Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

John Tavares in Five Easy Steps

In the real world, the Oilers aren’t in the mix for John Tavares. In the real world, the Oilers don’t need John Tavares. In the real world, the Oilers cap situation would never allow them to pay John Tavares.  The good news is that this isn’t the real world, this a blog, where I can live in my own little fantasy world. A world where the Oilers could actually pull this off and just for fun a world where I get a “Donair A Day” gift card at any shop in Edmonton.

Here are the five steps required for the Oilers to land John Tavares.


The only way John Tavares ends up in Edmonton is if he picks up a phone, calls Daryl Katz and tells him he wants to be an Oiler. Highly unlikely, but without step one the rest of this article would be a complete waste of my time, if it isn’t already.


In this little fantasy world of mine, I’m going to guess that if Tavares is crazy enough to ask the Oilers to sign him then he would also be willing to take a little bit of a discount. So let’s pencil him in at $10,000,000 on the nose. 

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I could spend time trying to nickel and dime my way to a reasonable solution with the cap but let’s just skip right ahead to the end result. Bye, bye Leon Draisaitl.

After signing their RFA’s I believe the Oilers will have around five million in cap space to work with.


Apr 7, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a first period goal by forward Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Let me begin step three by letting everyone know that I would rather have Leon Draisaitl than John Tavares for the next seven seasons but that’s not what this is about. It’s John Tavares plus whatever you get in a trade for Draisaitl.

The trade value on Leon Draisaitl should be through the roof. He’s 22-years old and coming off what some people would describe as an off year in which he still finished with 70 points. If Evander Kane is worth $7,000,000 a season than Draisaitl’s contract would have to be considered completely reasonable around the NHL right now.

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Remember, the reason Draisaitl is being moved is to clear up the space to sign Tavares, so you can’t have a massive salary coming back in this super realistic deal.

I know what most of you are thinking right now: Draisaitl to the Coyotes for Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but that won’t work financially. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but hey, this is my fantasy.

Let’s talk Carolina Hurricanes instead, as they should be in the market for game breaker like Draisaitl.

To Carolina: Leon Draisaitl, the 10th overall pick and Andrej Sekera (who waives his NMC to go back to a place he has played before).

To Edmonton: Elias Lindholm, Justin Faulk and the second overall pick

Lindholm is an RFA who likely gets around 3.25 million. I’m not a big fan of Faulk but he has to come back to the Oilers in this deal. With the second overall pick, the Oilers take Svechnikov.

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Carolina gets Leon Draisaitl, who could centre a line with Aho and Teravainen. Aho can play both on the wing and down the middle but I believe Lindholm was centring that line at the end of the season for the Canes. Sekera provides a young blossoming blueline with a familiar veteran presence.

The cap situation looks like this.


Lindholm 3.25-ish mill

Faulk 4.83 mill


Draisaitl 8.5 mill

Sekera 5.5 mill

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The Oilers come out of this with about 5.92 million in additional space. Why would Carolina take on that additional salary? I think they end up moving Jeff Skinner in the off-season in a cost cutting move, which would free up the cash they need to make this deal work.


The Edmonton Oilers are happy to announce the signing of John Tavares to a 7-year contract worth $70,000,000.


If my voodoo math is correct the Oilers will be left with about a million in cap space but their roster would look like this:

Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Svechnikov
Lucic – Tavares – Lindholm
Aberg – Strome – Puljujarvi
Caggiula – Khaira – Kassian

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Nurse – Faulk
Russell – Benning


This seems like a blueprint that Peter Chiarelli can work with as long as the following things happen.

  1. John Tavares very badly wants to be an Oiler.
  2. The Hurricanes are willing to take on salary to get Draisaitl.
  3. Sekera waives his NMC.

Easy, right?

Ok, back to reality. Draisaitl to the Canes straight up for Faulk. ROTFLMAO.

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  • LordRuggles

    Ummmmm….that could work…
    Oooo how about we trade Lucic to Vladimir Putin for Gazprom, and then threaten to cut off Sweeden’s Natural gas supply unless they send us Rasmus Dahlin wrapped in a pretty bow? And then with the savings from The Looch contract we sign John Carlson?

  • McNugent

    This is perfect asset management.

    Its unrealistic but these are the types of moves that build perennial contenders.

    What if we move Drai for Karlsson and trade Sekera off to a team who needs to hit the floor and we add in next years pick.

    Nuge McDavid Rattie
    Lucic Tavarez JP

    Karlsson Larsson
    Klefbom Nurse

      • TKB2677

        He will be 28 in September. He had 84 pts this year. That’s pretty darn good. The 2 previous years he had 66 pts in 77 games and 70 pts in 78 games. I said in my post that in a couple of years, the team that signs him will most likely regret it. If Tavares can continue to be an 80+ pt center, then no problem but with the game getting faster and faster and skating is not Tavares strong suit, I can easily see him being just like Toews in a few years. A 60 pt pretty darn good center making 10 mill which is way too much money.

