WWYDW: Trade Deadline Strategy

16-Purcell-3

It’s a little early to talk about the trade deadline this season, but not ridiculously so. The NHL’s holiday trade freeze kicks in on December 19 and lifts on December 28; historically teams become more active on the trade front once the holidays are passed.

This year there’s a two-month window between the lifting of the freeze and the actual deadline, and Edmonton’s in a very interesting situation because of the weird state of the Western Conference.

Standings

12.15.15 Pacific standings

Two weeks ago, I was pretty forcefully arguing that Edmonton’s season was all but over and the playoffs were a pipe dream. I still think it’s unlikely that the Oilers make the postseason, but I was wrong to be so dismissive. I didn’t see Edmonton’s six-game winning streak coming, and at least as importantly I didn’t properly appreciate what a disaster the Pacific is (San Jose was on a tear at the time and I was still banking on a resurgent Ducks team). I was wrong.

Here’s one way to look at the current situation:

  • Gap between dead last in the West and second in the Pacific: Four points
  • Gap between second in the Pacific and the final wild card slot: Five points

At this point of the year, the team slated to start the playoffs on home ice is closer to the bottom of the conference than it is to catching the No. 5 team in the Central division.

Apparently the mountain does occasionally come to Mohammed.

Edmonton’s Position

97-McDavid-5

As I’ve said, my personal view is that the playoffs are unlikely for Edmonton. However, the Oilers are going to get a big boost from returning players—particularly the line of Benoit Pouliot, Connor McDavid and Nail Yakupov—and if the goaltending holds up it’s possible that the club not only makes the playoffs but has home ice advantage in the first round.

This puts general manager Peter Chiarelli in a position where he could pursue a number of different trade strategies over the next two months.

Buy now. Anything can happen in the playoffs. If, for example, the Oilers were to add pending free agent Dustin Byfuglien to the fold at the trade deadline (Winnipeg is currently tied with Edmonton but six points out of the postseason because Central division) it’s fun to imagine the possibilities—perhaps Oscar Klefbom and Byfuglien on the top pair, Brandon Davidson and Andrej Sekera rounding out the top-four and a third pairing of Darnell Nurse and Justin Schultz.

After all the losing, it’s tempting to gun it for the postseason, particularly if the player brought in as a rental would be auditioning for a permanent job in Edmonton. The downside here is that the Oilers are still flawed and likely to have trouble advancing through the playoffs, and of course that rentals tend to have inflated value at the deadline.

Stand pat, more or less. Steve Tambellini was in a similar spot in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, and this is what he opted to do. The Oilers held on to their pending free agents, notably defenceman Ryan Whitney, and sent a fourth-round pick to Florida to bring in Jerrod Smithson. Edmonton crumbled down the stretch, the Oilers missed out on the playoffs, and Tambellini’s strategy left the team slightly poorer in terms of draft picks but had no other long-term implications.

Straddling the fence has its advantages here. If Chiarelli takes this path, it allows him to show confidence in the team he has and doesn’t weaken them for a potential playoff run. At the same time, he safeguards the club’s draft picks and prospects, keeping an eye on the long-term. The downside is that Edmonton then wouldn’t get assets for its own pending free agents, and at the same time wouldn’t be bolstering its roster for the postseason.

Sell. This is the usual play for the Oilers at the deadline, though this year’s candidates aren’t likely to bring home a pile of assets. Teddy Purcell is the obvious trade candidate this year, particularly given how effective he has been with Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl. Eric Gryba will have value, Nikita Nikitin might fetch a mid-round pick, and of course I like the idea of treating Justin Schultz like a pending UFA, too.

The upside here is that Edmonton could presumably add some draft picks now which would have more value in the summer, thereby improving their stock of ammunition as they get set for next year. Gryba, for example, seems like a good bet to be worth more in-season than the fourth-round pick that the Oilers gave up for him at the draft. The trouble is that if Edmonton comes up just short of the postseason it’s going to look awfully silly to have shipped away a bunch of the supporting cast for low-end returns.

Decisions, Decisions

Peter Chiarelli2

In my view, if the current dynamics in the Pacific hold, and Edmonton is in the playoff race but also clearly behind the entirety of the Central division, the course to take is a little of Option No. 2 and a little of Option No. 3.

In other words: Stand pat unless a) the return is really significant or b) the player can be moved without any real loss of effectiveness.

