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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers should sell at the trade deadline

The Edmonton Oilers sit 23-24-5 through 52 games for 51 points. This season has been a huge failure for the team. The Oilers have fired a head coach and a general manager, yet they’re only three points out of a playoff spot due to a historically poor Wild Card race.

The Oilers shouldn’t spend any assets on rentals. They should sell off all their pending free agents (Alex Chiasson, Alex Petrovic, Kevin Gravel, Cam Talbot) and try to offload any expendable players with salaries that exceed their value (Zack Kassian, Brandon Manning, Ryan Spooner, Kris Russell, Tobias Rieder).

The Oilers aren’t contenders. That’s abundantly clear. Could they go on a bit of a run and pass a few teams for that second Wild Card spot? Sure. But they’re not a threat despite Connor McDavid at the top of the roster. A new general needs to change how they build and acquire talent.

The organization would probably love even just a first-round playoff exit. But no assets should be dealt in pursuit of that.

Acquire as many picks and prospects and dump as much salary possible. These last 30 games should be about setting the table for the next general manager. This doesn’t mean they need to tank or blow it up for another rebuild, but everything move requires long-term success in mind, not sneaking into the second Wild Card spot and losing to Winnipeg or Calgary.

Trading a second-round pick and a prospect like William Lagesson for a Mats Zuccarello-type rental would be the wrong move.

Get a third-round draft pick for Chiasson. Get anything for Talbot. Try and move Kassian’s $1.9 million. Does Matt Benning or Russell have value? If so, move them too.

The Oilers need cap space and assets if they’re going to turn this team around. A couple mid-round picks and dumping a player like Kassian or Manning might not seem like a big deal, but every pick and dollar saved can be used by Edmonton’s new general manager at the draft or in free agency.

Maybe the Oilers can move Spooner’s salary with a draft pick you get at the deadline. Dumping Kassian’s $1.9 million creates more cap space to acquire a winger in the offseason.

This team isn’t a player two away. There are too many holes and not enough support for when McDavid’s not on the ice.

It’s about building for next season and beyond. Again.

  • DannyGallivan

    The good news is Rieder, Pulj, Rattie Khaira, Chaisson, Malone Petrovic, Gravle and Talbot are all RFA’s or UFA’s after this year. Unless you get something good for them I would keep Khaira, Pulj and Chaisson. The rest are gone. The bad news is all of those contracts are sub $1M except Talbot and Rieder. Trade as many as you can. They are rentals for every team. We need a core McJ, Drai, RNH, Larsson, Nurse, Klef, Koski, Sekera if only because some of their contracts make them difficult to move e.g. Lucic and Sekera. Maybe they should trade Larsson for magic beans and then we will have traded BOTH Hall and Ebs for nothing.

    • Darcy yaceyko

      Calgary has had a good year I’ll admit. But how do you know it’s not a mirage. They may have surprised other teams by overachievingtgis year. It happens in the NHL. The point is can they do it consistantly??

  • Darcy yaceyko

    Why would you want to sell off Chiasson and Kassian?? They have value. It seems everyone in that city likes duds. Drake was mediocre compared to Chiasson and Kass. Kassian does more than most of the high priced talent on the team. He fills that role of antagonizor very well. I’d be trying to resign Chiasson because you know if they trade him we will get no return for him knowing the oilers

  • Field Marshal

    The problem is that players such as Kassian, Brodziak, Russell and Manning will be very difficult to trade without taking bad an even worse contract back in return. Russell will be all but immovable, as will Manning. The Oilers might be forced to take on dead money in order to move some of these guys.

    The Red Wings might be a team willing to take a bad contract from the Oilers, perhaps in exchange for the contracts of Franzen or Zetterberg. Maybe Trevor Daley who is on LTIR at age 35 and signed until 2020. Not ideal if you’re Katz, having to pay these guys to sit at home, but realistically, the Oilers are gonna be bent over a barrel to get any of these guys off their books.

    Truly a debacle created by management.

  • Neilio

    That’s going to be a no from me, dawg. The Oilers should have earned a master’s degree in how that strategy doesn’t work. How many times do we have to pull the plug on a season for a handful of magic beans to discover that acceptance of losing is poison. Its one of the many reasons nobody wants to play for the Oilers. Nobody wants to waste the few short years of an NHL career playing out the string at the end of the highway.

    If there is a deal that makes sense, to clear up some salary or move a contract, go for it. But I want these guys to fight for every point, EVEN IF the playoffs are out of reach. You can still respect that a team has enough fight to finish in 9th instead of 10th. You have to have some momentum going into the next season. You have to battle for the soul of the team. Are you losers or not?

  • TKB2677

    I am all for trading off pieces that aren’t that valuable. So that would be:
    – Petrovic. He’s a UFA, I doubt the sign him. He’s not playing a ton. He’s an OK bottom pairing guy. Teams like depth dman for palyoffs and he’s not that expensive.
    – Spooner: I don’t see it happening but if you can get anything, you do it.
    – Manning: I don’t see it happening but if you can get anything, you do it.
    -Talbot: You made the decision to pick Koskinen. Supposedly the Oilers left it open to resign him. He knows that means back up money so 2 mill or less. I don’t see it happening. So you have to get something for him.

    Those are obvious ones.

    -Chiasson. Yes he’s a UFA but the Oilers already lack players. He’s expressed he wants to stay. Unless his ask is SO ridiculous you can’t sign him, why get rid of him? Even if he regresses back to his normal scoring pace, he can be decent bottom 6 guys. They NEED that. He’s also shown that he CAN play up if you need him. Ideally, he’s in your bottom 6 who can play up if needed for short times. Why get rid of that for a mediocre draft pick that won’t turn into anything for 5 years.

    I’d trade Kassian. He’s a decent 4th liner but he is making too much money. 4th line wingers should be making under 1 mill.

    I’d consider trading Rieder. On paper, he should be a good 3rd liner. It hasn’t worked. At 2 mill and an RFA, you’d have to qualify him at around that number. He hasn’t earned it enough to make that next year. I’d be OK to resign him because I think he could easily bounce back but not at 2 mill.