Edmonton Oilers are a “secondary market” when it comes to trades

Craig MacTavish10

Oilers GM Craig MacTavish held a media availability on Tuesday, fielding questions about the trade deadline, the team’s goaltending and its coaches. The whole thing is well worth watching, but particularly telling was MacTavish’s comments on where he saw the team’s rental players: as fallback options for other NHL teams.

The Full Availability

Secondary Targets

MacTavish made it clear during the press conference that a lot of the guys the Oilers are looking to move aren’t going to be at the top of the list for teams looking to add help:

I think a lot of our guys are going to be secondary market players. Everybody’s going to be looking for the high profile guys, the real high-end guys. We maybe have one or two of those guys but outside of that I think we’re a secondary market and that’s when we’ll try and get some interest and try and get some activity in the market.

In a follow-up appearance on Oilers Now, MacTavish was asked by host Bob Stauffer whether he expected to see people like Thomas Vanek or Matt Moulson dealt, and that question allowed MacTavish to expand on the reasons why Edmonton players might not be at the top of other teams’ lists:

I think so because there are a number of teams that when you’re looking to add players are looking to add the player that can help you the most. Clearly the higher level guys are the guys garnering the most attention.

Hemsky et al.


It’s a sensible take. Given the choice between Thomas Vanek and Ales Hemsky, every team in the league is going to prefer Vanek. Vanek will cost more, but for teams with a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup that’s not going to be a serious stumbling block. Moulson isn’t head and shoulders above Hemsky; he’s a little bigger and has scored a little more this year but Hemsky has more history in critical situations and has played tougher minutes this year.

Somebody’s going to get Vanek. Moulson’s likely on the block, but not necessarily going to be dealt, given that he’s made it clear he’d be open to staying in Buffalo. But if both are available, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that Hemsky won’t be moved until teams know they’re out of the running for both Vanek and Moulson.

As for the other guys the Oilers are doubtless looking to trade – people like Nick Schultz and perhaps Ryan Jones – the situation is the same, except more so. 

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • Thumby

    Would the oilers consider trying to trade somebody like Eberle for Victor Hedman. The lightning are quite weak on the right side especially since Martin St Louis is getting old. What does the nation think it would take to get Hedman or if the oilers should even try?

    • Word to the Bird

      Hedman doesn’t really excite me in the same way that other top defensemen do, maybe it’s because he isn’t a household name, but maybe because he isn’t as good as the players that most of us are interested in. Also, why would Stevie-Y do that?

      • ghostofberanek

        I’m not sure Stevie would do it either but I keep hearing we need to trade for a top 1 or 2 d-man and if Eberle won’t get us that that leaves us with three main options. Offer somebody better like Nuge or Hall for a top d-man (most fans seem dead set against that) / try to package together a few players with a guy like Eberle to sweeten the deal/ or stay the course and try to draft and develop our own D. If people think we can go after a Nash witch would be extremely hard we could certainly go after a hedman. You statement why would stevie do that kind of proves to me that he is a very valuable player and worth going after. Ultimately I am not stuck on hedman at all but I keep hearing the same names and ideas floating around and wonder why guys like hedman are not also discussed.

        • Word to the Bird

          The only reason Weber always gets brought up is because Nashville has shallow pockets and the defense is pretty good even without him. In the case of Tampa Bay, their defense is carried by Brewer and Hedman. Brewer is getting up there in age and Hedman is just starting to realize his potential, so it just doesn’t make sense.

          • Word to the Bird

            I see what you are saying. I personally would not trade a Hedman if i had him for an Eberle so I guess my question would be what would a guy like Hedman who is a legitimate asset to go after actually cost the oilers…. And if we are not willing to pay that kind of price then I guess we need to have patience and develop within.

  • Rick Stroppel


    He actually said a few things of substance and most of it made sense.