As was the case with Whitney way back when, the Oilers have a number of defencemen they could move without really taking a step back. Griffin Reinhart and Mark Fayne are currently in the minors; your mileage may vary but I don’t see a massive gap between that duo and the current NHL trio of Gryba, Schultz and Nikitin. There’s always at least some interest in defensive depth, and Edmonton has a bunch of plausible third-pair types on the roster and in the AHL.

If the Oilers fall out of the picture, it becomes easier to sell; if they start separating themselves from the pack in the Pacific and challenging a team like the Kings it becomes easier to buy.

As always with What Would You Do Wednesday, we leave the final word to our readers. What strategy should Chiarelli pursue between now and the deadline?

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • billythebullet

    What if the standings stay somewhat similar? Why not try for an actual hockey trade. I know this is really difficult and such, but what if a Simmonds for Eberle deal popped up? The obvious is trying to move out some salary like fayne imo, but I will not be surprised to see something like Shultz plus for an upgraded rental either.

  • james_dean

    This team has to be constructed with roles and responsibilities. IF you are a scorer then you must score, If you are a hitter, you must hit…….you get the idea.

    We have a lot of tweeters, like Justin Schultz. Exactly what is he? He does not hit, he does not shoot, he does not defend well……..trade him. A cut-out of Bobby Orr would be more effective and would cost a lot less.

    Players like Purcell, Korpikopski, and Letestu will have value at trade deadline and will reduce our cap…….trade them. Replace from within or replace over the summer, if need be.

    Add a big proven defenceman like Dustin Byfuglien like JW suggested and see how he translates into TM’s system ……. seems like a great match from my viewpoint.

    Mainly get rid of JS……..I’m not sure what he brings.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    I disagree with this mantra about the pacific being horrible. Yes, they are worse than the central, that’s pretty obvious. But they have a better win record against Eastern teams. So what I’m seeing is a division that is much more competitive than the other divisions, with few bottom feeders for other teams to feast points on.

    With that in mind, I don’t think the Oilers are yet in a position to be the dominant cup contending team we all dream of. Having said THAT, we have to keep in mind the best version of this team has yet to be iced yet. They have not played one single game, let alone a few to gel, where everyone was healthy, where the best version of the forwards and the defence we all on the ice together.

    Maybe, when that happens, that top nine will be too much to handle.

    As such, I think Chi should look long term, see his window opening this year, and do his best to ensure it stays open for as long as possible. Thus his best bet might be to showcase and dump as many players as he can to get whatever he can for guys like Nikitin, Purcell, Fayne, Ference, Gryba, and maybe even Schultz.

    Get the contracts off the books and get back whatever you can for them. Since it’s a deadline deal, don’t expect it to be players.

    With the cap room I’d then overpay for a top line Right side D man to upgrade on the Schultz position (Byfuglin, Yandle, Yannick Weber), and then go look for someone to fill Purcell’s spot who can play Chi’s heavier style game.

    I know Gregor doesn’t believe in 3 scoring lines but that’s hogwash.
    Hall – Draisaitl – another heavy skilled player is a hell of a scary line for any opposition.

    Flank that with names like Nuge, Eberle, Yak, Pouliot, and McDavid, and Edmonton’s top 9 is terrifying.

    Long story short, pump and dump, hope they get into the playoffs and set up the team for the next five years of cup runs.

  • TKB2677

    In my opinion, if you are going to make any trade, the guys I would look at are Nikitin, Ference, Fayne and Schultz.

    On one will touch Ference. It’s a pipe dream I know but if a miracle happened and someone offered you even a low end prospect, for Ference, you take it.

    Fayne is probably the same. It’s a pipe dream I know but if a miracle happened and someone offered you even a low end prospect, for Fayne, you take it.

    I would take anything for Nikitin. There is an outside chance for him given he is a UFA. Maybe if you retain a little salary. Regardless, he’s gone at the end of the year so if you can get anything, you take it.

    Schultz, I view in the same light as Nikitin. I think he is done as an Oiler. He does NOTHING that Chiarelli values and his only calling card is supposed to be offense and he isn’t even providing that. If you can get anything for him, you take it as I view getting rid of Schultz as addition by subtraction. If you can get any kind of asset other than a garbage contract, you take it and run.

    • Soiled Trousers

      Maybe you missed it in the last thousand articles or television broadcasts but Ferrence has a no movement clause. You can’t trade him. Not even if the Hawks become delusional and offer you Kane and Keith. I don’t know what people don’t get about this.

