It’s that time of year. The Montreal Canadiens made a trade late last Friday sending Alex Galchenyuk to the Arizona Coyotes for Max Domi. On the surface, they’re similar players. They both average 0.61 points per game and spent most of their time in the NHL on the wing. Galchenyuk is a better goalscorer, while Domi is more of a playmaker.
Domi has more years of control left, but it still feels like the Canadiens gave up the player with the higher ceiling in a trade for the third consecutive summer. Add in Galchenyuk likely playing centre in Arizona and the trade has potential to go very poorly for Montreal.
Domi isn’t a bad player, but ‘playmaking winger’ wasn’t high on the list of priorities for Marc Bergevin this offseason. They’ve traded P.K. Subban, Mikhail Sergachev, and Alex Galchenyuk in the past three years, but none addressed their issues at centre.
The Edmonton Oilers have been right there with the Canadiens in terms of downgrading talent. If you want to buy-low on skilled young players, call Montreal or Edmonton in June. Montreal traded P.K. Subban for Shea Weber the same day the Oilers traded Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. The Oilers dealt Jordan Eberle to the Islanders for Ryan Strome a week after the Canadiens parted with Sergachev.
Now the Canadiens have traded Galchenyuk for Domi, and while it may not be as egregious as the Subban or Sergachev trades, it’s imperative the Oilers aren’t in the same conversation as Montreal for the third summer in a row.
There’s rumours about Oscar Klefbom, Cam Talbot, and Milan Lucic, although the Oilers could win a trade by simply ridding themselves of Lucic’s albatross contract.
You can’t build a team by giving up the better player in a significant trade every summer.
The Oilers need to improve thier roster. They lack scoring wingers to round out Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s lines. They need a better option on the right side of their top-four defence than Kris Russell or Matt Benning.
The draft is on Friday. There will be a flurry of moves between now and Friday night. Patience isn’t what fans want, but it might be necessary if management wants to build a long-term contender around McDavid.
Can Peter Chiarelli resist losing another trade to try and fill a need? That’s been his game plan since arriving in Edmonton. Although, if there isn’t significant improvement Chiarelli is almost certainly gone. He hasn’t been able to make many significant moves without losing the trade or adding a tough contract via free agency.
Chiarelli needs to improve the Oilers without sacrificing assets for short-term success. Problem is the Oilers seriously lack trade chips and their cap situation is just okay with Ryan Strome, Darnell Nurse, and Matt Benning requiring new contracts.
The Oilers have been on the wrong side of too many notable deals made in June. Montreal made another curious one last Friday. Edmonton has to break the cycle.