    Interesting that they are looking to get this year’s 2 and 3 draft picks back. Also looking for prospects. I agree with that. Why trade for a bunch of second tier veterans who will only elevate the team from 29th overall to 19th overall, or something like that? MacTavish may have thought at the beginning of the year that the team was only two or three “pieces” from being a contender, now I think he realizes the foundation is lacking. The only way to fix it is good young players.

    Re Goaltending: Scrivens will get a good look. Six games is not a big enough sample to make a long term commitment.

    PS : Forget about a “blockbuster” trade.

  • Word to the Bird

    With so many teams still in the hunt, hopefully prices for rentals are driven up. Likely the Oilers get their picks back. Best case scenario however would be something like the Nashville deal that sent Flip Foresburg back the other way. It’s too bad Phoenix wasn’t just a little higher in the standings, Samuelson anyone?

  • Fatbob24

    Ground up rebuild. Absolutely. No bs about it. This is not about this year or next, its about the teams foundation going forward. Whether that’s 5 years from now or twenty. We need to grow organically. Draft-OKC-Edmonton.

    Sure there will be opportunities along the way to move players we have as assets. But we seriously need a foundation that will stand the test of time.

    Having an organization dedicated to developing from within creates an environment where players can grow and learn.

    Sports is cyclic. The goal is to ensure that the lows are not like our current streak. Where you go 8 years without a playoff game. You want to build an organization where consistency reigns.

    MacT has the truth of it. The team will get better. But most importantly the organizations core will get better.

  • A-Mc

    Welp, I got my March 5th booked off from work. I’ll be sitting on the couch ALL DAY waiting for that Oilers bombshell trade of Spare parts for Picks. WOooo!

    Who knows, maybe a decent hockey trade goes down.

  • Word to the Bird

    I think that while MacTavish should take some of the blame for a lost season, I don’t think anyone was expecting that Dubnyk would crumble behind the team. By the time he finally got his legs under him, it was too late; the entire team lost their confidence. My point is that Mac-T has actually done a pretty good job as GM, and I’m excited to see what he does this offseason.


      • Word to the Bird

        Hindsight is always 20/20 isn’t it?

        He tried to get Schneider and Gillis played hardball. Good for Mac-T not overpaying.

        He tried to get Bernier and Nonis outbid us by overpaying.

        Also, did you foresee Dubnyk falling flat on his face this season after posting a save % of .914 or higher the three years before?

        • Spydyr

          Yes, yes I did.From October 12 2013, 08:58PM

          If it was my job to find a goalie at this point in the season I would look at teams with two good goalies.There are a few out there and try to trade for their second choice in net.A younger goalie with some possible upside.It would cost to much to get the elite goalie at this point in the season.For more then a year now I have been saying the team needs a good young goalie to push Dubnyk.When they brought in LaBarbera it was disappointing.

          Many times I have stated Dubnyk was not the answer.Last summer Mac-T needed to get a young goalie to push Dubnyk , instead he signed his work out buddy,Fail.

          • Word to the Bird

            I don’t even know how I can argue with you then. You obviously have some sort of telepathic powers unheard of.

            Unlike you I can’t see the future, and Dubnyk at the very least gave me some reasonable suspicion that he could at least be an adequate starter in the NHL.

          • Rick Stroppel

            I STAND CORRECTED!

            Spydyr, you are absolutely right. It’s not your bad grammar that really bothers me, it’s your incessant BRAGGING about your knowledge of hockey.

            PS: I do understand that pointing out spelling and grammatical mistakes on a site like this is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indianapolis 500.

          • ghostofberanek

            It’s easy to be negative about everything, and then stand on your pedestal when all is said and done and say “I told you so”. Some of us choose to be fans, and stick with our favorite team through the tough times.

            If Dubnyk posts a .914 save % in the first 25 games, I’d bet we’d be within 6 points of the playoffs right now.

          • Spydyr

            Who said I have not stuck with my favorite team?

            If they suck I will say they suck and guess what they suck.

