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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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?


  • OilClog

    Pou takes too many stupid penalties, he’ll never be able to rid that out of his game. You can literally see this guy wind up for spears.

    Then he spears, in the offensive zone.. Sometimes on the powerplay.

    You wouldn’t rather resign Purcell at a more cap friendly price and ship out Pou?

    I would.

  • a lg dubl dubl


    Shultz: for obvious reasons. Get what you can and run!

    Klinkhammer: Khara is cheaper and gives more on the ice. Maybe a 5-7 round pick for the Klink.

    Purcell: been good with great players, but if you move him to the bottom 6, he disappears. Could resign him in the summer but I don’t think he’d take 2.5

    Lander: See Shultz.

    Fayne: keep a mil on his remaining contract, going to need his cap hit to go towards a big fish on d. Not worth 3rd pair for what he’s getting paid.


    Yak: Has defensive flaws in his game, but still need someone in the top 6 that can score if Ebs gets moved.

    Gryba: good for depth on defence. If he wants more than 2mil, he can walk too.

    RNH: because the center depth STILL sucks, unless Stamkos is a target this summer.

    Nillson: better to keep LB in the minors for another year, plus depth gets sketchy if it looks like Talbot and then a couple rookies in LB and EL.

    On the bubble:

    Pouliot: would like a player who doesn’t take so many o-zone penalties, not a bad contract just don’t like the term. Flip a coin I guess.

    Davidson: could help bring in the big fish needed on d, but his new contract could be good for the team. Tired of waiting on potential though. Again flip a coin.

    • fran huckzky

      Tired of waiting for Davidson’s potential??? The Oil have been a disappointment but Davidson has proven he will be in the top 6 when we finally get a decent d.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        Yes, but is he a bottom, middle or top pair? If Davidson can help get you a top pair dman, wouldn’t you do it?

        i.e Ebs and Davidson for a top dman.

        We all know the kid can play, but we already have Nurse and Klefbom who we still don’t know how good they really are. The team needs someone more of a guarantee for the top pair on defence. Gotta give to get, right?

      • Mike Krushelnyski

        Yeah I’m pretty sure a 24 year old 6th round pick, who missed his first pro season battling cancer and has become a fixture in our top 6 has already exceeded his potential.

  • Cain

    Agree with most calls made above, however, I would move Fayne and Yakupov as well. I believe that Chiarelli will have to package players to get value in return.

    If he is able to add one solid D man or fill one hole amongst the forwards then he will have at least accomplished something at the trade deadline.

    The more he can whittle down the work to be done this summer the better for the club.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Sell: Purcell, Pouliot, Lander, Klinkhammer, Korpikoski, Fayne, Schultz, Nikitin (or let go as UFA if we can’t get a pick), Nilsson.

    Pouliot has a big cap hit but really isn’t a Chiarelli style player. That would clear room for the big Lucic-like winger or maybe even Lucic himself.

    I hope the Oilers get something decent to for Schultz, he’s got a good reputation around the league and potential to grow, moreso than the fans opinion of him here.

  • 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?

  • Oilers17

    The following trades and signings would be possible and also make sense. Do them all at the draft.

    Nuge for Shattenkirk. Then re-sign sign shattenkirk at 7.5M for 6-8 years. Oilers get a still young right shot d-man.

    Eberle + Fayne for Hamonic. Oilers get another right shot d-man.

    Draft either Matthews, one of the two fins, or Tkachuk to replace one of Eberle/Nuge.

    Sign Lucic as a free agent at $7M for 6 years. Lucic is still in his prime and would be a force on the team.

    With Purcell, Schultz, Nikitin, Nuge, and Eberle gone that would be $25M coming off the books and the new additions would add around $18M.

    Top 9 forwards would include Connor, Drai, Hall, Lucic, Pouliot, Yak, new draft pick, mixed with one of the young guys (Pak or Slepy or Khaira) and another free agent signing.

    The D would consist of Shattenkirk, Hamonic, Nurse, Klefbom, Sekera, Davidson, and Reinhart.

    That is how you build a team with balance and a winner. It is okay to trade the core as long as it makes the team better. And you must give up value to get value.

    • Did you do all that on NHL 16? I’m sure the Islanders will take on that 10 million in cap space to give us there best D man. They want a defence man back. Lucid is not signing here either… Think about it. Now back to your game.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I get what you’re saying, and agree with you for the most part.

      I just don’t see NYI taking on and extra 5+mil to trade Hamonic. They still have to resign Okposo, Strome and Nielson.

      Now if they trade us the rights to Okposo in that deal, then I could see that trade make more sense

  • 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.

  • Cain

    Didn’t see Taylor’s name on your list. I still believe he is our new Ryan Smith. The heart and soul of the team. I would NOT trade him unless it is for a substantial amount coming back.

    I feel bad for him, for being on such a poorly run organization for a better part of his career.

  • Cain

    Until they trade a so called core player they aren’t getting the d man they need. The players they trade will get the odd 3rd or 4th round pick.
    At free agency , the only player the team badly needs is a top d man. I’m betting when we get to free agency there won’t be any available.
    Right now Big Buff is the key guy. One way or another, he won’t make it to free agency.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I would definitely sell on Hendricks if there was a buyer. He had played great for the Oilers, but his age means it’s unlikely he will be strong when the team starts to win, he is overpaid for a fourth line guy and fourth line players are generally the easiest to replace. I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to see the Oilers sell high for once?

    While I like Fayne, I hope the Oilers are going be aggressive over the summer getting two top for defenders, which means Fayne needs to go. I would test the waters at the deadline, but if the ask was to retain more than $500K in salary I would wait and deal Fayne in the summer when there are more options for a deal.

    I don’t see Nuge or Eberle as trade deadline type trades.

    I agree on Purcell, Gryba, our Letestu, take the trade because they are replaceable.

    On Schultz, Korpse, and Letestu. If there

    • Cain

      Sigh. Android sometimes posts before one is ready.

      On Schultz and Korpse, these are addition by subtraction. Retain whatever money is needed but make them go away.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Well it took the Oilers 50 games but heading into the all star-break, the Oilers will at best be tied for last place and at worst will outright hold 30th place.

    Blame the injuries all you want, but there is no way a team that has four 1st overall picks, in addition to a third and seventh overall pick, should be doing this poorly.

    But hey, do not trade the core because this core is amazing and we must keep believing in them.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Really? You want us to sell? How are we supposed to build a team if we keep getting rid of players. Sure, sell Schultz, but that’s an addition by subtraction kind of move. We need to keep players, period. Yes we need to add more good ones too, but forget selling guys like Fayne, he may not be amazing, but we need more depth on defense. We need more depth everywhere because we are always injured. Instead of selling, let’s resign a few of these guys.

  • Cain

    If these are just tradeline deals i pretty much agree with you.I do think Chia likes Gryba but if he is ufa and his salary goes to Fayne territory he gets dealt .The big trades happen this summer Nuge or Ebs in some combination for Hamonic you have to give to get right .We can see the type of team Chia wants with his trades for Kassien and Gryba

    • T.J.F.M.

      If Chiarelli trades RNH straight up for Hamonic he needs to be run out of town on rails. Look I like Hamonic. He’s a good player but he is NOT a number 1 stud D-man. He is a right handed Sekera. Their styles may differ but that is the quality of player we are talking about. Can play first pairing when pressed but is really a 2-3 D. You don’t trade 22 year old 60 point 2 way centres for second pair D. If RNH goes, and he may have to in order to get the stud D, then the aim must be much higher than Hamonic.

  • 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.