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Trading for a defenceman

Since finding out that Andrej Sekera will likely miss the entire 2018-2019 season, the Oilers have inked Jakub Jerabek to a one-year deal and signed veteran Jason Garrison to a professional try-out.

I don’t think this team is done and I wouldn’t be surprised if Peter Chiarelli tries to find another defenseman via trade.

The problem with that is the team’s lack of cap space. They currently have $3.9 million in cap space and they still need to sign Darnell Nurse. If they were to hit the trade market, they would have to send some salary back to the other team. But, they aren’t even in a position to do that given their lack of depth and the fact that most of their “bad” contracts appear to be unmovable.

The team will gain $5.5 million in cap space once Andrej Sekera is placed on LTIR, but, Chiarelli will have to wait until the season starts on October 3rd to officially put Sekera on LTIR and get the cap relief. There are really two options here:

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  1. The Oilers could agree to terms with Darnell Nurse on a contract and then officially sign it on October 3rd, when Sekera could be put on LTIR. The downside here is that Nurse wouldn’t play in any preseason games. I can’t imagine this a route they want to take.
  2. They could agree to a trade with a team and simply announce the deal after placing Sekera on LTIR. This allows them to upgrade their blueline before the season starts and let Nurse participate in the preseason.

Both of these seem like stretches but if Chiarelli is going to upgrade his blueline, and I expect he will, a trade is the only way to bring back a quality NHL player at this point. I found one option who I think would be a big splash, one option who would be a smaller bet, and then looked at the upcoming crop of free agents.

JUSTIN FAULK

His name has been linked to the Oilers for what feels like an eternity and the fanbase is pretty split on the idea of acquiring Faulk. I dug around, and did a very specific twitter poll, and what I learnt is that a strong majority of fans would love Justin Faulk on the team, but are worried about the acquisition cost.

I don’t think Faulk has very much value on the trade market, and if he did, I believe the Hurricanes would have moved him by now. If Chiarelli does get a deal done I think it will cost less than we expect. A draft pick and lower level roster player.

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What could Faulk bring to the team? I think he could play on their second or third pairing at even-strength and push for some a spot on the team’s top powerplay unit.

Last year, the Oilers had five defensemen play over 1000 minutes at even strength (Faulk is the 6th D on the Oilers in the table below), while the Hurricanes had six. I looked at a number of statistical categories and found out where Faulk ranked amongst his teammates and where he would have ranked amongst Oilers d-men.

Justin Faulk Rank Amongst Hurricanes D Rank Amongst Oilers D
Primary Points/60 0.27/60 5 out of 6 6 out of 6
Goals For % 42.02% 6 out of 6 6 out of 6
Corsi For % 55.26% 3 out of 6 1 out of 6
Offensive Zone Start % 37.41% 4 out of 6 2 out of 6

Faulk also logged 220 minutes on the power play, more than any other defenseman on either the Hurricanes or the Oilers. In that time he posted a primary points per 60 of 2.45 which was more than double any of the regular powerplay d-men on either team.

Compared to the rest of the league and other defensemen who played at least 100 minutes, Faulk’s primary points per 60 sits 39th. His 14.55 individual shots for per 60 was up with some of the NHL’s elite powerplay quarterbacks. His production isn’t great, but it would spike if he was on a unit with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

On a good team, I think Faulk is a capable 5v5 player who can benefit from starting in the offensive zone a lot and can be very effective on the powerplay. He would make the Oilers defence better, and if the cost isn’t too high, I think Chiarelli should jump on it.

ALEX PETROVIC

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When you think of impact NHL defensemen, you definitely don’t think of Alex Petrovic. When you consider his rocky relationship with the Florida Panthers, the fact he seems to be underutilized there, and that he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, this could be a perfect trade target.

Over the past four seasons, he’s averaged just 54 games a season, which is less than impressive. He has nice possession numbers, but has also been given some easy zone starts. He has a bit of a mean streak as well, which Peter Chiarelli likes. He’s also 26-years-old, so there is a reason to believe his best years are still ahead of him.

I think Petrovic is the perfect balance of a player who has proven he can play in the league, but still has room to grow.

This would definitely be a gamble, and I wouldn’t want to see the Oilers give up more than a 4th or 5th round pick, but Petrovic has some upside and I think he would be an upgrade on Jakub Jerabek, Kevin Gravel, and Jason Garrison.

If the organization wants to go all in this year, then Faulk is the way to go. He can help their power play and can play competently at even-strength. If they want to add another layer of depth and take a chance on a younger player, then Petrovic might be a good choice, plus he would cost less to acquire and his deal expires at the end of the season.

PENDING FREE AGENTS

Sep 20, 2017; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto (56) skates away from Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers (57) to make a pass during the third period at Bell MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are other names out there, mostly guys who are currently on expiring deals, who could be of interest to the team as well.