            I still watch most games and think RNH, Hall and in his short window here Marincin are players with a future .Parron brings it more often than not, Hendricks brings a positive attitude.The rest, well there is a reason the team is eight years outside the playoffs.

          • ghostofberanek

            You’ve been saying Dubnyk sucks for years and they should have gotten rid of him long ago. I think it’s safe to say the Oilers had much more invested in him than you did, in both time and money. You don’t spend millions of dollars and 7 years of development just to get rid of a guy because he’s not a Vezina candidate early in his career. Goalies take time. Nobody, including you, could foresee the implosion that took place this season.

            I agree that the Oilers suck this year, but maybe it’s not quite so easy to fix the problems in real life as it is in your head.

          • ghostofberanek

            Hahaha way to twist my words buddy. You’re implying that seeing into the future is a tool at everyone’s disposal. I think they expected to see an upward trend, given that he was just entering his prime.
            Anyways, your logic is ridiculous, and you clearly don’t have the hockey knowledge that you think you do.

          • ghostofberanek

            Then Khabibulin would have been the only guy in net that year. You’re saying “should have”, based only on what you know now. The Capitals should have traded Jim Carey the year he won the Vezina, but how do they know when a player will have a sharp regression in play?

          • Randaman

            This is where these guaranteed contracts hurt teams bottom lines and curbs their ability to make changes. The NFL does it right. The league is more important as a whole. The players don’t run the show! If you don’t perform you can be released. I do understand some dollars are guaranteed in the NFL but only a portion making change easier.

          • Spydyr

            I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to talk hockey and have intelligent discussions.

            Some times that is difficult when you have people saying things like trade Gagner ,Hemsky and this summers first for Weber.

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

            Spyder did make the call on Dubnyk when he says he did. He’s been pounding the move Dubnyk message here for a couple of seasons.

            Like you Taylor Gang, I was in the camp that thought Dubnyk might work out prior to the start of this season. But Spyder ( and a few others) were right….gotta give credit where credit is due.

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

            I’ve been with you all the way on the trade Gagner deal….with the exception of a couple of weeks about a year ago where David S had me believing we should keep Gagner……..what the hell was I smoking for those 14 days?

          • BobbyCanuck

            Don’t feel bad, you were smoking the samething everyone else in town…fans, mgmt, local media etc.

            As a non-puffer, right after that game I was jumping up and down trade him! Trade him! What happens? He gets a sweathart deal with a NTC&NMC

          • Bucknuck

            A lot of people wanted to move Dubnyk and get something else. I think MacT wanted to as well. It wasn’t exactly a minority opinion, neither is the “trade Gagner” idea.

            I wish Gagner wouldn’t have been hurt so we wouldn’t have any more excuses. as it is he isn’t worth much in a trade, but he could be one of those 60 point guys who consistently bites this team in the a$$ (like Arnott). I just wonder “what mighta been” if the guy would have had an intact face to start the season.

            I really don’t like Kassian.

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

            Hey Bucknuck, I am a big Fan of MacT, as a player, a coach, and now a GM. His record in all three positions is fine by me. He just sounds intelligent to me. I always liked listening to his post game interviews as a coach. Straight talk , no cliches.

          • Word to the Bird

            I also see in your comment that you wrote that on October 12. At this point, Dubnyk had already pooped the bed in 4 games, including the fans being upset fresh after the loss against Toronto, which was arguably his worst game of the season.

            Like I said before, hindsight is always 20/20 isn’t it?

          • Spydyr

            “For more then a year now I have been saying the team needs a good young goalie to push Dubnyk.When they brought in LaBarbera it was disappointing.”

            Did you miss that part?

          • Word to the Bird

            Well my point in my original comment was that MacT has done a pretty good job with the team despite the standings, and if Dubnyk played the way he did the 3 seasons prior, I believe Edmonton could be close to a playoff spot right now.

