Chiarelli needs to be cautious


The NHL made a wise decision when they allowed teams to openly talk to unrestricted free agents one week prior to July 1st. We all knew teams spoke to UFAs prior to July 1st, but now it is legal and it allows teams to bring players to their city and show them around and have lengthy conversations in comfort without being worried about being caught.

The Oilers invited Milan Lucic and Jason Demers to see the sites, because they aren’t “allowed” to discuss actual contracts. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

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It is smart to bring them in, but Chiarelli needs to be cautious when they start discussing money and term.

Championship teams are rarely built via free agency. Their star players are drafted.

Chicago drafted their core of Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Toews, Kane, Crawford. They drafted many other complementary players who helped win them three Cups in six years, but the only free agent signing they made of note was Marian Hossa. He rounded out their team. They did sign Brian Campbell as well, but after a major overpay they traded him away a few years later and were lucky the GM who signed him (Dale Tallon) in Chicago was the new GM in Florida.

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The Kings drafted Doughty, Quick, Kopitar and Brown. Their other picks included Voynov, Toffoli, Pearson, Martinez, King, Clifford, Lewis and Nolan. They traded for Carter, Richards, Greene, Stoll and Gaborik. Their big free agent signing was Jake Muzzin when he was 20 and playing junior. He was drafted by the Penguins in 2007, didn’t sign, went undrafted in 2009 and the Kings signed him in January of 2010.

The Penguins drafted Crosby, Malkin, Letang Fleury and Murray. Some other picks included Maatta, Rust, Kuhnackl and Pouliot. They traded for Kessel, Kunitz, Bonini. Hornqvist, Hagelin, Daley, Dumoulin, Cole Schultz and Lovejoy. Their UFA signings included Eric Fehr ($2million/year) and Matt Cullen (one year at $800,000) and Connor Sheary to an $668,000 ELC as a free agent NCAA player.

I’m not saying you avoid free agents, but you need to make wise decisions when courting them.

Tampa Bay made an excellent decision signing Anton Stralman to a six-year deal worth $4.5 million/year. He’s their second best D-man. Of course, they also signed Matt Carle to a six-year pact in 2012 worth $5.5 million/year, and that hasn’t worked out nearly as well.

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The Oilers landed Andrej Sekera last year at $5.5 million for six years. He is a solid D-man, but overpriced, and if the Oilers land Demers they can’t afford to overpay him as well.

Lucic has many good qualities, but I find it interesting how many believe the Oilers can sign him and then just trade away Taylor Hall and get good value in return. Chiarelli has been trying to get good value for the past six weeks and it hasn’t happened.

If he signs Lucic, every other GM knows he will have too much money tied up on LW. Why would they suddenly want to give Chiarelli fair value for Hall?

I’d by very leery of putting the horse before the cart. Signing Lucic and then trading a LW and expecting to get good value would be ideal, but I’m not sure how likely it is.

It is possible Chiarelli had a trade offer he liked for Hall (I would need to see it occur, to actually believe there is one), and if Lucic informs the Oilers he’ll sign here then Chiarelli could pull the trigger, but I’ll admit I’ve very skeptical of such a scenario existing.

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The other factor is the length of Lucic’s deal. I’m fairly confident he has at least three quality years left and maybe four, but year five and six would is cause for concern. Right now there is zero concern that Hall won’t be a bargain for the remaining four years of his deal. He is one of the few value contracts on the Ollers today.

On the other side of the argument Chiarelli can’t worry about five years from now. He can worry about that in five years. That is a valid point. Maybe Lucic will be like Shane Doan and continue to produce at a high level until he was 33. Doan is still productive at 38. Lucic doesn’t skate as well as Doan, but I can see where Chiarelli makes a move not worrying about five years down the road.

I’d move many other forwards before Hall. I understand the return won’t be as high, but their departure won’t create nearly as big of void as Hall’s would.

If a deal for Hall is available for a good return, not two or three “B” pieces, then of course Chiarelli will look at it, but I’m very doubtful one is out there.

However, if Chiarelli can find a way to retain Hall and acquire Lucic and Demers then he’s one hell of a negotiator and tap dancer.

Recently by Jason Gregor:   

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Curtis Stock ‏@CurtisJStock 2m2 minutes ago
    At the risk of starting another firestorm I understand Jason Demers is going to be an Oiler too

    Hold on to your butts folks, its all happening.

