Back in mid-December, we discussed in general terms whether the Oilers should be buyers, sellers, or pursue some sort of hybrid approach at this year’s trade deadline.
We’re now almost exactly a month away from deadline day. Since last year the trading started in earnest at right around this point it’s worth considering in more detail what the Oilers should do.
In a broad sense, they club will almost certainly be selling. Edmonton currently finds itself 10 points out of the playoff race, with current bubble team Arizona holding a game in hand. The Coyotes are on an 89-point pace and have way more regulation wins, so the Oilers will probably need 90 points on the year; that entails getting 47 points in the final 32 games after getting just 43 in the first 50. I doubt Peter Chiarelli is betting on that happening.
But again, the specifics of his team’s position deserve some consideration.
We can eliminate some candidates from serious trade consideration, either because a deal is highly improbable at all or because it would make far more sense in the summer. That list includes Connor McDavid (LOL no), other key young players (Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl, etc.), big-money, long-term deals (Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, etc.) and guys who are available every day on waivers (Anton Lander, Rob Klinkhammer, etc.).
Who is left, and what should be done with them?
Trade Deadline Possibilities
The following is a list of players who I see as at least somewhat plausible trade deadline sales. I’ve included my view on each as well as contract status (via NHL Numbers) but as this is What Would You Do Wednesday I’ve kept my comments brief and look forward to our readers’ takes on each in the comments section below.
- Teddy Purcell ($4.5MM/year, UFA). Sell: Complementary wingers are always available in free agency, and Edmonton can certainly revisit on July 1.
- Benoit Pouliot ($4.0MM/year through 2019). Hold: They aren’t likely to get fair value in trade for this player, who seems to be underrated despite being a quality second-line winger.
- Justin Schultz ($3.9MM/year, RFA). Sell: I doubt he’ll be re-signed, but someone will like him as a rental in a puck-moving, No. 4/5, right-shot defenceman kind of way.
- Mark Fayne ($3.625MM/year, 2018). Hold: I like the player, the asset management case is pretty clear, and a move would necessitate retained money or a bad contract back.
- Lauri Korpikoski ($2.5MM/year through 2017). Sell: Edmonton is out-scored 2:1 when he’s on the ice and if someone will take on the last year of his deal make that trade before he changes his mind.
- Nail Yakupov ($2.5MM/year through 2017). Hold: I doubt he’s worth all that much on the open market right now.
- Matt Hendricks ($1.85MM/year through 2017). Hold: Despite his relatively high cap hit and likely value, I’m reluctant to trade such a good bottom-six forward.
- Mark Letestu ($1.8MM/year through 2018). It depends: He’s fine as a fourth-line pivot and special teams guy, but if someone will pay, why not make a trade?
- Eric Gryba ($1.25MM/year, UFA). Sell: He’ll have value and the third-pair already looks pretty crowded for next year.
- Anders Nilsson ($1.0MM/year, RFA). Sell: The only problem is that I doubt anyone will be interested.
- Iiro Pakarinen ($925K/year, RFA). Hold: Good, cheap fourth-line guy and maybe more.
- Brandon Davidson ($585K/year, RFA). Hold: He’s worth more to the Oilers on the roster than he would be in trade.
Now we turn it over to you. What does your sell list look like, and what kind of return would you need to see to make a deal worthwhile?