          • Word to the Bird

            What you need to realize is that these players are human, they aren’t robots in NHL 14 who play to their very highest caliber without having any sort of confidence loss after losing.

            At the start of the season the Oilers were playing well. They were outshooting their opponents and they were playing with some swagger. Unfortunaltely, Dubnyk’s terrible goaltending counterbalanced the players’ strong play. Now how could you expect these players to keep putting up the amount of goals that they did when they knew it wouldn’t matter because Dubnyk would just let in more anyways? Once the losses started to pile up, their confidence went into the sewer. By the time Dubnyk finally started to play alright, the damage was already done and the players gave up.

            It wasn’t a matter of Dubnyk “making up 17 points for Edmonton”. It was a matter of the Oilers having confidence in themselves that they could actually walk into a game with a fighting chance to win. And with the 60 games that they’ve played, I think that Edmonton could have been close to a playoff spot had Dubnyk not let the team down right off the bat.

          • Word to the Bird

            Put yourself in the Oilers’ shoes. You’re playing on a team where absolutely nothing has gone right. And you feel like maybe this year will be it; this year you’re going to the promised land.

            And then almost like clockwork, you find yourself in the basement again.

            Are you seriously suggesting that you would be completely unfazed by this? Are you saying that you would be able to play 100% knowing that no matter what you did the outcome would be the same?

      • Randaman

        One of the biggest mistake was Tambo/K-Lowe not putting a decent offer to Ottawa for Ben Bishop,
        Mac T was not the GM but was in the know, what made them think Ryan Jones a pending FA was a serious offer.
        How would this team look with Bishop in net.

      • Word to the Bird

        The jury is out on Eakins, he’s brought both good and bad to the team. To suggest that the main reason Edmonton is where they are is because of Eakins is just asinine.

        The Gagner contract was a mistake, but his hands were tied since there was nobody to replace him.

        • Spydyr

          I’m going to use my amazing powers of foresight and say right now Eakins is not the answer for this team.

          The only reason he will not be replaced this summer is he is Mac-T’s pick.

          He will not make it through the summer after.

          A veteran coach will be brought in.

      • pkam

        There were 3 major signing of center this off season.

        1st, Tampa signed Valtteri Filppula to 5 years at 5M/year. Detroit signed Stephen Weiss to 5 years at 4.9M/year. Filppula only had one season over 40 pts. Best season for Weiss was 61 pts. Both players are about 30 years old, they both are at their prime so they won’t get any better and are about to go downhill soon. What would you say if MacT signed those 2 contracts?

        Rookie coach for a rookie team? Didn’t Ray Shero hire Dan Bylsma in 2008 to coach the young Penguins?

        Looks like Ken Holland, Steve Yzerman, and Ray Shero are not any better than MacT.

        • pkam

          It’s important to remember that Gagner had the option to go to arbitration take a 1 year deal and then be a UFA this summer (thanks Tambi). If he had gone that route Murphy’s Law says meathead in Van. doesn’t break his jaw and he pops 50+ points this season. In which case the team would still be out of the playoffs, but close enough (perhaps) that everyone would be agonizing over selling off at the deadline and the negative effect of not believing in the team and giving them a chance to squeak in blah, blah, blah.

        • The Real Scuba Steve

          Every new offseason brings new challenges? I don’t think firing the coach every season counts, and we have been humiliated in the off season since 2007. I don’t see any difference this year, But I like your optimism.

        • Randaman

          Are you serious? Do the names Hossa, Heatly, Nylander & now Ryan Miller ring any bells. Pull your head out of the sand. Edmonton is not a destination of choice. We all know this some refuse to accept it. Sucks yes but it is reality.

    • Word to the Bird

      I think MACT is excellent as GM as well!!! Eakins-MACT will be successful very soon- you will see- I believe in these men!!! Oil have a ton of upside!!!

