Monday Mailbag – What would it take to get Parayko?

Welcome, Nation, to another edition of the award-winning Monday Mailbag! Here we are on the last Monday before the Christmas break and the Oilers are right in the mix for a playoff spot, and that’s a beautiful thing. Once again, the mailbag is here to help you kill off a few minutes of company time with 3000 words of pure wisdom. How’s that for an early gift? As always, this feature depends on you so please send me your questions by email or Twitter for next week and I’ll try to sneak you in. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful week and please enjoy the free learning opportunity.

1) Levi asks – I’m confused why the Oilers called up Caleb Jones when they have Garrison and Wideman as extra defenders already. Why do you think he was recalled and do you think this is an indictment on those two veterans if he plays over them?

Robin Brownlee:

Garrison and Wideman aren’t capable of reliably playing the kind of minutes the Oilers are going to need with Klefbom and Russell out. Jones has been the best D-man in Bakersfield. It’s pretty straightforward.

Jason Gregor:

Because he is a better skater than both and better defensively than Wideman.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Jones has been having a fantastic year down in Bakersfield and I think the team just saw this as a good chance for him to get his first real taste of NHL action. Wideman and Garrison haven’t been very good when they’ve been in the lineup and I get the sense that the organization isn’t exactly itching to get them in the lineup. Jones at least has some upside.

Chris the Intern:

I think this is a good development opportunity for Caleb Jones. He’s been playing lights out in Bakersfield all season and deserves a call-up. Having Jones play sheltered minutes alongside some veteran defencemen is a great way to dip his toes into the NHL level.


It’s definitely an interesting question, but I think a big part of it is to reward Jones for his fine play in Bakersfield than it is to punish the other two, though they’re not exactly game breakers either. Garrison isn’t in the long term plans and I doubt Wideman is either, so it’s not the worst thing in the world to have those guys sit.

Dec 5, 2018; St. Louis, MO, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) scores against St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen (34) during shootouts at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

2) Craig asks – Why do you think Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ name comes up in trade rumours every year? To me, he should be considered indispensable and I don’t understand why some folks think he should be made available?

Robin Brownlee:

Consider the source. That is what armchair GMs do.

Jason Gregor:

One report doesn’t make it a rumour in my eyes. It was a Boston writer. They aren’t trading him any time soon. Don’t fret about it.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I don’t like using the term “untouchable” because everyone but Connor McDavid has a price tag, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should be included with McDavid, Draisaitl, and Klefbom when talking about the core of this team. He’s been eating tough minutes and going toe to toe with some of the best centres in the NHL since he was 18 years old and it’s turned him into a fantastic two-way player. I love what I’ve been seeing from him this season and the Oilers would be insane to even consider trading him at this point. These rumours are usually just started by reporters from other cities who look at the Oilers and think “oh they have McDavid and Draisaitl. They could move a centre”.

Chris the Intern:

RNH is a great two-way forward and anybody would absolutely and should absolutely love to have him on their team. Lately, all of the Nuge trade rumours have been stemming from outside organizations and it always flips Oilers Twitter upside down. Those trade rumour articles have no backing to them and it’s all speculation from a city looking to acquire a good centre.


I understand why other teams would think they can get him — look at the GM. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone on our side of the equation could think it’s a good idea, especially as we’re watching develop into a hell of a two-way centre.

Apr 7, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) attempts on shot on goal in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

3) Lance asks – It was reported this week that the St. Louis Blues are open to making some trades and I’m wondering if the panel thinks there could be a fit there? I know the Parayko rumours from the summer were very intriguing and I guess I’m hopeful that the Oilers would be able to rekindle those talks.

Robin Brownlee:

It’s due diligence for every GM to call Doug Armstrong and get the exact scope of who and who isn’t available. The Oilers couldn’t get in on Parayko unless they sent salary back or if the Blues retained some. Really good player, but tough fit under the cap for Edmonton. You’d likely be creating a hole up front to fill one on the back.

Jason Gregor:

If the Blues are foolish enough to trade him then yes Oilers should be in the mix. The problem is I don’t see a trade that makes sense. Oilers would need to shed similar salary to take on Parayko’s $5m salary and unless  Chiarelli can fool Armstrong into taking Sekera and a young player and pick I don’t see it happening.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

If Colton Parayko is available, the Oilers will absolutely have to make a call and find out what the price is but I don’t think they have the assets to pull it off. A team like Toronto would likely be very interested in Parayko and they have a deep pool of young players they can offer up in a deal. The Oilers don’t really have that level of organizational depth and that could make a deal for Parayko difficult to pull off. Apart from him, I’m not sure if there is anyone on the Blues who would be a fit for the Oilers. Would Vlad Tarasenko look good here? For sure. A deal like that would probably need to involve Leon Draisaitl and I wouldn’t do that.

