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?


  • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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

    Purcell needs to go Don’t be fooled by his shorter stick and all that nonsense Teddy wants another contract After the last couple of years you could have said Teddy won’t get another contract in the NHL Now he’s great I don’t think so

    As for Pouliot The team needs players like him

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • Oilers4ever

    The trouble with these sorts of trade speculations are that one has to guess at what a player might fetch is a trade. Other than is situations like Petry last year where the player was not coming back and the Oil had to get whatever they could, one needs a good crystal ball to call what will happen.

    The Only player that is in a Petry like situation for the Oil this year is Schultz as I don’t think the Oil or any team will re-qualify him. It will be interesting to see what the value of Schultz will be as compared to someone like Nick Schultz who returned a 5th rounder.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        Well yes, that is what deadline deals are all about. A playoff team will not return assets that can contribute now, only futures. The question still remains if a team has a real desire for a useful player like Hendricks, what would the return need to be to make PC pull the trigger.

  • 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.

  • Cain

    This is off topic but does anyone else find it funny how the habs can’t figure out why there so bad yet they keep putting Ben Scrivens in net who couldn’t even start on a bad Oilers farm team??

  • Cain

    Purcell – love him THIS year. He has limited use unfortunately and should be replaced with player who is more adaptable throughout the line up and more gritty.

    We have enough skill for the pretty goals, we need room for some players who will score the dirty goals. These dirty goals account for at least 50% of goals – and we are not getting enough.

    On that note then:

    Keep Hendricks. I think his value goes past what we see on the ice.

    Keep Gryba – the amount of bruises he hands out is hard to measure. I like him 7th D and available when needed

    Davidson – still getting better, sign him

    Just commenting on a few.

    • Dan 1919

      Keep Gryba, he is the perfect 6/7 guy.

      We are trying to fill in the D slots with. 1:Help, 2/3:Klefbom/Sekera, 4/5:Davidson/Nurse 6/7:Gryba/Reinhart

      Actually not so bad when you lay it out healthy, Reinhart and Nurse could both exceed expectations next year being a pleasant surprise, but with a #1D this offseason we could be a legitimate playoff team next year.

      We need a #1 D this offseason, whatever Chiarelli needs to do tomake it happen, minus trading Hall/McDavid

  • Cain

    ya I agree on moving on from Purcell. I respect how he’s playing this year, but it’s a major gamble resigning him. Tampa couldn’t wait to dump him and it was t long ago when it looked like his career was over. I don’t trust guys to continue they’re play when they just have a good contract year.

    Fayne I hope gets moved. Id rather have Gryba on the third pairing, and I’m hoping we can find 2 right shot Dman who are better than Fayne

  • Cain

    I would trade schultz, gryba, teddy, and klink. dont want to burn the barn completely down 10yrs into a rebuild. and without all of the injuries we could have done much better this season.

    Yak – quality contract and he is turning it around
    Pou – reasons stated in other article.
    Fayne – contract is not great but he has been playing a pretty decent shutdown line with sek
    RNH – dont be dumb – center depth is brutal
    Lander – he may nt be the best but he is good on the dot and our center depth is brutal
    Hall – dont be dumb (one of the best LW in the game)

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Get out the broom. We are in last place this morning. Pete,I believe, has identified the players who will not be here next year. Good managers identify assets and move to correct deficiencies. In the long term my worry is how are we going to pay Nuge when mcdavid demands $10 million and Dry $7 million. I think Pete moves Nuge. Here comes a top 2 D.

    • Oilers4ever

      Totally agree. 10 years out of the playoffs does not underscore how badly this team has performed.

      1) Over the past 6 seasons (including this one) we placed 3rd last and last twice each, second last once and managed to finish 7th last once (woot woot-break out the champers).
      2) Some of our ‘better’ players e.g. Drai, Davidson, Klef and Nurse played in the AHL a week ago Tuesday
      3) Our ‘best’ players all came via an incredibly generous draft system, many of whom are now shaving
      3) Our hope to lead us out of this darkness just turned 19 and has played 13 NHL games

      At the end of the day this isn’t an “if only we could get that one special player everything would change….”. We are not close to being competitive…..get out the broom.

  • toprightcorner

    JW, the only player I disagree with you on is Letestu. He needs to stay, great faceoff man, high end 4th liner who can move up to 3rd line due to injury (or replace Lander who has been crap as the predicted 3C), kills penalties. Every team needs a player like that so you keep him if you have a good one.

  • Ready to Win

    The Oil have to be sellers for the next four weeks. Nikitin, Klinkhammer and Schultz top my list of suitcase packers. If a fair to middling D comes our way fine; others wise picks and prospects.

  • 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.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I would trade any and all that you have listed.

    Late round draft picks are kind of useless so I would target players that the Oilers need.

    The Kassian for Scrivens trade was great – Oilers needed toughness and Montreal needed a stop gap goalie until Price returns.

  • 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

    Try to get rid of Eberle.

    Too small, not enough compete for 6 million.

    Teams need cash on hand to make future deals in the era of the cap.

    Another big mistake with money by Mac T/Lowe in this overpaid signing.

  • 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

  • Agree with your takes on who to hold/sell except Fayne. I have a tough time with that one. The Fayne/Sekera pairing was atrocious to start the year and it seemed like they were doing all they could to sink the team. Maybe part of that came with learning to play together. The last month or so has looked a fair bit better for them. Would I give them another year to prove Oct/Nov was just an anomaly? I don’t know. If forced to, yes. If someone came calling for Fayne though and wasn’t looking to stick us with another boat anchor, I’d move him though. I don’t think Fayne is a guy you have to keep. He just happens to be working better with Sekera now that the two are playing less like AHLers.

    As for Gryba, he’s a guy I’d keep as a 7th, if possible, but if someone else came calling for him and we can get a decent enough pick… so be it. He’s not someone I would cling to, but I do like him. He plays a different role than Fayne, and I don’t really see them as competitors in a sense though. It really all depends on what else Chia can add to this blueline here.

    Every one on this team seems to be playing well ahead of where they should be right now. We need a player or two to come in and push them down the depth chart a notch to have our blueline more realistic for an NHL team. That will make every one of them look like much better d-men, in my opinion. I look forward to a blueline next year that doesn’t include Justin Schultz. If we can add some sort of reliable minute muncher, then things will look much better.