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Oilers 2023 Free Agents, Draft Targets, Offseason Guide After NHL Playoff Loss

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Oilers 2023 Free Agents, Draft Targets, Offseason Guide After NHL Playoff Loss

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    EDMONTON, CANADA - APRIL 01: Connor McDavid #97 and Leon Draisaitl #29 of the Edmonton Oilers have a conversation while awaiting a face-off during the game against the Anaheim Ducks on April 1, 2023 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Edmonton Oilers have been eliminated from the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs after a second-round loss to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and now it’s time for the franchise to enter planning mode ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

    Edmonton put together a fantastic regular season, finishing second in the Pacific Division with a 50-23-9 record, but not even Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl couldn’t power them to a Stanley Cup title in 2023.

    Oilers general manager Ken Holland is now faced with questions about how he can build an effective supporting cast around the likes of McDavid, Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. So, it’s time to take a look at Edmonton’s free agents, some draft targets and what to expect this summer.

Free Agents

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    EDMONTON, CANADA - MARCH 30: Mattias Janmark #26 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during warm up before the game against the Los Angeles Kings on March 30, 2023 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

    Unrestricted free agents: Derek Ryan, Mattias Janmark, Devin Shore, Nick Bjugstad, Oscar Klefbom, Mike Smith, Ryan Murray

    Restricted free agents: Ryan McLeod, Klim Kostin, Evan Bouchard

    The Oilers don’t have any significant free agents this summer, like Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, but they do have some key role players in need of new deals, such as Mattias Janmark and Derek Ryan.

    Janmark was a key third-liner for the Oilers in 2022-23, notching 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 66 games. He also added one assist in five playoff games.

    Ryan, meanwhile, formed a formidable fourth-line alongside Warren Foegele and Ryan McLeod, notching 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points in 80 games, adding three points during the playoff run.

    Beyond Janmark and Ryan, it’s reasonable to believe Edmonton will retain all of its restricted free agents in Ryan McLeod, Klim Kostin and Evan Bouchard, who were significant contributors in 2022-23.

    If the Oilers move on from Janmark and Ryan, they’ll need to replace the duo in free agency this summer.

2023 Draft Targets

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    MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: A general view of the Edmonton Oilers draft table prior to the first round of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Edmonton Oilers have four picks in the 2023 NHL draft, but the team’s first selection won’t come until the second day of the event.

    While the team’s out on Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli, numerous top prospects are expected to be on the board by the time the Oilers make their first selection this offseason.

    Here’s a look at the team’s 2023 picks:

    • One second-round pick
    • One fifth-round pick
    • One sixth-round pick
    • One seventh-round pick

    Edmonton has plenty of offense to go around, and that was made clear this season as Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each finished with 100-plus points.

    Considering it will have offense for years to come, the franchise’s focus should be on drafting some quality young defensemen this summer, as defense is something that has plagued the team over the last several years.

Free-Agent Targets

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 08: Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher (37) during an NHL hockey game between the Colorado Avalanche and the LA Kings on April 8, 2023 at Arena in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    If the Oilers are going to add more forwards this summer, it’s likely going to come in the form of bottom-six players, meaning the likes of Alexander Kerfoot and J.T. Compher could be options.

    Kerfoot had an impressive 2022-23 season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, notching 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 82 games.

    The 28-year-old has been a consistent 25-plus point scorer over his six-year career, and he’s a solid, versatile forward who can play in all three zones effectively.

    Compher is a similar type of hard-working, versatile forward. The 28-year-old had a solid 2022-23 campaign with the Colorado Avalanche, notching 17 goals and 35 assists for 52 points in 82 games.

    It’s also possible the Oilers could look to add on defense this summer as the position was on the weaker side in 2022-23. John Klingberg and Matthew Dumba are expected to be among the top defensemen available.

    Klingberg, an offensive defenseman, notched 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points in 67 games during the 2022-23 season with the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild.

    His offensive skillset would be an asset to an already potent offense, but Dumba, a dynamic, big-minute defenseman, could be a better fit in terms of physicality and overall defense.

    Dumba notched four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 79 games with the Wild in 2022-23, and he also logged more than 21 minutes of ice time per game.

    Both Klingberg and Dumba are expected to receive lucrative deals this summer, and it’s unclear if Edmonton would be able to afford their services.

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Oilers 2023 Free Agents, Draft Targets, Offseason Guide After NHL Playoff Loss Reviewed by RP on May 16, 2023 Rating: 5

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