Chris the Intern:

I’m in the same boat. I would love to take a shot at Parayko, however, I have absolutely no faith in Peter Chiarelli to make that move. Thinking about trades nowadays is so stressful for me because of our GM. Out of all the guys on the Blues, Parayko would be the guy we need.


Colton Parayko rumours! I’ve kinda missed ’em, you know? Personally, and feel free to call me an idiot if you want, but I think anyone outside of McDavid-Draisaitl-Nuge-Nurse-Bouchard should be made available to get a guy like this. Back around the NHL Draft, Dusty had a rumour that the Blues were looking for Puljujarvi and the 10th for Parayko but with Bouchard still on the board it didn’t happen.

4) Austin asks – Koskinen and Chiasson have been welcomed surprises this year. What percentage, of astute move vs. complete luck, would you credit Chiarelli with for these signings?

Robin Brownlee:

Must have known something on Koskinen to offer him that much dough, so pretty astute. Chiasson was a PTO who has paid off beyond any reasonable expectations, so a lot of luck with him.

Jason Gregor:

Good to be lucky, lucky to be good. They scouted Koskinen and felt he was worth paying more than the $2m they originally wanted. Chiasson picked Edm because he saw an opportunity. Luck is some of it for sure but also having no proven RW depth helped. Most good teams find a diamond in the rough or unexpected production.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Whoever was the pro scout who saw Mikko Koskinen deserves credit and Chiarelli deserves just as much for paying whatever price to get his guy. I liked the Chiasson PTO as well. I’m a big fan of the #PTOEveryone movement. It’s just such a low-risk move and this year, we’re seeing what can happen when everything goes perfectly. Chiarelli has always done well with these small, lower-risk moves and he deserves credit for stepping up again.

Chris the Intern:

I shit on Peter Chiarelli enough, so I want to give credit where credit is due instead of calling every other move of his “complete luck.” The Chiasson PTO and Koskinen signing have been incredible for us, and he’s the man who pulled the trigger on it. Like we’ve said before, Chia has made some great moves when it comes to bottom six players with cheap contracts. It’s just the high-profile trades he sucks at.


Chiarelli should get credit for both guys, though I don’t think anyone would have expected the dominant performances from either guy. Chiasson broke his career high for goals in his 27th game of the season and I doubt that kind of scoring was on anyone’s mind. As for Koskinen, I’m happy to be wrong about his signing, though I still don’t know that giving NMCs to unproven UFAs should be a common practice. That said, he should get props for both guys. If we’re going to take shots at his horrible moves then we need to give props for the ones that worked too.

5) @samakehurst91 asks – Earliest Oilers memories. Why did you all become fans?

Robin Brownlee:

Earliest memory is of Vancouver-based businessman Nelson Skalbania getting and then selling Gretzky and the Oilers coming into the league and slapping the Canucks around for fun. They were so good so fast it was stunning.

Jason Gregor:

No one specific reason. I liked sports as a kid and my parents liked sports and let me and my brother watch the odd game on TV. That got me into sports.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Ah, time for me to sound way younger than pretty much everyone else here. I remember watching games with my dad when I was really young. I was lucky because he took me a lot of games as well and he’s pretty passionate about the team. That definitely rubbed off on me. My first big memory was the ’06 Cup Run. I was lucky enough to go to game six of the Finals with my dad too and I’ll never forget being in the building for that.

Chris the Intern:

My earliest Oilers memories were watching all of the Stars vs Oilers playoff rounds in the late 90’s. I can’t remember exactly which year it was (cause there were so many of them against the Stars), but I remember seeing my family so passionate and angry with Dallas that I remember cluing in how important these games must have been. I would have been around 6-7 years old I believe.


My dad used to work for the City of Edmonton when I was a kid and every now and then he’d get tickets to the game through work. Back in the early 90s, you were able to hang out right outside of the Oilers dressing room and wait for autographs and I remember my old man taking me down there any time we were lucky enough to see a game. I even got signatures from guys like Bill Ranford, which was incredible for me. I still have that autographed picture today.


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  • mikel

    one of my earliest memories is the year they lost to to islanders in the finals and when interviewed after, gretz looked right into the camera and said ‘we’ll be back’ (probably wasn’t exactly like that but, then again, i am old so i get a pass)…

    • Spaceman Spiff

      Actually, I also became an Oiler fan when they lost to the Islanders in the 1983 Final, but it was a different interview that cemented it for me. By then, Isles’ goalie Billy Smith was Public Enemy No. 1 in northern Alberta for his hacking and wacking of various players and his generally surly on-ice demeanor. I don’t remember who was interviewing him in-studio after Game 4 (Dave Hodge, maybe?) but I remember Smith saying something like this will have all “the little Oilers fans crying in their bedsheets tonight,” or something along those lines. I was 10 at the time, probably not old enough to detect whether or not his remark was being said in jest, or if he was really trying to sound like a jerk, but I definitely took it as the latter. Sweet revenge came a year later and, by then, I was a full-fledged Oiler fan and have remained so to this day.

