Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Bleeding out?

When Edmonton Oilers’ GM Peter Chiarelli talked about death by 1,000 cuts in late November, he wasn’t specifically referring to the ongoing slow bleed of offensive talent – players traded to fill holes on his roster or address salary cap concerns – that has marked his watch calling the shots in Edmonton’s big chair, but he certainly could have been.

We saw more of the same today at the NHL trade deadline with Chiarelli dealing pending UFA winger Patrick Maroon to the New Jersey Devils for prospect J.D. Dudek, a five-foot-11, 185-pound forward who was taken 152nd overall by the Devils in 2014, and a third-round draft choice in 2019. Dudek, 22, is playing his third season with Boston College of Hockey East.

Word of the trade came after the 1 p.m. deadline passed, just as it did a couple of years ago when the Big Rig first arrived from the Anaheim Ducks on the way to becoming something of a bargain. It’s another case of an offensive talent headed out the door and less than that – Dudek has 20 goals in 107 career games with Boston College — coming back in return.

  • In June 2016, Chiarelli traded winger Taylor Hall, who compiled 132-196-328 in 381 games with the Oilers, to New Jersey for Adam Larsson to bolster his blueline. Yes, there was a definite need on the back end, but most people thought Chiarelli paid too high a price to address it. Larsson was very good last season, not so much this season because of injuries and time out of the line-up after the death of his father. Hall, meanwhile, has scored 26-40-66 with the Devils this season.
  • In June 2017, Chiarelli traded winger Jordan Eberle, who scored 165-217-382 in 507 games with the Oilers, to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome. It was a salary dump, pure and simple. Out went Eberle, who produced just two points in 13 playoff games last spring but a player who scored 20-or-more goals in five of seven seasons here. In came Strome, who’d surpassed 30 points just once in four seasons. Eberle has 22-33-55 with the Islanders this season. Strome, rolling of late with five goals in the last five games, has 12-16-28.

Now, in the wake of Chiarelli talking about the need for the Oilers to get quicker, Maroon joins Hall in New Jersey. While Maroon is a complimentary player, he can bang some and score some while playing in the top six. Maroon produced 49 goals and 86 points in his 154 games with the Oilers. I’m not sure Maroon has another 27-goal season in him, but he looks like a player a team can count on to score 18-20 goals a season. How many players — outside of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — do the Oilers have you can say that about?

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Mar 22, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon (19) and Anaheim Ducks right wing Jared Boll (40) exchange words in the second period during a NHL game at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015-16, the Oilers finished 25th in the NHL with 203 goals. Last season, with McDavid winning the Art Ross Trophy as the leading scorer in the league with 100 points and Draisaitl enjoying a breakout year with 77, the Oilers finished eighth with 247 goals. As of today, they sit 20th with 177 goals. McDavid has 74 points and Draisaitl has 57. After that, the drop-off is significant – injured Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and struggling Milan Lucic are next at 31.

It can be reasonably argued that allowing too many goals – only four teams have allowed more than the 204 goals the Oilers have given up as of today – is a bigger problem than the slow bleed of offensive talent. Likewise, the Oilers aren’t going anywhere with a historically bad penalty kill. I won’t argue on either front. Those problems remain, as do questions about quality blueline depth.

That said, if Chiarelli continues to dip into the limited pool of offensive talent at his disposal to address other shortcomings, he could be creating another void. From where I sit, the Oilers are leaning far too heavily on McDavid and Draisaitl now without enough proven secondary scoring to support them. Might Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto be answers down the road? Sure. Can Lucic bounce back? Maybe. Might Anton Slepyshev add some offensive pop in the top nine? Could be. Maybe Pontus Aberg, acquired for Mark Letestu Sunday, figures it out. Dudek?

The reality is, there’s a lot of could-be and might-be up front beyond McDavid and Draisaitl. Like I said, it’s a long way down from those two to the next players left in the pecking order in terms of proven offensive production. So, today Maroon follows Hall and Eberle out of town on a team already challenged to score enough goals, prevent enough goals and figure out its special teams. Deficiencies remain and the currency Chiarelli has been using to address them is dwindling.

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    • OilersGM

      I would agree Wingers are the easiest to acquire, All good teams are strong down the middle, goaltender, D-men and Centre. The only reason we can’t acquire good wingers is because Chiarelli is awful at his job and I don’t know how it’s taken so long to get rid of him. Even Robin you wrote a article saying Chiarelli can turn this around well I think and many would agree you guys are little bit behind in seeing the problem but it doesn’t surprise me it’s in the nature of this organization and the media.

