DRAFT GOOD PLAYERS, KEEP GOOD PLAYERS

Nope

I don’t know why I had to sit here and try to write something to explain why trading Leon Draisaitl is a terrible idea, but here I am. This is why we can’t have nice things.

There seems to be this strange movement within a small corner of the Nation that is calling for Peter Chiarelli to move Leon Draisaitl. I’ve tried to understand it, but I cannot. I can’t figure out what would make you fine people want to move one of the best prospects in the system. Are you worried about having too much of a good thing? Just because the Oilers will be drafting Connor McDavid in June doesn’t mean that they don’t need depth at the centre position. Remember last season when we were all bitching about the lack of NHL ready centremen in the system? That wasn’t that long ago. I guess memories can be short in OilersNation.

Do we need defence? Of course we do. But there surely has to be another way to get it, no? I’m not so sure that trading a 6’1 German with soft hands and shoulders that could carry the planet is such a great idea. This kid is legit, and I’m shocked that anyone could even think of parting with him. Think I’m wrong? You’re dumb, but it’s okay. I’m going to explain why you’re dumb and maybe then you’ll understand why the Oilers need to keep their good players. I should also mention that when I say “you’re dumb” I mean it like a kind of loveable dumb* — like when a puppy slips and falls down. 

*still dumb though.

TOO MANY CENTRES IS NEVER A BAD THING

Beautiful

One thing that my fellow citizens seem to be forgetting in this whole “trade Draisaitl” mind fart is the inevitable fact that injuries are guaranteed to happen. Injury and missed time are variables but at some point a guy is going to go down. A major problem the Oilers have had in recent years is the inability to replace injured centremen. The result? Having to force square pegs in round holes. Remember our beloved Ryan Smyth doing his best to fill a role at centre that he had no business playing in? It didn’t work. How about that time Benoit Pouliot had to play centre for the first time in his NHL career? Not much better. Taylor Hall? Back to the wing, bro. Need I go on?

Having players playing out of position isn’t going to help this team get back into the playoffs. What it will do is lead to guys losing confidence, making mistakes, and likely having the puck end up in the back of the Oilers’ net. Yes, I realize that defence is a major problem on this team but up until the McDavid lottery so was the centre ice position. Again, I repeat: WE ALL COMPLAINED ABOUT THE LACK OF NHL CENTRES LAST YEAR. Unless you’re a goldfish (in which case I’m very impressed) you should probably remember that. Besides, having a 1, 2, 3 of McDavid, Nuge, and Draisaitl is amazing. Do you really want to split that up? You’re acting crazy now. 

BTW HE’S PRETTY EFFIN’ GOOD

ReallyGood

I think this goes without saying, but Leon Draisaitl is pretty damned good. If you haven’t been paying attention since he went back to junior, Draisaitl has basically had his way with the WHL all the while playing less minutes than he was last year (32 GP: 19-34-53 in the regular season, 19 GP: 10-18-28 and counting in the playoffs) in Prince Albert. Those are fantastic numbers for a draft+1 player that was sent down late and may have had to regain any confidence he may have lost in the NHL. When you couple a dominating performance (granted against kids) with the playoff MVP award you’re talking about a very solid prospect that could be an impact player in the NHL for the next 15 years. 

Is that really a guy you want to get rid of? Yesterday, Matt Henderson wrote 2000 words about how Leon Draisaitl absolutely dominated a Memorial Cup game against Rimouski. A man against boys, he said. True, Draisaitl struggled in the first 37 games of his NHL career but it wasn’t all that surprising either. Even Draisaitl admitted that he could probably use another year in junior before the season had even started! Trade him already? For what? If you actually think trading him is a good idea hit me up in the comments section. I’m asking you to throw in a realistic trade that would make the Oilers better. Remember, the other GMs aren’t out there trying to help us out either. Getting an NHL General Manager to agree to ship out a top pairing defenceman for Moroz and a 1st will only work if you find him in a K-hole. 

THE GRASS ISN’T ALWAYS GREENER

DeadGrass

There’s a notion that’s been floating around the nation for close to a decade now that basically follows the same formula; anyone who plays for the Oilers is garbage and anyone who plays for any other team is amazing, purely by virtue of not being an Oiler. For the love of Gord this needs to stop. Oiler fans love trades for the sake of making trades. Next time you demand a trade to “shake things up” chew on this; Steve Tambellini traded Andrew Cogliano to the Ducks for a 2nd round pick, partly because there was “no room” for Cogliano. “TOO MANY CENTERS AND HE’S TOO SMALL” many of us shouted. What has happened since?

At the time we were all okay with the return. Now? Anyway, that 2nd round pick turned into Marco Roy, currently having a decent run at the Memorial Cup, who just completed his 19/20 year old season in the Q, only managing to put up 50 points. To put that in perspective, the much maligned Mitch Moroz put up 63 points in his draft +2 year. Cogliano? Last season he broke the 20 goal barrier for the first time in his career, and currently has nine points in the playoffs for a stacked Anaheim Ducks team. The Oilers PROBABLY could have used a player like that the last couple seasons, no? 

SO NOW WHAT?

