WWYDW: Trade Deadline Strategy Revisited

Peter Chiarelli3

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.

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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?

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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?


  • T.J.F.M.

    Do we not all remember that Fayne cleared waivers recently. Meaning, not one of the other 29 NHL teams wanted him FOR FREE!

    And now, people are suggesting that he is almost “untouchable” if an opportunity were to present itself?

    Fayne is very replaceable on our roster. We are lacking a true #1 and #2 Dmen. Not #5/6/7. We have those in spades.

    If a team makes an offer, no matter what it is (other than retaining lots of salary), you make that trade. Its a large amount of cap space that we can use to attract an actual top pairing dman.

  • Most likely only going to get picks and or prospects, not good players in return at the deadline.
    I would be ok with the oil moving Teddy, Fayne, and Justin. Please keep Hendo, Gryba and Pouliot.

    Go OIL!!!!!

  • PS; Jonathan you have Fayne as a “UFA”, he expires in 2018.

    Agree with your list , with the exception of the mentioned Fayne and Letestu.

    Fayne is a problem only that he would fetch a 3 rounder, and what do you do with that?

    Letestu as 4 line center…. you have Hendericks in that role. I would move him, but again his contract may no be attractive to teams.

  • CanaDave

    I would have no problem trading Purcell at the deadline for a 2nd or a couple of conditional draft picks depending on if he resigns with whoever he is traded to in the summer. I’d certainly let him know I was interested in bringing him back next season if the numbers work out, but it would make no sense to me to not turn him into some sort of asset before he becomes a UFA.

    I’d take draft picks for Gryba and Schultz as well, and they are the 2 other names that jump out to me as players to be moved at the deadline. Both will have markets for them and if they return a mid-round pick and/or prospect that’s controllable for several seasons then it’s a no-brainer move for me.

  • wiseguy

    Why would Yakupov be there? What gives you that inclination?

    Why would Letestu and Hendricks be there? You say Yakupov won’t be worth much, a if Letestu and Hendricks will bring back improvements. Then, spend the summer looking for a Letestu and Hendricks to replace a Letestu and Henricks.

    Why would Eberle and Nuge be on there?

    P.S. Every single player the Oilers is worth more on their roster than they are in the trade. That’s the Oilers way.

    • Anton CP

      I would say that if they can deal Nuge or Eberle for something good then they should do it but I think he is talking about trade deadline and not during the off season when big ticket trades usually occur.

      • Anton CP

        Trades happen during the season, at any time, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be available. You never know what could be worked out, and by whom.

        Big ticket? I doubt there is such thing. But if I had to believe, I’d assume that the Nashville-Columbus trade would be considered big ticker. No?

  • 916oiler

    Agree with your list, except hold on to Gryba. He’s not overly expensive, and we can use his size. Plus we need all the depth we can handle at defense ugh

  • Derzie

    The ones that you want to keep are the ones that have trade value. Depth players on last place teams tend not to get other teams excited. Garbage doesn’t move without garbage coming back.

  • Brez10

    Korpikoski’s $AAV is $2.5m but his actual salary this year is $2.7m this year and $3m next.

    I can’t see that many teams lining up to pay Korpikoski $3m next season.

    You can point the finger at MacT and KLowe for bad contracts on the team, and Stauffer has, but this one is all on PC.

  • Spoils

    I tend to think you sell high.

    Teddy is top on my list here. He’s had a banner year courtesy of chemistry with DraisaitHall. He’s small, he’s 30yrs old (so nearing a drop-off)… he has first line stats buoying his value.

    I’d want to package up something with him to add value to a deal in an effort to wrestle out a high quality D prospect.

    2016/UFA sooo that hurts the value.

  • wiseguy

    I think the Oiler’s will be looking at this more as a Dump than a trade deadline, or sale.

    If you can get someone to take any of the over pays (Schultz, Fayne, Purcell, etc, you jump at it.

    Letestu and Hendricks types. Useful players. Maybe a tad overpaid. They could be useful to a playoff team. If they’re going to get a good return.