      • Gravis82

        The moment we traded for Reinhart I was done. You need cheap talent to win. Those two picks were perfectly timed to, if they worked out, enter the NHL on the last year of McDavids ELC. Deepest draft in recent memory as well and trade them for a d-man that has been passed over by other prospects in that organization. It was insanity. I hated it then as much as I do now.

        Look at reinharts hockeyDB and it was pretty clear what he was. MSM rationalized that trade to death by citing draft position, prior play with the oil kings, and all the “tools” he has etc etc. But all of that is meaningless. He had not progressed in a fashion that was indicative of a high likelihood of developing into a top 4 defenseman. Sure, once in a blue moon a player like that could work out, but rarely. It was a bad bet. The only place I saw serious push back on that trade was from people who took an objective look at the player’s quantifiable performance as well as countless posters on this site and others. Everyone was praising savior Chiarelli when the first trade was so obviously bunk. Willis, as usual, saw it for what it was, a massive mistake.


        Same thing goes for Pontus Aberg. Sounds good right, has all the tools? Almost the worst possession metrics on the preds with the highest PDO. 1000 cuts indeed.

  • morsecode89

    Just saying Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Patrick Maroon would make up 3 of 4 wing spots on pretty awesome top 6 with Connor McDavid/Leon Draisaitl/or RNH playing center.

    • toprightcorner

      Just saying that with that much salary in the top 6, your bottom 6 would be full of $700k AHL level players and their defense would be swiss cheese and they would likely struggle to make the playoffs.

      • Gravis82

        I would rather Have Nuge as my 3rd line center making 6 million and have him around to play the PP and move up in the lineup to replace injuries than trade him away for a lesser player. Sure, he may make too much for 3C, but not having Nuge is worse. All that could have happened the last two years before McDavids ELC was up. That was window #1.

        There are many defensemen that would be just as good as Russel and Larson that did not cost as much. Heck, Davidson was almost as good as Larsson. Fayne as well in his 2015/2016 season. Look at the hero charts people and tell me I am wrong. Larsson is good, but did not live up to his draft status. Oilers love to buy this type of false value.

        Chia should have been trading away for an many drafts picks as possible for the next GM to use. He’s trying to save his job by getting NHL ready prospects, except team don’t trade their good prospects for rentals. The moment I heard that I knew we were done. The drafting team has all the leverage when trading a prospect because they know everything about him. Just take the draft picks, oilers need a mini-rebuild.

    • GinYYC

      As long as we had 9 million more in cap than the rest of the league we could make that work. 2 mil more for hall than Larson, 3 mil more for Ebs than Strome, and 4 mil for Maroon come July 1. And of course we wouldn’t have Larson, maybe we could have kept Schultz to be our 1RD, that was working out well.

      The Oilers aren’t as bad as their record shows this year. This isn’t a team from the DoD. Most night (not all, there have been some real stinkers) the Oilers are competitive if not dominant. They’ve lost about 6-7 games this year they should have won. Flip those in the standings and we’re right there. Some bad luck, shaky goaltending at times, more injuries than last year, and very little progression in the young crew of complimentary players (nurse and JJ aside) have all combined to sink the season.

      I’ll be taking all the bets I can get for the Oilers making the playoffs next year.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        I agree, I think that Khaira, Slepy, Pully & Strome ++ will become some semblance of Hall & Ebs, point wise.
        I think that for whatever reason the team got off to a bad start & couldn’t recover this year.
        Maybe a result of playing rookies for 9 games, with clearly no intention of them staying? Or constant line juggling & trying to figure out a system after the season started & well into it. To my eye, it took this coaching staff 3/4 of the season to figure out a plan with the players they have. That’s what lost the season, not the lack of good players. (how can a goalie go from Vezina candidate to…?) They were playing confused in my opinion. The top 6 forwards that we have now will all develop into 20+ goal scorers. And yes, the Oilers will make the playoffs next year, IF this core group is left alone to develop.
        We have all seen skill wise what these forwards are capable of. Flashes of brilliance. Confidence will bring those flashes closer together.
        I think this is a great team. Just look at last season. If you are going to change anything Chia, more consistent coaching and development.
        “That’s the ticket, yeah, that’s it.”