      • Danglishish

        Ya, he does, so what? He has the right to waive his NMC at any time. the thing is no one wants a small, aging defenseman who cant crack the Oilers lineup at 3.25 million dollars

        Ference would love to play in the NHL im sure, anywhere would be fine. Thing is, no one wants him at the moment, would you?

        Another great signing by ” Craig’s on it”

        Only reason they haven’t waived him is it is an utter embarrassment to the club for whom he was the Captain last season and mr . Ference himself whom has been a trooper and team player throughout.

        • Danglishish

          Who in their right mind would play Ference?

          I doubt there is a team that would, and if there was someone dumb enough I doubt Ference would want to go there.

          • Soiled Trousers

            His family is from edmonton but he doesn’t seem like the type of guy to be happy sitting around getting paid to do nothing if he had the option to play.

          • OILFANMEXICO

            A good friend of Ference (Mark Reechi) was quoted recently in Journal as saying you stay as long as you can until they have to almost throw you out . Does Ference adhere to that philosophy ? I don’t know , but as long as he is part of team only occasionally it might be enough for him and club . I doubt he would go elsewhere at this stage in his career even if anyone were interested in his services as a player . He has hockey and studies also going on as well as many other functions in town and for team . I think he has enough to satisfy most of his needs even without much play time .

  • Sean17

    It’s a tough situation but if the oilers are in a playoff race you can’t be sellers because that sends a wrong message to the rest of the team. After finishing last in the league for so long I think you would at the very least run with what you have

  • TKB2677

    If I am the Oilers, I wouldn’t trade Purcell. He’s probably going to score mid to high 40’s in points. If you could sign him to a deal in the mid 2’s, he’d be a nice top 9 guy that can fill in on higher lines, play some PP time when needed. He just makes too much money right now.

    • Soiled Trousers

      Purcell signs a 3 year contract. Gets traded after year 1 for nothing (was it Gagner?). Now I didn’t pay much attention to him last year but he sure rang up the complaints on ON.

      Then this, he last year of his contract he starts showing results.

      He’s trade bait.

  • 1979

    Hey Jonathan,

    The following line-up for next year is a little pie in the sky, but I wonder your thoughts on it. Is it possible under the cap? Is there somebody cheaper and younger to fill the spot I have marked for Lucic? Is it realistic in any way for the Oilers to put together? Would you put this line-up together if possible?

    Hall – Drai – Purcell
    Pouliot – McDavid – Yakupov
    Lucic – Nuge – Eberle
    Khaira – Lander – Hendricks
    Korpikoski Gazdic

    Klefbom – Big Buff
    Nurse – Hamonic
    Davidson – Gryba
    Fayne

    Sekera would be traded for Hamonic. A sweetner of a pick or prospect would be thrown in due to the extra money going NYI way.

    Schultz and Nikitin are traded at the deadline this year. If we are sure Buff will sign with us to something that works capwise and contract wise, he is also traded for at the deadline.

    Korpikoski and Fayne are not trade candidates due to contracts and also not buyout options, so they stay.

    Gazdic stays because I don’t see him being let go.

    This line-up has toughness everywhere and allows us to keep all our so called “Soft skill”. It also gives us the unicorn of three scoring lines.

    The biggest problem I foresee is the possibility of signing Buff and Lucic to decent deals. Maybe massive overpay on 4 year deals.

    I think Oilers Nation, Tmac and Chia would all be ecstatic with this lineup! I think it also puts us in the playoffs for the foreseeable future.

    So, what are your thoughts?

  • Zarny

    I expect Chiarelli will want to employ a strategy focused on long term success and the bigger picture.

    I agree playoffs are unlikely. Several teams have games in hand. All equalized, the Oilers are still a bottom 5 team 18+ points behind 1st place. They have improved and closed the gap, but even if the Oilers stay in the hunt they are not Dustin Byfuglien away from being contenders.

    Therefore, I do not expect nor advocate any “buy now” strategy for rental players. Regardless of standings, Chiarelli should certainly keep an eye towards acquiring players who will contribute in years to come.

    Stand pat vs sell will depend on the standings at the deadline. I expect Chiarelli will want to sell every player that isn’t part of the plan going forward; but if the Oilers are still only 4-5 pts out of the playoffs that’s hard to do to your team. Especially if they’ve shown that much progress.

