Monday Mailbag – Grading Chiarelli’s Trade Deadline

Mailbag

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Can you believe that we’re in March already? It’s strange to think about the fact that we’re coming down the home stretch with light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know what to do with my hands. Draft related sadness is a story that we’ve seen many times before, but there hasn’t been any draft talk around these parts and that’s something new and exciting. Playoffs? We’re actually talking playoffs! But on this day we take a look at the answers to everything you’ve ever wanted to know when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers, and life in general. My friends, it’s mailbag time.

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Let's Make a Deal

1) Brady asks – If you had to give the Oilers a grade for their deadline approach what would it be and why?

Jonathan Willis:

C+. Desharnais is an important addition to the team, and secures a third-line centre position which has been a real problem all year. I’m not wild about the acquisition cost; in a vacuum I’d rather have Davidson though Desharnais obviously does more to address team need than Davidson did (more on that here). I’d personally have taken a more aggressive approach, targeting at least an additional RW, because I think there’s a chance this team could go on a run. I understand Peter Chiarelli’s skepticism, though. There’s not enough here to bump up the grade – not when teams like Boston or Nashville were able to add cheap insurance on the wing – but there’s also nothing worth getting too upset about.

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Lowetide:

I am terrible with grades, but would say C+. C because they should have gotten a goalie and + because they didn’t trade any draft picks. I find it difficult to be critical of Chiarelli because he didn’t trade Jeff Petry for draft picks.

Robin Brownlee:

Peter Chiarelli took a realistic approach to the deadline. If you wanted one of the few big names out there, you won’t be happy, but I think adding David Desharnais was a solid move that was needed in the bottom six. Big moves, if made, need to come in the summer. Solid B-plus, maybe even an A. 

Matt Henderson:

C- I think they have had a weakness on the wing for the entire season and the price to fill it was very low. Parenteau of Vanek for a sixth or a third and an AHL D was very low and could have had a huge impact on the roster. At bare minimum, it would have opened up options for McLellan. So they swapped out Davidson for Desharnais and really nothing else. I think this team had a chance to walk away big winners but didn’t. 

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Chris the Intern:

I would give Chia a B+. First of all, I wasn’t expecting much coming into the deadline, so I wasn’t really surprised that he didn’t do much. AND he told us that his plan was not to do much. I’m excited to see Eberle & RNH in the playoffs for the first time in a long time.

Baggedmilk:

I’d give Chia a ‘C’ because I wasn’t really expecting much in the first place. I like Davi but I don’t mind the Desharnais trade. I would have liked to see something more than Justin Fontaine added for RW depth, but to me that says that they’re going to be recalling Poolparty before the playoffs start.

2) Sean M. asks – The Oilers made very few moves this deadline, opting to keep draft picks. Considering the lack of prospect depth (particularly among forwards) was this a good strategy for this year?

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Jonathan Willis:

With the West being the way it is, I have argued for a more aggressive strategy. Even if we avoid the extreme version of that (Russell, Davidson out; Shattenkirk in, hard run at Vrbata, hard run at Boyle) I don’t think a depth pick was too high of a price to pay for a veteran winger. However, it’s not hard to understand the reasoning here. If Edmonton’s going to be competitive in the coming seasons, it’s going to need good, cheap, young players and that means a lot of college recruitment and draft picks. On that score, it’s hard not to like the addition of Ryan Mantha to the team – right defence is an area of weakness in the prospect pool and he helps address that. 

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Lowetide:

I think the general manager was in fact hamstrung from not having his own second-round pick. The club has been using their picks more wisely in recent years so keeping those picks makes sense to me.

Robin Brownlee:

Yes.

Matt Henderson:

Not from my perspective. The draft isn’t going to save the Oilers any longer. The team is simply too good to expect big returns from the draft. Their best young players are a lot more likely to come outside this route, like Matthew Benning and maybe this Mantha kid. Now that this club should be in the 18-31 range for the foreseeable future, the value of their picks will plummet. 

Chris the Intern:

I am a little bit confused with the Taylor Beck trade. Seemed sort of lateral to me. Although it seems apparent Chia is looking to sign older guys so if that’s what he’s going for he followed through with it. With that said it will be nice heading into this years draft with a bunch of picks (minus a second).

Baggedmilk:

Apparently, this year’s draft class isn’t overly good so keeping picks wouldn’t matter as much. That said, maybe Chiarelli is going to use them as trade bullets for the draft or as a means to keep Vegas’ grubby mitts away from someone specific. At the end of the day, I’m just happy that we’re not talking about where the Oilers will be drafting this year.

3) Ashley asks – Did Peter Chiarelli mess up by not adding an experienced backup goaltender?

