My thoughts on Anders Nilsson, Tarasenko, Schultz, Tolchinsky, McDavid, expansion and more…
I was borderline about to do a review of this deal later Monday when it was announced, but figured it was too small and only worth touching on in the Ramblings. However, it actually could have a surprising impact. I’m talking about the Oilers acquiring Anders Nilsson from the Blackhawks for Liam Coughlin. Coughlin is going to be a huge impa- okay, I’m kidding. The key is, of course Nilsson. Like Karri Ramo before him, Nilsson has been dominating the KHL and was an astute ‘throw in player’ acquisition last year when Chicago traded Nick Leddy to the Islanders. The Oilers picked him up to be their backup goalie, with all due respect to Ben Scrivens. As much as Scrivens deserves a second chance in a backup capacity, I think the Oilers are covering their bases. Last year they went in with two promising but unproven goalies and look where it got them. This year, either they buy out Scrivens or they go in with three promising but unproven goalies – and the loser would simply get buried in the minors.
Edmonton was quick to sign Nilsson after acquiring him, but it’s only for $1.0 million and you can bury most of that in the AHL if it doesn’t work. I suspect it will. In fact, I can see Edmonton (if they don’t buy out Scrivens) carrying three goalies for a couple of weeks before waiving Scrivens and sending him down. I think a Talbot – Nilsson tandem will succeed where Scrivens – Fasth did not. Primarily because the coaching staff and roster are miles better.
The club-elected salary arbitration deadline came and went, and Jonathan Bernier and Justin Schultz are the only ones being taken by their respective organizations. The Schultz one will be interesting because he’s young and coming off a season in which he did not earn his $3.675 million contract. What if he’s awarded $4.5 million? Would the team walk? Schultz signed with the Oilers as a free agent when he could have signed anywhere else. He signed with them because he saw a young team that is destined to win for a long time. That hasn’t happened yet, but if that truly was his reason – then that reason couldn’t be more true than it is today. In which case he’d better come to an agreement before the hearing. Right now the Oilers have seven defensemen without him.