Boychuk – 32 Years Old – Shoots: R
The Islanders need offense and they have defenseman to deal. Hamonic, Leddy, DeHaan, Hickey, and Pulock can all play in the NHL and that gives the Islanders the option to move a player like Boychuk for offensive help.
He could help their powerplay, his 4.47 powerplay points/60 from last season was better than any Oilers defender. But away from the puck, he can face the other teams best competition and provide veteran stability on what will be a young blueline next season.
His contract is a very tough one to swallow. He’s currently 32 years old and is owed 6 million a season until 2021-22, when he will be 38.
I’m not saying Chiarelli should be calling Garth Snow right on draft day, but if the defensive market has dried up, this could be a name that creeps up the list of available defensive help.
Matt Dumba – 21 years old – Shoots: R
Minnesota has a plethora of young d-men with Spurgeon, Brodin, Scandella and Dumba. What they don’t have is a lot of reliable scoring. The Oilers would like any one of those players but Dumba shoots right, so is probably be the one they prefer.
Dumba is very good offensively and has looked good running a powerplay with Taylor Hall and Connor McDavid at the World Championships this year. The product of Regina, Saskatchewan was second among Wild defensemen in shots/60.
His 5 on 5 skills could use some work, but he got better as they year went on, as any young d-man would. He isn’t THE answer on the Oilers blueline, but he would be a nice fit on their second pairing.
FOR THE RECORD
I ran a twitter pole over @belowtheice with some of these names, these were the results: