With the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft coming in June, Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli has begun preparing.
"Everyone has issues in the sense that they lose somebody," said Chiarelli on Tuesday. "We went through the expansion landscape mid-season and just recently in our pro meetings. Everyone knows who is most vulnerable. We're in the middle of the pack. We're going to lose a player and we have to decide who we want to protect."
In dealing with the inevitable, Chiarelli knows the player that gets plucked from the Oilers organization will be significant, given how they would have likely contributed to the 2016-17 season.
"I'm not going to tell you who we want to protect but we're going to lose a player we'd prefer to keep," said Chiarelli. "There are a number of teams that can afford to lose players - and not afford - but there are players they lose them and go, 'You know what, we can replace them.'
"The guys that we might lose, there's a little more meaning for me based on the success we had and they were part of that success."