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There are players like Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, Jay Bouwmeester, Zdeno Chara, Braydon Coburn, Anton Stralman, and Marc Methot but I don’t think any of them are getting moved simply because their teams are all playoff contenders.

Niklas Kronwall is a pending free agent, but he seems set on finishing his career in Detroit. Alex Edler has slowed down a bit, but I think he would be a great fit. Vancouver appears set on contending and Edler has a no-trade clause. Those two factors alone make it a long-shot.

Ryan Murray has had an injury-riddled career thus far, and there’s always a sense that Columbus is considering cutting bait with him. He’s a pending RFA and the Blue Jackets have a lot on their plate with pending UFAs Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin. If the Oilers offer the right package, I could see Columbus moving on from Murray.

Chris Wideman is on a one-year deal with the Ottawa Senators, and while he’s not exactly a proven option, he’s looked good in the limited action he’s had with the Senators. He could help on their power play as well. Similar to Petrovic, he isn’t exactly a proven name, but I think Wideman has some upside.

Jordie Benn is also a pending free agent in Montreal. Last year, he was one of three Habs defenders to play more than 1000 even strength minutes. He produced okay at even strength, and his possession numbers were okay. He doesn’t play on the power play, but can be an effective penalty killer. Add him to the list of guys who aren’t big names, but are useful NHL players. I don’t think Montreal will deal him, especially considering the injury to Weber.

I don’t believe Chiarelli is going to be satisfied with this team’s current blueline. If he wants to make a big splash, well then Justin Faulk is really his only option. The market for impact defensemen just isn’t very big. He could also go get a proven NHL defender, and while there are a handful of those who might be available, none of them are top-four options.

It might make more sense for Chiarelli to wait until the trade deadline to make a move but by that point, as we saw last year, it might be too late.


    • ed from edmonton

      I guess you mean Bouchard, Bear and Jones. They all might prove to be good NHL players, but will any be NHL ready this year? The $5.5M gives the Oil a chance for veteran help on the back end. A player with an expiring contract would be ideal.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    SHOCKED, that you didn’t throw in Karlsson.

    I wouldn’t mind Faulk coming here if it was a Caggiula going the other way or even Benning. My only issue would be Faulk taking away from trying Nurse on the pp.

  • Uncle Jonny

    The Oilers cap situation is untenable because of the absolutely terrible contracts Chia Pete has given out. There isnt really a short term fix so let me tell you what the Oilers are going to do. Nothing. They’ll bring in some irrelevant PTO’s and fourth liners but nothing will change. This year will be the usual bust. The Oilers will ignore all criticism and tell the fans that everything is right on track. When they are officially out of the playoffs they will get Gretzky sober enough to come down from the red wine summit office to tell the media everything is just fine. Katz will continue to raise prices because no one in this city can stand up to the greedy hobbit. The media will keep on selling the same old propaganda and next summer you will be writing articles about the great draft picks and prospects in the minors. The wheel goes round and round my friend but nothing ever changes.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    No. I’m fine with the D-core as it is. Plus trading for a “better” defenceman will cost us a core player, and that is something I’m not interested in witnessing. Keep the core intact.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      What Core?? Mick David, Nuge, Draisaitl, Larsson, (Nurse who is un-signed).
      I see 5 core players on the current roster I would be interested in if I was another GM. And one of them doesn’t have a contract.

  • Spydyr

    I said this the last time this article was posted.Trade for a defenceman on an expiring contract. They can give up a lesser asset and the cap hit goes away next season.

  • Jaxon

    I think they should take a look at Justin Holl. I think he may be the best RHD in the AHL right now and may get squeezed out of Toronto and that may mean he becomes available on waivers so the acquisition cost in a trade prior to that happening would be minimal. His 5v5 primary points and points per 60 was one of the best in the AHL, as was his on ice shot metrics and he played top minutes against the toughest competition. He also had a good showing in a short stint in the NHL last season. I think he’d be a great option on the 3rd pair. He’s mature, experienced, big and fast. Keep an eye on his situation.

  • Soccer Steve

    “The Oilers could agree to terms with Darnell Nurse on a contract and then officially sign it on October 3rd, when Sekera could be put on LTIR.”

    Chiarelli would basically be nailing his own coffin shut if he pulls this move. So, hopefully this is what he does.

  • Cowboy Bill

    I really like the Petrovic idea . He would certainly be an up grade on Gravel and Garrison for a reasonable price . He could slide in right beside Russell on the third pairing shutdown combo . Allowing them to not rush Bear & Bouchard . Plus he becomes UFA after this season depending on what happens with Sekera this could be a good thing .

  • The Future Never Comes

    I can’t wait for the rookie games to start tomorrow, I’ll fill you guys in with some news on how they are performing instead of writing the same watered down projections before they even hit the ice for training camp this season.