    • Boba The Fett

      So if Maroon were to re sign for a hypothetical $3M/season then your top six would have a total cap hit of $42M now add Talbot at $4M, Sekera at $5.5M and Klefbom at $4M and you have 9 guys signed to a cap hit of $55.5M with 14 roster spots remaining. If the cap goes up to $80M then you have $24.5M to sign 14 players at an average of $1.75M/player. How do you propose filling those spots when you currently don’t have a #1 right shot d man ($4-5M) and you still need to extend Nurse ($4M?). Now you need to fill your bottom 6 forwards, 3rd pairing d men, backup goalie and 3 other roster players for an AAV of $1.3M. GOOD LUCK!!!

  • toprightcorner

    The only reason Maroon is gone is that his agent feels he can get close to $5 million in free agency as most teams overpay and the Oilers would not overpay for a slow player. If Chairelli would have resigned Maroon everyone would have been mad at the 4 year $18 mill it would have taken.

    Chairelli is not to blame for Maroon no longer being here.

    • MrBung

      No way Maroon gets that. His return at deadline is indicative of how the rest of the league sees him and the Oilers. Value is in the toilet. Unless Maroon does well in NJ…otherwise won’t be getting any kind of big deal in a NHL that is getting faster.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      I think Chia is definitely to blame for Maroon not being an Oiler, but it was the Lucic contract that did it. That’s the worst part of all this – Maroon did Lucic’s job better than him, and for several million less.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        I’ll remind everyone, that Lucic was a much sought after UFA. In fact he toured a few cities in the off-season before choosing Edmonton. I, and most other Edmonton fans were elated when he chose to sign here, Chia was brilliant in adding a little grit to our “woosey-pushover” team.
        Since then, the problem is not so much Chia, it’s Milan, he has to live up to his contract.
        Chia did make a mistake in term with Lucic, but that may have been the signing point & most likely it was.
        However, it’s time for Lucic, to anti up & dedicate himself. I am one fan that thinks he can.
        I have watched him extensively before he made the NHL with the Giants and “Rumbling-Slogging” “Bang-Bang” play is his forté. He’s probably the best at it, that’s why we hired him. It’s done him well over the years. He just needs to work harder now to keep that style up to an effective level. I believe in Milan, probably because now, we are stuck with him. It is what it is, as frustrating as it can be at times. I think he has the honour to himself and the fans to work harder to improve… Let’s hope I’m right, because he could be a real gem & we all know it.

  • ubermiguel

    Maroon has left the door open to return in free-agency (does anyone find this a relief considering prior player-management relationship fiascoes; see: Souray/Tambellini?), in which case we might end up with Maroon and some prospects. This is just what happens with pending-UFAs on non-playoff bound teams. I hope Chiarelli stands pat over the summer on big trades but gets some solid UFA veterans. More guys like Cammalleri in the bottom 6 is not a terrible thing.

    • toprightcorner

      Only way that happens if he screws the pooch so bad in NJ that every other GM thinks he can not score without McDavid and his value drops to $3.5 mill a season

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Sad to see Patrick Maroon go, he played with passion and his heart on his sleeve. In the last 2 years no other winger played as well with McDavid and Draisaitl. A while back, someone wrote an article saying only 4 Oiler fwd’s could make the Leafs lineup. I guess we are down to 3. Good luck in NJ Patrick, look fwd to seeing you back in the Western Conf soon.

  • Serious Gord

    Maroon is yesterday’s player. Slow, doesn’t bang that much, gets dumb penalties, no defence.

    Don’t get why robin you think this is much of a loss.

    As for the other chia trades: the only one I see somewhat questionable if Eberle only because money was left on table this season.

    Larsson was a good deal under the circumstances- but speed and tighter reffing have ruined his value – not something many anticipated.

    • My take isn’t that this trade is terrible. It’s about the cumulative result of offensive talent trickling out the door with the trade of Hall, Eberle and now Maroon. There are other problems of course, but this is a team that is challenged to score enough beyond McDavid and Draisaitil, who is a complimentary player but somebody who, despite being big and slow, manages to get to the net and score. How many of those guys does this team have?

      • Randaman

        You are correct Robin but you have to admit that Slepyshev wasn’t given much of a steady chance earlier in the year. Now, much better, Rattie needs more ice time to see what might be there, Cagguila hasn’t developed at all and Nurse is still in over his head 50% of the time. This coach relies on his two top players much too often together. He did the same in San Jose

      • Kneedroptalbot

        Secondary scoring doesn’t exist on this team and they are one of the lowest scoring teams already.
        Not much in the prospect pool for offensive skill either.