Genius

Now before any of you start on me with the need for a top pairing defenceman and the need to give to get — I understand the concept. So what should the Oilers do? How about we start getting a little bit ballsy and offer up first round picks rather than hang on to them like gold with the anticipation of tanking the next year? I’d like to see the Oilers start spending those magic beans rather than acquiring them for wishes and hopes for the future. Remember that Chris Pronger deal? The Oilers traded Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka to get him. There were no “blue chip” prospects there (Brewer was an actual NHL player though), and Edmonton won the deal. Realistically, top end defenceman aren’t traded very often and the idea of getting one may have to be tempered — I honestly don’t think we’re going to get one.

Think about it: why would Team X want to move their top pairing guy unless they absolutely had to (cap reasons as an example)? The answer is that they wouldn’t want to move them. Duncan Keith isn’t going anywhere unless he asks to be traded. Not to mention not all trades work out in the end. To put it another way, don’t you think the Washington Capitals would rather have Filip Forsberg back over those 62 games of Martin Erat? 

  • I am a big Drai fan and would only move him if a deal came along that made too much sense to turn down for a top dman. Obviously Drai wont get a clear top guy by himself like Subban, Karlsson, Weber, Suter, Doughty etc. There is only 1 dman that might make sense from both teams perspective and that is Seth Jones. Jones is looking very much like a future top 10dman and the Preds already have weber and Josi and have a need for Offence. This all said, Nash would likely not agree to the deal because they would want someone more proven.

    Other than Jones I cannot think of a single top end dman that would make sense to move Drai for (if we are being realistic)

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    I’m convinced we can improve the defense without trading away the core.

    But wel’ll need to find some way to dump Purcell, Nikitin and Ference to find the cap room to do it. We may need to retain salary or move a pick to get it done.

    Sign one of the top FA defenseman, let’s say Sekera.

    Then later in FA after all the top names are gone, sign two more veteran defenseman relatively inexpensively to a short term deal with a focus on own-zone coverage, crease clearing ability, at least adequate skating ability and at least one of them should be physical.

    The last few years, players like Mike Weaver and Tom Gilbert were available at this time of the FA period for way below market value and were able to boost the talent level of the defensive unit on the teams who signed them. Plus this forces the kids to earn spots which will help develop them better than rushing them into the bigs.

    Also be on the lookout for potential deals like the Islanders made shortly before or during camp to add veteran talent.

    The way I see it we need 3 veterans, one to replace Petry, and two that can give us much better own zone play than Ference and Niktin.

  • beloch

    One thing to be aware of: Don’t expect Draisaitl to be NHL ready next season. He could be ready, but don’t count on it.

    Draisaitl has produced excellent results in junior, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready for the NHL. As a fan of both Alberta teams, I can remember when Baertschi put up 2.0 ppg in his draft+1 season, only to do bugger all in the NHL since then and eventually be moved for a 2nd round pick. There is a big jump in between junior an the NHL, and learning to generate points in junior is only a part of making that jump.

    I watched Kelowna play against Oshawa. The good news is that Oshawa decided Draisaitl was “the guy” to shut down. The bad news is that they succeeded. Draisaitl didn’t look like a NHL star playing in junior that game. He’s a great junior player, but not a world beater even in that league. Yet.

    Draisaitl has tremendous promise, but it would be smart management to pencil him in as an AHL player next season and make sure the Oilers have adequate depth at center ice without him. It does the Oilers no harm to stock up on centres. Sign a free agent. Bring Horak back over. The worst case scenario is that you have to ask a centre to play wing, and they often do that very well. It’s asking wingers to play centre that almost never works.

    As for trading Draisaitl… I wouldn’t say never do it. If you can get a clearly NHL ready #1D who is almost the same age, that would be a no-brainer. Such a mythical beast would be an upgrade to the team immediately, for years to come, and with lower risk than Draisaitl. Draisaitl is probably going to be good, but he’s not a sure thing just yet. Given how defenders usually become NHL ready later on, if you can get a guy Draisaitl’s age who is ready now, that’s pure win.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Leon is still an unknown. To think otherwise is, what did you call it – oh right, dumb. He ‘should’ play a dominant role in the NHL in time…should…but if all of that was actually reality the Oilers would already be dominant.

    Do I want them to trade Leon? No. But do I see the potential for what trading him could get us…as in a very young, VERY GOOD player with a little less upside but more proven already – such as Dougie Hamilton, in a position of desperate need? Yes, I do.

    If we did a trade such as you mentioned, for an older player – no doubt that would be a bad trade. But, for a young, up and coming – but yet still proven player would I do it tomorrow? Hell, yeah.

    Not dumb, but eyes open…also not willing to trade for anything less than a home run.

  • Gordie Wayne

    Waiting and hoping that we can improve this defence with a cheap fix is a fantasy the Oilers have engaged in for too many years. Have we learned nothing from the MacT experience? They absolutely have to get at least one top pairing minute muncher. It doesn’t have to be a bona fide top dman but someone who can play 25 min a game. If only to help with the development of Nurse and Klef by allowing them to play in a role better suited to their inexperience. The cost for that kinda player is a combo of our core players or this year’s 16th pick or next year’s first rounder. I’ll be shocked if PC doesn’t address this gaping hole thank goodness. If we lose Drai or RNH or first rounders that’s the price you pay.

  • BillHK

    Stupid article. Stating the obvious and saying that people who do not agree with the obvious are morons. Waste of time.

    The least you could have done was to call out specific bloggers that were calling for trading away LDrai, and then countering their arguments.

    So, smoking is bad for you therefore you are stupid and I am smart.