Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Slepyshev on the block

Greetings, Nation compadres! It’s Mailbag time again and that means that I’ve taken your questions and sent them off to our panel of geniuses to assess and pass along some wisdom that you’ll be able to carry forward with you for the rest of your days. As always, I need your questions for next week, so open up your internet machines and send any question you may have to me through email or on Twitter. Until then, it’s time to learn something.

Oct 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Anton Slepyshev (58) controls the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during a game at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

1) Paul asks – Mark Spector tweeted that Anton Slepyshev is available for a trade. What do you think is a realistic return and why would the Oilers want to move on so quickly after applauding his playoff performance?

Robin Brownlee:

A realistic return? Slepyshev is a late third-rounder who has not worked out. I’m not sure there’s any value there beyond a similar player — maybe somebody in a different position. It looks like there’s the tools of a player there, size, good skater etc., but no toolbox. Something is missing. You move on.

Matt Henderson:

Realistic return? A third or fourth round pick at the high end maybe. Someone equally as unproductive and with questionable draft pedigree. At this point, I think you just want a free contract spot if you can get it. The Oilers made a lot of choices and set a lot of expectations based on a few weeks in the playoffs and they are starting to recognize the folly in that.

Cam Lewis:

Like, a mid-round pick or a similar middling player? Maybe an autographed jersey and a package of coupons to Wendy’s?

Christian Pagnani:

Slepyshev has 14 points in 70 career games, so maybe a mid-round draft pick or lesser prospect seems. They probably expected more out of him because of a few playoff goals and thought he could replace some of Jordan Eberle’s production. Slepyshev hasn’t done that and the Oilers sound like they’ve seen enough. I’m surprised they haven’t given him more opportunity given the situation at right wing.

Chris the Intern:

I think there are a couple layers to this. First of all, Slepyshev’s not having the greatest season, but no one is. That doesn’t really warrant a trade but If he’s still looking to upgrade his forward depth then I understand that.

BUT the thing is that absolutely nobody in Edmonton has any trust in Chiarelli right now due to his recent track record. When we hear that ANY player is on the trading block you immediately get worried cause you just know we’re going to get fleeced on another deal.


I find it odd that Slepyshev was getting so much love after the playoffs were over and now he’s on the trade block a few months later. I mean, the guy missed training camp and the pre-season with an injury, so I’m not sure why people are exactly surprised by the slow start. But if I’m guessing at the return, it would be a third or fourth rounder. With that in mind, does it make sense to depleat the depth at the RW position even further? I don’t know.

2) Ryan asks – Looking at the roster as it is currently constructed, where do you see strengths and where do you see weaknesses?

Robin Brownlee:

There is strength down the middle and in goal. Need another finisher, preferably on right wing. Can never have too much depth on defence.

Matt Henderson:

Strengths are down the middle of the ice. I like the centres and the blueline has a good number of solid options. I think Talbot will bounce back next season too. They are weak on the wings. Replace Caggiula, Cammalleri, and Slepyshev with quality NHLers and you’re cooking with gas.

Cam Lewis:

The strength is Connor McDavid and depth down the middle. Another strength is mobile defencemen capable of playing in their own zone and a good starting goalie. The biggest weakness is clearly depth and skill on the wings. Also, the blueline lacks a true offensive play driver and power play quarterback.

Christian Pagnani:

Their strength is at center with Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Leon Draisaitl, and their weakness is basically everywhere else. They need major improvement on the wing and more puck-moving capabilties on defence. Cam Talbot should bounce back enough to make goaltending respectable. I’m not sure Al Montoya is the depth they need behind Talbot.

Chris the Intern:

Strengths: Connor McDavid, goaltending, running three centres, and when they’re playing at the top of their game, I don’t mind our defensive depth (hides under rock).

Weaknesses: Having no #1 defenceman who can fire home a clapper every powerplay chance he gets, right winger depth, forward depth in general, penalty kill players, having no Matt Hendricks, etc.


The Oilers have three of the best centre options in the league and Chiarelli needs to do everything he can to maintain that. The weaknesses are mostly on the wing, but they also need a point producing defenceman. Unless, of course, Darnell Nurse can turn into that guy. Fingers crossed.

Nov 24, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Jesse Puljujarvi (98) looks for the puck during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

3) @HockeyLW17 asks – Since it seems like the Oilers are going to have a Top 5 pick, does it make sense for us to trade our #1 pick for a high scoring winger?

Robin Brownlee:

Bit early to say the Oilers will have a top-five pick. It always makes sense to look at trading an unknown (draft pick) for a proven player (high-scoring winger), but you need a trade partner who can get the player they want with the pick you are giving up and who are willing to give up the established player you want. Easy to say, more difficult to do.

Matt Henderson:

If someone offers a legit winger who is signed long term you can consider it, but if they are a bottom five team at the trade deadline that pick won’t get moved until after the lottery and you know exactly what we’re dealing with. What if they win and you can add Rasmus Dahlin? You can trade other LHD for wingers at that point.

Cam Lewis:

No. This draft is really deep and as we saw last year with Philly, New Jersey, and Dallas all jumping up due to the lottery, anything can happen. I would rather have Brady Tkachuk or Filip Zadina for seven years than whatever grunt Peter Chiarelli is going to get in a return for the first round pick.

Christian Pagnani:

That’d be tough. It’d have to be someone young enough with multiple years of control. Is that player even available? And what kind of team would make that sort of move? Max Pacioretty isn’t the right age, and needs to be paid soon. Mike Hoffman is good, but not good enough to return a pick that high.

Chris the Intern:

Tough to say at this moment cause it’s still early as far as prospect scouting goes. It’s looking to be a stronger draft this year so with that said I would recommend not trading the pick. And like I said before, do we really trust Chiarelli to successfully trade a pick for a high scoring winger?


I wouldn’t trade the pick this year because you never know what’s going to happen with the lottery. The Oilers could have a chance at a pretty skilled prospect, and that’s something need in the cupboards right now.

Oct 4, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his third period goal against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

4) @craig_osborne asks – I’m a lifelong Oilers fan who has lived through the glory days of the 80’s, hard times of 90’s & early 2000 & the decade of darkness. Can you give me something to encourage me about this year’s team?

Robin Brownlee:

Connor McDavid is 21 years old.

Matt Henderson:

Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse are doing great. Other than that,Twitter is fun.

Cam Lewis:

The days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter.

Christian Pagnani:

Connor McDavid. As tough as this season is, McDavid is still McDavid, and he’s signed long term. There should be at least a couple years before any trade request rumours, right?

Chris the Intern:

Win or lose, we will always have Connor McDavid highlights to watch on a nightly basis.


Connor Mcdavid makes every game worth watching. It’s also fun to see the emergence of Darnell NUrse from the back end.

Oct 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) skates during the warmup period against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

5) Aaron asks – With the playoffs seemingly out of reach, what will you be watching for as the Oilers close out the year?

Robin Brownlee:

Same things I would if they were going to make the playoffs. What’s their structure, what’s their process? Results aside, are they playing the game the right way? That matters whether they’re in or out.

Matt Henderson:

I’ll be watching for evidence of a plan from the coaching staff and general manager. There wasn’t one in the summer, from what I can tell. Maybe they figured it out.

Cam Lewis: 

I’m interested to see how the media covers the team and how the fans on Twitter direct their blame. The front office is getting more and more heat, and if/when the team is mathematically eliminated in early March, it’ll be an interesting soap opera to watch.

Christian Pagnani:

Who plays more minutes when the deadline passes? Will McDavid and Draisiatl play together? If so, why? Does RNH get some time on the wing? Does Draisaitl play centre for the remainder of the year?

Chris the Intern:

I’m curious to watch the ebbs and flows of the Oilers media and fan base. Right now I feel like we’re at a season-low. Will this attitude remain if the losing continues? Or will people begin to lighten up and start mocking the Oilers? Or will the attitudes completely reverse if the Oilers win a few games in a row?


I want to see who can play out the stretch like they actually care. Who quits on this team when they’re out? Who plays through?


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  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    The Love in Todd has with Letestu must end. The 4th line centre is leaking goals 5×5 and his presence on the PP must be a running joke for the rest of the league. Slepy hasn’t been given a fair shake but if the coach doesn’t like you your basically toast. I’ll be interested to see if there are empty seats in the arena Feb and March or the Oilers faithful will continue to spend on a bad product. McDavid is worth the price of admission but he can’t alone stop the bleeding

    • camdog

      There will be empty seats but the barn will be sold out – tickets are getting cheaper by the day on the sites where season ticket holders off load their tickets especially for the un desireable teams. Beer sales might go down a bit but Katz already has every bodies ticket money in his pocket for this season.

    • TruthHurts98

      Why don’t we trade the coaches and management team before they make more stupid moves and add to the long term bleeding? The assistants should have been canned weeks ago. PC should be forbidden from making trades, otherwise bye bye Nuge for nothing and more players signed to huge bloated contracts.

      • Dr. Merkwurdigliebe

        Can’t argue with that. Other teams (Vegas) doing more with much less. Coaching has been a huge problem this year. They should have been fired in November.

  • Spydyr

    The Oilers cupboards are pretty well empty due to decades of walkabout picks. In todays NHL you have to build through the draft. Keep all your draft picks until you are ready to legitimately challenge for the Cup.

    • IRONman

      Oilers are in Cap Hell next season. Even if the cap hits 80 million. They got 27 million in 97,29 and Nuge. They need to be better in drafting 2nd and 3rd rounds. If you look at players that play long term in NHL, 4th rounders to 7th rounders are so few.