  • Serious Gord

    1. Jones earned it and is the only one if the three with any upside potential.

    2.Entirely logical reason why: the team has three high quality centres – mcd, Drai and Rnh. If they all play centre one of them isn’t getting enough minutes and quality linemates. RNH would seem to be the odd man out.

    But if Drai truly can’t drive his own line he’s too expensive to be on the wing with mcd. I think the talk has already switched to trading Draisaitl.

    3. I don’t think EDM has what stl wants. (Tarasenko is rumoured to be head case so I fear aquiring him)

    4. Kosk looks as good as Talbot did in his first 20 games with the oil…

    Chaisson is doing what lucic was hired to do – pot the passes from mcd. Lucic has lost his touch clearly one wonders if chaisson was replaced with someone else with good hands we would see much different results.

    5. Being allowed to stay up late (games started at 9:30 in nfld) when I was 8 or 9 to watch Gordie Howe play the leafs. The leafs won.

    • camdog

      I don’t know what alterernative universe you are referring to about Koskinen and Talbot being equals in there first 20 games as an Oiler. Talbot lost the starters job to Nilsson that year and didn’t get the net back until mid December…

  • BringitbacklikeSlats

    Despite what Tyler and BM think…Klefbom should not be considered a core of this team. Quite simply he’s not that good. Displayed by his dismal 5×5 even strength numbers, horrible volume of major mistakes on goals against, and inability to stay healthy attest to. Trade this guy for Parayko please!!!!! We have enough LHD anyway.

    • The Whispererer

      Enough LHD ? Really ?
      Have you seen who is playing on our left side now ?
      Nurse…1st pairing, in over his head
      Garrison…34 years old, not even NHL caliber anymore
      Gravel…Has shown himself to be an adequate 3rd pairing, (maybe better ) but small sample size alert

      Russell…an overpaid 3rd pairing talent playing out of his depth on 2nd pairing and currently on IR
      Sekera…was an adequate 1st pairing until injured in the 2017 playoffs; unfortunately, when he returned from injury last season his play didn’t reach 3rd pairing NHL level. Another serious injury this off-season and how he will perform when he returns this time remains a mystery.

      Without Klefbom our LHD relies on hopes and prayers.

  • lee

    Getting tired listening to all the talk about the Oiler’s should trade with St Louis. Build from the draft like Tampa and Toronto . They drafted Bouchard who will be their quarterback for a decade, the team doesn’t have depth yet because they traded away 2 first round picks as well as Eberle and Hall. Now they are finally getting depth, the fans want to trade it away for a player who is good but at best a #3 d man.

  • Yes! BM I remember those days in the 90s, sneaking down into the Gold seats, hanging out outside the dressing room and then parking lot for autographs. Way tighter security now than back then. Remember when they used to measure the noise levels at “Skyreach”? Crowd noise levels were louder than a 747 at takeoff!

  • Moneyball

    Puljujarvi and the first pick for Parayko is worth it. If that’s on the table I would do it. Puljujarvi is the one expendable piece that is worth more in a trade than he is on the ice for the Oilers. Deal him and something else to get a dman.

    • OilTastic

      Yup, despite what some have said about Pool, he’s not even producing at a Nail Yakupov level in the NHL yet he’s “coming around”? Not a fan of his and we got hosed really good with this guy when you consider guys like Keller and Tkachuk and Sergachev are all miles ahead of pool on the developmental scale.

  • Ted

    Playing against Hunter, Peplinski, Neiwendyck, and that hot head Vernon those were the days! Driving home from math night classes listening to the game on the radio! Those were the days! Winning their first Stanley Cup, Messier Con Smythe on my birthday! Those were the days!!

    • Ted

      Whomever trashed this … Was too young to see what the City of Champions meant to the city! That sign should have been replaced with Decade of Darkness.Thunder buddies unite! BOOM

  • samakehurst16

    Thanks for answering my question! My earliest memories are watching late 90s games on TV, and playing as the Oilers on NHL 99, with the intro of the game having the famous call from Jim Houston “Josephs out of his net.. UHH OH hes knocked down, scrambling back to his net, Corbets alone in front GREAT SAVE JOSEPH!” That got the ball rolling for me to become an Oilers fan. Then i was able to go to a Battle of Alberta game December 26th 2001 with a brand new copper and blue jersey from Santa. Oilers won 3-2. Also went to a playoff game in 2003 game 6 vs the stars and i remember everyone chanting TURCO with those big white foam sticks. From that point on I was all in on the Oilers.

