5 Free Agents Who Should Be on the Edmonton Oilers' Wish List
Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish will be busy during the offseason as he looks to overhaul a roster that once again disappointed during the 2013-14 season.
Unfortunately for MacTavish, the list of free agents available is relatively thin, so any major upgrades to the lineup will most likely have to take place via trade.
With that being said, there are still some players who will be available to the highest bidder, and some who could almost certainly help change the culture in the Oilers' locker room.
Here is a list of five free agents who should be on the team's wish list.
After a disappointing 2012-13 season, when he only managed to register 24 points in 40 games, Paul Stastny returned to form in 2013-14.
The talented center rebounded with 60 points in 71 games for the upstart Colorado Avalanche and proved that he still has the ability to be a healthy contributor.
Edmonton is in desperate need of a second-line center who can help shoulder the load with incumbent first-line center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
With a 54.1 percent faceoff rating, Stastny has the ability to share some of the faceoff responsibilities currently heaped upon Boyd Gordon.
His offensive creativity and ability to play with high-end players are qualities that should be attractive to the Oilers.
A potential second-line unit consisting of Stastny with David Perron and Nail Yakupov should give Craig MacTavish something to think about once free agency begins on July 1.
Stastny won’t come cheap, however. At 28 years of age, Stastny is entering his prime and coming off a five-year $33 million contract with the Avalanche. He will likely command something similar for his next contract.
If Craig MacTavish decides that he needs to change the look and feel of his second line, the addition of David Bolland at center ice could do just that.
Bolland is coming off of an injury-shortened season that saw him feature in only 23 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. Before he was hurt, he was contributing at a very consistent pace.
Bolland is an agitator with a winning pedigree who would give the second line a nice blend of skill and toughness.
Though his faceoff percentage of 45.1 leaves much to be desired, his overall skill set is something that is currently lacking in Edmonton.
Bolland has had trouble staying healthy in his career, so a big-money contract with significant term could be a risky gamble. However, if the price is right, Bolland is exactly the type of player that should be on Edmonton’s wish list this summer.
It is no secret that the group of defenders in Edmonton needs a significant upgrade. Andrei Markov is 35, so his age alone should be a bit of a worry for whatever team decides to pursue the talented Russian defender.
However, his addition would certainly be an upgrade for the Edmonton Oilers.
Markov’s foot speed and defensive game may not be exactly what the Oilers need, but the addition of Markov would be extremely beneficial to a young offensive defender like Justin Schultz, whom the Oilers will look to secure for the long term.
Markov has proven that he still has the ability to orchestrate a power play and is a significant contributor from the back end.
Considering the potential young defenders who could be promoted from within in Edmonton, Markov would be an excellent mentor.
If Edmonton can acquire Markov for a decent dollar amount and something around two years—perhaps with a third-year option—this would be a good signing for the club.
Centers with size are a highly coveted commodity in the NHL and, at 6’7” and 244 pounds, Brian Boyle is almost as big as they come.
Boyle would be an excellent addition to the Oilers and could slot into a second- or third-line position with the club depending on any other moves the club decides to make.
Though he has proven to be inconsistent in terms of offensive production and isn’t as physical as he could be for a player of his size, Boyle is a very smooth skater and reliable faceoff man, winning 52.9 percent of his draws in 2013-14.
Boyle only managed to register 18 points, but does have the potential to contribute in the right situation.
He is an excellent penalty-killer and would help solidify the Oilers' forward ranks.
Ryan Callahan would certainly be a long shot for the Edmonton Oilers, but he is exactly the type of player the Oilers need.
The addition of a player with Callahan’s skill and tenacity would instantly give the Oilers a different look within the top six.
His offensive production leaves a bit to be desired, but Callahan is a tenacious penalty-killer and proven leader who would be an extremely good addition to the Oilers' locker room.
Callahan, 29, is coming off of a three-year contract worth $12.825 million and will be looking for a contract with term.
While convincing the American to come to Edmonton would be a difficult task, the Oilers will have the money to sign Callahan to a significant contract should they believe he is an answer to some of the questions within the current lineup.
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