The Phoenix Coyotes signed Adrian Aucoin to a 2-year deal yesterday. That leaves Zbynek Michalek and Derek Morris left on their blue line to sign. Either of these guys would be nice additions to the Oilers.
Derek Morris is an Edmonton born player who brings a pretty all around game, including physical play. He could stand to be a bit better in his own zone, but he is skilled in the offensive zone. His $3.3M contract last year puts him in a spot that may make him a bit pricey for a team such as ours in a rebuild, but he would be a decent replacement for Souray. He also plays that oft-sought right side.
Zbynek Michalek is a big defender with very good shutdown qualities. He isn’t a guy that isn’t going to be confused for Scott Stevens with his physical play, but he isn’t going to shy from the contact either. He brings a bit of an offensive game, although that isn’t his best talent. His best talent is in his own zone where he is a superb shot blocker and has the size to be a strong presence in front of his own net. If he hits the UFA market, you can bet his agent will receive several calls from interested teams.
It’s not too likely the Coyotes would just let either of these guys walk, so I would think we would need to trade for negotiating rights if we have hope of scooping one of them up. So what’s it worth?
My favorite source for assessing team needs is TSN’s Off-Season Game Reports, by Scott Cullen. In his off-season game report for the Phoenix Coyotes, Cullen states the Coyotes needs as 2 top-six forwards and 2 top-four defensemen. So why would they trade their defensemen if it is one of their needs? Well, my hope is that perhaps they just need cheaper solutions there.
On the other hand, it is a possibility that these guys won’t want to re-sign in Phoenix, with the Coyotes fate up in the air. So there still is a bit of a chance at getting one of these guys via free agency. However, I’d say having that early negotiating right could help our advantage and help keep the salary required to sign one of them down a bit.
Whether it is a free agent signing or a trade and sign, I think the Oilers should put these guys on their radar.
Calgary’s 1st Round Pick (13th overall) – you always have to explore all avenues when it comes to getting another pick in the first round. The Coyotes have two first round picks this year. Perhaps there might be an argument for this pick being more available, given the uncertainty of the organization. A draft pick that won’t play for a few years won’t help keep this team in Glendale. Is it up for grabs perhaps? And if so, at what cost. All you Dylan McIlrath fans, #13 might be a good pick to acquire to make that McIlrath pick a possibility.
Soooo, I guess I need to throw out a random trade suggestion. So here it is:
#13 overall pick
Aaron Johnson (sorry folks, as much as I like him, I have a feeling he’s a goner)
Nashville’s 2nd rounder (48 overall) or our 3rd (61 overall)
Feel free to suggest your own ideas.