Jonathan Willis:

I know a lot of people have a problem with this, but I don’t really. Brossoit has to make the jump now if he’s going to be on the team next year, and given that he has to clear waivers we can look at this as his career being at the crossroads. There’s also the concern of taking on additional salary given the Oilers’ likely rookie bonuses. To me it comes down to the coaching staff being willing to give Brossoit a few starts over the next month and a half. If Brossoit plays the Colorado game on Mar. 23, one of the Vancouver games on Apr. 8/9, and one or two others, that should be enough.

Lowetide:

Mess up may be a bit strong, but I bet on some level Mr. Chiarelli wanted to add a goalie.

Robin Brownlee:

Mess up? No. Was it worth looking at? Sure.

Matt Henderson:

Yes. He’s working without a safety net. You won’t know you needed one until it’s too late.

Chris the Intern:

It would have been nice bringing a guy like Halak in while letting Brossoit win an AHL chamipionship but I’m not angry we didn’t get one. I’m fine with him playing the odd game. Talbot has not gotten fatigued…yet. For now I will assume this is impossible and that he’ll play in the NHL until he’s 50. 

Baggedmilk:

No, he didn’t screw up by not adding a backup goalie at the deadline, he screwed up by adding Gustavsson in free agency. There were much better options out there and Chiarelli landed on Gustavsson which didn’t make any sense. Remember how I said that at the time and some of you guys roasted me for it? I’ll wait for my apology cards to come in the mail.

4) Graham asks – Was there a particular trade or deal that happened on or before deadline day that you wish the Oilers would have been able to swing? I thought the Vanek deal was doable for Edmonton but they missed out again.

Jonathan Willis:

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I didn’t think Vanek was a fit for Edmonton – he’s been one of the four most sheltered forwards in the entire analytics era – and Todd McLellan just doesn’t run his lines like that. As much as he would have been a help to the power play, it’s hard to find room for a slower, one-dimensional forward at evens. I’d have had time for P.A. Parenteau for a sixth-round pick; that’s basically no cost for a guy who can help the power play and chip in on a veteran third line with Desharnais and Pouliot.

Lowetide:

Not really, no. The Oilers time will come and when it does. I expect we will be dancing and singing.

Robin Brownlee:

I wouldn’t have minded seeing Curtis Lazar get a second chance in Edmonton. Minor deal, but I think there’s a useful bottom six forward there. 

Matt Henderson:

You mentioned Vanek, that one for me stands out. His reputation is in the gutter with a lot of fans (and hockey people) but that’s real talent acquired for almost nothing. I still would have loved to see the Oil swing for the fences and go for Shattenkirk. The price was not that high and I would have bet on myself as GM that I could sell him on being 97’s teammate with an extension.

Chris the Intern:

I thought the Parenteau deal was very plausible and surprising. Wish we could have got him.

Baggedmilk:

I too think the Parenteau deal was something that Chiarelli should have looked at. Heaven forbid we don’t lose that sixth round pick. Vanek might have been nice to bolster the power play, too. The real prize was Shattenkirk but it didn’t sound like he wanted to be here anyway so what was the point of trying to force a square peg into a round hole?

5) Always Oilers asks  – With the Oilers playing 11 of 13 games in March at home what would be an acceptable record over that span to make sure they solidify their playoff position?

Jonathan Willis:

I’m not worried about them solidifying their playoff position. They’re almost certainly in, barring something truly catastrophic happening. What I’m curious about is whether they can climb the standings in the Pacific division and get some of the kinks ironed out prior to the postseason. Given the softness of the schedule, something like 7-4-2 would be the minimum that I’d find acceptable, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they went on a real tear.

Lowetide:

I think this is the point in the season when it is hard to do that, to be honest. If Edmonton clinches third place and cannot reach second in the final four games, we may see players rested. I will say they should average more than a point per game, though.

Robin Brownlee:

Oilers should win eight of those 13 games.

Matt Henderson:

8-4-1 is a record I would be pretty happy with. It seems lofty, but it’s doable. Edmonton has opponents breathing down their neck. They need to separate themselves if they want home ice in the first round. It’s barely more than a month before the regular season is over. Finish strong heading into the playoffs. 

Chris the Intern:

Honestly, I feel like they could clinch the playoffs by going 7-4-1 but I think they are going to do much better than that. 9-1-3. Book it!

Baggedmilk:

They need to win at least 60% of these games which equals out to about eight wins. They have a friendly schedule against a lot of non-playoff teams down the stretch and they’ll need to take advantage of that as Calgary and LA are now right on their heels. 


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  • OriginalPouzar

    Its March 6 and the question isn’t “are they actually going to make the playoffs?” – Six months ago, that is the question most Oiler fans would be happy to be asking.

    Questions, in reality, are:

    – will the Oilers be able to hold on to home ice advantage for round one?

    – can the Oilers hold on to a division spot and stave off finishing in simply a wild card spot?

    – can the Oiler push to take the division title?

    Amazing questions to be asking on March 6.

