The news is out, all over town. Protected lists are out and there is some shock and awe out among the stars. For the Oilers, the easy play is waiting for Vegas to make the pick (Khaira? Reinhart?) and go along your merry way.
There are opportunities and options for Peter Chiarelli beyond the passive. As we discussed the other day, there are reasons to trade Jordan Eberle that can make the Oilers better:
- Cap room.
- Righty defenseman for second pair.
- Less expensive Jordan Eberle.
- Draft picks.
- RH center who can also play wing.
Based on what we’re hearing out of the Golden Knights head office, Edmonton acquiring draft picks isn’t terribly likely (unless draft picks are involved either way). After that, this list of items seems pretty reasonable moving forward.
WHY WOULD VEGAS TRADE FOR JORDAN EBERLE?
A quick spin through the available list from the 30 established teams tells us Las Vegas is going to be okay in goal. It also suggests the club will have a strong defensive group, better in fact than many established teams. Forwards? Well, not so much.
The Golden Knights will want centers (there isn’t a lot on the expansion lists) and scoring wingers. Jordan Eberle is a scoring winger. He also has a contract that expires in two years, meaning the team might be able to trade him at any of the next two deadlines for a heavy return. George McPhee’s verbal since the beginning of the weekend implies draft picks are a big part of the goal and I think Jordan Eberle could get a fine return of picks and prospects.
THE REAL REASON TO TRADE FOR EBERLE
The obvious option is grabbing Eberle is the opportunity to retain dollars on a second deal in which the veteran heads out of town the day he arrives. If McPhee could offer a team Jordan Eberle at $3 million times two years, what would he fetch in return? My guess is quite a lot.
The lists are fresh off the fax machine (!!!) so it may take 24 hours to correctly identify all of the attractive options. Here are a few I noticed
- RD Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks. I think the Ducks have some kind of pre-arranged deal (rumored to be Sami Vatanen) but Manson would be an absolute home run acquisition for Edmonton.
- RD Jason Demers, Florida Panthers. Genuinely disappointed Florida pulled back Alex Petrovic and Mark Pysyk, and Demers gets paid full pipe. Still, he’s a good option for the Oilers and maybe they get him for just picks and prospects.
- R Jonathan Marchessault, Florida Panthers. An absolutely brilliant small forward, he could be a plug and play for Edmonton on a skill line. He scored 20 5×5 goals this year!
- RD Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. Some chaos for sure and he is going to get paid, but Dumba can play defense and should be able to help on the power play.
- LD Brandon Davidson, Montreal Canadiens. He fits the system, would be nice cover until Andrej Sekera gets back and the club won’t have to worry about expansion now.
- L James Neal, Nashville Predators. He’s a first-person shooter, averaging over 9.00 shots per 60 at 5×5 last season. He could be the finisher for 97’s line and bag 40 goals this coming season. He’s done it before.
- Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson and Calin DeHaan, NY Islanders. You have to believe there’s a pre-arranged deal here, but any of these gents would be nice additions.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I am not among those who believe Jordan Eberle should be traded, but if the Oilers are hellbent on it, Vegas seems to be the right fit. George McPhee can figure out the math on what he’d get for a $3 million (times two) Jordan Eberle, and Peter Chiarelli has a nice pool of talent to choose from in exacting a price that fits his new roster.
Note: The list above does not, in whole or in part, imply I am suggesting a trade of Jordan Eberle straight up for each of these men. That would be ridiculous. I would keep Eberle and would certainly need a less expensive (and reasonable) replacement before proceeding.