Trade Talk

If the volume of trade rumours is anything to go by, the time between the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs and draft day (June 30) is going to be nuts. At the centre of a lot of it is Edmonton – general manager Craig MacTavish has made no secret of his desire to immediately and significantly put his stamp on the team, and at this point it would be more of a surprise not to find the Oilers involved in significant trades than to see them pull the trigger on a deal.

Some Names

Kris Letang. Jason Gregor wrote yesterday about reports out of Pittsburgh that Kris Letang could well be moved, and floated a package of Jeff Petry, the number seven pick and a young forward. While that’s a dear price to pay, Letang is a 26-year old rearguard who played number one minutes (more than 27:00 per game, including time in all situations) on a team that went to the Conference Final this year. He scored at better than a point per game pace in both the regular season and the playoffs. He is a legitimate top-pairing defenceman and would improve the Oilers’ blue line a lot. As long as the Oilers were allowed to talk to him about a contract extension before acquiring him, he’d be a great target for this team. The only argument against is that the Oilers already have Justin Schultz – another right-side defenceman with high-level offensive ability – but right now Letang is a vastly superior player and in a three-for-one situation it seems unlikely Edmonton would regret making a deal.

Jonathan Bernier. There isn’t really a lot of buzz for the idea of Bernier ending up in Edmonton – probably at least in part because Los Angeles has been hesitant in the past to move him within their own division. From my perspective, that’s a good thing: Bernier might be the next big thing, but he’s also a 6’ goalie with just 62 NHL games played and a 0.912 save percentage. Because of draft pedigree and reputation, Bernier is going to cost a lot, but whoever acquires him is running a major risk. It’s a good risk for some teams, but Edmonton has a pretty decent goalie in Devan Dubnyk so they don’t need to swing hard for an unproven goalie.

Jake Gardiner. A 22-year old defenceman who moves the puck brilliantly and seems chronically undervalued by the Leafs? Personally, I think the ‘7th overall for Gardiner and the 21st overall’ trade scenarios are ludicrously one-sided in Edmonton’s favour and I’d be surprised to see the Leafs bite, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the cost of acquiring Gardiner is significantly lower than the immediate impact he would have on the blue line.

Tom Gilbert. In the last season Craig MacTavish coached, Tom Gilbert played second pairing minutes and picked up a career-high 45 points. Now, after a year with an impossibly bad 0.877 on-ice even-strength save percentage (keep in mind: this isn’t something Gilbert could control), the Wild may buyout Gilbert because Dany Heatley’s injury prevents them from paying him to go away. If the Oilers can get him for basically nothing in trade or sign him cheaply after a buyout for the third-pairing, that’s a clear win for the organization, I think.

In General

The Toronto Maple Leafs. Robin Brownlee had a nice take on the now famous Nick Kypreos picture (above) of Craig MacTavish and Dave Nonis standing there, talking to each other – one which blew up because Edmonton and Toronto seem like a trade match in some ways. As Brownlee put it, we have no idea whether the two are talking “a whole bunch of something or a whole lot of nothing.” Certainly the fact that general managers OCCASIONALLY. TALK. TO. EACH. OTHER. isn’t news. Still, the Maple Leafs are a funny organization – they tried hard to bring in a finished Miikka Kiprusoff at the deadline, seem to have no confidence in a very good goaltender in James Reimer, blew most of Jake Gardiner’s season in the minors and just in general seem like a team that has some good pieces they undervalue. They have good players at both forward and on defence that seem to have at least somewhat fallen out of favour; that makes them a very good team to be talking to in general terms. But again: that photo means almost nothing, despite the buzz it generated.

