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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – What to do with Alex Chiasson?

Good morning, Nation! With the trade deadline fast approaching, the mailbag is here to start your day off with a little bit of trade talk, strategies going into the deadline, and everything else you’ve always wanted from a Mailbag. As always, I need you guys to make this feature work so if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or DM on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Until then, happy deadline week, people.

Edmonton Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli speaks at year end Press Conference

1) Samantha asks – Where do you think things went wrong this season? Were the Oilers doomed for the start or was there a move or decision that seemed to topple the dominos?

Jason Gregor:

No one decision led to the bad season, but instead it was a constant trend of losing trades and downgrading talent in every deal.

Robin Brownlee:

Not doomed from the start — a lot of people picked the Oilers to make or push for the playoffs — but they again needed a lot of thing to go right for them because of lack of scoring up front and lack of depth on the blueline. The team needed to find a couple of wingers who could score and while Alex Chiasson started well, they didn’t get enough from the wings. Losing Klefbom and Russell to injury at the same time exposed how thin the blueline is.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Part of me wants to say that the stretch where they lost both Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell (mainly Klefbom) really sunk them but at the same time, they were within spitting distance of the final playoff spot when they both returned to the lineup, so what’s their excuse now? They don’t have one. For this team to succeed this season, they needed wingers like Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Ty Rattie, Jujhar Khaira, and Milan Lucic to take big steps forward. They haven’t really gotten consistent efforts from any of them and it’s led to this team struggling to score goals. They were banking on players having career years and it didn’t happen, for that reason, I say they were doomed from the start.

Chris the Intern:

I had such high hopes for the season, which was my own fault. I think banking on the fact that Milan Lucic, Puljujarvi, and ever other forward would have a bounce back season was our demise. If I had to think of a specific move in the offseason that began the topple of the dominos, it was not re-signing Matt Hendricks as well.

Baggedmilk:

The first domino was allowing Peter Chiarelli to come back for another swing, something that should never have happened. Terrible choice by Bob Nicholson.

Dec 1, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Alex Chiasson (39) follows the play against the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Paul asks – If the Oilers can somehow get a 2nd round pick (by trading Chiasson or others) at the deadline, what about then using that pick at the draft to entice a team to take on the Lucic contract? If let’s say trading Chiasson helps the team unload the Lucic contract wouldn’t that be a win given the circumstances?

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see a team taking Lucic’s contract for four years just because you give them a second round pick.

Robin Brownlee:

If? What about? Teams are not going to take on Lucic’s number and term for a second-round pick. Sending away Chiasson, one of the few guys who can score a little bit, to help hatch a plan that involves enticing a team to take Lucic is a loser’s bet.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I don’t think there’s a team out there that takes Lucic’s contract for just a second round pick. Maybe if the Oilers retain half and throw in the pick, they could start a conversation with teams. What might be more realistic if they can add in a third team to a deal. Example: The Oilers send a 2nd round pick to ‘Team A’ and also give them Lucic at $1.5 million retained. ‘Team A’ then retains another $1.5 million and flips Lucic to ‘Team B’ who maybe gives up a late round pick for a $3 million Lucic. Maybe it isn’t that exact move, but it’s something close to that.

Chris the Intern:

Honestly, I don’t hate that idea. Sacrificing Alex Chiasson to give up Milan Lucic would be worth it… HOWEVER, Alex Chiasson seems to like it here in Edmonton and that’s a pretty rare find. I think whenever we do unload Lucic’s contract, we’ll be retaining some salary which may affect my decisions about the Chiasson trade-off.

Baggedmilk:

Let’s be honest, I think the Oilers would need more than a second round pick to get rid of Lucic’s contract. We’re going to need Jesus.

Oct 23, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates a second period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Ryan asks – I think it’s completely wrong to say Draisaitl doesn’t care but he definitely has bad body language on the ice. What effect does this have on the rest of the team, if any? Should the coaches say something?

Jason Gregor:

I think people can make major mistakes when they try to interpret body language of an athlete. Remember when many said McDavid wasn’t happy to be drafted by the Oilers because of his body language during the draft lottery. Please. Many said same thing about Hall on the ice. Bad body language. Draisaitl’s body language isn’t a concern for me.

Robin Brownlee:

I’ll take results over body language every day.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I hate the term ‘body language’. We don’t know what Leon Draisaitl is thinking. We don’t know how bad he wants to win. Maybe he has poor ‘body language’ because he’s sick and tired of being one of the only players who can come close to creating any sort of offence on a regular basis. Maybe he’s sick of watching his teammates consistently look like AHLers. He’s a young NHL player, there will be stretches where his defensive game isn’t great. That will improve with time. The coaching staff should help him with his defensive game, not his ‘body language’.

Chris the Intern:

I think reading into his body language from the TV, and assuming it has any effect on the players is taking things too far. We don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors and what Drai’s really like in the dressing room so assuming something’s wrong by looking at his body language isn’t right.

Baggedmilk:

All of you body language experts need to kick rocks. Leon Draisaitl is in the top-5 in league scoring. Is he perfect? No. Will he learn better defensive tactics as his career goes on? Of course.