    • bradleypi

      While I agree Chi will want to look long term, your endless negativity about this team must make it impossible to actually enjoy the success.

      Playoffs are unlikely? Look at who is coming back into this line up! I am all for tempering expectations, but playoffs are not only likely given the state of the division, they are anyone’s game, especially this year.

      Say the Kings don’t backslide, which is definitely not a guarantee, and heck let’s even say the Ducks start to figure it out, which really doesn’t seem likely. That leaves Edmonton in a fight with San Jose, Calgary, Vancouver, and ARIZONA, for the final spot with a ton of hockey left to play. And why can’t they win you say? Oh because several teams have a “game in hand.” Ha! there isn’t a week left to play, there’s more than half a season.

      I’ve seen you use really flimsy reasons to back up your negative stances but that one might take the cake. A hockey season, as we have already seen this year, does not pro-rate into actual results. People get injured, goalies get hot, teams can’t seem to win, coaches change, goalies get cold, guys gain chemistry, guys lose chemistry, and on and on it goes.

      The points that do matter are these:

      – Edmonton is 1 point out of second in the division

      – They are soon getting back Pouliot, Yakupov, and Conner, freakin McDavid.

      – Their schedule is homestand, eastern team heavy in Feb and divisional heavy in March.

      So again, I’m not saying sell the farm to get a rental for a cup run, but please please please stop using “evidence” like games in hand to promote the idea Edmonton is unlikely to make the playoffs.

      • A-Mc

        Zarny isnt negative, he’s realistic and factual. Maybe he seems negative because you’re always on the positive side of things but i think that taints your perspective.

        We are 1 point of of 2nd in the division but the other teams have games in hand. The factual point made by zarny was that if all things are equal, the oilers will likely fall out of 2nd or 3rd and once we’re 4th we’re out for sure because of the gap the central division has created.

        Again, i see no negativity here, only realistic expectations. There’s no need to go on the attack

        • pkam

          Games in hand do not necessarily translate into points. And with 50 games left in the season, one or two games in hands means what? Even if they win all those games in hand, we are just 4 points out of the playoff with 50 games to go. How important is 2 games in hand with 50 games left to play?

          My read from his comment is, we are unlikely to gain 4 point advantage over the other teams with 50 games left, or more accurately, we are not as good as the other teams in the Pacific. How is that not negative?

        • Oilers89

          What Pkam said. Yes, teams having games in hand is technically “factual”. But it’s so completely irrelevant at this point of the season given the standings that it comes off as grasping for anything to show why the Oilers will not make the playoffs, which is a negative outcome. To go that far out with such a ridiculous unimportant reason I think goes a little beyond just being factual.

          That’s like me saying because the Oilers will get back their second line who pro-rated will score 137 points combined in the last 40 games, the Oilers will definitely make the playoffs.

          After the Leafs loss I was stunned to hear every local media pundit basically write off the season even though the Oilers were only a measly nine points out of a play off spot with 80% of the damn season to play. Or how when Nuge wasn’t scoring at a Rocket Rouchard clip he was tradable for “maybe” Hamonic if the Isles wanted to sell him at a discount.

          Us fans have had to endure NINE YEARS of stories about moral victories and number one picks. The team is FINALLY in an actual position to be fighting for a playoff spot and all anyone can do is talk about how unrealistic that is. I’m not saying plan the parade, but my goodness, can’t for once we just appreciate the fact that games right now matter? Is that concept so foreign to us fans we have to look at games in hand 50 games out and claim playoffs are unrealistic? Being practical and pragmatic is fine, but constantly finding the why they can’t is straight up negative. And I am sick of having to cheer for this team that way. Aren’t you?

          Zarny, of course is entitled to his or I guess her opinion, and as everyone here knows it’s one of the more educated ones on the site, but games in hand? Comon!

      • Zarny

        Denial isn’t a river in Egypt I’m afraid. Nothing I said was “negative”; merely realistic.

        Are you seriously going to suggest games in hand don’t mean anything lol?

        San Jose is 1 pt ahead of the Oilers having only played 30 games. If they win their 31st and 32nd games they are now 5 pts ahead of the Oilers. The Oilers are “tied” with Arz at 30 pts; except they have also only played 30 games. Win both and Arz is 4 pts ahead of the Oilers. If the Flames win their next 2 games they will be 4 pts ahead of the Oilers. Ana is 3 pts behind the Oilers but have only played 29 games; win 2 out of 3 games and they pass the Oilers. If Car wins their next game they pass the Oilers too.