  • btrain

    I am inclined to give Chiarelli some cred for the singings of both Koskinen and Chiasson. However, I am on the 50/50 astute vs luck with Koskinen and 5/95 for Chiasson.

    Koskinen doesn’t even get his chance to shine if Talbot doesn’t struggle so badly. Its easy in hindsight to be completely thrilled but at the time of the signing he was guaranteed the backup position regardless of performance and given max reasonable dollars to boot. Its a familiar strategy of Chiarelli’s that he is seemingly fortunate enough to have work out this time but none the less evidence that he will still throw money and clauses at players to strike a to-do item of his list. Forgive me for feeling this type of strategy as not being far off pulling a handle on a slot machine.

    So I do genuinely credit the targeting of Koskinen but I would give much more astute points if, considering the circumstance at the time of signing (i.e. 5 NHL game of experience), he was able to get him for 2 mill without the no movement. A still handsome deal considering the tenders credentials at the time of signing and the job he was being hired for. I like to think that is not beyond what a GM with notable negotiation skills is able to accomplish. 500,000 extra is not a big deal in isolation but when its your go to move for almost every signing you make, it adds up.

    As for Chiasson, I feel Chiasson deserve 95% of the credit for choosing a team he had a great shot at earning a job and making the most of it. I give Chiarelli 5% of the credit for putting a team together with such little depth on the wings that he had little choice but to invite PTO’s like Chiasson to camp in the first place. Credit the coaching staff as well for getting him into the lineup and giving him the opportunities as he earned them.

    • IRONman

      Parayko is vital. Like Pronger. He is 25 yo. Alberta boy. If Sekera does the lupul then we got the cap room. Kelfbom is always hurt. Solid 3/4 defensive but not on the bench it does not matter

  • Die Hard Oiler Fan

    Earlist memories date back to 1979 when the Oilers entered the NHL along with several former WHA teams. There was a lot of hype in terms of Gretzky debuting in the NHL (recall the WHA screwed the NHL by implimenting a lower draft age, which resulted in Gretz being drafted by the Indianapolis Racers, prior to being traded to Edmonton). Many felt that Gretzky would not make it in the NHL because he was too small (they referenced the lack of hitting in the WHA which they called the “World Home for the Aged” or “Won’t Hit Association”. I hate to admit it but I was originally on of those “NHL” fans that thought Gretzky would find it tough in the NHL – obviously we were all wrong. My most enjoyable memories are probably from about the Oilers first 3 or 4 yeads in the league. The likes of Kurri, Coffey, Anderson and Messier joined the team and started to develop. Living in Ontario we rarely got to see the Oilers on Hockey Night in Canada in those days (just the Leafs and Habs), but the did a much better job in those days of showing replays of goals from out of town games involving Canadian teams. I have always loved offensive hockey with lots of scoring chances……recall many Leaf or Habs games that would involve Oiler replays, sometimes 2 or 3 in less than 5 minutes and as many as 8 to 10 during an evening. Not to mention that many of these goals we tap-ins that any of us could have scored…..some of the most beautiful goals you could imaging……to those Oiler stars, thanks for the memories, and for clobberi g so many opponents during the fabulous 80s.

  • ed from edmonton

    My Oiler memories go back to the WHA days. I recall watching games in the Edmonton Gardens. But the one early memory is from they moved to the new Edmonton Colliseum. A non game vs the San Diego Mariners. It was supposed to happen just after the Rodeo cleared out and they have trouble doing the switch. The ice was atrocious with large areas looking like clumps of mud. After trying to play for about 10 minutes they gave up and postponed the game. You gotta love the WHA.

  • ed from edmonton

    My Oiler memories go back to the WHA days. I recall watching games in the Edmonton Gardens. But the one early memory is from they moved to the new Edmonton Colliseum. A non game vs the San Diego Mariners. It was supposed to happen just after the Rodeo cleared out and they have trouble doing the switch. The ice was atrocious with large areas looking like clumps of mud. After trying to play for about 10 minutes they gave up and postponed the game. You gotta love the WHA.

    • Since 72

      I worked at that game! How embarrassing that was trying to fix the ice. Glad to know someone else remembers. Wasn’t much fun that night! Can sit back and smile about it now!

  • Ted

    I’m very saddened that this of all articles wasn’t pasted with fan base knowledge on what the Oilers should be doing etc. BM carry on! For as those other putzs I follow your input to mostly the hilarities … But some fortitude! Teehee keep me smiling! (=

  • Since 72

    I started out as an usher in the old Edmonton Gardens when the Oilers became the old Alberta Oilers in 72. Continued working as an usher then rink rat in the gardens and eventually the Coliseum till I was 18. Enjoyed watching the Oilers evolve into Stanley cup champions, was lucky to have met and spent time with many hockey players from old Oilers and Oil Kings teams of the past as well as other team personnel.