It’s always interesting to compare the acquisition cost to the departure price when a team acquires a player and then a relatively short time later sends him out of town. The Edmonton Oilers did it with David Perron; did the team come out ahead?
The Acquisition Cost
- July 10, 2013: Edmonton Oilers trade forward Magnus Paajarvi and a 2014 second round draft pick to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for David Perron.
This trade was generally well-received in Edmonton, though at the time the focus was more on the upgrade from Paajarvi to Perron than on that second round draft pick. As it turns out, the chief currency that the Oilers paid was the draft pick, as Paajarvi’s career has sputtered and he recently cleared waivers; he has negligible NHL value at this point in time despite being big and fast and a pretty reasonable player.
The second round pick turned out to be No. 33 overall, as the Oilers sputtered through a disappointing campaign, and Ivan Barbashev fell to the Blues. It’s a little baffling that Barbashev lasted as long as he did; Russian or not he’s a two-way centre who has spent the last few years destroying the QMJHL. Red Line Report had Barbashev ranked 15th overall; they loved his emotion, physical play and responsible two-way game and compared him stylistically to Alex Steen.
- David Perron played 116 games for the Oilers, scoring 33 goals and adding 43 assists for a total of 76 points over a season and a half.
Perron was an awfully nice player for Edmonton. The scoring was all that could be expected; he had a career year in his first season with the Oilers and then faded a little in his second campaign, but he was comfortably a top-six forward. His defensive play really wasn’t all that it could have been, particularly given that he was coming from a Ken Hitchcock-coached team, but he did have some nice chemistry with Nail Yakupov at points.
Not especially big or especially fast, Perron nevertheless played with a junkyard dog mentality that is often lacking in Edmonton. He hit, he yapped and he did nasty things with his stick and pretty much whenever he thought the referee wasn’t watching.
In short, he was a really solid second line forward.
The Departure Price
- January 2, 2015: Edmonton Oilers trade forward David Perron to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 first round draft pick.
I liked the original Perron deal from an Edmonton perspective because the Oilers got the best player in the trade and improved the team in the present at the cost of the future and I dislike this second deal for precisely the same reasons.
However, there’s a certain amount of sense to it and from an asset management perspective it’s hard to argue, simply because Perron only has one year left on his contract after this one and then he’s a free agent; if the team didn’t have plans to re-sign him the time to deal him was now while he was more than just a rental player.
Moreover, when we compare the deals it’s hard not to be happy with Edmonton’s haul.
Rob Klinkhammer makes half as much money as Magnus Paajarvi, and like Paajarvi he’s big and fast and has decent possession numbers; he’s not as good of a playmaker but he’s also more physical. Both guys could play for my team but taking contracts and the physical dimension into account I’d rather have Klinkhammer.
Similarly, I’d rather have the 2015 first round pick than Barbashev, and I like Barbashev a lot. We’re probably talking somewhere in the range of 10 slots better (Pittsburgh will probably end up drafting in the 20-25 range; Barbashev was taken 33rd overall) and in a deeper draft, and that’s worth the fact that Barbashev is one year ahead of whichever player gets taken with the 2015 pick.
The disparity in the deals is more remarkable when we consider the gap in Perron’s value. When Edmonton acquired Perron he had just turned 25 and had three years left on a deal with a reasonable $3.8 million cap hit and an escalating salary. When the Oilers dealt Perron he was a few months shy of his 27th birthday and had a year and a half left on that same contract (his actual salary jumps to $4.5 million next year).
Craig MacTavish’s tenure as general manager has not gone well, but this chain of moves is an exception to that trend. The Oilers managed to get a year and a half of solid play out of Perron and did it while actually improving other areas of the team.