The Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of making the playoffs and going into this year’s trade deadline they need to make a choice I believe.
- Will they load up for a Stanley Cup finals run?
- Will they stay the course and simply add pieces to secure that playoff bid.
I think every fan would love for Chiarelli to say ‘F*ck it!’ and go for the Cup but if you have forgotten, that’s sort of how we got here, no? Lowe and co. also took that same sentiment into the draft and thankfully because of those attitudes, we’re sitting pretty with Connor McDavid.
Personally, I believe the team should tinker with the roster not swing for the homerun at this year’s trade deadline.
My concerns with the team now are:
- Backup goaltending
- Scoring from the bottom six
- The right-handed bomb from the point
- A face-off specialist for the 3rd line
- The lack of playoff experienced veterans
Who might the Oilers’ assets for trade be?
- Benoit Pouliot – Let’s hope his strong play continues 🙂
- Jordan Eberle – Can’t see him being dealt mid-season but you never know.
- Brandon Davidson – The potential is there and rival GMs know this. Davy might bring back a key piece since he’s unlikely to be protected in the expansion draft.
- Oscar Klefbom – If Chiarelli is really looking to expedite this rebuild, he could very well use the big Swede. I wouldn’t recommend it but it’s an option nevertheless.
- The Oilers 1st round pick this year – Edmonton will do what it takes to improve and if a 1st rounder is part of that price, then so be it. The Oilers will be looking to recoup a 2nd rounder at some point anyhow.
- Any one of David Musil, Jordan Oesterle, Griffin Reinhart, Joey Laleggia, Anton Slepyshev, Laurent Brossoit, or Dillon Simpson – It’s time to cash in on some of these prospects as it looks like their futures as Edmonton Oilers are in jeopardy. Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Zayat Paigin, William Lagesson, etc. are coming in and they’ll need spots.
Let’s address the concerns one-by-one.
SUPPORT FOR TALBOT
I have heard that the Oilers aren’t pleased with Laurent Brossoit’s development and are exploring all options heading into the final half of the year. I don’t blame the Oilers for wanting to find a goalie that they feel they can trust and there are quite a few out there I’d give the job to before Brossoit.
For me, this could be a very undervalued acquisition (remember Roloson in ’05?) and I wouldn’t be against the Oilers adding an expensive goalie here but the caveat being that the player they do pick up would need to have extensive playoff experience and a positive one would be nice but not a requisite.
- Ryan Miller (36 years old, $6M – UFA) – Is Miller that bad a keeper? I mean he’s been playing for the Canucks and that defense is questionable. As a backup for Talbot, I’d feel very safe knowing if anything goes wrong, Ryan Miller is there to come in.
His career playoff record is 56GP 28W 27L, .915SV%, 2.49 GAA.
- Brian Elliott (31 years old, $2.5M – UFA) – I know he plays for the Flames but it’s not like he’s lighting up the league down there and he’s had extensive post-season experience during his time with the St.Louis Blues. I like this.
Career playoff stats: 37GP 15W 19L, .911 SV%, 2.49 GAA
- Michal Neuvirth (28 years old, $1.625M – UFA) – The Flyers have a couple of goalies that will be UFA this summer but I’m not sure I trust Mason not to shit the bed at any given moment. Neuvirth, on the other hand has been a trusty backup for some time now. He doesn’t have tons of playoff TOI though
Career playoff stats: 13GP 6W 6L, .933 SV%, 1.93 GAA
There are a few others like Reto Berra, Jonathan Bernier (4-1-0, 933, 2.01GAA this season!), Ondrej Pavalec, and Anders Nilsson but I dig the fellas above. You?
AFTER EBS AND DRAISAITL, CAN WE TRUST THE KIDS?
So that right wing thing is still… A thing. I have a feeling that we’re going to witness a Jordan Eberle scoring explosion soon. The chances that he is getting are coming by the handful now and the timing couldn’t be better. That being said, Jesse and his Ripper (Full House references anyone?) are tearing up the AHL right now and I really want to believe that if the Oilers called him up after the trade deadline, that he’d do the same in the NHL but I don’t know that. Anton Slepyshev is still another question mark for me. I love how the Russian plays but when will it translate to consistent production on the stat sheet?
There is a perfectly good reason for Peter Chiarelli to go out and acquire a Radim Vrbata or a Jarome Iginla next month and that reason is the fear of Eberle/Draisaitl going cold again. The other thing is, in a playoff run or Stanley Cup run, you generally want to put your chances in the hands of the most capable players and usually, those players are a tad older or more high-end.
I’d love for the Oilers to go out and pick up the 2nd leading scorer in NHL history, Jaromir Jagr, because as a third line player that would allow the Oilers to move Zack Kassian to the 4th line where there’s not a lot that he can do to hurt the team.