        See where this is going? It isn’t that the Oilers can’t win because other teams have games in hand. The Oilers simply aren’t as close to playoffs as you would like to believe because of those games in hand. SJ, Arz, Cgy, Ana, Car etc won’t win all of those games, but they will win some of the them which puts the Oilers further back. That isn’t negative; that’s just reality.

        An odd but fun fact is that since the ’04 lockout, only 5 teams have the made the playoffs who were more than 4 pts out of the playoffs to start November. So yes, it’s unlikely the Oilers will make the playoffs. Will I cheer for the Oilers to buck the odds? Of course, but wishing it were so doesn’t actually change anything I’m afraid.

        Your reading comprehension is poor and logic seems to be difficult for you to grasp. And you don’t seem to understand what “evidence” actually means lol.

        • O.C.

          Dude, 50 games left to play. 50! yes, I am saying games in hand at this point are meaningless. And sure if both those teams win, the Oilers are gasp, 4 and 5 points out of the playoffs! Sac le Blu! No team in the history of sports has ever made up a 5 point gap.

          I also HIGHLY doubt your fun fact and am gonna need some sources on that. Is one of those teams the Wild from last year when they got Dubnyk down the stretch? Or the Oilers in 06 who got Roleson at the deadline? Cause pretty sure both those teams weren’t in the playoffs end of November. What a stupid stat.

          How bout this, you remember this conversation and when they make the playoffs, we can celebrate that the Oilers joined this pantheon of teams.

  • btrain

    Obviously the biggest issue that everyone talks about is the D. The Oilers need a legitimate top pairing defensemen that can play big tough minutes. It is quite easy to point out the issue but I don’t think the answer is through trade this season, as the cost will be too high and there is just not enough candidates to pursue. Big Buff and Seth Jones are the only plausible options as the Oilers are only going to get Hamonic for Nurse or Klefbom. I don’t think anyone is prepared to give up either of these guys. Big Buff would be great but most likely extremely costly and not sure if he is the answer to carry the load of most defensively responsible. Seth Jones has been playing under the shadow of Weber and Rinne and is very much in the midst of his development, and currently not obviously any better than Kelfbom or Nurse. So the idea of trading for a top pair guy is cute, but we need to be realistic with what is available and the associated cost. Be patient and let’s give Nurse, Klefbom, and even Davidson a season to show us what we already have!

    • bradleypi

      Couldn’t agree more. Just upgrade gryba and that’s the makings of a real nice defence. There’s no number 1 guy out there and if there is it would be too costly. Geez hamonic would be a nice fit.

      • O.C.

        I don’t get what your seeing when talking about Gryba, we need more D like him, give him a regular partner and once your in the playoffs you absolutely need this type of player.

        • bradleypi

          But if you could add 1 more rugged top 4 dman to the line up, who would you sit out? Imo it’s gryba. He would be an excellent 7th dman that could spell guys off when size is needed or injuries occur. He’s my choice to come out before any of the 5 other guys.

  • socaldave

    If there’s any chance at all the Oilers can make the playoffs, they’ve got to do something to solidify that opportunity. Remember the first year in the NHL the Oilers barely made it in, then got smacked in the face and bounced in three straight by Philly? You can google all the quotes from Gretzky et al that it was an invaluable experience for them.

    If the Oilers can squeak in, PC needs to (WIHTIN REASON!) do what he can to help them make it; the experience garnered in even a four game sweep will make all the difference in the world next season, when they’ll be expected to get in and do something once there.

  • A-Mc

    The OIlers team-building strategy shouldn’t change because they are in the hunt for the playoffs. They need to trade one of their core players for a legitimate top-pairing dman. The need for a dman didn’t change with their six-game winning streak and it won’t change if they make the playoffs. Unfortunately, that means either Eberle or RNH have to go. These two are well respected players with tremendous value. It doesn’t matter if they are both on a little hot streak here, or they are running cold in the next couple weeks. That’s simply the price you have to pay to get a quality dman. Teams can get paralyzed if they simply focus on the asset they are losing. You have to consider the asset you are getting in return. Having said that, it would really suck to lose RNH. He’s only 22 and has so much upside.

