The Edmonton Oilers have a gap to fill up the middle of their line up, and Oilers insider Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal recently laid out the top four free agents he feels could fill that need for the Oilers.
Number one on his list is a man currently battling for a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, veteran center Nick Bonino. Bonino brings both his skill and championship experience to the table and that will likely make him an interesting option for several NHL teams. While the Oilers may look at him, there will likely be significant competition for his services.
At number two Matheson has a tie between both Brian Boyle and Martin Hanzal. While Boyle brings his physical size, veteran experience, and quality faceoff numbers to the table, he seems less likely to be the kind of center the Oilers are looking for. Hanzal on the other hand could fit into that top nine role the Oilers need, but his chronic injuries are a huge red flag for any organization looking to invest in him.
Last but not least is Derek Ryan of the Carolina Hurricanes. While Ryan is on the smaller side, his faceoff numbers as well as his offensive prowess could mesh well with the Oilers young core.
Also worth noting here, Matheson has also stated he believes the Oilers and Stars are in perfect position for a trade that would send Cody Eakin to Edmonton. Where this to come to pass the likelihood of the Oilers picking up a free agent center would obviously decrease.