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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Could Milan Lucic really get traded?

Hello, hello! Welcome, my friends, to another Monday morning edition of the mailbag where we’ve taken your questions and turned them into a little bit of free learnin’. This week, we look at the question that everyone seems to be asking about whether or not Milan Lucic will still be an Edmonton Oiler by the time October rolls around. Other that that, we talk a little bit about the playoffs, prospects that fly under the radar, and anything else you guys sent in. If you want in on next week’s mailbag, just fire me an email at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Until then, I encourage you to sit back, relax, and waste a few minutes of company time. Have a good week, everybody.

Oilersnation Bloggers think their way through the toughest problems.

1) Alexandre asks – This week, Bob Stauffer mentioned that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Oilers moved out a long-term contract in order to change the “ingredients” on the roster: Who is your best guess as to who he is talking about? What ingredient do you feel like the Oilers are missing?

Jason Gregor:

Oilers were missing an overall commitment last year. A bad start had them second guessing themselves early. I think they need a few more proven, veteran wingers. I expect McDavid, Draisaitl, Klefbom, RNH, Larsson and Nurse to become the real leaders of the team. The veterans can be good support staff, but their best players need to be the ones leading the way and setting the tone of what their identity as a team will be.

As for a vet going out. I’m not sold there is an obvious one. I don’t think that moving Kassian, for what likely would be a low return, is the best move. Lucic would be willing to lift his NMC, but only to the right team, and I’m not sold those teams would be willing to take him.

Robin Brownlee:

Has to be Milan Lucic, but he needs to waive his NMC. On the face of it, I think it’s a bad move to sell low on Lucic but it depends who is coming back and what the numbers end up being. Oilers will either have to eat some salary or take another bad contract in return.

Dustin Nielson:

He’s talking about Lucic. I think they are missing the combination of size and speed together on the wing. May be able to accomplish that if Lucic is moved.

Matt Henderson:

When I FIRST heard it, I immediately thought about how Trading Klefbom would be the most Oilersy move available. However, since then there has been a lot of chatter about Lucic being ready to move on. I am all over that. Missing ingredients could be almost anything. The team has holes throughout its lineup.

Christian Pagnani:

Klefbom and for a point-scoring defenceman. I don’t think that’s what they’re missing. Klefbom filled that role in 16-17. They just need defence that can move the puck well and scoring wingers.

Chris the intern:

Honestly I could see Lucic willing to move his no trade clause. I’m getting the vibe he’s not big on the city anymore… but I could be completely wrong. Whatever long term contract we will be giving up, I have a feeling we’ll be eating some of its salary up. I think Chia needs to tread carefully with this move.

Baggedmilk:

At first, I thought that he was surely talking about Oscar Klefbom, but, as the week moved forward, my thinking turned to Milan Lucic. Personally, I think that Lucic asked for a trade and that Chiarelli is doing him a solid with shopping him, but that’s just me. Will it happen? Who knows. Buckle up.

Mar 31, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left wing Milan Lucic (27) and Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith (41) fight during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

2) James asks – I’ve seen on Oilersnation and on TSN that Milan Lucic could potentially be traded this summer. My question is, what would be your best guess as to the odds that a deal happens? What kind of return would we be looking at?

Jason Gregor:

Best guess is 15% chanced. Return would be a contract similar in length and money.

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t think the odds are any worse than 50-50. I’d expect a lousy return because I think the Oilers are making a mistake if they trade Lucic now after the worst half-season of his career. You couldn’t pick a worse time to trade a player you were willing to back up the Brinks truck for not so long ago.

Dustin Nielson:

At this point, I’d be surprised if Lucic is an Oiler in October. You either bring back a bad contract or toss in a sweetener. I don’t think sweetener will have to be that impressive to eventually get a deal done.

Matt Henderson:

No idea on odds. I think the return will be a halfway useful player on a poor contract. But if the contract is only three years then the Oilers have to add extra to find a suitor. Lucic’s contract is one of the worst in the NHL.

Christian Pagnani:

40%. Lucic has five years remaining on his contract and coming off a brutal season, as well as two years of declining even strength production. I’d try and move him for a similarly overpaid player with less team. Maybe Brandon Sutter.

Chris the intern:

It makes for a good headline now, and I would love to see it happen, but in reality I think we’re a long ways from seeing Lucic gone this summer. Chia will give him another season to prove himself, THEN we could start talking trade.

