As we edge toward the NHL trade deadline, Oilers fans await the return for two free agents—Justin Schultz and Teddy Purcell. Since the past informs the future, will the Oilers be able to peddle more than two players at the deadline?
THREE FOR THE DEADLINE
If you talk to most Oilers fans, the expected return for Justin Schultz is an old brown shoe and a package of Lipton Cup-of-Soup. Although Peter Chiarelli will not hit a home run on the exchange, there is a chance to procure a reasonable return based on two factors:
- Edmonton can retain salary. Since Schultz is a pure rental (despite being an RFA, there is no chance a team will qualify him at his current salary), the young defender will not be a severe strain on the cap. A team looking for a mobile defender who can help in the offensive zone need only worry about the roster spot and the actual cap cost remaining to season’s end. That makes Schultz something of a bargain.
- The Jeff Petry factor. Edmonton has been very hard on careers over the last decade (ask Robert Nilsson, Patrick O’Sullivan and Sheldon Souray), but Petry’s 12 months after being traded may give GMs the idea that it is the Oilers, not the player.
What can Oilers fans expect for Schultz? I will guess a pick outside the top 100 overall, something similar to the Martin Marincin return last summer.
Teddy Purcell is posting a strong season in his walk year, and should fetch a more substantial return. If you look at Purcell’s offensive performance at 5×5, that has value for any team looking to venture deep into the postseason:
Purcell ranks No. 76 among NHL forwards with 400 or more minutes in 5×5/60, and that is a very nice number. Let’s not overestimate him—he is a complementary offensive player with speed issues—but there is every chance the Oilers can get a good draft pick or prospect for him. I will guess Edmonton gets a pick inside the top 75 overall for Purcell (assuming he continues to play on a skill line and remains productive until the deadline).
I admit that getting the value right on Mark Fayne is near impossible. This is a player who was on waivers earlier in the season, and he has two more years on his deal at a significant cap number ($3.625M, free agent 2018 summer). Source: NHLNumbers.
There are all kinds of measures we can use to show possession. I am old fashioned and prefer Corsi for 5×5 percentage. As you can see, Mark Fayne performs well in this discipline and frankly has for the entire season. Fayne is not a balls-out defenseman who can bring you out of your seat, but he can defend and that has great value in the playoffs.
If the Oilers were willing to retain? I think we could see a return inside the top 60 overall from a team looking for an actual NHL defenseman. Note: I would not trade Fayne. He is a player I rate and would like to see as part of the solution.
IS THAT ALL THERE IS?
I imagine Peter Chiarelli would take calls on others, and if a real defensive option comes available we could see a blockbuster along the lines of Johansen-for-Jones. Difficult to anticipate that happening at the deadline, although we will keep an eye out.