The trade deadline is a high point of every hockey season, one of those rare moments down the stretch where fans of all 30 NHL teams really have a good reason to pay attention. The best teams add players; frequently enough, so do clubs in the middle of the pack. At the other end of the spectrum, the worst teams load up on draft picks and prospects and (sometimes) even sign pending free agents rather than renting them off to the highest bidder.
So, for this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we ask how our readers would handle the deadline.
The Important Names
Naturally, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins aren’t going anywhere. But this is the time of year when all those third and fourth line guys suddenly matter a lot, too. Looking at the Oilers’ salary chart, these are the players I’d guess are most worth talking about today:
- Jeff Petry. No surprise here. Edmonton’s best defenceman is a pending free agent and a re-signing seems increasingly unlikely. For a while, there was a common suggestion that he’d likely only garner a third-round pick in trade. Now, the market is picked almost bare, and the right-shooting, in-his-prime Petry has deals like the Andrej Sekera trade (for a first round pick plus good prospect Roland McKeown) as a point of comparison. I’ve long held the belief that this was going to be a deal for a second-round pick; after the Sekera move it might even cost more.
- Derek Roy. G.M. Craig MacTavish has indicated the Oilers are unlikely to deal the pending UFA centre and may even look at re-signing him. Is that the right course of action, or would Edmonton be better off moving him for a mid-round pick and looking to trade, the draft or free agency to fill his current spot?
- Matt Hendricks and Boyd Gordon. Both names have come up and it sounds like there is interest around the league; MacTavish has indicated he’d rather keep both. Frankly, it’s hard to blame him given the performance of that line this year, but it’s worth asking if the team is well-advised to keep a well-paid veteran pair that will be 34 and 32, respectively, by next October.
- Nikita Nikitin, Andrew Ference and Teddy Purcell. We talked about this trio last week as buyout possibilities, but there might be another way. Are these skaters – in particular Ference and Purcell – movable at the deadline if Edmonton retains salary? Should the Oilers consider such a move and what would the deal need to be to justify such a trade?
- Martin Marincin. The Oilers could always do something unexpected, like add talent, at the deadline, with players like Dion Phaneuf and James Wisniewski (he has a no-trade clause isn’t afraid to use it) plausible fits from the rumour mill. If they do, Marincin’s a prime candidate to be part of a package going the other way. Is that something Edmonton should think about?
Let us know in the comments what strategy Edmonton should pursue.
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