WWYDW: Edmonton Oilers Trade Deadline Strategy


It’s the middle of January and the Edmonton Oilers are
well-positioned to capture a playoff spot and perhaps even challenge for the
division title in the Pacific. This opens up choices and possibilities to
general manager Peter Chiarelli as the trade deadline nears—he could buy, sell
or choose some sort of middle path.

In this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we
ask our readers what they would do.

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1.18 standings

That’s the playoff picture right now, though Vancouver is
clearly the one of these things in a game of “one of these things is not like
the others.” I like San Jose and Minnesota as the division winners, with Los
Angeles as the dark horse, but I don’t see a team in the conference that the
Oilers couldn’t potentially get past in a seven-game series.

That leaves open the question of whether to buy or to sell.

Free Agents


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Taking a quick glance at NHL Numbers, Edmonton
has three pending free agents of any significance:

LW Matt Hendricks.
The 35-year-old might have value to a playoff team in a fourth line role given
his ability to win faceoffs and kill penalties, and he’s also well-regarded as
a character player. Potential internal replacements include Jujhar Khaira and
Anton Lander.

RD Eric Gryba. He’s
big, tough and quite capable in the defensive zone, elements which always seem
to have value come playoff time. The Oilers are bursting at the seams with
NHL-ready defencemen stuck in the minors, with Mark Fayne, Griffin Reinhart,
Jordan Oesterle and Dillon Simpson all likely candidates.

RD Kris Russell.
Russell has played on his off-side all season and would certainly have value at
the trade deadline. Replacing him internally might prove tricky, particularly
given Brandon Davidson’s difficult season. Were he to be shipped out, the most
likely player to be promoted would be rookie standout Matt Benning.    

The Oilers also have the option of moving a non-rental
player. I don’t know if there’s a likely candidate on the roster for that
treatment; if there were I’d probably identify Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot
and just maybe Oscar Klefbom if there’s a real desire to both re-sign Russell
and upgrade the right side of the defence corps.


Peter Chiarelli3

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Specific players are too numerous to mention, though St.
Louis defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk deserves particular attention due to his
recent appearance in the rumour mill (Zach Laing has
more on that
). Rather than keying in on individuals, I’ll lay out some
broad strokes here:

A right-shooting,
offensive forward
. The power play’s early difficulties are behind it, but
there’s still a need for the Oilers at right wing, and a right-shooting forward
would give the club’s coaching staff some options. Left-shooting Leon Draisaitl
has taken over the top RW position, but a newcomer would give Edmonton the
ability to shift Draisaitl back to centre at times, and also provide some
needed depth behind Jordan Eberle.

A third-line centre.
With Draisaitl at right wing, the third-line pivot position has been handed to
Drake Caggiula, with indifferent results. He’s on pace for 23 points over 82
games, and that’s including a bunch of time on the power play. The third line
as a whole is a positional weak area, generally featuring one good left wing
(currently Milan Lucic) and indifferent partners. A new centre could help
change the look of the whole unit. Mark Letestu, who has a massive special
teams role, should probably stay on the effective “fourth” line.  

A puck-moving
defenceman, preferably a right shot.
Edmonton’s defence corps is a workable
mix of puckmovers and defensive types, but there’s still room for improvement
here. Russell tends to be up and down, Larsson is purely a defensive specialist
and even Klefbom has shown some inconsistency this year. Bringing in someone
who can play on the top power play and make the back end a little more lethal
with the puck would surely be beneficial, and if it was someone who could slot
in long-term so much the better. Hence all the Shattenkirk talk.

As for paying for those players, that’s more difficult.
Edmonton has no second-round pick this year, though it should have two
additional depth selections and a full run of picks in 2018. The prospect pool
isn’t very deep, though there will be a need to cull
the defensive group
before next season, with Oesterle and Simpson logical trade

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That brings us back to our original question: Should the
Oilers buy, sell or pursue some kind of middle course? Let us know in the comments. 

  • BabyNugeMonitor

    The Big Trade.

    To VAN: RNH ($6M) + Eberle ($6M) + Pouliot ($4M) + Hendricks ($1.85M) + 2017 5th Round Pick (VAN)
    Total Salary Cap Hit: $17.85M

    To EDM: H. Sedin ($7M) + D. Sedin ($7M) + Burrows ($4.5M)
    Total Salary Cap Hit: $18.5M

    VAN gets young assets under contract and come to grips with their rebuild in exchange for the Sedins, giving them an opportunity at the playoffs riding shotgun to McDavid & EDM.

    EDM gets the Sedins plus Burrows and a reliable, bona fide 2nd Scoring Line in the playoffs for 2016-17. Burrows expires after 2016-17 and the Sedins are UFAs after 2017-18 season, conveniently freeing up $14M when McDavid comes off his ELC and Maroon’s contract expires.

    Who says no?

    • Dan 1919

      That was a strong shift bud. Most guys come in swinging for the fences hoping to land Subban or Burns for an Eberle deal and don’t even know what a salary cap is… just looking for sick toe drag. Most statistical guys will trash your comment because they know that trade will never happen, but I proped your comment because of your play away from the puck. So what you didn’t get the flashy correct answer. ?

