So here we are 6 years into Taylor Hall’s Edmonton Oilers but wait, it’s not Taylor Hall’s team anymore… It belongs to Connor McDavid now and now that McSaviour is running the show, Hall is surplus to requirement? What about Ebs? The Nuge? New Yak City? Sexy Klefbom too? What about the hard as f*ck Darnell Nurse?
Apparently nobody is safe. Well almost. Draisaitl and McDavid are good to go ahead and find their own places in Edmonton. Everyone else needs to put their landlords on notice.
The previously considered “core” being broken up is not breaking news. We spoke to this around the trade deadline. I’ve heard through my own sources that Peter Chiarelli’s core consists of McDavid, Draisaitl, Sekera, Davidson, Nurse, and Klefbom. Leaving out some pretty hefty names.
Well according to this tweet (below) somebody in hockey’s scouting fraternity has got loose lips, and you know what happens to ships with loose lips? They sink ships! Except this ship has been at the bottom of the ocean for at least 7 years… There’s not much further for it to drop unless of course it’s sitting somewhere in the Mariana Trench.
NHL Scout "Edmonton is considering totally blowing up team over the offseason, only untouchables are top 2 centers (McDavid/Draisaitl)"
— Michael Pityk (@MPityk_PHI) March 15, 2016
So here we are coming to the end of Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan’s first season with the team and there’s one thing that is for certain, there’s no way that Chiarelli has had ample time to evaluate a squad that has been decimated by injuries to its most important players. Funny enough, the one year that Hall finds a way to stay healthy and literally everyone worth their salt around him goes down… How messed up is that?
I can’t honestly see the Oilers gutting their team in one off-season of all the good players. I can however see them doing it piece by piece. A systematic dismantling of the Lowe/Tambellini/MacTavish era. And here’s my message to you my fellow Oilers fans:
Don’t fear the change. Embrace it. Take it in and realize that a new era is on the horizon. The McDavid Era. Previous managements have tried it one way, now it’s time to try another. Or would you prefer to try to keep winning your money back on the current investments?
So with that being said, the first to go would be the wingers in my opinion, then centres and then defensemen.
Starting with Yak, then Eberle, and if need be Hall. Everytime I see the Kings highlights I see Milan Lucic tearing up their opposition and you have to know that Chia is going to go hard after him this summer if LA has trouble getting him under contract and he’ll get paid major skrilla too! The type of money the analytics guys will hate. The Lars Eller/Nail Yakupov rumors won’t go away and neither will the Eberle/Hamonic rumblings.
How’s that look? If the Oilers fall out of the running for Laine, Puljujarvi, or Tkachuk. That would change things most certainly and in a most dramatic fashion if the team hasn’t made any moves beforehand. A follower asked me the other day, if the Oilers won the 1st overall pick would they trade down to no.4, pick up a defenseman and draft Jakob Chychrun. I had to think long and hard about it. It’s an interesting proposal right? Chychrun’s physical attributes being almost on par with Aaron Ekblad with him just lacking in the IQ and being left-handed as the only drawbacks at this point.
But having Pakarinen on the 2nd line right-wing is not ideal by any means and I’d rather see him on the 4th line with Letestu and Hendricks. Just get rid of Korpikoski by any means possible I’m thinking. Who would you have on the 2nd line right-wing?
My compatriot Micah Kowalchuk has been tossing Loui Eriksson’s name around quite a bit. He feels that Eriksson could be a poor man’s Marian Hossa and heck, PC did trade for him in Boston.
That’s not too shabby. It’s not a team chalked full of uber-youngsters and there are players on the team who’ve experienced some success in the past. The other thing it does is keeps the “Three Amigos” down the middle and adding Eller to the roster would make it four in case of injuries to the other three.
The other option is dealing Nuge for help on D, that could be in a package to the Blues for Alex Pietrangelo or a signed Kevin Shattenkirk, more on that below. Or perhaps he could be used to pry Jared Spurgeon or Jonas Brodin out of Minnesota. Spurgeon would be nice… He’s one of the best passers in the league.