  • Frustrated Fan in Calgary

    Oilers basically lost one full year’s worth of draft picks to acquire GM, coach, and Reinhart. Then spent to the cap with UFA signings that are not looking good. Time for some long term thinking and caution here. Cannot afford make another move for the short term that works out poorly.

  • ed from edmonton

    I don’t think the Oil need to wait until the season starts to use the $5.5M now freed up. Cap Geek has a very thorough explanation of how LITR impacts a team’s cap. It’s tough reading and to fully understand it you may need an advanced degree in contract law. A few salient excerpts

    “LTIR can be used in the off-season while the 10% off-season cushion is active. LTIR in the off-season is calculated using the basic equation outlined above, which permits a team to exceed the off-season salary cap. To use off-season LTIR the team must provide doctors proof that the player in question will continue to be injured at the beginning of the regular season for 10 NHL games and 24 calendar days”

    I agree that PC should be actively pursuing how he can use this extra cap space. There might be some expiring contracts that may be an option at cut down day, a team may have a numbers problem where they would like to have a young player on the roster but need to clear a roster spot. In any event PC can’t do nothing, finding better options on the back end than say Gravel isn’t that hard.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I’m not saying this is a good idea, however, the Oilers could acquire a d-man today and sign Nurse today and go over the cap and use the LTIR relief to get cap compliant on day one. The thought that they have to wait for the first day of the season to place Sekera on LTIR is incorrect.

    They are allowed to go over the cap by 10% in the off-season but need to be cap compliant for day one. Lets say they sign Nurse to a bridge deal that takes them to $79M, ($500K below the cap) and they have a deal to trade Kassian for Faulk:

    1) They could make that deal right now which would take them over the cap by (round numbers), apx $2.4M. They could put Sekera on LTIR on the last day of camp which would allow them to be cap compliant on day 1 – in this scenario, Sekera is “deemed replaced” and their LTIR cushion is capped at the $2.4M

    2) If they decided to wait on the trade until day 1 of the regular season and were $500K under the cap and then placed Sekera on LTIR, they would be able to go over the cap by $5M (Sekera’s $5.5M less the $500K they were under). They could then make the trade and still have some cap cushion to play with.

    Lets not forget though, as soon as Sekera is deemed fit to play, the Oilers much activate him and the LTIR cushion is gone. In each of the above scenarios, the Oilers will be above the adjusted cap accrual limit and will not be accruing any cap space (the aggregate cap hit is calculated daily and any amount under that number accumulates and can be used later).

    If Sekera comes of LTIR this year (which he may), they would have to dispose of $5M worth of cap to get compliant. The use of LTIR relief can only really be done if they know that Sekera isn’t coming back this year.

    • ed from edmonton

      I don’t think they would need to dump $5M when he returns, only the $2.4M replacement salary (in this example). Upon a return the Oil have to dump the replacement salary. That is to say if Sekera returns he is in and the replacement is out (or salary adjustment to equivalent to that).

  • OriginalPouzar

    Oh, I also have zero interest in Justin Faulk. He is a PP specialist now that might make the team worse at even strength. I’m not sure he is even a passable third pairing guy and provides no offence at even strength (12 points last year). He is so bad defensively, or at least has been over the last few years, I think he may make the team worse and I have zero interest in the player. A $4.83M cap hit next year is crippling.

  • Moneyball

    If Puljujarvi doesn’t have a good camp and set the world on fire. Deal him straight up for Faulk. The Oilers have enough 3/4th line grinders and the likelihood of him being anymore than that diminishes exponentially every season he doesn’t produce. Faulk will add much more to the team than Puljujarvi will.

        • abbeef

          1. Faulk is overpaid, he is Carolina’s 3rd pairing Dman coming into this season as they picked up de Haan and Hamilton. Giving up a 20 year old with potential would be a massive overpay. That would be like getting a 1st round lottery pick for Russell.

          2. I’m not opposed to getting Faulk if there is a plan in place for if Sekera returns this season. Faulk is a salary dump for Carolina and they should give no more than a middling player (Kassian, Caggiula) or okay prospect and a middling pick (third round or below) in my opinion.
          3. Puljujarvi’s age and potential have everything to do with what we should get in return for the player.

  • chezzychez

    Give up a 2nd rounder and Caggiula for Faulk. There’s no point in waiting around like we did last year. And please don’t rush our young D to fill Sekera’s hole.

    • super6646

      Why would Carolina do that? Carolina would probably want a first+ or a really good prospect. Only guy I could see canes wanting that Edmonton could trade is pulijarvi as they can’t trade rnh or their first, and I’m sure most Oilers fans would not like that.