    • tkfisher

      Trashed the comment, but I like how the trash counter counts by 47 when you click it. Thought for a second the counter might be broken, then I re-read the Face Palmer Hall of Fame and know it might be broken. It’s starting to count trashes as cheers.

    • CornDogsBruh

      Mr.BabyNugeMonitor, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • The Whispererer

        EVERYBODY…except Vancouver fans.
        There. I fixed it for you.

        Seriously, BabyNugeMonitor. To you i must doff my hat. I thought it would be impossible to conceptualize a worse Oilers trade than what was effectively 2 1st round picks for Griffin Reinhart. I was wrong.

  • knee deep in it

    Russel and Davidson are just blocking Nurse. He will be back before the deadline.

    Every playoff team will be looking for a 2nd pairing dman and we have two that, if you squint, meet that criteria. There must be a deal out there for a RW or center

  • nuge2drai

    Third round and fifth round picks for Stone and Domingue from Phx.

    Conditional first, Davidson and Eberle for Shattenkirk.

    Third round pick for Iginla or Doan.

  • he shoots he scars

    Mostly stand pat. The offseason is when better deals can be had for UFA’s or in trades. This being the first exposure to playoffs for most of the roster, let them get the taste of it, the odds of a cup this year are minimal. Minor deal for experienced goalie depth. If Chia is wishing to move someone and a deal comes up, go for it if it doesn’t rejig the Vegas draft protections, and if the salaries fit long term. Perhaps trade for pending UFA’s if the cost is minor leaguers or late round picks.

  • Lamar's Javelin

    This is a team that could get swept in round one or make the west final. I suspect a poor man’s version of one of your list and an attempt at a real version of another, but not all. Won’t be a cup team but ’06 says you never know.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Zero chance they sell Russell – he’s simply too important to see when we are in he playoff picture.

    0.4% chance they sell Gryba – oubviously not nearly as important, however, depth for the playoff run and in the playoffs is key. Over the last week each of Russell, Larsson, Sekera and Klefbom have missed practice time and/or left games due to various ailments. No point in selling Gryba for a 4th round pick. He’s more valuable as depth.

    35% chance they sell Hendricks. Personally, I’d rather keep him than sell him for a 6th round pick – again, depth. He could be valuable as a plug and play guy – 12 hard minutes in the playoffs from Matty when we need him. JJ getting hurt tonight shows us why we need to keep Matt.

  • OriginalPouzar

    On the buy side, I really don’t think this is the year to buy unless something comes along pretty cheap. We aren’t a Hanzal or a Jagr away from winning the cup and our prospect cupboard is fairly bare.

    Not having a 2nd rounder makes it even worse.

    A minor rental, sure, maybe, but nothing too substantial – not this year – lets be patient and save our draft pick/prospect currency.

    A trade for a player with a bit of term is an option – similar to the Maroon trade last year.

  • A-Mc

    I think they need to run with this thing and go for it. The Oilers cap situation only gets worse every year after this one, so i’d take advantage of cap space as well as trading away a few contracts that you dont really use.

  • 24% body fat

    oilers dont even list gustavson stats on their website

    add Iggy, or Jagr, for a mid pick and mid prospect, (4th and musil)

    cagullia to the minors,

    hendrix to a playoff team to get a pick back

    use that pick and some other picks or gryba (replace with fayne, and get hanzel.

    slep moves down a line and he or kassian move to left wing.

    have to wait to deadline to make the cap work.

    just need that back up goalie than.

  • Glass

    Is it wrong that I want to be a seller at the deadline? I’m not expecting us to make it past the 2nd round of the playoffs with any of the deadline pick ups, barring a Shattenkirk trade.

    Sell Eric Gryba, Kris Russell, Matt Hendricks, and David Musil.

    Eric Gryba – We currently have Fayne, who is a similar player but not as physical. I’d trade Fayne over Gryba, but he’s missed most of the year, and has a nasty contract. But the time the deadline rolls around he’ll be up and running. I’d expect a 3rd from Gryba.

    Kris Russell – He’s having a good year, and I don’t see a reason to extend him with the emergence of Benning. I’d prefer to sell high on him while we can – 2nd round pick at least.

    Matt Hendricks – People like to play up the ‘character guy’ in his defense. We already have Kassian, Maroon, Lucic and Letestu to name a few. Khaira & Lander are fine replacements. I’m not sure what you get for Hendricks who was injured early & sits a fair amount… 5th rounder?

    We’d have two 3rd round picks and three 5th round picks. We are stacked on LHD prospects, especially with Jones & Paigan incoming. I can see a package centered around one of Musil/Simpson/Oesterle + a depth pick for a forward or 3RHD.

    I’d be open to trading Pouliot, only if we got a 2nd for him, and only if we picked up a 2nd for Russell as well. If that happened, I’d look to package our 1st for an impact player.