The Draft. It’s really hard not to get the sense that moving up in a meaningful way is going to be all but impossible for the Oilers at this year’s draft, which is a shame because a guy like Aleksander Barkov looks like a good bet to add real value in the fourth overall slot and would be a perfect fit for organizational need. Elias Lindholm is a guy who probably adds real value but isn’t a perfect fit because he might end up on wing in the NHL, while Darnell Nurse is a good fit for immediate team need but would need time and would also join a prospect pipeline already loaded with defencemen – albeit ones without his particular skillset. Still, an idea Craig Mactavish floated (seemingly) long ago – adding some help now and moving down in the first round – looks more reasonable all the time.

Recently around the Nation Network

Tyler Bozak isn’t a name mentioned above, but one that a few Oilers fans have asked me about as a possible fit for Edmonton. I don’t like him given his likely price point, and in Mythbusters: Tyler Bozak Edition LeafsNation’s Cam Charron does a good job of explaining why. There’s a lot there and it’s worth reading, but this picture alone says a lot:

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • Rusty Patenaude

    I never did understand the problem NHL team have keeping their rosters full of competant players.

    Teams use their personell dynamics in an excusatory manner constantly and consistantly. It is a remiss behaviour.

    There are secrets to everything in life, and there are secrets to Intuitively picking athletes who will become optimal performers.

    Some men can just pick the best horses every time becuse they were TAUGHT better, simply taught better systems of valuation. Some men can just pick the best players because they were taught better.

    There is a system and it is unique and it is also intellectual property. No one needs to believe the BS we hear, or the excuses NHL teams use. It is NOT that HARD to pick players who will develop and be able to do as you require.

    At the draft you pick physical specimens if those suckers cant understand the game after being coached since they were 5-10 years old then the coaching is inferior. It is all about the body and its optimal potential because after all this is a sport right? Get over the hockey part at the draft table.

    The epic failure numbers are there because no one is working hard enough to find and use the right system of valuation.

    We dont need to make trades out of reflex action. We need to make them after a proper and more accurate valuation has been made on all of the organisational assets we have now considering our new coaches perspecive and needs. We are just beginning to make this posture change to enable us to do this here, maybe we ought to just sit tight and make the 7th pick in a traditional manner. This is a bad time to make a trade involving the draft pick. We might need to step back and feint to the left this time.

    Pick the purest athlete available in the 7th spot and let the coaches earn their money. Only trade if you can get a special skill like a top ten faceoff man, some special critical established NHL talent must be our motivator. With our skill level a top ten NHL faceoff man is considered a blockbuster Franchise aquisition, the more we have the puck the better, so we have now IDed our priority need havent we?

    NO NHL team is held back by a lack of talent in the player pool, it is system acumen they are lacking in.

    Really if you bust it down there are 30 coaches and 30 systems in the NHL, it is a battle between 30 people representing 30 systems, the goddam players are the LEAST of the defining factors we can finger.

    Where are you putting your money? On Sidney Crosby or the System he plays within? I am putting my money on the system every time.

    There is nothing more valuable in NHL hockey than the System a team uses. No player, and certainly no coach. I know , I developed the NHS. I think it would take the Oilers squad using the OKC roster hands down in a 3 game series outscoreing them 15-6 or worse. Blow the Oilers out the Barons would, using a superior system. This example is the only way to PROVE the illusion of the talent issue, and the suppression of the system issue.

    Actually I wonder how an NHL team would ever find a new system of play, considering there is no way to define the specific systems already in use. Just where do they shop I wonder?

    Theres some good material fells, lets see a series on the 30 systems NHL teams use, lets see some definitions here, come on blow this conspiracy wide open. Can anyone even name one System of play being used in the NHL? I hope so because that is pretty basic info.
    Why would a fan pay for something they dont even get to understand or learn about? Do NHL teams have a standard for Systems? If so lets hear some names and see some data put on the table, why do they hide them. We have done oodles of articles on statstical stuff lets find some balance here and cover some Systems so we can at least learn some names.

    Drag some NHL Systems out of the closet and I will bring the full NHS out to play and we will have some real valid comparative fun. But first drag out the hidden NHL Systems into the arena so they are defined .

