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Team Reset

Oilers sign Rieder, Brodziak for forward depth

Bear could provide spark on defense, power play

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Edmonton Oilers:

The Edmonton Oilers have been relatively quiet this offseason but signed free agent forwards Kyle Brodziak and Tobias Rieder trying to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after failing to qualify last season.

The Oilers also re-signed forward Ryan Strome to a two-year contract July 6 and selected defenseman Evan Bouchard with the No. 10 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset Coverage]

 

Edmonton will be counting on resurgent performances from forward Milan Lucic, who had 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) in 82 games last season, including scoring one goal in his final 46 games, while relying on continued production from center Connor McDavid, who led the NHL with a career-high 108 points (41 goals, 67 assists) last season and begins the first season of an eight-year, $100 million contract (average annual value of $12.5 million).

Coach Todd McLellan enters his fourth season with the Oilers with three new assistants -- Glen Gulutzan, Trent Yawney and Manny Viveiros -- and will look to improve on a sixth-place finish in the Pacific Division that followed a 103-point season and a berth in the playoffs for the first time since 2006. 

Here is what the Oilers look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Tobias Rieder, F: The 25-year-old forward signed a one-year contract July 1 and is expected to provide secondary scoring in a bottom-six role, though he's capable of moving up to play on the top two lines. Rieder had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 78 games with the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings last season. He was selected by Edmonton in the fourth round (No. 114) of the 2011 NHL Draft. … Kyle Brodziak, F: The 34-year-old forward signed a two-year contract July 1 and will help on face-offs and on the penalty kill. He played the past three seasons with the St. Louis Blues. Brodziak had 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) and won 52.1 percent of face-offs in 81 games last season. Brodziak was selected by the Oilers in the seventh round (No. 214) in the 2003 NHL Draft and played 175 games in four seasons before being traded to the Minnesota Wild on June 27, 2009.

Video: LAK@COL: Rieder beats Varlamov on a breakaway

 

Key departures

Laurent Brossoit, G: The 25-year-old goaltender signed a one-year contract with the Winnipeg Jets on July 1 after he went 3-7-1 with a 3.24 goals-against average and .883 save percentage in 14 games (10 starts) for the Oilers last season. … Michael Cammalleri, F: The 36-year-old forward was acquired by the Oilers in a trade from the Kings on Nov. 15, 2017, and had 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) in 51 games for Edmonton last season. … Anton Slepyshev, F: A promising young forward selected by the Oilers in the third round (No. 88) in the 2013 NHL Draft, the 24-year-old played two seasons in Edmonton before deciding to return to Russia this season. He had 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 50 games last season.

 

On the cusp

Kailer Yamamoto, F: The No. 22 selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, Yamamoto had three assists in nine games for the Oilers last season before returning to Spokane of the Western Hockey League, where he had 64 points (21 goals, 43 assists) in 40 games. The 19-year-old has an outside chance of making the Oilers this season.  … Ethan Bear, D: Selected in the fifth round (No. 124) in the 2015 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old right-shot defenseman was impressive in 18 games with Edmonton late last season, getting four points (one goal, three assists) and looking comfortable running the power play from the point. … Evan Bouchard, D: The 18-year-old right-shot defenseman had 87 points (25 goals, 62 assists) in 67 games with London in the Ontario Hockey League last season. He was the first defenseman to finish in the top 10 (tied for seventh) in the league in scoring since Ryan Ellis of Windsor in 2010-11.

 

What they still need

An offensive defenseman who can run the power play until either Bear or Bouchard is ready to take on the role on a full-time basis. Edmonton had the worst power play in the NHL last season (14.8 percent).

 

Fantasy focus

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins matched his NHL career high in goals (24) despite missing 20 games because of an upper-body injury. He looks to have solidified chemistry playing wing on the Oilers' top line with Connor McDavid, the No. 1 fantasy player according to NHL.com, down the stretch last season. Nugent-Hopkins was third on the Oilers in power-play points last season (nine) and should easily double his total if he sticks on the first unit with McDavid. The 25-year-old should be available in late rounds and can form a potentially lethal stack with McDavid, the back-to-back Art Ross Trophy winner. -- Rob Reese

 

Projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Connor McDavid -- Ty Rattie

Milan Lucic -- Leon Draisaitl -- Drake Caggiula

Tobias Rieder -- Ryan Strome -- Jesse Puljujarvi

Jujhar Khaira -- Kyle Brodziak -- Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Mikko Koskinen

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