        • Kneedroptalbot

          Shut down Mick David and Draisaitl , the others do very little. Beat them to the puck, on the forecheck.
          Easy formula to beat the Oilers, and other teams know it.

      • Gravis82

        The quickest way to fix this team is to realize that we have a top forward line already under contract. These are the hardest players to find and most expensive to obtain. Nuge McDavid and Drai. Play them as line 1. Put strome at 2C and find two-second line wingers. These are much cheaper than 1st line wingers and should be findable in free agency.

        Find a 3C that can play the PK and flank him with Lucic and Puljujarvi.

        Play JJ and Slep on line 4 and find two more 4th line wingers that can play the PK.

        While the may not be ideal, its the quickest and easiest way back to respectability. Lining up our centers 1, 2 3, leaves too many holes in the top 6 that cannot be filled anytime soon without creating another.

      • CMG30

        Judging by the number of trashes you’ve got and where the Oil are in the standings, it seems like a good percentage of folks just can’t get over their irrational hatred of Hall to see how terrible that trade was. That move alone should come with a pink slip for Chirelli. And before anyone tries to put words into my mouth, I’m not saying Larrson is a bad player, just that he’s not nearly worth a player like Hall.

      • Boba The Fett

        Last year when the Oilers improved to 8th in team offense and team defense nobody seemed to mind the Hall trade, especially since those were stats the Oilers had never come close to reaching with Hall here. This year Larsson and the Oilers have had a downturn and all of a sudden everyone is back ragging on the Hall trade. Hall admitted that it wasn’t until this year that he accepted the fact that he needed to have a dialogue with his coaches and be more receptive. Hall needed to do some growing up and I feel the anonymity of playing in NJ really helped with that, I don’t think he makes this realization as quick in Edmonton.

        • Rock11

          People stopped complaining about the Hall trade last year because many of the posters here are short sighted idiots. Year over year the Oilers had a healthy Mcdavid, another year of development from Drai, completely healthy years from Klef and RNH, plus vezina worthy goaltending. Of course for the Hall haters the only difference was Hall out and Larsson in. Was having Larsson a positive factor? Maybe. Of course undo that trade and maybe the third round or the final was possible but the idea that the improvement last year was due to the Hall trade alone(which far too many people to mention did) is ridiculous.

  • Bringer_Of_Snow

    I am fully aware that Patty is nothing without Connor, but by looking at the return Nash, Kane, Stastny and HARTMAN??? got, even a 2nd rounder would have been underwhelming, let alone a 3rd. I’ll leave you with this thought. Thomas Tartar just got a 1st, 2nd and 3rd with a couple years left on his contract… 8 months ago the Oilers got Ryan Strome for Eberle with a few years left… Atta be Chia

    • Big Nuggets

      Hartman is a beauty. Im surprised Chicago traded.him. And I’m jealous that Edm didn’t make a play for him. Although the first round pick is obviously a no deal.

  • MrBung

    This team is at least 2-3 seasons away from being a playoff level team. That is counting on the fact they hit a couple of home runs in the draft. AND GET RID OF CHIARELLI. One of the worst GM in the league. I think he has issues around the league with other management – keeps dealing with the same teams. Interesting.

  • Heretoday

    IMO I believe maroon was a good player but his cap hit made him a great player. Oilers should have gotten more then a 3rd rounder and prospect for him comparing to what other gm’s received.

  • Jon

    “In came Strome, who’d hit 30 points just once in four seasons.”

    Come on, Robin. It was bad, but don’t make it look worse than it is. He’s had seasons of 30 and 50 points (and he’ll hit 30 again this year barring injury).

  • Consultant

    Happy to get something. Let him get a few offers this summer then see if we can/ want to match one of those. Basically allows other GM’s to value him first, which is great from my perspective and it helps Chia not overpay as he has done before…

  • Randaman

    Our “D” is absolutely dreadful. The only keepers are Larsson and Nurse. Klefbom has been brutal this year, avoiding contact (Eberle like), poor passing, etc. Benning is a tire fire that throws the odd big hit and Oilers fans love him for it. Avuitu? Nuff said… Russell, meh! Is it just me or did Nurse get pushed around a lot last night against the Ducks? He needs to bulk up and start playing meaner. We need a STUD!

