Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dangling a big asset

Peter Chiarelli needs to make the playoffs to save his job, Daryl Katz clearly wants to get another year of that sweet, sweet playoff revenue, and, to an extent, an Oiler’s playoff berth would save Bob Nicholson’s reputation around Edmonton.

There’s a lot on the line. We’ve known that for a while.

Peter Chiarelli has been very active this season and we kind of expected that. We’ve known his job is on the line for quite some time but up to this point, he’s really only made minor moves. Small trades for depth players and waiver claims. As far as in-season moves are concerned, he hasn’t done anything that really moves the needle.

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I get the sense that he’s looking to change that and in order to get a significant piece for the current roster, you need to move a significant future asset.

This team’s forward group is simply not good enough. I know this graphic is a few days old now, but the fact that the Oilers have the worst supporting cast in the NHL has not.

Trades for depth pieces and continuing to work the waiver wire simply will not change that. You could argue that bringing in just one top-six winger probably doesn’t change things too much either, but I think it would go a long way in trying to get this team to the playoffs.

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It’s kind of old news now, but earlier in the week Elliotte Friedman mentioned that Jesse Puljujarvi’s future is in question. Friedman is obviously very well connected and he doesn’t just throw names out there for the fun of it. If he’s saying it, I believe there’s some substance to it.

Apart from Puljujarvi, the Oilers don’t have a lot of other ‘A’ level assets to dangle. They have their first round pick this upcoming season and if Peter Chiarelli really wanted to gamble, he could move the draft choice without lottery protecting it, which would no doubt boost its value. Their second round pick would hold some value as well as would their early picks in the 2020 draft.

They really just have a bunch of ‘B’ level assets either. I really like Kailer Yamamoto and Caleb Jones, so I would be hesitant to move them. I think their value outside the organization doesn’t line up with their potential. I would say the same with Tyler Benson, I really like him. There are names like Ethan Bear, Ostap Safin, and Cooper Marody, who I would move in a package, but those players likely wouldn’t have very much value to other organizations either.

Another potential benefit of potentially parting ways with one or two big assets is maybe getting some cap relief along with it. If the Oilers dangle Jesse Puljujarvi or the 2019 first rounder in a deal or package both, and it means they can convince a team to take the contract of Ryan Spooner or even Andrej Sekera, I think it makes the idea of selling one of their quality assets a little easier to stomach.

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I’m not talking about straight up trading Puljujarvi or the pick in a straight up salary dump. That makes no sense, but what if the deal starts with something like this:

Oilers deal a ‘Grade A’ asset to a team for a top-six winger and then to make the money work, the Oilers throw in a contract.

It may diminish what they get a little, but it would still improve the team this season, which the GM needs to do, and it would make life a little easier in the offseason as well. I’m not saying this deal is out there or that it would be a guaranteed win, but I think it’s something the team would likely entertain.

The bottom line: if Peter Chiarelli wants to beef up this forward core for a run at the playoffs, he’ll have to part ways with a significant asset.

The thought of that should absolutely scare Oilers fans. Peter Chiarelli loses big trades, it’s that simple. But the reality of the situation is that this is a desperate organization.

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The silver lining in all of this for Oilers fans is that regardless of which way this season goes, there will be a positive to pull from it. If the Oilers make the playoffs, then you’ll get a taste of playoff action for just the second time in over a decade. If they fall out of the race and miss things, then it’s almost a sure thing that Peter Chiarelli will lose his job, which most of you are rightfully clamouring for.

  • oilers1168

    Fire PC NOW. We need to get rid of him playoff or not. He is detrimental short and long-term. PC mistakes, unfortunately, has sabotaged the next GM coming in. It’s going to take some creative and unfavourable trades to unwind some of the mistakes PC has done. It’s going to be a long process and pain for at least a couple of years post PC.

    • Oilerz4life

      Yes Chiarelli needs to go, but the OBC is still going to be there when he’s gone. The Oilers have become so screwed up under Katz’s ownership. Getting rid of Chiarelli would just be a good place to start.

  • Sir Dudeinstein

    I have a quick question if we are talking about depth scoring.
    Our top scorers are Mcdavid, Draisaitl, Hopkins, and Chiasson.
    If we consider the ice time these four players are getting, 22:45, 21:49, 20:20, 15:48 respectfully TOI/G.

    The next forward outside those four who has the most amount of TOI/G is Yamamoto at 14:17 (13 games played) then its Lucic at 13:40.
    So my question, do we expect players to put up goals on teams like Tampa Bay who has 9 forwards who have over 14 minutes of ice time per game (3 lines) compare to the oilers who are playing 1-2 Lines heavy minutes.

    So I would like to know what is an expectation on our 3rd/4th line who plays less than 11 minutes a game, with majority starts being in a defensive zone?

    • Flint

      This. Out of the elite players in the league McDavid and Draisaitl aren’t as near the top of scoring in Pts/60 as they are in sheer points because they play so much. This isn’t their fault, it’s Chiarelli’s fault in a sense, but it’s also a vicious cycle because the Oilers aren’t competitive at all with the top line off the ice, but they’re barely competitive (as a whole team) with the top line playing their legs off.

      McDavid is a monster, but tbh, he’s playing about 4 minutes a game more than ideal on a sustainable, balanced, cup competitive team. It’d be much better if he was @ almost 19 minutes vs almost 23. But that’s not reality and if he was playing ~15% less, the Oilers would probably be ~15% worse

  • Corbs

    I think they’re going to pick up Patrick Maroon. He’ll be cheap and his deal is up at the end of the year. They know what they’re getting and for a playoff run he could play LW with 97 and produce.

