Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media Friday morning and discussed the trade deadline, as well as the Oilers’ needs.
#Oilers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Peter Chiarelli speaks to media this morning & discusses potential approach to trade deadline, addressing areas of need & more. pic.twitter.com/8bNY9S6gEp
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 23, 2018
No surprise Chiarelli wants more speed. Every pro scout who watches Oilers says they aren't quick team even with McDavid
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) February 23, 2018
Chiarelli talked about high expectations, focusing on the trade deadline, and finishing the season when asked about rebuilding. “We’re not going to blow it up,” Chiarelli stated. He referenced the thin margins in the league and how he’ll look to add speed, and that could be from the prospects they get at the deadline.
I’d argue that has already happened with the significant trades made by the Oilers general manager. He’s put his stamp on the team, and sold low on some very good players to do so. Speed is clearly an issue but I wonder if they’re focusing too much on a specific need for the trade deadline.
Prospects over draft picks
Chiarelli says they are shooting for a prospect that is close to playing, if not ready to play in return for their rentals at the deadline, but that depends on the urgency of the buyer. #Oilers
— Brenden Ullrich (@BrendenUllrich) February 23, 2018
Chiarelli calls getting prospects in return the “primary objective” of the trade deadline. It sounds like the Oilers will be targeting NHL-ready prospects in return for Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu, and we could see these players with the team after the deadline.
The Oilers badly need forward prospects, but I’d hesitate to focus so heavily on acquiring prospects instead of draft picks. Most of the high quality prospects won’t be available. It’s unlikely they get a first-round pick for Maroon, but a second-round pick could be parlayed into a player later on, as Chiarelli said later in the presser.
Chiarelli said he’s looking at a couple hockey deals. He talked about some larger action (Erik Karlsson?) going on, the Oilers aren’t involved. Chiarelli emphasized improving the team’s speed, but acknowledged that might not be done at the deadline.
I doubt the Oilers make a trade that includes anyone with term. Maybe they lay the groundwork for an off-season deal instead?
Maroon and Letestu
— Derek Van Diest (@DerekVanDiest) February 23, 2018
There’s interest in them, but they’ve also talked about re-signing both.
I highly doubt either returns. Maroon will want to cash in and Letestu’s speed is a serious issue 5-on-5. Chiarelli can’t say it but they should both be gone.
The rest of the season
This terrible season isn’t over. Chiarelli wants to see progress. Younger players playing more. The special teams improving and a good 20 games. Hopes there isn’t a difficult 20 games even with a few players leaving.
I’m curious which young players he’s referring to. I think most people have seen enough of Drake Caggiula playing in all situations. Jesse Puljujarvi could play more, same with Anton Slepyshev. After that, there’s not much.
The three centers
Chiarelli likes the coach to have the ability to make changes. He says having a bunch of money dedicated to center might not make sense, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to trade a center.
When asked about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing the wing, he says he doesn’t have that answer but RNH has played the wing before.
Edmonton’s center depth is a strength, but they also lack assets to improve. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see RNH traded for a right-handed defenceman or a winger and Draisaitl at center permanently. Now is the perfect time to give RNH a shot on the wing with McDavid or Draisaitl.
Wants picks and prospects
Would trade picks at the draft for current players
Won't blow it up
Has a list of guys he won't move, which he has made clear to other teams
There's interest in Maroon and Letestu
— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) February 23, 2018
- Chiarelli’s emphasis on speed makes sense. This team is seriously slow beyond McDavid.
- It’s clear the target is prospects, some of that is Chiarelli trading away draft picks and not getting any in the Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle trades. They desperately need cheap, young players.
- Chiarelli feels this can be a quick turnaround. He doesn’t think this is a rebuild. I’m not sure. This is a team with a lot of cap already dedicated to players and few trade assets.
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