  • How about Brian Campbell? We could maybe trade Horchoff + for him as long as he would waive his no trade. Campbell is a lot more durable and also older than Letang but his style of play and smarts would allow him to play at an elite level to the end of his contract which is another 3 years, by then one of our young d-men we have and Nurse would be ready to take over for the next decade.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    MacT would be nuts to not take Letang for the deal mentioned above. Petry has some upside, however he didn’t exactly improve this past season, and the rest of his career is a question mark.

    With Tanger, he is in the prime of his career, and is a top 3 Defenseman in the world. Not including Subban, because he isn’t even top 5…how he won the Norris is an absolute travesty- but thats a whole different subject.

    Letang’s size does not bother me…watch the final minute of the Pittsburgh/Boston series…he single-handedly backchecked, caught and bodied the puck off two different Bruins (one was Lucic) and turned the puck up ice and created offensively. I don’t think anyone else in the world (except maybe Karlsson or Keith) has the ability to make either of those plays. He can play half the game and do good things on both sides of the puck.

    Letang in Oilers silks would be a dream come true. Sherro is too good a GM to let him leave.

    • Cowbell_Feva

      Because Letang has only one year before becoming a UFA, the Oilers neeed to avoid giving too much unless he agrees to a contract extension. Otherwise, any draft picks should be 2014 or later and conditional on Letang signing an extension.

      • Tikkanese

        If Letang is signed to a lengthy extension, that price of 7th, Petry, forward prospect is ridiculously in the Oilers favour. I would hope and believe MacT would have him signed before doing a trade like that.

        People overestimate the 7th overall pick. We need help now. That pick is not likely to make the lineup this year and if they did, it would be rushing yet another prospect. That pick is likely 2-3 years away from being any sort of positive impact, if ever. If we can use it to pry a Letang or Shattenkirk, we will be much better off now and in the future.

  • Tikkanese

    BPA projection in two years time : 1-10 : Ristolainen , Nicushkin , Lindholm , MacKinnon , Druoin ,Jones, Monohan , Barkov ,Domi , Pulock (could be the next MacInnis with his shot ).Anyone else brave enough to make a 2 year projection ?

    Nurse and Shultz = Chara and Seidenburg ? Good humour there seeing as one has no shot unlike Chara , and the other defensively and physically challenged .

    • nuge2drai

      Oiler Domination To Follow

      Comparing future Shultz to Seidenberg isnt a stretch. Shultz was a rookie cut him a break. He had a great first half and a horrible second half. Not surprising in his first season going from playing 45 games a season to 82.

      I do agree that no comparisons should ever be made in regards to Chara. He’s a once a decade type player – their will be no next chara.

      • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

        Word ,even from Redline at beginning of season said he had more upside than R.Murray from last year that went NBR.2 and almost was an Oiler . You info is flawed . The kids the real deal and played in a league with far superior talents than found in junior -lest you forgot .

    • oilredemption

      Not to say that they will be exactly the same but if J.Schultz molds his 2-way game he could be a Seidenburg like player with a little less defensive talent but a little more offensive attack. As for Nurse to Chara comparable… Well Nurse isn’t gonna be 7′ tall and probably not as intimating and wont have the shot but if he takes upon the shutdown/mean factor part as Chara does the tag team would rival them. Obviously it will take a few years but it could happen.

  • oilredemption

    One last impressive thing about Rito – he is thick . Meaning he has a big neck and broad shoulders .Like a bull . J.Kurri was also built that way , and built like an ox up top, if you ever saw him up close .

  • Bucknuck

    If there is any chance to get Letang for petry and the 7 th you have to get it done also should trade the second second round pick for clutterbuck and Hemsky and 4 th for Frattin and Scrivens

  • Bucknuck

    Buffalo -Oilers . Armia ,Stafford ,J.Stall and Buffalo’s 16 th for Hemsky ,Jones, Gagner and Horcoff . Sounds like MacT. running out of trade scenarios . Come on ON give him some good deals to try .