  • Phixieus666

    Wow from reading peoples comments you’d think Chia is dumb or something.
    Heres what I’m seeing

    1) Chia seems to be very smart and calculated with all the things he does.

    2) Given Lucic’s performance lately signing him to be anything more than your 2LW is not smart move regardless of pay. The style he plays is likely more productive with slightly less ice time.

    3) With Puljujarvi dropping to the Oilers I believe the most likely 6 million contract to be traded is Eberle and he has significant value. There have been comments of Maroon sliding over to the right side if needed.

    4) IF Lucic signs, I think Pouliot will be on his way out. He has a history of taking bad timing penalties and after the finals this year, Bad penalties can kill your team.

    5) If Chia Signs Demers I think Fayne will be in a package with one of Pouliot or Eberle. Maybe Eberle and Fayne for Hamonic type player. I think the trade will be considered a loss but really you have to give some extra for a team to take Fayne at this point.

    Should any of this happen I would not be surprised to then see Kelfbom packaged with Pouliot or Eberle to bring in a offensive LD.

    Hall McDavid Puljujarvi

    Lucic RNH/Dria Maroon/Drai

    Offensive LD Hamonic Type

    Sekera Demers

    Nurse Davidson

  • Weiss-Johnson1

    Lucic only comes here if Pouliot or Hall are traded for something. Otherwise it’s way too much salary tied up on LW. The way Maroon played down the stretch for us tells me Lucic isn’t really needed here IMO. They absolutely have to get two right shot top 4 d-men somehow. Demers maybe by free agency but the other via trade and we have to give up some cap money too.

  • crackerjack14

    With the real possibility of signing Lucic and Demers, the arrival of Puljijarvi, the comments Stauffer made today about a RHD who can log big minutes and costs less than $5mil., and with Chia walking back his comments on Yak wanting out…I wonder somethings brewing.

    Stauffer floating the idea of Hall for a mysterious Dman, may be making an Eberle for Larrson trade more palatable. The Devils need to take on salary, so maybe Eberle and Fayne for Larsson, a pick and a prospect.








  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    “However, if Chiarelli can find a way to retain Hall and acquire Lucic and Demers then he’s one hell of a negotiator and tap dancer.”

    I’d imagine that’s what Katz had in mind when he decided to bring him in and pay him millions. Not only that but Darryl demoted one of his best buddies so Pete could come in, so he’d better deliver something special. MacT and Lowe can manage a perennial cellar dweller we need someone who can finally dance.

  • Ivan Drago

    I HATE the idea of seeing Hall get traded. But then I thought a top six of : Lucic, McD, Ebs and then Maroon, Drai, Puljul. Or some combo with Pouliot or even Yak if he stays. Main point being we could trade Hall and Nuge for help on D. I do realize that is a lot of inexperience at C, but if the return for Hall and Nuge was right id do it

  • @Hallsy4

    Finally the God’s have looked favorably upon us gifting us Puljujarvi, for once giving us a nice thing. Drink the koolaide my ON brothers. Peter Rabbit has finally lost it and will lead us to the promised land.

  • MBO_99

    Who says Hall is the one to be traded? Why not pouliot? He is what around 4 mill? I can see Eberle leaving before Hall…his replacement was just drafted. Sure Lucic is going to cost some dough…the cap will go up over the years and Ference will be off the books after next season…Kassian maroon and lucic…are you kidding me…Maybe Eberle for Larsen? Going to be interesting to see this team comee season opener.

  • Hey Gregor…. when talking to Burkie at the draft he had indicated that in the Flames opinion the offhanded comments made by Jim Benning prior to the draft about other teams players (under contract) was essentially tampering.

    He did caution that that was just from reading the transcripts not actually having had a chance to look at them in context. As I never heard anything further it would be safe to assume that the league found no violations but it was interesting to see how nuanced and precise a manager has to be when chatting about his “feelings” with the media.

    How bout them Buffalo fans passion with the Bettman boo.

    In your words


    From the Saskatoon Blades Gm…..

    Libor Hajek’s mom just leaned over to me during Bettman’s speech: “Colin. Why they hate this little man?”

  • madjam

    Sekara -Demers.

    Klefbom- Pulock/Wideman.

    That gives us 5L-4R split . Fayne gone in my scenario .

