In the old CBA, I was a big proponent of the Oilers rebuilding. I believed the Oilers were stuck in a cycle of finishing 7th-10th in the West and weren't likely to have future success without dropping to the bottom for a couple of seasons. Even with that background, I have not been the most vocal fan of the Edmonton rebuild over the past year and a half. I don't doubt that rebuilding can work in this CBA, but I'm less sure it's worth* all the on-ice losing in a CBA that makes it very difficult for a team to keep its core together over the long term.
Daryl Katz was on "Oilers Lunch" a week or two ago and suggested it's a luxury to own a team in such a sophisticated hockey market. As mentioned, I'm generally not an advocate for rebuilding in this CBA, but if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing "right". Especially if your market is as savvy as Daryl Katz believes, and will continue to support a 30th place team as long as there is the promise of a future contender.
So, the question becomes, how much rebuilding is too much? How many older player with value should the team trade, if they can get a reasonable return? What follows is an example of what the Oilers may be able to do, and what the roster might look like, if they are willing to jump over the cliff. The trades specifically aren't meant to be perfect assessments of value; if you disagree with the value the Oilers are getting back, or giving, in one of the hypothetical trades by all means mention it and maybe we can fine tune it in the comments, but this post is more directed at the general idea and not so much as the specific players and picks returning.
I chose not to have any players waive NMC's to come to EDM since there's not much reason to think they'd want to play here. But, if it's true that EDM could acquire a guy like Drury in exchange for some valuable picks from NYR, and Drury was willing to waive his NMC (maybe he thinks that's better than being bought out, as has been rumored?), then that might be something to look at as well. Campbell has a NTC, but because the Oilers are first in the waiver claim priority list, they could probably work something out even if he doesn't really want to waive his NTC to go to Edmonton. If he were going to have such a big problem coming to Edmonton you probably wouldn't want to make the deal, so this assumes that you know Campbell would handle the trade or waive as professionally as one could hope. Thanks to capgeek for helping me put together the final roster so easily!
To CHI: Whitney
To EDM: Campbell, Leddy, Frolik, 18 OV, 36 OV, 2012 CHI 1st
To CLB: Gilbert, 31 OV
To EDM: Commodore, 8 OV
To VAN: 61 OV
To EDM: 29/30OV, Ballard
To BOS: Hemsky, 19 OV
To EDM: 9 OV, 2012 BOS 1st
This would leave the Oilers with 6 picks in the first 2 rounds (1st, 8th, 9th, 18th, 29/30th, and 36th picks) of the 2011 draft and 3 picks in the first round of the 2012 draft.
CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR
Taylor Hall ($3.750m) / Shawn Horcoff ($5.500m) / Jordan Eberle ($1.158m)
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson ($1.525m) / Sam Gagner ($2.275m) / Linus Omark ($0.875m)
Michael Frolik ($2.500m) / Andrew Cogliano ($1.500m) / Ryan Jones ($1.500m)
Teemu Hartikainen ($0.875m) / Colin Fraser ($0.825m) / Gilbert Brule ($1.850m)
/ Anton Lander ($0.880m)
Kurtis Foster ($1.800m) / Brian Campbell ($7.142m)
Keith Ballard ($4.200m) / Nick Leddy ($1.116m)
Jeff Petry ($1.000m) / Ladislav Smid ($1.300m)
Mike Commodore ($3.750m) / Theo Peckham ($0.550m)
Nikolai Khabibulin ($3.750m) / Devan Dubnyk ($0.800m)
BUYOUTS: Robert Nilsson ($0.416m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $50,839,541; BONUSES: $4,262,500
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $8,560,459
Would it be wise for the Oilers to go in this direction, since they are rebuilding anyways? Do Hemsky and Whitney want to stay? The Oilers certainly have better information than I do, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were willing to take their chances going UFA in the next year or two.
* I'm talking about worth for fans of the team, not the off-ice business for the Oilers organization. As long as people still keep paying to come out, even if the team is terrible, losing money isn't a concern with Edmonton's rebuild.