So after much deliberation and anticipation at the NHL draft, Steve Tambellini stepped up to the podium. I had a bunch of guys over for this occasion, in hopes it would be the last year the Oilers would finish 29th or 30th. We were all hoping for him to say ”The Edmonton Oilers are so proud to select……..from the Sarnia Sting, Nail Yakupov!” And he did it! Much speculation around the city of Edmonton, in the newspapers and on the radio stations had the Oilers leaning heavily towards drafting Ryan Murray. Rumor had it that the scouts wanted Murray but were overruled by management and owner, Katz. Nevertheless, they got it right by taking the BPA(best player available). With little movement going on at the draft, much of us in Edmonton expected the Oilers to try and grab another 1st round pick in the 10-20 range but were unable to do so…..where I would have loved for them to draft Grigorenko because at #12, he will be the steal of the draft, just like Sean Coturier last year!
One of the reasons I believe the Oilers passed on Murray and drafted Yakupov was that they had their sights set on the second best UFA defenseman who hasn’t even played a game in the NHL, Justin Schultz. This highly talented, highly touted prospect who rather than sign with the Ducks opted for free agency and became that rare 21 year old UFA. He had 26 offers from teams and it came down to 2 small market teams, Ottawa and Edmonton. When can anyone recall in the last 10 years a highly touted UFA would choose Edmonton? Well he chose the Oilers and by adding Schultz, they fill the void that has been missing for a few years now, a puck moving, big right handed shot to quarterback the powerplay. He will immediately step in and get top 4 minutes on the blueline.
So by adding Yakupov and Schultz, are the Oilers done? I seem to believe they are not done. They are finally in the position with the depth in their organization to do a 2 or 3 for 1 trade where it is the Oilers, for the first time in a long time, being on the receiving end of acquiring the 1 player. In saying that, if I were Steve Tambellini I would pick up the phone and call David Poile in Nashville and tell him to pick any 3 players off my roster not named Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, Schultz and Klefbom and send me Shea Weber before you lose him like you did Suter! Nashville is dealing from a weakness. I would consider an offer sheet but for the fact of giving up 4 first round picks for only 1 year with Weber could prove costly. However Nashville would match the offer sheet as they are not interested in picks and waiting for them develop. Mark my words, the Oilers are not done and expect a trade coming down the pipe shortly!