NHL Expansion Draft: Edmonton Oilers Primer
Would Vegas be tempted or convinced to select Edmonton Oilers forward Benoit Pouliot?

The Edmonton Oilers are going to have to send their list of who they’re going to protect in the upcoming expansion draft soon and it’s likely that theyll go the 7-3-1 route. They have a lot of forward talent on their team. Who are the players that they’re most likely to protect coming up? Let’s take a look.

Forward decisions

The Oilers are stacked at forward which should make this great for them. They won’t even have to protect Connor McDavid since he’s still on his ELC for one more year before he gets bank. Leon Draisaitl is definitely going to be protected as he’s one of the Oilers best forwards.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic will also be protected and they would have no choice with Lucic since he has a NMC. With those three down, Patrick Maroon would also be protected after having a great year coming over from the Ducks. He had a career high 27 goals and 42 points this season and is a great bargain for $1.5M the next season.

After those four, they’ll have three more spots for forwards and Jordan Eberle will likely get one of them if he’s not dealt before the expansion trade freeze. I’m going to put him on there for now as the fifth forward since he hasn’t been traded yet.

The last two spots would come down to Mark Letestu, Benoit Pouliot, and Zack Kassian. Letestu would be the best bet for one of the two spots as he had 16 goals this season and set a career high in points this season with 35.

Between Kassian and Pouliot, it can go either way but I think they’re going to go with Kassian because he’s younger and better offensively than Pouliot.  Pouliot also makes $4M a season for the next two years. If Eberle is traded, and depending on what the return, they’d be forced to protect both Kassian and Pouliot.

Defense decisions

The defensive spots are pretty easy for the Oilers as they’ll be protecting Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom, and Andrej Sekera. Sekera they’re forced to protect since he has a NMC and then Klefbom is a star in the making. Larsson came over in the famous Taylor Hall deal and plays top pairing minutes for the Oilers. None of their other defenseman should be protected over these three.

Goaltender decision

There’s really no decision here at all as Cam Talbot is the undisputed number one goaltender in Edmonton and will be protected.

Predicted Players and their cap hits

Milan Lucic – $6M through 2024

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – $6M through 2022

Patrick Maroon – $1.5M through 2019

Jordan Eberle – $6M through 2020

Mark Letestu –  $1.8M through 2019

Leon Draisaitl – RFA

Zack Kassian – RFA


Adam Larsson – $4.16M through 2022

Andrej Sekera – $5.5M through 2022

Oscar Klefbom – $4.167M through 2024


Cam Talbot – $4.166 through 2020

Top two options on who they would most likely lose

Depending on what happens with Jordan Eberle, they could lose Benoit Pouliot to Vegas which wouldn’t be that bad as his $4M cap hit comes off the books after a lackluster season when he only had eight goals. If Jordan Eberle is traded though, they likely would protect him. The other player they could lose is Zack Kassian if they decide to protect Pouliot over him even though it shouldn’t happen.

If Edmonton were to make a trade that could alter their protected list

This one’s obvious as it would be Jordan Eberle who may very well get traded. If they trade him, they’ll have to protect a different forward as I talked about above. It should be a interesting next couple days for Peter Chiarelli.

Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHodies