What a season it’s been for the Oilers. The ups and the downs have been all over. Emotionally, I’m sure lots of fans agree. It’s hard to understand a team that destroys the Tampa Bay Lightning but then gets blown out by bottom feeders like the Sabres. While many have mailed the season in and kissed the postseason goodbye, mathematics still say there’s a shot at the playoffs. I mean realistically, we still technically have a chance until eight other teams have an X beside their name. While we can all debate what we think, what I want to know is what is the Oilers management thinking?
Selling or buying?
We’re three weeks away from the NHL’s trade deadline, and that’s a pretty key day for the Oilers. There’s still plenty of time for Oilers brass to make up their mind if they think they have a thin chance at the postseason or if they’re selling off the season.
The Oilers did drop another game last night to the Kings, so I’m leaning towards the idea that Chia and co are getting ready to bid adieu to a few faces on March 28th.
Who should get ready to pack their bags?
One of the most talked about rental guys is Patrick Maroon, and while he’s a fan favourite, he should be prepared to move. A lot of chatter has been about having to decide between the Nuge and Patty. If it comes down to picking between the two, I’m going with baby Nuge all day long.
Maroon’s size is always there, but he isn’t — he can be inconsistent. Put him on McDavid’s wing, and he seems to do well. Take him away, and Maroon can be a ghost at times. If the Big Rig is willing to take a discount to stay in Edmonton, I have no issues keeping him around, but the money he could demand for emerging over the last couple seasons just won’t work for the Oilers cap crunch.
I think the Yohann Auvitu experiment is going to come to a close soon, and the Brad Hunt-turned-forward experiment is a UFA at seasons end. Let’s flip that nose for offence and score a late draft pick. There’s no harm in that, assuming that someone wants him.
A couple players who spent a good chunk of the first half of the season in the doghouse were Drake Caggiula and Ryan Strome. Both guys are RFA’s this summer, but both are starting to wake up and show their worth.
Remember when Nick Kypreos stirred the pot by reporting the Oilers weren’t happy with the Strome deal? How do they feel a little over three months later? Caggiula is a Chia college free agent signing, and there’s no way I can see Chia moving him. It’s also no secret I’m a Caggiula fan. I think he’s a hard worker can play a bunch of different roles for the team. Being that they’re both RFAs, the Oilers control their future, and don’t have to worry about them walking for nothing, unlike Maroon.
The other day someone on Twitter asked who they would want the Oilers to target in a trade, and that got the wheels turning in my brain. If I had to pick one guy, it would be the Coyotes Max Domi. Before you scroll on down to the comments and ask me what drugs I’m on, this is simply me just spitballing.
The Yotes have loaded up on youth over the last few seasons. They’ve drafted Nick Merkley, Dylan Strome, Clayton Keller, Christian Fischer, and more. It sounds like a familiar situation — Arizona hasn’t been successful and seems to be building a new core. It seems like Anthony Duclair didn’t feel like he was going to be a part of that core, so he requested a trade and now has a fresh start in Chicago. Does John Chayka see Domi as a part of their future? It’s been rumoured they’re exploring their options about moving him.
Domi is a couple seasons removed from his outstanding 52 point rookie campaign, and is struggling big time this season — he has only three goals in 53 games. Could you imagine if the Oilers could swoop in and pick up McDavid’s teammate from the 2015 World Juniors? What would you want to see the Oilers give up for him?
What are your thoughts on the Oilers playoff chances? Who do you think will be moved at the deadline? Share your thoughts with me below!