Jagr isn’t a fast player by any means but he might be one of the smartest and Chiarelli had him for a run in Boston back in 2012/13. Of course, that fact and the Panthers making the playoffs could work against the Oilers trading for the legendary Czech.
Other names I’ve heard through the rumourvine: Brian Gionta and Alexandre Burrows. Not a lot of scoring there but would provide elements of their own in bottom 6 roles.
There still seems to be interest from the Oilers in trading for a right-handed player that can add that cannon from the point or the left wall to their power play. I’m 50/50 on the idea I think. The PP is running pretty well (11th in the NHL at 20.4%) and picking up a defenseman or RW with a specific skill set is a daunting and risky task.
Dennis Wideman (CGY) has been in the rumours all year long. The Islanders’ young defender, Ryan Pulock, has emerged as a possible trade candidate but I’d like to see the Oilers going into the playoffs with an older crew, not a younger one.
This is possibly an area where Radim Vrbata and Jarome Iginla draw in again.
I’ll throw out some power play long shots (pun intended) for you though:
- Colton Parayko/Kevin Shattenkirk (D) – St.Louis – Not the same Parayko we saw last year and the Blues are struggling a bit and apparently Bob McKenzie has said, in so many words, that Shattenkirk’s tune might have changed since last season and Edmonton could be back in the picture.
- Sami Vatanen/Shea Theodore (D) – Anaheim – The highly-rated Theodore has seemingly fallen down the depth charts since Carlyle took over again. How will the expansion draft protection list affect the Ducks? And do they still want Benoit Pouliot?
- Torey Krug/Zdeno Chara (D) – Boston – The Bruins are on shaky grounds, would they move either of these players to shore up the offense? Probably not if they’re close to a playoff spot eh? That being said, Chara’s salary drops to $4M next season…
- Patrick Eaves (RW) – Dallas – What is happening to the Stars?
- Ryan Strome (RW/C) – New York Islanders – More like, what is happening to the Isles?
- Brandon Pirri (RW) – New York Rangers – This guy shoots, plain and simple. I can’t speak to his defensive game but if you want a shooter, you pick this guy up. Maybe the Rangers would have interest in Mark Fayne.
DRAWING FROM EXPERIENCE
Having a centre who can be counted on to win an important draw is of the utmost value in the drive to the playoffs and the Oilers have one guy in Mark Letestu they can count on (sort of). One. Maybe Leon Draisaitl could be another but we’re not 100% sure as to how he’ll perform when the team NEEDS that faceoff win.
Colorado’s John Mitchell should be available and he has a respectable win percentage on the draw at 55.55%. He’s got 1 goal and no assists this season, so one would think that his price would be of the minimal variety.
Bob Stauffer likes to pump Derek Ryan’s tires every chance he can get and the small pivot for the ‘Canes is having a pretty decent season (31gp 8g 10a) whilst winning 55.2% of his face-offs in 280 attempts. Now, Ryan isn’t exactly a full-time centre like Patrice Bergeron but he it looks like he can win a face-off now and then.
Hail Mary: Sean Couturier. If the Flyers fall out of the playoff race, do you think they’d be willing to move him? I think they’d be ridiculous to even consider doing it but one has to wonder if Travis Konecny would be a more financially astute player to take on 3rd line duties in Philly until his rookie contract is up?
YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH OLD GUYS
This one is pretty simple. I’ve already named Radim Vrbata and Jarome Iginla earlier as grizzled veterans that would fill some serious holes and roles on this Oilers team but how about Shane Doan? Would he like to come home or would he be more inclined to shack up with his cousin in Montreal (Some guy named Price)?
The stats community is always singing PA Parenteau’s praises and it doesn’t look like the Devils will be making post-season plans this year. Is this a player that would help the Oilers down the stretch?
Another fella from the East, Mark Streit, has always been intriguing to me. He provides a nice puck moving option for the Oilers and he’s a UFA ($5.25M this year) at season’s end. He’s a leftie IIRC though and the Oilers have a shat ton of those.
I don’t know, I’m just thinking of the Oilers have an older roster going into the playoffs (hopefully), I’d feel more comfortable going up against a team like San Jose in the 1st round.
So what if the Oilers looked like this after the trade deadline?
The Home Run Model
Basically sacrificing Klefbom, Davidson, Eberle, and Pouliot plus prospects and draft picks for some immediate help and taking on some extra salary as tax.
The Tinkering Model
All of the players acquired here would surely be available for nothing more than marginal prospects and later round draft picks, no? Perhaps an offloading of Mark Fayne?
I’m just spitballing here folks. Probably a lot of wishful thinking, actually, definitely a lot of wishful thinking because it’s impossible to know who will and who won’t make the playoffs right now. The standings are pretty competitive this year and a 5 game losing streak could ruin any team’s chances at the post-season.
Thanks for sticking around this far! Enjoy your day! – BLH
**stats taken from NHL.com and Capfriendly.com**