    Hendricks I like. I hope he stays an Oiler but him and Gryba might be the type of players teams would look for going into the playoffs.

    Letestu – the same but to a lesser degree. I don’t think he’d be missed as much as Hendricks.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      So how do you get a team to take on one of the over-pays?

      Perhaps a team trades for Purcell or Jultz as depth for a playoff run, but I don’t know who trades for Fayne. He has two more years after this, so that’s not really the kind of contract teams are looking for.

  • bazmagoo

    Purcell – Sell, we’ll probably get a 2nd round pick.

    Schultz – Sell, we’ll probably get a 2nd round pick and maybe a 4th or 5th.

    Gryba – Hold, he should be resigned

    Nilsson – Sell, if a playoff team has a long term goalie injury he could be useful. Maybe we can get a 5th?

    Everyone else mentioned is unlikely to be in play imo.

    • Derzie

      Good luck getting a 2nd and a 4th or 5th for Schultz!!

      I think acquiring teams will be playoff teams looking to add depth on the blue line, not bring in anarchy to the blue line.

      I’d take just a 5th for Schultz but I find it hard to believe there’s a playoff team that even wants him.

  • Here’s my list of deadline moveouts: Schultz (duh), Purcell, and maybe Anders Nilsson,depending on whether you can get a better option in free agency, because I’m not sure that LB is ready yet.

    Fayne is not on my list and that’s for two reasons: One, he has a contract that nobody wants, and; Two, he’s a legit NHL defenceman who also shoots right, something this team needs more of. So why would they deal him away? They’re not likely to get anything of substantial value in return, and they’d be short a veteran NHL d-man on a team that has a severe shortage of such.

    As for guys like Eberle and Nuge, I suspect at least one of them gets moved at the draft when asking prices will be lower.

  • Spoils

    Nuge, Schultz and Laurikainen 2017 1st and 2018 3rd for Andersen, Bieksa and Maroon I know it sounds awful and It’s in our division but we get the goalie we supposedly need we get rid of Schultz and get a pretty decent d-man back in return the picks I’m not to worried about as long as it’s not next years picks since that draft is looking pretty sick we’ll have more than enough by then and for some reason I could picture Maroon in a Oilers jersey! I would like to get Vatanen but I’m already asking for a lot what do you guys think is it as crazy as it sounds?

    • Mooseroni

      Ok. So let me get this straight. You want to trade the most established centerman on the team for a goalie who is only a marginal upgrade over what rhey already have, an aging defenseman who’s best years are behind him and an unproven. Not to mention the picks you want to trade. WOW you are out if your skull! Chiarelli would be out of his mind to do that one. I seriously hope you’re kidding.

  • Mooseroni

    Could the Oilers trade their first round pick for a defenseman based on their luck of the draw in getting first overall? I gotta think the pick, with the Oilers luck at the lottery, has to be worth more then a regular first round ( pending the Oilers are 26-30th place)

  • Mooseroni

    The Oilers were able to get a 5th or so defenceman off waivers.This is like deciding to use ketchup or vinegar on French Fries. Each may be OK.
    However the Fries really make up the base.Unfortunately the Oilers may have to make some REAL Trades.Some of the 4 – 5 year veteran Oiler Stars at 6M Dollars have to GO.The team needs a new batch of FRIES. Vinegar and Ketchup Trades are becoming Tasteless!!

  • Oilers17

    For me it goes deeper . I would add Hendricks to the list as he truly has value. Also Klefbom OR Nurse for an established NHL D . For the right one I would add a sweetener from the a.h.l. Or draft . It’s easy to trade the list shown but I would trade Letestu and keep Lander . As for the rest keeping those top picks is a must for at least another year including Yak . I always believed you must give value to receive . Most of all a R.H. D is needed and only Nurse or Klefbom get you that . Some of those other pieces with our 1st or 2nd may or should attain another r.h.d in the 3,4,5, area .untill you see balance on our D we will stay a 20th to 30th place team