    Would I do 1st round pick + Benson for Rakell? I think I would. He’s shown clear goal scoring ability, and we have two excellent passers in McDavid/Draisaitl. Rakell is cost controlled at 3.8 million for 6 seasons – he’s only 23. Also, he can play center if needed.

    Ducks have to expose either of Rakell/Silfverberg. They have many aging vets, and I’d imagine a high pick + prospect is attractive to them.


    Acquiring Rakell allows you to trade the Nuge in the off-season. Or, you could trade Eberle, then you’d have a hole at RW.

    If you don’t like Rakell I’d suggest Trochek.

    I’m all over the place. Long post. Time for bed. Tl;dr, acquire two 2nd round picks via Pouliot & Russell. If that is accomplished, you acquire an impact forward for the top 6.

    • toprightcorner

      You are over valuing minor league players in trades. If you want a serviceable 3C you will have to throw in Davidson who Oilers probably can’t protect.

      Trading Russel would be stupid, you do that an you jeopardize a playoff game. He got a 3rd round last year, he wouldn’t get more this year.

      2nd for Pouliot?? hahahahaha that is too funny, Chairelli would trade him in the off season for a 4th to dump the salary but I don’t think a team would spend a 4th on him.

      Oilers best chance is to trade Davidson and then their best unprotected player is Pouliot and hope Vegas picks him

  • toprightcorner

    I would trade Davidson for a young 3rd line RW or C. Oilers won’t be able to protect him so trade him if you can. End of season will probably be the best time as teams scramble to get something for players they would lose in expansion.

  • Harry2

    I would shore up that 3rd line by trading for Hanzal as long as the 1st rounder and no impact roster players were involved. Maybe Davidson? We cant protect him anyway.

    And for sure Chiarelli needs to get a capable back up goalie. The obvious name for me is Halak. Hes got a proven track record in big games. Hes got a cap hit of 4.5 next year which shouldnt be a problem if we could send NYI Fayne and a mid round pick and get them to retain 1 million or so.

    Those are two low risk high reward moves. One thing is for sure Edm is too good right now to be sellers

  • wiseguy

    Isn’t it interesting that as the season wears on and the injuries to the D pile up, all that talk about the “leftorium” has died? Playoffs are even more intensely physical with few breaks of more than a day between games. I guess Chiarelli knew what he was doing piling up 5-8th dmen who could play up if needed. Now you guys want to trade them away to playoff teams who want depth for a playoff run? You realize we are a playoff team who need depth for a playoff run right? We don’t need more 3,4,5 th round picks.

  • Sal-Sational

    Oilers need a Center-man who can win face-offs. Maybe a Guy like Hanzal or i’d even kick tires at Mike Fisher (he’s a UFA at the end of this year)

    we should probably get a reliable Goalie to back up Talbot (bishop? Ondrej Pavelec?)

    Patrick Sharp (RW) might be available, he has the ability to give you timely goals in the playoffs

    and finally lets try calling good ol Garth Snow (before he gets fired) to see if we can snatch Travis Hamonic from the Island.


  • btrain

    Here is a solution for the winger depth, lets put Darnell on the wing when he comes back from injury?

    Just do it as an experiment at first, a way to get him back into game shape if you will. Maybe it doesn’t work out, maybe he is amazing and has a Byfuglian type of playoff run. Maybe it develops his offensive mind for the game, like it seems to have done for Burns/Byfuglian and he has a new perspective on things when he returns to the point.

    I just think if Klef, Lars, Sekera, Russell, Davy, and Benning are all playing well, its going to be difficult taking one of them out of the line up. I also think Nurse has a skill set that would easily transfer to power forward. However, he would be much faster, stronger, and more mobile than most power forwards I can think of. Think of Lucic but in fast forward.

    • Harry2

      This is actually not that bad of an idea. But down the stretch is not the time for it.

      Absolutely at training camp, preseason and beginning of next year. Im all for that experiment

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    I think we will be moderate buyers, given our lack of draft picks. Finding a 3C is my top priority and anything else is just gravy.

    I don’t know if 3-way trades ever happen at the deadline, but it would be nice if we could move some of our rental type players for picks, and flip those picks for our own rentals. With Nurse returning and Fayne as a stop-gap option, I could see Gryba being moved.

  • Osmosis_jones

    I think the Canucks trade offer is going for a new record of trashes. What’s the current record? Probably someone who thought we should keep Dallas Eakins.

    One name I think would be a cheap pickup for a playoff run: Cody Franson.

  • Osmosis_jones

    Objective- cheap pickups and depth. All the needs can be had for the short term I think.

    RHD – Cody Franson
    RW – Iginla or Vrbata
    3rd C – Bozak
    Backup goalie – Berra or Stalock who are in the minors right now.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    The idea of selling is a joke. The fans have seen enough of non-playoff teams. Guys like Gryba, Russell, and Hendricks offer depth that we might need for a playoff run. If a deal makes sense to add, without mortgaging the future, then do it. It’s time to start playing to win.