    I believe under my additions only 3 need to be protected . If we deal Pouliot then room should also be for Lucic . Also under my plan no need to deal either Hall,Eberle or Hopkins as my 3 other RDefenseman should not be expensive , yet has youth and some experience in Wideman . I suppose Gryba may yet be signed giving us a 5-5 split.

  • MrBung

    I still chuckle when I hear talk about Yak. Some fans are delusional. The Oilers can’t get a bag of used jocks for him. And yes, because his value is low. It makes little sense to pump up his limited value by pairing him with a productive player. Opportunity cost. Your best players need to be matched up with who will benefit the team and yield the highest return in goals/assists. Yak is a bust. Everyone needs to accept it.

  • KACaribou

    Lucic can be a force but only on occasion. I was disappointed and soured on his play with LA in the playoffs this season.

    People say that power forwards break down before others. For a guy his size and not fleet of foot to begin with, I would caution against signing him for too much or for too long.

    He will not come close to replacing Hall’s point totals. Not a chance. And his effectiveness in a changing NHL is questionable.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Lucic is not brought in to replace Hall at all. He is simply an addition and a good one at that. He is only 28 years old . People are talking like this guy is over the hill and no longer productive.
      He just came off his 4th best season out of 9 and has been a durable player throughout his career.He doesn’t have to do all the fighting. Not much of that anymore anyways,but he is a physical presence on the ice and i’m pulling for Edmonton to sign him.

  • Kurt

    Hall does get more than Pouliot.

    If Hall fetches a return that makes the team makeup different would you not make it because you lose your second line “driver”?

    This team right now shouldn’t be worried about an individual’s points. The team makeup needs to be different and if that means shipping out Hall for a better than average player that changes the team makeup. Then do it

  • Lucic addresses a need that doesn’t exist. LW isn’t edmontons problem, and no one will trade a 1st pairing RHD to Edmonton for anything less than hall. Lucic doesn’t replace hall. Doesn’t make any sense.

    • Bondo11

      Your right in that LW is not an area of need, however, as we all know, RHD’s are thee area of need on this team.
      If trading Hall is the only way we get a #1 RHD, then do it. If we need to add a few sweeteners, such as the 2017 #1 pick plus a LHD prospect, get it done.

      We have enough talent on this team to pick up the slack if Hall were traded and Lucic signed to replace him.

      We haven’t had a #1 D since Pronger and I think we’ve all forgotten the impact one can make to your team. It’s just doesn’t work when you have #3 or 4 d-men playing 1st pairing minutes.

      Weber, Karlson, Pietranglo, Doughty, Hedman, Letang, Subban, & Keith all control the play from the backend and give you 25min a night.

      Chiarelli will improve the backend and yes, he’ll most likely have to overpay somewhat, but we have the assets to make up the difference.

      All this being said, I only move Hall ++, if there’s a deal for a #1 D, otherwise, I’d use Pouliot, Yak, Fayne, Hendricks, Reinhart, and the 2017 #1 pick as assets to acquire a #2 or 3 RHD. Then possibly sign a cheaper #3 or 4 thru free agency.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    @ Jason Gregor

    You’ve brought up Stralman a number of times. Good player. Good value contract.

    But keep in mind, for the Oilers to have signed him they would’ve had to pay him almost a million dollars more than TB just so he could net the same amount of money.

    So while good on sunbelt teams for signing players to reasonable contracts, it seems a tad unfair that those that rely heavily on revenue sharing from the northern teams get to pump their tires with shrewd signings well below what other teams would have had to pay.

  • The Perceptor

    Maybe PC can use the Las Vegas expansion draft to his advantage. If Lucic or Demers have a terrible year, expose one in the draft. It’s a silly and wild thought, but take what you’re given and find a way to use it for good. As well, there are ways around trading one of the $6 mil guys. And I still feel like giving the core one more year with added assets, will be the most beneficial move for the team. It’s more time to study and see where these players are going to be at in their development.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    Hall Nuge Draisaitl

    lucic Mcdavid Puljujarvi

    Maroon Caggiula Kassian

    Kharia Hendricks Pakarinen

    That is a heavy team and no longer a team that will be pushed around.

    Trade Eberle,Pouliot. acquire 2 defensemen

  • Kurt

    ” Bruce Boudreau will most certainly be gone, and the urgency to move a defender for a forward will increase. Sami Vatanen is the obvious choice, and he would fill a void as a puck moving defender, but he is a third pairing guy at EV. ”

    well you were half right