  • Jerri Kurli

    Yeah I agree with most of you. Nobody has trust in PC, they need to quit grasping for straws and cut ties. I do agree with the article. I believe JP is as skilled as any prospect out there, he also brings great size. As a huge Oiler fan (like everyone who writes on here) I’ve watch him lots and the hockey IQ just isn’t there. He reminds me so much of Yakupov it isn’t even funny. To me what’s scarier than dealing JP is hanging on to him and then him turn into a fourth line grinder or worse case scenario, not be in the NHL in a few years. If there is a trade that brings in a bonafied top 6 winger in his prime via trade I feel we have to do it. The guys JP was drafted around are all stars or playing very significant roles on there teams. JP seems on the verge of being a bust. We can not afford another Yak 2.0. If we are honest with ourselves you can’t blame Chiarelli for taking him fourth. He was the best player available and all the other teams would have taken him too. Maybe I’m wrong but to me a sure thing is better than a guy who “maybe” will turn out. He sure hasn’t shown us any signs or being a star forward or a true top 6.

    • Odanada

      You say you can’t blame Chia for taking him fourth, but is Chia not also responsible for player development? It’s called “asset management” and PC is very poor at that on a number of levels.

  • Ratt McNuge

    Chiarelli already had his chance to dangle big assets and the return was weak and left us with this mess. How can anyone expect him to fix it. Fire him.

  • Peanut butter and Jo-Jo

    I’m not so sure I agree with the estimates on possible returns on a poolparty trade. He has performed well below his draft ranking suggests and no longer carries the value of a fourth overall pick outside of the Oilers organization. I personally like Jesse and think he’ll improve some, can contribute to the club. That said, a package of PoolParty with Sekera will not bring in a good player at this point.

  • Flint

    A very bad outcome at this point for the Oilers is trading an asset with potential to more than likely miss the playoffs, as the playoffs are such a slim possibility now. But the worst possible outcome is trading a young asset for a more productive, likely older, likely declining forward today to squeak into the playoffs and then continue with Chiarelli at the helm.

    The best outcome is use use this lost season to develop your young assets for next year, really make that the goal, build and teach your youth for next season. Fire Chiarelli asap and re-tool in the offseason with a blend that can support the youth. With the McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH and Lucic contracts you need productive entry-level players to be successful, so develop them, don’t bail on them!

    Oilers can not let Chiarelli “F” this up further

  • goodtobelucky97

    I like articles that make me think and this article did just that. Good work Mr. Yaremchuk. I’m not sure if I would put JP in the big asset class but dangling the 2019 first round pick, not lottery protected, is an interesting thought and a dangerous one. As an Oiler fan, I just don’t trust PC with this massive high risk move. As we all know, PC’s trade record is not a good one.
    Giving up future assets for immediate return is what teams do when they are close to winning a Stanley Cup, not when they are just crossing their fingers to make the playoffs. Also, even if the Oilers made a big trade for a top forward or d-man, the Oilers don’t have the salary cap space…..nothing like winning the lotto max and now, 3 1/2 years later, you are broke.

  • Soccer Steve

    You guys are all blowing this out of proportion. The only guys that need to be fired and/or let contracts elapse are:
    Peter Chiarelli
    Bob Nicholson
    Kevin Lowe
    Craig MacTavish
    Duane Sutter
    Keith Gretzky
    Bill Scott
    Scott Howson
    Bob Green
    Glen Gulutzan
    Dustin Schwartz
    Ken Hitchcock

    That’s all! It’s pretty simple, not sure why some of you are so agitated……

    • camdog

      I think we are all setting the bar too high. The goal should not be to win the Stanley Cup, we’ve already won our share. The goal should be just to make the playoffs. After all we should just be happy too have a team after what happened in the 90’s. Just like with equilization payments we should just be happy with how good we had it in past years. We are just to greedy here in E-town…

  • MrBung

    The Oil will not get much for Puli. Unless Chia finds a comparable bad GM to sucker. Even so. This team will still not make the playoffs with one winger that might score right now. The damage has been done. Chia is done. Now need to focus on restocking draft picks and internal development. Oil don’t have the value to make significant trades.

    • Vicvl

      With things being this bad for so long , we must must look at a common denominator >>>>>Katz. Why do we think a new GM would make a difference when only in a matter of time he to would become to the culture Katz has created. Only REAL fix an only come from new ownership insuring a good old fashioned housecleaning.

  • Sir Dudeinstein

    I just think its hard to have some optimistic thoughts on this organization when you still have Kevin Lowe next to Chiarelli everyday.
    Every game, there is Kevin Lowe, at every draft there is Kevin Lowe.
    If you think Kevin Lowe has no say, why are we still trading for Ex-Oil King players from that team where Keagan Lowe was involved with?

  • btrain

    Here’s my thoughts. And it’s not about convincing anyone to follow but just my feeling on this. Since Chia has been given playoffs to save his job, I dont want playoffs.

    All the talk of needing a big deal and dangling the one young asset we have to do it, scares me. This organization has set itself up to keep digging the hole they are already in by keeping an impulsive, lazy and now desperate GM in place. This fanbase deserves better and McDavid deserves better.

    So take your what will Puljujarvi get you and just stop it. There is no reason this team should even be a playoff bubble team at year 4 but that is exactly what they are and likely a little worse than that if not for a couple of flukes in Chiasson and Koskinen.

    So let’s put our emotions aside and using reason, really ask the question is barely sneaking into the playoffs, only to get stomped, worth hurting the roster in the long run and keeping Chiarelli employed? For me it’s a Firm NO!