    • fran huckzky

      I’m afraid a top two dman is worth a lot more than a top 4 or 5 forward. Eberle or RNH will get you a 3,4 dman and we already have enuff of them. Unless you are prepared to part with a Hall or RNH plus Klef you won’t get atop 2 dman. I say,sit tight and players will want to come here next summer.

      edit Sorry ,I meant Eberle not Hall. Taylor might get you want you need but I wouldn’t do it.

    • btrain

      Do people really think that RNH or Eberle are valuable enough to pull away a legitimate top pairing defensemen? Especially when none of these D men are being actively shopped around. Not taking anything away from RNH and Ebs, but the rarest talent in the NHL is a legitimate top pairing D man, especially one with a right hand shot. You would be lucky to get one of these guys for both Eberle and RNH, while retaining portions of each of their contracts. Most of the best D men in the game are with their original teams or developed with their current team (i.e. they were not top talent when they were dealt). To name a few (Karlsson, Suban, Ekman-Larsson, Weber, Giordano, Keith, Seabrook, Shattenkurk, Pietroangelo, Daughty, McDonagh). We should be excited that Klefbom and Nurse have a real shot at being added to this list and not get ahead of ourselves by gambling on the talent that an Ebs or RNH could realistically get like a Seth Jones. Toronto tried this with Dion and look how that worked out for them! And also realizing that currently, Ebs and RNH are most valuable as Edmonton Oilers not as trade bait!

      • The Future Never Comes

        I think it’s a myth top line D talent doesn’t come along. Yandle, Byfuglin, Boychuck, and Leddy are just some recent examples. Also up this summer are Yannick Weber and Hamhuise. So ya, it happens.

        As for Ebs and Nuge, they are valuable, but to the right team I would say. I look at a team like Nasville, and think it would at least be worth a call to see what it would take to get a Josi. I doubt they trade Jones as his value right now given he’s only about to com off his ELC is off the charts. You can’t get that type of value back.

        I would also imagine Burns could be had out of SanJose for the right price. It would be a big price, but the team is losing right now, and maybe help down the middle is what they need, especially looking down the road and seeing the writing on the wall.

        Or maybe they value a finisher like Ebs.

        In my book, getting a top pair right shot D is always harder than getting a top line RW, so if San Jose was willing to part with Burns, and Eberle was the starting point, I’d have to explore that.

  • Danglishish

    I personally am against ever unloading lots of picks to bolster the roster for a playoff push, similar to Detroit’s philosophy of maybe adding a depth player or two but not trading 1st rounders for David Perron’s, if the regular season team can’t get it done, why mortgage the future for one run? I’d rather see the team make the playoffs year after year and be competitive every year than 5 years of exceptional playoff hockey and then 10 of mediocrity like the Penguins are going to be. They’ve traded pick after pick for playoff runs and have nothing to show for it, and now they have no top prospects in the cupboard. If the Oilers do it right, their top picks will be able to be developed slowly on the farm and then transitioned into the NHL in depth/supporting roles and mentored by superstars. Penguins really missed that boat, what rookie has Crosby ever played with and mentored? Best player in the league and you don’t boost a rookies confidence by putting him on that line and telling him to put his stick on the ice and shoot? nuts.

    Chicago does it right, developing top prospects on the 2nd/3rd line behind superstars and then trading them when they can’t fit them in the cap for more players they can develop and trade. Vancouver is trying something similar right now even though their superstars are getting old, though they plan to transition to the new group. Even though they are having a rough season you can’t deny that playing those rookies with the Sedin’s or in easy minutes behind them is doing wonders for their development.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    If a deal can be made for Hamonic, make the deal. Does not matter if in season or off season.

    If Byfuglien is a UFA target and can be had for a rental price, make the deal and make the pitch with less competition.

  • socaldave

    If we are in the hunt, I would value playoff experience for our key players (who basically all have none) over mid-round picks for our fringe players. There are always exceptions but I wouldn’t be looking at guys like Gryba and Purcell and worrying about losing them for nothing if I felt like they were among the Oilers best roster options by the trade deadline.

  • TKB2677

    I wonder if either Lander or Letestu will be traded. My money if on Lander given his age and his cheap contract. They are both 4th centers, are similar players and both give little in the way of offense. You can’t get nothing in the way of offense from your 3rd line center.

    At 31 games in and 2 points to show for it, I think it’s safe to assume this is more than just Lander being in a “funk”. Excluding the latter half of last season, the body of Lander’s work suggests he’s not going to give you much offense which I don’t think the Oilers went into this season thinking would be the case.