      • Randaman

        Exactly, that’s why you try to trade Draisaitl for that ever illusive stud D. Maybe Arizona would trade their pick once it is assured they have won the lottery? They need offence and already have OEL. Maybe, just maybe…

  • Yourresignationpeter

    The oilers need Hendricks back. He was the hard working humble player every team needs to appease the hockey gods. To many egos this year. Plus listening to the media inflated heads on the team big time ! Still gotta put in the work regardless of who says what ! Plus not to mention giving out huge contracts to players that have not proven they deserve that money and that label. Don’t get me wrong I like Connor and Leon. But are they worth that much ? Let’s ask players like Crosby and Kane or toews ? But it’s almost par for the course in Edmonton to overpay and drive up the price for average players. Not saying Connor or Leon are average. But did they earn the right to be at the top of the list for money ? Do we have a cup win yet ? Have we made it to the conference final even ? NO !!!

    • Redbird62

      Go ahead and ask Crosby about McDavid. In 2007, after his second season where he won the Art Ross, the Hart and the Lester Pearson (sound familiar!), he signed a contract for 17.3% of the cap, making him the highest paid player to sign in the post cap era. Ovechkin waited 6 more months and signed for similar money but longer term. Malkin was signed after his second season for the same money as Crosby. The top 3 post cap era contracts at the time for 3 guys who had done no more the McDavid. The other coincidental comparison, is these are the only 3 who got to 200 points in less games than McDavid, and not much less. McDavid earned getting 16.67% of the cap. I agree the Oilers could have been too generous with Draisailtl, but not by a lot. His cap hit at signing was 11.33%. Anze Kopitar got 12% of the cap on his second contract long before LA won the cup, and I think Draisaitl could develop to be as good.

  • ifiwasgm

    Baggedmilk is dead on about Slep. Why in this organization do they give up on player by 24? Same with Brossiot, I’d give him another year on the farm, both him and Slep.

  • camdog

    Maroon being a UFA equals another winger that may need to be replaced next season. It’s going to take work to get the wingers up to the level they are at for next season. Never mind improving the lot.

  • E_S_

    I`m gonna get trashed so hard for this, but the oilers will need some cap space to keep the gang together next season…
    Draisaitl, Strome, and Sekera to CAR for Jeff Skinner(likes to shoot, plays both wings), Martin Necas (budding middle six centre), and Justin Faulk (PP QB,one of the league’s most underrated d-men)

    Carolina needs a number one centre, and they just got a new owner, so maybe they don’t mind taking on the extra salary if it turns them into contenders. I know Sekera has a NMC, but maybe he’d waive it to go play for his old team.

    Just daydreaming on a Monday morning…

  • Drexel

    It is seriously pathetic that after nearly a decade of top 5 picks including 4 first overalls, one of which was a generational talent that was followed the next year by yet another lottery pick, that this team still lacks prospects, and further, tha fans and writers are talking about who they might add with yet another lottery pick.

  • btrain

    Have another thought for the Mailbag today. I wonder what, if anything, the Oilers do differently with Nurse down the stretch. He is showing signs of being an offensive threat from the point, but will he ever get the opportunity on the PP he appears to deserve? It would be great for his development but, in a lost season, do you want another reason to have to pay the man should he excel there as well?

    Anyway, just a thought. I figured Nurse earned a look on the PP back when Klefbom was hurt but to my disappointment that PP time went to Benning and the 7th D man (at the time) Auvitu. The kid is really starting to come along nice. His ceiling is very high give his elite physical abilities. Should the hockey IQ continue to develop, the sky is truly the limit for this player.

    • BobbyCanuck

      And the Oil brain trust will play his new contract the same way the Habs did with PK…after the bridge contract, we will be saying thanks for the memories and good luck on your next team

      • Rock11

        I wish. The more likely route with Chiarelli at the helm is an 8 year deal worth 7mil for a player who hasn’t earned a fraction of that yet. I’d kill for a Leon bridge deal right now and unless Nurse takes something in the Klef/Larsson range then a bridge is likely the best outcome for the Oilers.

        • fasteddy

          The more likely outcome of a bridge deal for a top 6/top 4 player is you pay more in the long run….be better to lock him in 8×5 for 40 total than 2×4 then say 6×7….you’ve spent 50 instead of 40 for the sake of 2 yrs of 2 mil cap savings off the hop….of course you get 2 yrs to look, but that can be costly look-see if the player produces

  • Ginbaby

    Brady Tkachuck looks like he will better than his brother and he will add skill plus grit. I still think this team is better than they have played. Last year everything aligned and went as well as it possibly could have. This year is the total opposite of that, hopefully next year ends up somewhere in the middle and we see a better product.

  • Opi

    Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle and Anthony Beauvillier made their way to the Islanders via the Oilers. They recorded 12 points beating the Rangers Jan. 14, 2018. In 2015, the Islanders traded Griffin Reinhart to Edmonton in exchange for the 16th (Barzal) and 33rd (which was used to move up to 28 and became Beauvillier) picks in the 2015 draft, and Eberle was obtained in a one-for-one trade in this past off-season sending Ryan Strome the other way.

    What’s Chia possibly thinking … ?

  • he shoots he scars

    Has Slepy been made available for trade because it’s likely he goes to KHL next season? Try to get something while/if you can vs seeing him walk away.