  • madjam

    Trading away Hall expedited a fast culture change , and Oilers have benefitted since then , despite somewhat less skill in lineup . Doubt Chia feels he had the time or luck to add a few more pieces for this season to be a finalist in playoffs . As long as training wheels do not fall off, we should see Oilers make the playoffs this year behind sensation McDavid . After spending over 5 weeks in Arizona , the nice thing is to see the Oilers in such a nice position at this time of year .

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    It’s amazing how fast the season flies by when you’re not floundering on the sea floor. Hoping for a BoA in the 1st round, make it happen!

  • freelancer

    I did hope the Oilers might take a look at Parenteau, but I looked into his playoff experience. He has 15GP 2-3-5 in those games. Not saying Deharnais is a playoff wizard himself but perhaps PA’s lack of playoff experience kept Chia away.

  • camdog

    The Oilers traded a depth d-man for an NHL center. This should be a good deal for both teams. Caggiula’s struggled to produce at centre and right now is more suited for the wing. The third line in that game against Detroit was exciting to watch. Moving Caggiula to the wing is a win for the Oilers. I’d say it’s 50-50 whether a rental winger would out produce him in this line up in this system over the next 20 plus games. He knows the system, he knows the coach, he’s a better fit for this team right now, than those veterans that were available.

  • Spoils

    In retrospect, trading our number one pick last year would have yielded disproportionate returns. The fact that we didn’t make that bet is unfortunate imo.

    You have to make some bets and clearly PC bet it would have been impossible to beat the top top teams no matter what we added this deadline.

    I’m not sure that had to be true had we started going for it last summer; because McDavid.

    Hindsight is 20:20

    I bet this summer PC goes for it.

    • freelancer

      Trying my hardest to avoid homerism, I do believe Edmonton is much better suited for a playoff series, Edmonton has more hits per game, more shots per game, more goals per game.

      Calgary has more goals allowed per game so there is that…

    • Anton CP

      It will still be a tough match up since it is a kind of different PffLames since after all-star game. If anything that the Oilers should not take them lightly once the playoffs starts that their roster do have more playoffs experiences than the Oilers. If the Oilers eventually ended up facing PfffffffLames in playoffs that I’m expecting a 7 game series with the Oilers winning the last at home.

      • freelancer

        They certainly are an improved team but a couple big things to keep in mind….

        Since the All Star game, Calgary has a record of 8-1-1 in 10 games played against non playoff teams and a record of 3-1-0 against playoff teams.

        4. Calgary has played against 4 current playoff teams since the All Star Break.

  • wiseguy

    But where are the questions about who the top draft eligible players and who we are most likely to get? We need to know about those this time of year. I feel so uninformed going into draft day which is a short 3 months away!! Cmon ON. Forget this mythical “playoff” thing. Draft day is where we shine!!

  • Lucas McDavid

    Baggedmilk says:”At the end of the day, I’m just happy that we’re not talking about where the Oilers will be drafting this year.”

    Since you brought it up, where ARE we drafting at currently?

    Chris the Intern says:”I’m excited to see Eberle & RNH in the playoffs for the first time in a long time.”

    Why do I have the feeling you run around your headquarters singing Frozen’s ‘For the first time in forever’?

  • Heavy Stick

    You have to remember…very few top end players want to come to Edmonton. It’s likely in the bottom 10 for sure. Climate and taxes alone do it but add eccentric fans and you have a overpay or I stay situation..see Lucic et AL. Would McDaviD rather been playing in Florida or Texas. He’d pocket another mil a year at least and be around hot girls.

    • Kaplan

      This is always such a dumb take. Apply the same logic to other leagues. Why would a free agent want to play in Green Bay? It’s tiny, has no culture, freezes up half the year, and all the hot girls are in Florida or California, right?

      But guess what? It’s a team with a winning culture and has secured HOF-calibre quarterbacks for decades now. And let’s see, where does your average free agent want to sign? What team is on their short-list? Uh, Green Bay Packers.

  • Hockey123

    Grant McCagg former scout for Montreal Canadians

    ” I’m trying to think back to an old deal where Peter Chiarelli owed Marc Bergevin a favour, but none popped to mind, so I’m still trying to figure out why Edmonton would make this deal. Desharnais was productive a few years ago…but those days are over. The diminutive forward has seen plenty of time on the power play the past three seasons with little or no production. He would be trotted out time and again, and it was hard to comprehend, as in his past 75 games he failed to score a power-play goal and collected just three assists despite regular shifts on the first and second units.

    What was even more concerning was his constant basket hanging. A player who gets very few points should be working hard on the backcheck, especially playing center when you are supposed to protect your own slot and the opposing center, but he was regularly the last forward back, having a disconcerting habit of standing at the opponent’s goal line hoping a teammate gets a turnover until the puck was on its way back the other way and him a line or two behind the play. When an opponent was bringing the puck out of its own zone, the majority of the time Desharnais was nowhere to be seen, and more often than not would head to the bench for a change instead of trying to backcheck, leaving the next center hopelessly out of the play and often on the hook for a goal against.