  • Jerri Kurli

    If it was Cagiulla going the other way and a pick that wasn’t a 1st or 2nd I’d be all for it. I’ve watched this guy lots and Faulk is a good puck mover and has proven he is a strong top 4 in the past (clearly not last year). Our weakest part of our team is moving the puck up ice from the defensive zone to create scoring opportunities. Faulk is coming off a bad year but imo he is better than Sekera even before the injuries. I could see Faulk having a strong bounce back presence in Etown. It would all come down to the price and if we could bury Seks on LTIR. I think he would be lights out on the 1st unit PP. Of course this is just my 2 cents. I’m sure many will disagree.

    • IRONman

      Oct 3 trade for Karlsson. Remember when Pronger came and one all star d makes massive difference. Trade Kelfbom and draft picks. 77 is always hurt. Karlsson is exactly what this team needs. Let’s see if PC can do it.

      • Mel Kozun

        Karlsson is in the last year of his deal, then he’s a UFA. He has NMC and Edmonton is NOT on his list. The only way that acquiring him makes sense is if he’s re-signed to a long-term deal first … But like I noted, Edmonton isn’t on his list.

  • Gordie Wayne

    Any way to get Dumba, Ristolainen or Barrie – cost would be more than what you say for Faulk, but are any of these reasonable targets? They would all fill a nice role on the Oilers.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Maybe I missed it but most here should know Faulk gets paid an actual $6M a season – $1.2M over his cap hit.

    So Hurricanes are out $12M next two years on him. Keep that in mind.

    If Sekeras misses the entire season and his contract is insured, even with a 10% deductible, that means he’ll cost $500K this year.

    If he returns healthy and plays his final two years he’ll cost $9M total. Or $9.5M over the remainder of this deal or $2.5M less than Faulk. Throw in a final season buyout and that savings is even more.

    If the Oilers want to add to the defense and the Hurricanes want to save while getting a player out of their conference this could be the foundation of the deal.

    Throw in a Drake and a draft pick. Make it conditional on Oilers playoffs or lotto protected or performance related.

    That’s what I would explore.

      • FISTO Siltanen

        No, I want that at the expense of getting rid of 3 more years of a $5.5M cap hit for a player I have no clue how he well he’ll play in his return. I want to rid this team of as many NMCs as possible to eliminate potential problems come expansion draft time. And I don’t know enough about his usage, partners or how much of that minus stat is at the fault of wonky goaltending.

        There might be a reason Faulk is nothing more than a salary cap dump to the Hurricanes. And it might be like Justin Schultz – its no longer a fit for the team.

  • russ99a

    Doesn’t really make sense to add a d-man until we see what we have in camp. Russell or Benning May claim the 2RD spot, especially if our new coaches put systems in place to minimize those players’ weak spots, Bouchard or Bear may be ready, Jelinek or Gravel may be better than advertised and Garrison may have more in the tank.

    IMO, we should save our LTIR cash for a scoring forward rental in Dec. or Jan., as it’s very iffy if more than one of Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Rattie, Aberg, etc. can fill two spots in the top 6.

  • belair

    I wonder if we’ve got our eyes on Jordan Schmaltz in St Louis. He’s a current unsigned RFA and he’s waiver eligible this fall. The Blues are also at the cap ceiling and I’m not sure if he even makes the starting roster. Decent numbers in the AHL and Drake Caggiula’s former teammate at UND.

    Is this what’s taking the Nurse deal so long?

  • Mel Kozun

    What could Faulk bring to the team? Looking at his last four years: -19, -22, -18, -26. That’s in SPITE of the fact he “logged 220 minutes on the power play, more than any other defenseman on either the Hurricanes or the Oilers”.

    I’m consistent here – Justin Faulk? No, no, no, no …..

    • OriginalPouzar

      Well, to be fair, goals scores while on the PP do not help the plus/minus.

      With that said, as I stated above, I have zero interest in Faulk – I’m not sure he doesn’t make the team worse given his major deficiencies at even strength.

    • belair

      Plus minus is a really poor way to judge an individual’s contributions. Faulk would be an excellent addition to the Oilers’ PP.

      That being said, the acquisition cost would likely be astounding considering the lack of assets we have that could entice the Hurricanes to move him. And also the fact that it would be a totally sunk cost in two short seasons when Faulk ultimately walks via Free Agency since it’s assumed Evan Bouchard is a full time Oiler by then.

  • bazmagoo

    The only trade I can see that’s a possibility would be Strome for Faulk. Personally I would do that. Carolina needs a 3rd line center, Strome has proven capable and is an RFA at the end of his contract. Edmonton has it’s 2 big centers, which should be playing for at least 40 minutes a night combined, so Strome is expendable. Faulk is a capable 2nd/3rd pairing dman, with some PP potential but is UFA at the end of his term. Carolina has 3 right sided dmen, so Faulk is expendable. Could be a fit for both teams.