  • vetinari

    I may be in the minority here, but why move a up-and-coming 22 year old Draisatl for a 27 year old more expensive Taveras? In the last three seasons here is how they measure up:

    Draisaitl (age 20) 2015/16 – 72 games 19-32-51 pts Taveras (age 25) 2015/16 – 78 games 33-37-70
    Draisaitl (age 21) 2016/17 – 82 games 29-48-77 pts Taveras (age 26) 2016/17 – 77 games 28-38-66 pts
    Draisaitl (age 22) 2017/18 – 78 games 25-45-70 pts Taveras (age 27) 2017/18 – 82 games 37-47-84 pts

    To me, Draisaitl is trending to meet Taveras production levels at nearly a point per game pace with his prime still ahead of him. I agree that Taveras is more of a sniper (which we need) but when Draisaitl is “on”, he’s a horse on the puck… and he’s locked down for seven more seasons under contract. When Taveras signs his new contract, it will likely be north of $10M/season so we would have comparable production levels at 10-20% less than what Taveras will be paid. If there is advice to give Chiarelli it’s keep the 22 year old blue chippers, stop handing out NMCs to anyone not named McDavid and move a few of the overpaid underperforming veterans to make room for quality players.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        I think Karlsson’s best years are behind him?
        Plus he’s too much of a “hot-shot” for this team…
        How about we use the 10th overall for a decent prospect…
        But above all, rely on our “superior stud assistant coaching staff” (that is exemplary in developing D-men) to get the job done…
        I’m excited to see the changes coming forth…

  • Bringer_Of_Snow

    I hate the fact that some people actually consider Faulk as a good target. He is not that good of a player. There’s 75 other dmen in the leaugue i’d rather have around the same price point. He is so overratted.

  • ubermiguel

    Step 1 – stop, no, do not proceed to Step 2.

    Has anyone actually thought: “you know what the Oilers need? Older, slightly more talented centres that cost more!”? Focus on wingers, a #1 RHD and deveoping current assets.

      • ubermiguel

        Granted, and it is a fantasy article, I never begrudge a fun thought-experiment. To refine my point though: high-end talent has diminishing returns, focus on the areas where a little work yields big results.

  • McRaj

    It is absolutely insane how attached our fanbase becomes to each player, until they are no longer the shiny object, then we are ready to run them out of town for pennies. Drai, Sekera, 10th for JT, Svechnikov, and Faulk would be a homerun move.
    Personally, I think JT goes to Nashville anyways. If I am David P, I do the following:
    Sign JT for 10M, trade Ryan Johansen to Mtl for Pick #3.
    Sign Carlson for 8M, trade PK to Carolina Pick #2 and Skinner.
    Absolute juggernaut team.

  • tkfisher

    “Draisaitl to the Canes straight up for Faulk. ROTFLMAO”.

    I’m not laughing. I’m genuinely afraid. This is the GM that traded Hall for Larsson, Eberle for Strome and then a first AND a second for fringe NHLer (AHL tweener) who played LD, when we were deep at LD and actually needed a RD. So… ya, genuinely uncomfortable thinking about future Oilers trades. Not Laughing at all.

  • Grease monkey

    Why would you get rid of Driasialt. Nuge is the one always injured and too soft on the puck to play center. Nuge needs McDavid lol.
    Leon is a young powerforward center at the beginning of his career. Puts up the same amount of point as Tavares anyways.
    Also, Oilers can buy out Sekera.
    Leon gone for Tavares, man oilersnation is dumb.

  • Derian Hatcher

    As stated, Tavares would sign for 8 years…with the way the game is going, my opinion is that JT is an average skater at best. Will he be able to keep up in the latter half of his contract (no matter who he signs with)? Thoughts?

    • LAKID

      Taveres is worth 8Mx8 and not a penny more and that is an over pay in 4 years. The team that goes after him will get 3-4 years out of him and then his play declines. NYI’s best play is to sign and trade.

    • McRaj

      Comparable for JT IMO is Getzlaf and Getz plays a more physical style anyways. Getz is still producing in his Mid 30s. JT will be fine until 34-35, so basically the end of his contract. JT is a far more superior player than the other JT (Toews). If Drai can turn into even 85% of the player JT is, we should be jumping for the sky.

  • RexHolez

    This would be awesome. Landing Tavares as a free agent would allow you to trade draisaitl for a player or players that you need to balance out the team and fill holes. Would easily make them a better team.

    I think there would be better trades than Carolina for Faulk and svechnikov