Now the biggest complaint I’m going to hear is that dealing Hall and Eberle will kill the team’s scoring. I don’t know if you’ve seen the scoreboards much this year but the Oilers haven’t exactly been doing a lot of scoring. Hall was supposed to be a 70 point, maybe 80, guy if he was healthy. Eberle seems more or less on track but his name still crops up when it’s time to talk trades, usually being one of the first.
So if we compared this season’s stats between Hall/Eberle and Lucic/Eriksson we’d find this:
Milan Lucic: 17g 28a 45pts 74 PIM 221 hits +22 5GWG (1.82 p/60)
Loui Eriksson: 27g 27a 54pts 8 PIM 20 hits +16 5GWG (1.88 p/60)
Taylor Hall: 22g 35a 57pts 50 PIM 71 hits +/- 0 6 GWG (2.32 p/60)
Jordan Eberle: 21g 20a 41pts 12PIM 24 hits -12 3GWG (1.86 p/60)
It’s nearly a washout. Nearly I said! Hall is obviously ahead of both Lucic and Eriksson in points per 60 minutes at 5v5. The one thing that Lucic and Eriksson have over Hall and Eberle though, and I suspect this is simple due to being on better teams with better goalies and actual defenses, they’re goals against per 60 is waaaaay lower. Lucic sits 1.86 and Eriksson at 1.54 whereas Hall has a 2.37 and Eberle a 3.08… Yikes. Wonder what they could do on a team with a real NHL defence… Would you be willing to wait another two seasons to find out?
We talked about the new core earlier in the post consisting of FOUR defencemen, Sekera, Klefbom, Nurse, and Davidson. That doesn’t leave much room to add does it? We also spoke of adding Travis Hamonic and there’s a possible Taylor Hall trade to ponder as well.
For argument’s sake, what about Hall or Nuge to the Blues for Pietrangelo? The Blues are heavy on the right side with Pietrangelo, Parayko, Shattenkirk, and Bortuzzo. If St.Louis can get Shattenkirk to sign on a long-term deal with a lower cap hit than Pietrangelo, would they look at adding Hall to the wing or Nuge to centre to replace Backes? They’ve currently got Jori Lehtera playing no.1 center right now. So there’s room to argue they need more depth at C. Alex Steen can float between the wing and centre but he’s on the IR at the moment.
I will tell you this. In a western conference where big defences and possession hockey rule the standings, the Oilers are in a much better spot with this sextuplet of players guarding their net. Mark Fayne will have to be moved. He’s more or less the Lauri Korpikoski of the defense. The Oilers could go ahead and keep one of Gryba or Pardy or both. Maybe Pardy signs a two-way deal giving the team some flexibility.
I think the bottom line here when we’re talking about blowing this team up or when we hear about major pieces being discussed as Peter Chiarelli did the day after the trade deadline.
Just to clarify there, PC was asked if any of the $6M men were talked about during the deadline negotiations and he said, no they weren’t but they were talked about a month or so previous… Teams are asking and Chia isn’t shying away.
We need to keep in mind that this mix of players hasn’t worked. The players inconsistency is surely driving the coaching staff crazy and look at the players on the PP. That group of players should be scoring at much higher rate than 3%! It should be closer to 30%…
Going with strictly skill within the forwards has resulted in this team being beaten down and a reputation of being easy to play against created. Not until Kassian, Maroon and Pardy were acquired has the team resembled a group that cared for each other. Case in point, the end of the game versus Nashville. Nuge takes a last second hit, Draisaitl grabs the guy who did it, a Ekholm grabs him, McDavid grabs Ekholm, Eberle comes in like a bat out of hell to grab the guy who’s giving McDavid a headlock from behind, and even Hall got in there to take care of the Nashville player who was mauling Eberle.
Perhaps it’s time to talk about the Nashville model or the Washington model one of these days. Load up on stupidly talented dmen and great goaltending and sort the rest out as you go. Go into the draft with the notion that trading down and acquiring more picks being the game plan. With said extra picks, try and draft the top rated right-handed shooting dmen. This draft you’d be looking at Dante Fabbro (Penticton Vees), Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen) and Charlie McAvoy (Boston Univ.).
Luckily for this team, they may just be a few bodies away but they’d come at a great cost.
The final note I’ll leave you on… Remember the Nordiques. God damn they were terrible for a long time… Still found a way to win a couple of Stanleys though…