After the Edmonton Oilers got the infamous three-peat of first overall draft picks in three straight years prior to this season’s draft, there is no lack of talent on the Oilers’ roster. Forwards such as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins best portray their abundance of youthful talent. The Oilers have been focusing on keeping a young, talented team recently to adapt to the quick pace of the new NHL style of play. What they entered the draft and free agency in search of was physical defensemen to accompany their quick forwards.
Trading captain Horcoff
After ten years with Edmonton, Shawn Horcoff and the Oilers felt it was time to part ways. The Oilers traded their captain, Shawn Horcoff, to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Philip Larsen and a seventh-round pick in the 2016 draft. This is a sign of the Oilers taking a serious commitment to their youthful new image. The Oilers may also be thinking of sending the Dallas Stars a thank-you card for the trade. Leading up to the trade it looked as if the Oilers were set on buying out the remaining years on Horcoff’s contract. Saving a lot of money, they ended up not having to buy out his contract, AND received a skilled defenseman (Larsen), plus a draft pick.
One of the Oilers’ weaknesses lately is their inability to dominate physically. This trade for to 6-foot-0 Larsen did not improve their team’s overall size. In the first round of the NHL draft last week they picked up Darnell Nurse. Nurse is 6-foot-5, and just shy of 200 pounds.
Nurse is exactly what the Oilers needed. A couple inches taller than the other defensemen on the Oilers roster, he is expected to bring a physical presence. Aside from his physicality, he is also very talented and should help with the lack of productivity from the point for Edmonton.
Edmonton also acquired Edmonton native defenseman, Andrew Ference, from the Boston Bruins. Along with drafting Nurse, Ference will also help the defense of Edmonton, which hasn’t been able to keep up with the success of their booming offense in the past several years. Ference also brings playoff experience to the locker room of Edmonton for the anticipation of their future playoff seasons.
The Oilers also acquired Richard Bachman (goalie) from the Dallas Stars. Bachman didn’t have a very significant impact behind Kari Lehtonen in Dallas (3.25 GAA last season), but after being exposed to more play in the NHL last season, the Oilers are hopeful that he will be able to improve entering the next season. With Nikolai Khabibulin being injury-prone, Bachman and Jason Labarbera (from Phoenix) may be the two front runners for the backup goalie spot behind Devan Dubnyk.
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