Baggedmilk:

Honestly, I’d give it a coin toss. You know that basically every team out there has a turd for a contract that they’d like to get rid so you never know what can happen. That said, there’s a lot of money, term, and no-move control that could get in the way of anything happening.

Bakersfield Condors forward Cooper Marody

3) Zack asks – Who is your low key, flying under the radar Oilers prospect that we should be watching out for?

Jason Gregor:

Caleb Jones. Not for this year, but down the road.

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t have one. Haven’t seen and don’t know enough about secondary prospects to say. If Ryan Mantha qualifies as flying under the radar after coming over from the NYR, it might be him. Big kid. Big shot, and from the right side.

Dustin Nielson:

Not really under the radar but I like Ostap Safin. Hopefully, he can become a regular after a couple of years in the AHL.

Matt Henderson:

Hmm. That’s a tough one because every Oiler prospect has articles written about him. Their actions are watched all season long. I think we always need to watch defenders longer than others because they don’t always develop in straight lines. Maybe someone like Samorukov fits the bill you’re looking for.

Christian Pagnani:

Cooper Marody. He had a strong season in college and a good three-game stint in Bakersfield.

Chris the intern:

I’m going to choose Stuart Skinner based on the fact that he’s been making a lot of headlines. I know the stats and odds of strong WHL goaltenders coming in and flopping at the NHL level, but Skinner’s been making a big stir in Edmonton and I’m eager to see how he develops in Bakersfield.

Baggedmilk:

I’m quietly optimistic about Cooper Marody. You don’t lead the Big-10 division in scoring by winning on a scratch ticket, and his late season stint with the Condors went quite nicely. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does at training camp and in his first full year with Bakersfield.

4) Dwayne asks – In the Nation’s opinion, what can the OEG do to improve the experience for fans attending games. Seems we are behind a lot of other teams in the entertainment value most nights.

Jason Gregor:

So many things. Stop discouraging fans (ushers) from cheering too loudly. Get better pre-game music. Show more replays, or prepackaged clips, rather than panning the crowd for the 50th time in a game. It is terrible. No fan gets excited watching some random fan smile and wave because they are on the jumbotron. Get video from Vegas pre-game and during game interactions and mirror even 40% of it and it would be a massive upgrade to what is currently going on.

Robin Brownlee:

Put a winning team on the ice. Provide real entertainment between whistles, not when the play is stopped. If your team is lousy and isn’t competitive then all the fabricated sizzle in the world only goes so far. There is no better way to put a jolt into a building and to give fans their money’s worth than to win. And never play Cotton Eye Joe, even at gunpoint.

Dustin Nielson:

Tough for me to answer because I only attend a couple of games per year in the crowd. From the press box, I’d say the fans need a little more variety… seems to me like the same stuff over and over, even the things that don’t work.

Matt Henderson:

I think the first step to that is that they need to actually value their fans. I’ve had the impression that they’ve taken all fans for granted. There’s no sense that the club needs to EARN dollars from fans. Once that happens, we should see a change. Until then OEG isn’t going to lift a finger. Why spend extra money 41 games a year when you’re already sold out every game, winning doesn’t matter, and the fans are conditioned to blindly accept your word that the future is bright?

Christian Pagnani:

I haven’t been to many games so I’ll just go with winning. Put a product on the ice that fans can cheer for.

Chris the intern:

It just seems like they’ve been using the same old crowd shots, and the same old ‘hidden ball in the cup” game since the early 2000’s. I feel like they just need a younger management group in there to be willing to make the change to the new, Las Vegas, NHL. Cause everyone in their current staff would never make the leap.

Baggedmilk:

I went to a few games last year and it got to the point where I couldn’t stop laughing at the crowd shots on the jumbotron. They paid so much money for that damned thing and the only thing they use it for during the stoppages in play is to pan the crowd for people that will wave to the camera. It’s really weird. I’m not saying that they have to go full-Vegas and do the 45-minute game intro but some highlight packs, varying media clips, and better contests would go a long way.

5) Sasha asks – Aside from the obvious fact that the Vegas Golden Knights were in the Stanley Cup Finals, what has been your biggest playoff surprise? Why?

Jason Gregor:

The fact Vegas’ fourth line was their best line through the first four games of the Cup Finals. Great for the fourth line, bad news for the team.

Robin Brownlee:

That the Oilers weren’t in them. How many people picked the Knights to make the playoffs? How many picked the Oilers to miss them?

Dustin Nielson:

I’ve gotta go with Lars Eller making clutch plays and his ability to step up when the Caps dealt with injuries. I’m surprised by most things he’s accomplished since Eric Gryba almost killed him.