    • Boba The Fett

      Larsson and Klefbom have been playing injured most of the year, even though I agree they have not been as good as last year. Nurse has been a stud in the making this season, Anaheim is a big physical team but he played really well, just look how he leaned on and pinned Getzlaf in the corner in OT. Russell actually hasn’t been that bad and he has more heart and character than anyone on the team. Benning is really struggling, Auvituu can move the puck and skate but struggles with defense. This is the same defense that was #8 in the league last year, it looks like the coaches changed something up in the system and it has really hurt us.

  • TKB2677

    I like Maroon but part of the reason I like him is his price point. Maroon is going to get a new contract for 4 mill for 4-5 yrs and I am sorry but the Oilers can’t be giving Maroon a contract like that. I like the style of player that Lucic and to a lesser extent Maroon is. I still think there is a place for guys like them on an NHL team. I think that Lucic makes too much money and his contract is too long but he’s an Oiler and they are stuck with him. So while I like the style of player that Lucic and Maroon are, I think a team can only have 1 of them in your top 6. With Lucic here, you can’t have Lucic AND Maroon on your team. So unless Maroon is signing a contract at 3 mill or less, you can’t have him on your team. So you get what you can and move on.

    Plus my concern with Maroon is his scoring seems to be hugely tied to McDavid. Everyone thinks they need upgrades to McDavid’s wingers. I feel the same. So IF they are able to find a upgrade for McDavid’s wing, that means no more Maroon with McDavid. Take Maroon away from McDavid and his scoring dries up. So all of a sudden the Oilers would have a 6 mill Lucic struggling to stay a float on their second line and a 4 mill Maroon on their 3rd line? Can’t happen.

    • NickL89

      Yes Maroon as scoring with McD but why was he consistently on that line? Because no one else was producing at the same clip. I don’t see another name on the roster (other than Drai) who has put up respectable numbers on his wing so far (and we all know how TM loves to change up lines, there have been opportunities). Maroon earned that spot and now we will have to look for a cheaper alternative to replace those points. Time will tell how Chia handles it I guess.

  • Hollywood

    Maroon should’ve picked up a 2nd rounder. Or at the very least 3rd rounder and a decent prospect. He got one part right, but JD Dudeck as the prospect? LOSE!! Pete sucks balls at trading. And apparently can only trade with NYI or NJ cause he loves losing to them. Starting to thing Petey boy is a plant from the east to screw the Oilers!!

  • Rama Lama

    I doubt PM will be coming back to Edmonton this summer. He is a good hockey player but is outside of his skill level playing on the first line with the fastest player on the planet.

    I hope PC can find a proven speedy winger who has the requisite skill to play with Connor………if all he could get for PM is a non proven prospect and a pick, I’m not holding out any hope.

  • Boba The Fett

    For everyone that is trashing on the Eberle deal, which I admit was a loss, think about this for a second.
    Eberle 45pts at $6M this year
    Strome 28pts at $2.5M this year – Strome also plays center and is looking to be an effective penalty killer of late (both things Eberle could not do)
    Strome has 62% of Eberle’s points but it only being paid 42% of Eberle’s salary

    We are arguably getting better value out of Strome then NYI are getting out of Eberle…Just something to think about!

    • The issue is Eberle for Strome and cap space that was then spent on Russell. I think Strome is fine for what he is but it is like having a brand new Corvette and trading it straight up for a year old Mustang

    • Rock11

      Sure and we could also trade Mcdavid for a guy making league minimum who will put up 20 points. Hey look at that better value. Also a much worse team. Get good players. Keep good players. that is the GM’s job. Continuing to downgrade talent in the name of value and you end up where the Oilers are today.

  • GK1980

    Today feels hollow, I really thought they would be buyers this time of the year instead of sellers again. Will next year be better? Can they make the post season next year? Seems like the entire NHL took two steps forward this year and the Oil took one step back…

  • Connor McFly

    After Maroon arrived two years ago and up to the end of last season I thought Chiarelli caught other GM’s by surprise and pulled off an outdtandding move. From the start of this year whether through injury or poor off-season training he seemed like a different player. Slow and failing to click with McDavid as he had before. I have never heard a player say he would “circle back in free agency” to see if he could re-sing here. If he is healthy and of the same frame of mind after July 1, he could come back with a re-newed drive to win. Good luck to him and his family in any event.