      • Randaman

        I am trying to understand why people are saying MacT and Eakins are excellent. It seems to me they are fishing for hope. But in my opinion the jury is still out on both. Labarbera, Bachman, Acton, Hamilton Gagner extension(to which MacT said he would have given a longer term if he wanted it) are not compelling arguments for excellence. Perron was a nice trade but it was a gift because St. Louis needed to dump salary. When MacT gives a glowing report of ALL his coaching staff one really must wonder about that excellence. They are in 29th place-worse than last year, I dont get how you feel he is excellent. Maybe he will be someday but he certainly has not proved it to date nor has Eakins.

  • Word to the Bird

    I am not expecting anything even close to what Oilernation would perceive as good value for the players the Oil will probably be offering up; namely Hemsky, Gagner, N.Schultz, Jones. Besides the fact that this fanbase over values their players, maybe more than most (due to desperately needing to believe that there is more to this team than 3 or 4 players), there are simply more attractive options available to perspective buyers; many who provide more tangibles at a similar price.

  • T__Bone88

    MacT isn’t wrong in that the players the Oilers have to offer are in the secondary market. There are at least five forwards ahead of Hemsky that are available Moulson, Callahan, Vanek, Cammalleri and Ott. After those players are traded the Oilers might get a desperate team but I highly doubt it.

    I can’t believe that some people are expecting that the Oilers will magically be a better team after the deadline. No one in the playoff picture trades proven players. That is why it’s better to hold onto Gagner and make a trade at the draft when it’s easier to acquire roster players instead of just picks.

  • T__Bone88

    MacT isn’t wrong in that the players the Oilers have to offer are in the secondary market. There are at least five forwards ahead of Hemsky that are available Moulson, Callahan, Vanek, Cammalleri and Ott. After those players are traded the Oilers might get a desperate team but I highly doubt it.

    I can’t believe that some people are expecting that the Oilers will magically be a better team after the deadline. No one in the playoff picture trades proven players. That is why it’s better to hold onto Gagner and make a trade at the draft when it’s easier to acquire roster players instead of just picks.

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

    When MacT talks about getting his second and third round picks back man I hope he’s talking about Smitty and Jones and Nick Schultz…….and not about Hemsky.

    Hemsky for a prospect or a late first rounder 25 to 30th pick range.

  • Bucknuck

    I love all this hindsight bashing of MacT.

    You can’t hang Gagner on him, who knows what kind of season Gagner might have had if he hadn’t had his face busted up.

    Goaltending? He tried to fix it, but no one predicted Dubnyk would be THAT bad… until four games in of course.

    hiring Eakins? The jury is still out on that, though his comments about Yak have made me doubt him a little. Time will tell.

    I can’t be too mad… not like I was with Tambellini. He’s not sitting on his hands, and yet he hasn’t given away the farm either. Pajaarvi for Perron was a great trade, as was the Scrivens trade (IF THEY SIGN HIM). Ference was a good addition. The team seems to be heading in the right direction.

    I still trust MacT.

  • bazmagoo

    Hemmer, Larsen, Jones, Potter, N Schultz, Belov, Joensuu likely on the trading block. Will be great to get another look at Lander, Arcobello, Fedun, Pitlick, Klefbom, Horak, Hamilton before the season is up.

  • Randaman

    There is nothing that MacT can realistically do at the deadline, or at the draft, or in the offseason to make the Oilers a cup contender in the next year or 2 …

    They lack the overall assets throughout the organization to fix their core problems, and don’t have enough depth on the current NHL roster to be truly good for an entire season yet (Or in the near future).

    The Oilers won’t be true contenders until guys like J. Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse, and possibly Ekblad have 150-200 games of NHL experience under their belts. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just simply wrong. Top pairing defenseman are rarely traded in today’s modern era, and almost never make it to free agency… You MUST develop them yourself. Make it your mission to find a good 2-way second line centre, an above average goalie, and at least 1 winger with some size who plays a physical 2-way game while you’re young defenseman develop.