Matt Henderson:

I don’t know about SURPRISES but I think it was interesting that the two best teams in the West had to destroy each other in the second round. If that’s something the Pacific can take advantage of then Edmonton’s path to the final two rounds is just *that* much easier. And I know that’s funny to say, but the plan can’t possibly be to waste McDavid’s NEXT contract too.

Christian Pagnani:

I thought Pittsburgh would handle Washington easily. This Capitals team isn’t Washington’s best team in years but ended up being the one to win it all.

Chris the intern:

My biggest surprise had to be the Penguins. I know their time HAD to come to an end sooner or later, but I really thought they had it in them to advance further. With that said, I’m MORE than happy to see the Caps beat them.

Baggedmilk:

This might be a weird answer but I didn’t expect to be as happy for Ovi as I was after seeing him win it. His reaction when lifting the Cup was awesome and the fact that basically held it up over his head for 72 straight hours was hilarious. I was super happy for him.

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  • Phattmike

    Don’t deal Looch when his value is in the tank. I wouldn’t bet the PP is a league worst again and I would also bet his S% goes up from last year’s career low 6.8%. That’s just unlucky compared to the last two years at 13.1% and 16.1%. He will bounce back to some degree. And if they still want to deal him after that, then at least his value won’t be at an all time low.

      • PCL

        Absolutely, and for me Vegas going down so easily to the Caps in the finals was a surprise as well. I’d like to see Lucic is dealt and don’t care if we supposedly sell low. He’s too slow and I’d rather the Oilers move forward from this guy and his boat anchor contract if he agrees to move. Just don’t expect anything great in return re: Chia’s lack of trading abilities at the NHL level.

    • Rock11

      Here’s the thing about betting on a Lucic rebound. That’s what other teams are doing right now. They are looking at that shooting% and the PP and saying to themselves that he is due to rebound. That still gives him some value. If he doesn’t rebound, which could happen, then he becomes absolutely untradeable. So the Oilers can bet on a rebound which could raise his value incrementally, but if it goes the other way then they will be stuck with him through the end of his contract. May be best to make the best deal you can right now so as not to take the risk that he never rebounds.

    • WhoreableGuy

      That picture of Lucic punching Mike Smith in the head (he proceeded to 2 more times after that) makes me really want to keep Lucic at least for another season. He will have a better shooting percentage like you said and every year we complain about the Oilers not having an edge. I know $6 million is tough to justify but he was still named the League’s toughest player by his peers. He will step it up, he’s a proud guy.

    • Natti_89

      BINGPOT

      And also, I have to say, I wish attitude would change amongst our media on harping on some of our players. Something is wrong with this culture in this city. I mean, why can’t we keep a consistent roster? If players want to come here for a chance to play with 97 and one year later ask for a trade? Seriously that’s not mcdavids fault. Could it be the constant ridicule on our OWN players ? Could it be the fickle fan base that loves you one day and hates you the next and on top of that you get insulted in media blogs and the paper like this one. Well no wonder people want to leave. I think Edmonton as a fan base really needs to evaluate on how to be fans again. These are OUR players and we are lucky to have a team. Wait till Conner asks for a trade. Guaranteed he’ll be gone in 2 years.

      • Fire Woodcroft!

        Yeah – let’s blame the fans.

        Not the management that continually puts out a sub-par product in all aspects.

        Not the players who show us and have career-worst years.

        Not the league that encourages third-world officiating and consistent inconsistency.

        Yeah – damn the fans who get bitter and jaded for beIng taken for granted and refuse to be chipper and optimistic.

        Go shake your head.

        • SSB1963

          Pardon? The fans in this town have run several players out! Makes it difficult for any management team to do anything but trade them, we as fans play our part as well.

          • Fire Woodcroft!

            Sports team management that trades key personnel on the whims of their fans are extremely bad at their jobs.

            Yeah – that probably applies in the Oilers case. But that’s the management teams fault – not the fans.

    • TruthHurts98

      They already do. Every game and Lucic would just stare off into space. Connor took a beating last year and the only two players that would fight were Nurse and Khaira. Looch would if someone pissed him off.

      • camdog

        The Oilers ended the season tied for 5th in the league in fights. Kassian lead the team in fights with 6 last season. He continued to fight, but his physical game diappeared after getting too many penalties earlier in the season and getting in trouble with the coaches. Khaira was second with 5. Lucic had 3 fights early in season and then one at the end of the year when he was pissed off. He ended the season with 4, he was not the same player to finish season that he was to start. Maroon also had 4. Nurse was 5th in fights with 3.

