We’ve talked a lot about what moves the Oilers shouldn’t make. I’ve even explored one trade possibility that they perhaps should be looking into consummating. But the one aspect of all these discussions that can make things go a little haywire is who or what the Oilers have regarding expendable assets.
— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) November 30, 2017
Mostly, the discussions have centred around Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. A lot of that is related to long-term salary projections and how difficult it will be to balance the books with his $6-million annually counting against the cap.
By that same token, the Oilers have almost $9-million in cap space for this season, so what’s the rush? As I outlined in my article, the only reason someone deals Nugent-Hopkins in the middle of the season that he’s having is for the sake of making a trade.
Obviously, the state of the Oilers franchise and the expectations that they entered this season with suggests that they have to do something before they throw the towel in on this season. The ‘r’ word is out of fashion — it’s about winning, and now.
So, if the Oilers are going to wade into trade waters, what do they have to bring to market? Their options are slim, but I’ve found three players that I think are the right mix of expendable and valuable that can perhaps bring something of value in return, aside from a shakeup.
As far as moveable assets go for the Oilers, there isn’t a better arrow in their quiver than Patrick Maroon. That doesn’t mean that they should move Maroon. He is, however, a pending unrestricted free agent in line for a significant raise over the $2-million annually that he’s made over the life of his current deal.
As Matt Henderson outlined in his article on this topic, the ideal scenario is that Maroon and the Oilers come to terms on an amenable deal for both sides. If they can’t work something out by the deadline, though, perhaps the Oilers can recoup some value on Maroon before losing him for nothing in free agency. That guiding principle would be especially true if the Oilers are still out of it at that point in the season, which is a definite possibility.
— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) November 30, 2017
Since joining the Oilers at the 2016 trade deadline, Maroon is scoring at a 0.62 point per game pace. If a team wants secondary scoring that they can fit seamlessly into their short-term salary structure, Maroon is that guy. He also brings a bit of a sandpaper, which we know teams covet as they get closer to the post-season.
This isn’t a move that’s going to save the season. It probably helps accomplish the exact opposite. The fact is, the Oilers don’t have a lot of easily moveable significant assets that have the power to accomplish the former of those ends. As for helping their long-term projections, this is the best ammunition they’ve got.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s fascinating if not a little perplexing that Iiro Pakarinen’s name keeps coming up when the Oilers come up in rumours about trade discussions. On the surface, there isn’t much to suggest Pakarinen should hold any value in a trade.
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) November 30, 2017
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman brought him up today on the most recent episode of the Hockey PDOCast with CanucksArmy alumnus Dimitri Filipovic. Clearly, he’s still out there. I can’t imagine his name would keep popping up if not for a market existing or the Oilers believing that there should be one.
Upon looking into Pakarinen’s underlying metrics, it became clear that he had some utility in the defensive zone. In fact, he’s probably one of the better Oilers penalty killers. Low counting stats and all, his production isn’t awful relative to his role.
These players hold legitimate value. I’m just not sure it’s any kind of value that you can get in the short term. Think something closer to a mid-to-late round draft pick rather than immediate help. I’d guess that Pakarinen’s availability has more to do with logistics for the Oilers than it does shaking up the season. He is a pending restricted free agents.
It would be a bad PR look for the Oilers to deal Ryan Strome less than a full season after dealing Jordan Eberle on a reasonable deal while he was still in the midst of his prime, but it’s not impossible. We heard in October that the Oilers are already unhappy with Strome, though. And then not long afterwards we heard about the market, or lack thereof, for Strom.
— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) October 31, 2017
I’m willing to bet the Oilers are just a touch more satisfied with Strome’s performance of late. He’s fallen short of expectations, certainly, but he’s been a semi-productive player in their middle-six since the turn of November. Maybe all the noise got to him?
Whatever the case, it’s not impossible to imagine a scenario where Strome has played himself into holding some trade value. Strome is signed to the end of this season at $2.5-million but is only a restricted free agent, so he holds value beyond this season. For a team in need of middle-six centre depth, Strome could be fairly appealing.
This is the one player the Oilers can make a hockey trade with. You know, the type that can potentially help them out this season. It’s contingent on Oilers head coach Todd McLellan’s willingness to run all of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins down the middle with their own lines. If he gets there, though, Strome might be expendable.