    The worst thing that MacT can do in the short term is make more trades like the… Paajarvi for Perron, or Hartikinen for Fraser type moves. It’s pure desperation to make the playoffs sooner at the expense of how good we could be the future. Keep making moves like that, and guys Perron won’t even be on the team 3 years from now when the defence is actually good. Trust me… You’re gonna want affordable guys like Paajarvi and Hartikinen on your bottom 6 in the prime of their careers instead of inexperienced rookies like Khaira, Moroz, or Yakimov.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    MacTs off season plan:

    1. Draft Center Depth or Defensive Depth(lottery pick)

    2. Back up a money truck to fill the hole not filled with the lottery pick

    Ekblad Nurse Marincin J Shultz Klefbom Petry

    Hopkins Statsny


    Girardi or Robidas Nurse Marincin J Shultz Klefbom Petry

    Hopkins Reinhert

    40+ million gives the team flexibility- and Gagner is a moveable asset.

  • Randaman

    This interview at this time of the season surprises me.

    Why share your trade deadline strategy with all the NHL general managers, as you are about to try to fleece them.

    • This is selling hope by the Oilers in response to the negative backlash by its fan base in regards to.
      A) season seat renewals
      B) raising prices on same
      C) the poor on ice product and in game experience

      It is part and parcel of the dog and pony show that included players and photo ops for season seat holders last night. Its just marketing and selling Koolaid and showing the people forking over the thousands that hey… we hear you and heres a few crumbs to keep you going while we try and figure this thing out.

      As for MacT. I think he is just wired to be honest in a colourful way. He is trying to peddle secondary market players and he expressed that its going to be difficult. His goal. Replace the second and third round picks in 2014.
      I think its doable.

  • Randaman

    We may be a secondary market but at the past few trade deadlines, it seems like the secondary guys are usually the ones who get dealt. It seems like the top end guys are usually too pricey to acquire and teams turn to more affordable options. Don’t want to pay the asking price for Vanek? Ales Hemsky is available. The only thing that having secondary assets means is that we will likely have to wait until deadline day for most of our moves.

    A lot of buyers also seem to be near the cap ceiling. We have cap space and can afford to retain some salary so that also works in our favour.

  • Randaman

    Trading your top line guys for a top 1/2 defenceman is pointless. All you are doing is filling one hole and creating another one. It serves no purpose. Enough with the Hall or Nuge for a top 1/2 defender. It is what is required to get that top D but not the best option for the oilers right now. From the beginning it seemed to me like MacT was trying to add as much competition on the back end as possible and see who comes out on top. Right now it is defence by committee.

    • ghostofberanek

      MacT came pretty close to saying as much when he said he would like to fill in the 2nd and 3rd picks they don’t have this year. Obviously MacT can’t mention names but what you suggest seems quite plausible.

  • vetinari

    It’s the end of the night… the other guys are all drunk and have struck out with every pretty girl in the bar and finally turn their attention to the chubby girl sitting at a table by herself who normally would only be a 4 or a 5, but with beer goggles on, now looks like an 8 or a 9… some slide up next to her and throw out their best line while others just simply go home and will try again another night… well, Oilers, you’re that chubby girl!!! Plan B, the “moped” (fun to ride but don’t let you’re friends catch you on one), or “Last Call Girl”. Make the most of it and don’t expect the other GMs to call you until 10 minutes before closing time…

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    This could actually be a good ploy by MacT. He announces to the league that he can fill any and all ‘secondary’ player trades thereby potentially increasing the value of his assets. Let the big dogs tear away at Vanek and Miller while the little ones come calling for Jones and N Schultz. Or it may completely backfire and we fire sale in the summer. Either way, I am sure someone will complain…

  • Puck JammeR!

    So we’re just going to pretend MacT never said all that stuff before the season about how the team was going to be improved and he would take responsibility if they didn’t?

    Just checking