  • A-Mc

    I’ve got a friend who says hes connected to lucic. Hes saying that there were talks about lucic going to Chicago, for seabrook.

    Take that for what its worth I suppose! I sure hope it’s not true

  • El Guapo

    Re: the in game experience, one thing that drives me nuts is how loud the music is during breaks in play. I might sound like an old man yelling at the kids on my lawn, but if I’m going out to a game with my wife or kids or a friend, it would be great to be able to talk to them without yelling or only hearing half of what they say.

    • NewPants

      Ya, old man. In Vegas it’s even louder.

      One think I don’t like is they only relay goals in Edm. I would rather see the games at home so I can see the hits and penalty/bad plays also replayed.
      Last year I watched 5 games here and a game in Vegas. In Vegas they replayed all the calls. It was much better then Edm. I don’t even think I will be buying game-packs this year.

    • ed from edmonton

      I’m probably showing my age, but I agree. I still enjoy a good blaring RNR tune, but I don;t appreciate being screamed or screeched at during every stoppage. Despite the marketing mantra of selling the sizzle not the steak, the sizzle cools off and without a good steak you are left with very little. The city and area were alive in the spring of 17 not because of the pregame and between whistle activities but because the hockey was riveting.

  • OEG needs to listen to complaints from fans in the 200 sections. Bad viewing angles, the upper concourse is not much wider than Rexall was, the ridiculous wait to use the ONLY escalator to go up and down… We all know they hardly care about these fans but at least show a little effort….

  • CRONENBERG

    I’ve posted this before, but a couple years ago back at Rexall Place, I was told by the woman behind me to “stop cheering so loud” while the players were skating onto the ice, “the game hasn’t even started yet”. I wasn’t drinking or being belligerent in anyway. I was also told by a woman to “sit the f*** back down in my seat” during the final drive at an Eskimo game, and I’m not making this up, because her husband that was three rows back had bad knees and couldn’t see. She literally grabbed me and tried to push me back into my seat. It caught me so off guard I didn’t even do anything. OEG need to make the experience better for fans, but I swear I’ve never been to another city with lamer fans. I don’t want that to come across the wrong way, I love my city, but some times it seems like the only people making noise are the drunk morons screaming swears around families. It’s like this city doesn’t know how to have a good time.

  • I’m not a fan of Brandon Sutter at all, but the idea that Lucic’s and Sutters’ contracts are comparably bad is nuts. Sutter’s a third-line centre making 4.3 million for three more years – he’s about $1 million/year overpaid for what he actually brings. Lucic is a third-line winger making $6 million for five more years – overpaying $1 million for a 29-year-old centre for a couple of seasons is infinitely preferable to overpaying $3-$4 million for a 30-year-old winger for five years.

    The Canucks have their own Lucic in Loui Eriksson, who is signed to the same dollar amount for the same term and has put up similar numbers.

  • chezzychez

    It’s so tempting to jump on scapegoats like Looch and Talbot after a season like we endured this year but when your PK and PP are sitting last in the league the majority of the season it’s hard for me to grab the pitchforks and start running players out of town. They got rid of the guys running the special teams and replaced them with experience and an intriguing new look. Can’t help but think we’ll have some big bounce back years from some veterans on this team. Would love to grab someone reliable in the bottom 6 to win 55+ face-off% ie. a Derek Ryan or Jay Beagle type. O’Reilly is my pipe dream this summer.

    • Rock11

      The problem with absolving Lucic and Talbot for the season due to the bad PP and PK is that they were a significant part of the problem on the PP and PK respectively.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    1. Sounds like Lucic
    2. They’d better not trade Lucic. He can still bring something to the team. Who knows? Maybe the new coaching staff will get him going again 🙂
    3. Caleb Jones
    4. Last Oilers game I attended was in 2009, a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. In-game experience was alright, but I got onto the jumbo torn
    5. Biggest surprise from the playoffs? Edmonton NOT steamrolling Vegas

  • SamMalone

    If anyone caught struds chat on 1260 this afternoon he explained everything to a T! We have zero assets to “Sweeten the pot”, so that’s not gonna happen, and if we lose looch via trade why take on an injury prone Shaw or gamble on another garbage contract? Not gonna happen, OR if looch wants out then he’s gotta play better to gain some trade value! We gave looch the moon on his deal, keep him for at least one more year or at least till the deadline.