  • A-Mc

    No trade talk until we see this in action:

    Hall – Draisaitl – Purcell

    Pouliot – McDavid – Yakupov

    Lander – Nuge – Eberle

    Hendricks – Letestu – Korpikoski/Pakarinen

    • bazmagoo

      I think Lander still has a role to play for sure, and would love to see him play with Nuge and Eberle. He’s a tight checker, good at faceoffs, and seems to stir the pot a little bit. At 0.988 or whatever he’s at, that seems like good value. Ebs and Nuge need to evolve physically or they are done on the Oilers, Chia style. Sorry boys, it’s time to get off the junk food.

  • A-Mc

    So many trolls on here from Calgary or wherever always trying to say something stupid about trading someone or not to making playoffs just stay off the site.

  • A-Mc

    Time to trade Nuge.

    Nugent-Hopkins + 3rd for Ryan Johansen

    Johansen has the edge in size (6’3 to 5’10), points (71 to 56), goals (33 to 24).

    If you’re thinking playoffs, it shouldn’t just be one playoff run. Johansen /Drai /McDavid could compete the next few years and go up against anyone.

    • Danglishish

      So your solution to the Oilers biggest weakness, which is clearly on the back end, is to trade one center for a slightly better center?

      Are you new to this?

      • A-Mc

        I agree that if they made only one move, adding to the defence would be the move. But who said there was only one move to make?

        Adding a Johansen would help in a Kings series, which I would guess would be the first round match-up. It also frees up cap space to make another move or two (like for a defenceman), and adds space to sign a free agent defenceman this summer.

  • A-Mc

    I’d not make any crazy moves unless Chiarelli thinks he can acquire an impact player at the deadline that is better than what he can get on free agency/trades and RFA acquisitions this summer with all the cap room we’ll have.

    Also, I’d focus on lesser moves to dump some deadweight and bring in some better talent on what will be our sole 2-way checking line once McDavid and his linemates get back

    The lack of help from the forwards in the D-zone is glaring and Hendricks can’t do it all himself.

  • Oilers89

    My take is a fairly simple one.

    The ultimate goal of the Oilers organization and the fans is a Stanley Cup (or more than one). The more times a team makes the playoffs the more chances it gets at a Stanley Cup. As you mentioned in your article, anything can happen when a team makes the playoffs (often the unexpected happens and teams that barely make the playoffs make impressive runs). Given the state of the western conference standings and specifically the Pacific, in my opinion, the Oilers should, sooner rather than later, make a deal that brings in a defenceman that pushes all the current Oilers defencemen into roles that they will be even more successful in. I know this is easier said than done, but that’s what I think Chiarelli should do.

    I think there should be urgency with bringing in the top pairing defenceman (as you mentioned possibly Byfuglien, or maybe Hamonic), especially during McDavid’s entry level contract as this might be the best chance the Oilers have to retain all or most of their current core and make a run or two before McDavid makes 9.7 million per year.

    Don’t waste chances at making the playoffs. Start by giving this team a better chance at making the playoffs this year.

  • Danglishish

    This morning I saw a tweet from an Oilers fan (can’t remember the @ name)but he made a short case for a PK Subban trade to Edm for both Ebs and Klefbom.

    I would consider that as interesting. You? Yes a thumbs up.

  • Oilers89

    I haven’t read through all of the comments yet, but for me the most obvious plan of action is to:

    A) sell off any players that won’t be of any use going forward if you can (Nikitin, Ference [if you can], Gryba, or someone like Purcell if he won’t sign at a reasonable price)

    B) if a player such as Hamonic or someone similar (let’s say Spurgeon or some other pending RFA/signed player) becomes available, then it would be prudent to grab the player as they may be able to be had for draft picks, and they would be part of next years roster.

    So the strategy IMO is too get what you can for players that will not be needed in the future and add any player that is part of the solution going forward; as long as said player is signed or an RFA.

    Edit: I should add that any additions that can be made with next year in mind will only help shorten the list of moves that Chia will need to make in the summer, which could mean filling more holes.

  • btrain

    Let’s say the points around the leagues stay the same as they are now. I say go for it, and do the following:

    1. For God sake keep Purcell. He’s one of the very few people around the club with NHlL playoff experience.

    2. Throw money at a rental player like buff–even offer up a significant piece for him (Schulz or Yak).

    3: if Hamonic can be had, pull the trigger, but don’t offer up hall, Connor, Nuge, Pou, Ebbs, Klef, Drai, or Nurse to get him. Would New York take Yak and Davidson?

