Milan Lucic is sort of the physical embodiment of what Peter Chiarelli stated from the get-go needed to happen in Edmonton. He wanted to get bigger, more competitive players… I do think if he goes to free agency the Oilers are going to have a solid opportunity to bring him in, but they’re going to have to move somebody out in the process because they’ve got to address that back-end as well. – Bob Stauffer (June 3rd Edition of Inside Sports w/Reid Wilkins)
Well Stauffer is making waves again. If you believe what he’s saying above and that Lucic has been in Chiarelli’s sights from the beginning, we’re in for one of the biggest team culture changes since Gretzky was sold. Out with the skill and in with the ill… Tempered. Hockey player.
Now if you read into that quote above a bit, there are two players and only two players on the left-wing that fit the description of somebody that has to be moved to address the back-end.
Taylor Hall ($6M until 2020) and Benoit Pouliot ($4M until 2018).
I’m of the impression that Pouliot was nearly traded to Anaheim along with Yakupov for a mystery return. We’re left assuming it was Vatanen and Maroon. Maroon finally made it over and it seems that he’s taken a liking to Pouliot’s old spot on the roster next to Connor McDavid.
During the season I got the distinct feeling that Oilers head coach Todd McLellan became frustrated with Taylor Hall on more than one occasion and the rumours are running rampant that Hall is joining the list as one of the players most likely to be leaving Edmonton this summer.
To clarify the speculation by @Bob_Stauffer on Inside Sports:
More than 50% chance one of Hall/RNH traded.
Less than 20% chance Eb traded.
— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) June 4, 2016
TSN’s Frank Seravalli spoke about Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yakupov, and the Oilers’ 1st rounder in the upcoming NHL draft on Friday’s edition of The Lowdown with Lowetide.
Here’s the thing. IF the Oilers are intending on signing Milan Lucic to a 6x6M deal (for example), that is going to change the complection of the roster completely. The Oilers have almost always been a run and gun, throw defense to the wind sort of team. And it’s gotten them a whole lot of nothing in the last 10 years and now with McDavid running the show and the team failing to rebuild around Taylor Hall, will we see him moved to upgrade the defense? Will the Oilers finally get that brooding power forward that the fans have been clambering for since Bill Guerin and Jason Arnott were in Edmonton?
I want to throw a hypothetical at you.
Say that Lucic to the Oilers is a done deal. Now the team chooses to move Hall because theoretically he’s going to bring you back the most value. The Oilers could choose to go after PK Subban before his NMC kicks in. But do you think they could get Subban for Hall straight up? I don’t. I think they’d have to add simply because wingers don’t have the value that defensemen do. Subban is a Norris Trophy winner and they’ve already got Pacioretty running the cart on the Habs 1st line LW.
The Habs love trading their captains mind you.
So, we move on from PK. Erik Karlsson isn’t going anywhere, so you can scratch that idea off the board. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, no… Drew Doughty, no… Victor Hedman, no… Basically any elite level NHL defenseman is a target to far to reach because there are ZERO teams looking to move their no.1 dmen. Name two if you can. The only one I can think of is Montreal and they’re insane. But we’ve been hearing a lot about four other dmen.
- Hampus Lindholm (ANH) – RFA. Can’t see the Ducks adding Hall’s salary nor losing their best young blueliner to a division rival and for the same reason, I can’t see Edmonton wanting to play Hall six times a year.
- Jacob Trouba (WPG) – RFA. It’s possible that maybe something could be struck with the Jets but Trouba has fallen off a bit lately and hasn’t recovered. Also, he’s looking for 1st pairing money ($6M/yr) and that isn’t happening.
- Tyson Barrie (COL) – RFA. He’s at the top of the trade rumour charts at the moment but with Landeskog, Duchene, MacKinnon, etc. Do the Avs want to add another expensive young forward? Surely they’re going to want to add a defender.
- Justin Faulk (CAR) – ($4.83M AAV ’til 2019) Here is a team that is in dire need of an impact forward and according to some pundits in the YEG, the ‘Canes are ready to put their faith in the likes of Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin, Ron Hainsey, Michal Jordan and James Wisniewski…
So for argument’s sake, at the draft, let’s say the Carolina Hurricanes are willing to offer the Oilers a multitude of deals such as:
A) Justin Faulk and their two first-round picks in 2016 (#13 and 21)
B) Justin Faulk, Sebastian Aho (W/C), and a 2nd round pick in 2016 (#43)
C) Noah Hanifin
We know that the Oilers prospect cupboard isn’t teeming with burgeoning NHLers right now apart from MAYBE Drake Caggiula, Jujhar Khaira, and Jordan Oesterle but that could change. I’m aware that trading Hall for anything less than Alex Ovechkin will probably result in a drop in some offensive and possession stats and I’m okay with that because I believe the team would grow as a group a bit more if there was one less chef in the kitchen. No stats to prove that of course and I suppose you can’t change what you can’t track but if trades were made with calculators at the forefront, wouldn’t they be easier to make?
Anyways, say they choose option A. The Oilers would have the #4, #13, and #21 theoretically. They could come away from the draft with a completely re-stocked prospect cupboard. Not only that but Chiarelli would totally redeem himself of last season’s draft trade debacle.
- #4 – Matt Tkachuk/Jesse Puljujarvi/PL Dubois/Jakob Chychrun
- #13 – Charlie McAvoy/Mike McLeod/Julien Gauthier/Clayton Keller
- #21 – Max Jones/Tyler Benson/Alex Debrincat/German Rubtsov
Not only that but then the Oilers hold the #32 pick as well where they could pick Carter Hart, Boris Katchouck, Lucas Johansen, or Cliff pu.
But it doesn’t stop there because they’ve got three 3rd round picks to boot! The likes of Sean Day, David Quenville, Evan Fitzpatrick, James Greenway, etc. could be Oilers.
They could also choose to move those draft picks for roster players. But the more bullets Chiarelli has in the chamber, the better the Oilers’ chances are of finding a hockey player that will play 100 games for them in the future.
But take this overhaul a step further and say they sign 27-year-old Jason Demers to a respectable 5yr deal worth $4.75M per annum. That’s more than doubling what he makes now. So then you plug Demers into that hole on the 2nd pairing above and voila! A respectable Edmonton Oilers roster that is capable of challenging for a playoff spot and arguably more importantly, the roster is built in such a way that it allows it’s prospects the necessary time to develop properly.
Let me know if I’ve missed anything but the fictional Oilers roster would look like this after all is said and done:
A couple of drawbacks (depending on how you see it) include having a hair over 950k in cap room, no way to sign a backup keeper for Talbot, no RH’d one-timer off of the wall on the PP, and a shat ton of LH shooters…
I think the team could save some money by LTIR-ing Ference and/or trading Reinhart.
Peter Chiarelli is bound to make the Oilers roster one that teams fear playing against and at the moment, they are not that… At all… If Hall or Nuge, Ebs or Yak have to go, then so be it. I welcome a change to the make-up of this team because for ten years they men running the show have been trying the same thing over and over and it simply isn’t working. You NEVER build a team from the wings inwards… And I’d prefer the wingers be dealt before the centers personally but that’s a conversation for another day.
Draft day, please hurry.