Another spring, same shopping list. A big center, a defenseman with a mean look and hair on his ass and maybe a shot from the point. WHY did they send Sheldon Souray away again? Anyway, Craig MacTavish has a busy summer ahead and he needs to be active. When he goes to market, what will he have in his arsenal for trade?
TOP 10 ITEMS OF VALUE THIS SUMMER
- Money: The Oilers might decide to go the free agent route for one of their holes (C, D). Names like David Legwand and Andrei Markov have been mentioned, and of course Edmonton offers free agents special “location” value in the form of extra seasons tacked on to the contract. Think lots times four years.
- The 2014 1st round pick: I think you could make a case for trading the pick IF a long term solution to the problem is unavailable. Aaron Ekblad and Leon Draisaitl may well solve stud D and big C respectively, but if the Oilers draft fourth and don’t feel Sam Bennett is a perfect fit, we may see the team trade that pick for a more immediate solution (Tyler Myers might be an example).
- One or more of the young defensemen: This is an area fans argue over, and it’s understandable. Who in their right minds would trade Marincin or Klefbom after waiting this long? Well, the Oilers have a plethora of young defensemen, and may need one of them to acquire a more mature player who can step right in. The Oilers already have a mentor-type in Andrew Ference, but if they go to market and have a chance to get a 20+ minute a night defender it could take several pieces to acquire the player.
- The 2015 1st round pick: This selection may have more actual value than this year’s pick. An acquiring team might be willing to bet on the Oilers failing again next year (that’s a decent bet) and pick up the extra 1st. If it ends up being outside the top 10 next year, it’ll have value. Should the Oilers have another year in the cellar, the acquiring team might get Connor McDavid!
- Trading Ordanjay Eberleway: Out of respect for this blog’s emperor, I’ve fiddled with the actual name. I’m not a fan of dealing Ordanjay, but if the return is a major deal involving Sean Couturier and Braydon Coburn? Mr. Eberleway might be the valued asset sent away.
- Trading Justin Schultz: This idea seems to be gaining some support in certain circles, but as with Ordanjay I don’t think it’s a good idea. I spent years as an Expos fan, and they were famous for fixating on their good players’ shortcomings and then sending them away for mush. If you don’t believe me, check out what they got for Gary Carter.
- Taking on a valuable player with a crazy contract. Carolina is apparently thinking about dealing Eric Staal, and no wonder with that contract. I’m not saying Staal should be a target, only that the idea of acquiring a contract overpay for less than full value has appeal. Staal looks good in a quick glance, but that’s a lot of loot.
- Emerging prospects: The counter to point #3 is that one or more of these prospects might emerge ala Martin Marincin this season. If Lander or Pitlick or Horak find a way to make themselves useful, that’s one less problem to fret over during the summer.
- The waiver wire. Edmonton hasn’t used this much over the years, but would do well to learn from the New York Islanders about the value of players plucked from the scrap heap. MacT picked up Luke Gazdic last fall, maybe they can find a useful player in September.
- The current roster taking a step forward. This is the most likely way for this team to improve. I’m absolutely against trading Nail Yakupov (as an example) because the potential for him to bust a move and score 30 goals next year is real. Even a veteran like Sam Gagner (should he stay) is extremely likely to be more productive in 2013-14.
READY, SET, GO!
MacT needs to be aggressive—Jason Bourne aggressive—this summer. The college free agents are signing, Dillon Simpson’s UND team lost tonight and they await an invite to the NCAA hockey dance, there are tumblers clicking all over the hockey world.
The Oilers need to be involved in all of it. Hold on. It’s coming.