    4: resign Purcell cheap while you can. He’s going to get more expensive if his plac continues.

    5: offer up the following pieces (any combination) for another bottom line Center and a PK guy that have some upside (STO,, would have been great). Pieces are Schulz, Yak, Fayne, reinhart, Lander, Klink, Ference, Yakimov, Slepyshev,

    6: The future will have only one of Ebs or Yak. Chose carefully, but This doesn’t have to be a deadline decision.

    If we can acquire a D or even two, we could be on a run that could get us into the playoffs THIS Year. There’s some UFA pieces floating out there that can be acquired. I say go for it! Chia can gamble as this is a year of grace anyways.

  • bazmagoo

    At the deadline, trade Schultz to the Islanders for their 2nd round pick 2016.

    At the draft, trade Yakupov and our 1st round pick (probably around #10) for Hamonic.

    Buyout Andrew Ference.

    In free agency, sign Brian Campbell to a 2 year 16 million dollar contract.

    Defence fixed, for two years anyways ha.

    I’m prepared for lots of trashes!

      • bazmagoo

        It’s Katz’s money, who cares? He would give us a good buffer to let Klefbom, Nurse, Reinhart, Davidson and other prospects to develop. I think we’d have to overpay per year because he’ll probably be looking for a 3 year deal in the off season. We can’t afford anything more than 2 years because of McDavid. I’d do it!

        I know it’s a crazy idea, but this is also an internet blog where crazy ideas should be the norm.

        • Bonvie

          I hate this when people say “overpay” like this is something intelligent to say. Wake up, in a cap world you cannot overpay anyone, bad contracts anchor teams down like nothing else, and handcuff them from making moves or trades. Bamagoo GM philosophy got us Ference, Nikitin, and Fayne, all free agents who we “overpayed” one just came back from the minors and is untradeable, one is currently in the minors and untradeable, and the other should be banished to the minors but his terrible no trade contract prevents us from doing anything so he eats popcorn every night the oilers play, and travels with the team like he is a part of it.

        • O.C.

          It is not Katz’s money. He is running the team at a profit.

          The money comes from the fans in the form of ticket prices, concessions, jerseys, TV revenue and tax payer subsidized arena.

          If the oilers do stupid things like sign players that cant play such as Ference, Scrivens, Nik, etc the price of things go up, tickets, and most important, beer

  • crackerjack14

    Maclellan noted that the last two games were very much like playoff hockey. Plenty of pressure and physicality. The Oil did not fair well in that environment. They simply don’t have the experience as a team. It would be unwise to compromise part of the future to get into the playoffs and only play four games.

    Chia should get what he can for Purcell, Fayne, Schultz and Gryba, then use those assets as leverage at the draft. Hopefully he can snag a top-two, right-hand dman.

  • oilerjed

    Haven’t read the other comments so I apologize if I am repeating others thoughts.

    This year seem pretty easy for Chia, the UFAs we have are players with no future on this team, exception of Talbot and Gryba possibly.
    Doesn’t really matter where we are in the standings to shed Nikitin, Scrivens, and Klinkhammer to any team willing to give up a 7th rounder.
    Shultz is tougher as there wont be many juicy offers. Resigning him for 4+ mil is not reasonable. What could possibly be had for a Jultz??

    As for pickups if we are in the chase, I think a strong dman that may resign s a plus, other then that we can wait until the draft or off season to make moves.

  • bazmagoo

    Go After Stamko , for no other reason than to piss off the the centre of the universe. lol Man would i laugh.

    If we are close , you owe it to Hall and Eberle and Nuge for the most part to make a realistic push to make the playoffs , don’t mortgage the future but do what you can to make it. The experience they will get is priceless as they say.

    • bradleypi

      Whoa ! They “owe”it to Hall,Eberle,Nuge. This are six million per year professionals. The oilers don’t “owe” them anything. They “owe” the oilers organization and the fans 100% effort on a nightly basis. And for the most part they are delivering. Having said that I am in total agreement that if we are in the playoff mix in a couple of months than ya ..of course you do what you can to bolster the Roster albeit without mortgaging the future.What that means exactly. …I’ll let the guys in charge sort that out.