Dec 16, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Alex Chiasson (39) celebrates his goal against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) (not pictured) with forward Connor McDavid (97) during the third period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

4) Christian asks – I know some people believe that the Oilers should re-sign Alex Chiasson but I believe that his start was an outlier as opposed to something we could expect. What do you think the Oilers should do with the pending UFA?

Jason Gregor:

Of course his start was an outlier. But his career numbers state he is a solid 13-goal scorer, who can kill penalties and help your PP if needed. What is wrong with having a solid, veteran who knows how to compete in your bottom six? Trading him away for a draft pick simply makes the Oilers a worse team for next season. They have no one who in their bottom six who has averaged 13 goals over six seasons. Depth isn’t a bad thing in my eyes. I’d try to re-sign him.

Robin Brownlee:

Offer him a reasonable raise on a two-year deal based on the expectation he can get you 13-18 goals a season. Isn’t as good as he looked early and isn’t as bad as he’s looked lately. Can play in the top nine.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

He was shooting like 40% at the beginning of the year. It’s not hard to recognize PDO heaters and most people knew he would cool off. Still, if you could get him for under $2 million, I’d jump all over it. He can be a net-front presence on either of their powerplay units and if he’s not shooting the lights out, I think he’s a very good bottom six player who can hop up in your top six when needed. They need to be careful not to overpay, but maybe his recent cold stretch will allow them to do a deal around 2-3 years at $1.5 million. Maybe a little less of an AAV than what he’d get on the open market, but the Oilers could offer long-term security and the player likes it here in Edmonton.

Chris the Intern:

I do like Alex Chiasson however I’m not tied to him. I think if Gretzky needs to use him to better our team in any type of trade it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Normally I would be against ANY trade right now but I’m slowly building my trust back in Oilers management.

Baggedmilk:

Depending on the deal, I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing Chiasson back at all. Less than $2 million and I say lock it in right now.

5) Timothy asks – Based on how this season has gone, what message would you like to see the Oilers offer to their fans? Is it an apology? Is it an open letter explaining what comes next, like the Ranger released on Twitter a couple of years ago?

Jason Gregor:

Actions speak louder than words. If this was the first time the team was losing and you wanted to send a message to your fans about what the plan is, which is what the Rangers did, then sure. Keep in mind the Rangers did it after making the playoffs seven years in a row which included one Stanley Cup Finals appearance and two other Conference Final appearances. They had made the playoffs 11 of 12 years. Their fans had seen a lot of winning and telling them they were looking to rebuild was much easier for fans to accept.

Writing a letter to Oilers fans now would accomplish nothing. “Sorry we built another bad team, stay patient we will get better,” would infuriate the fans. The organization needs to make more changes off the ice.

Robin Brownlee:

Message? Build a team capable of contending. That’s the only message that matters.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I would like to see them hire a competent General Manager, an experienced President of Hockey Operations, and a Head Coach who can be a long term solution. Enough with the letters and videos to fans. It’s time for the organization to shut up and put up. Make good hockey decisions and you won’t have to worry about anything else.

Chris the Intern:

We need to hear SOMETHING. I would love for them to release something on Twitter. Not only would it show people that they’re hip with the times, but obviously it would give Oilers fans an explanation. Making the playoffs once in the past 13 years is unacceptable and management should be held accountable to explain themselves to the fans.

Baggedmilk:

A sorry would be nice but it’s not like that would do anything, ya know? Instead, maybe choose not to raise ticket prices next year and bring down the cost of concessions.

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  • ellebee

    If we could dump Lucic for $2 million I say take it. Right now we’re digging for change in the couch cushions. If we could dump Lucic for any amount that would take an anchor off of every line that gets stuck with him, give us a few more pennies of cap space & a sense that we’re moving towards the future instead of wallowing in the Chiarelli era past.

  • Oilerz4life

    Have you heard, Drai is a smart hockey player that puts up points, but needs to change the expression on his face.

    Seriously. I’m amazed by the hockey knowledge of a lot of the people who regularly post here, but this one is beyond me, makes no sense.

    Actually laugh out loud when I think about that one. Sorry, just had to bring it up again, glad it came up on mailbag.

  • Remember when the Oilers had scoring wingers? Didn’t change the fact that you first need capable puck-moving defensemen to get the puck to said wingers. Klefbom, Sekera, and maybe Benning are the only good puck-moving Dmen. Klefbom and Sekera were injured. Benning was 3rd pair. That leaves no one to get the puck up the ice consistently. Nurse needs much more improvement here and Russell will never be that guy. Larsson’s season has been awful and he knows it.

    Until the Oilers find that elusive top-pairing puck-moving right-shot defensemen to replace the stupid Petry and Schultz trades, good wingers still won’t get the puck on their stick. For now, they wait for Bouchard to develop.

    Except for McDavid starting with the puck in the d-zone and zooming up on his own, look how long it takes for the Oilers defense to get the puck up the ice. And the majority of the time, they don’t.

    The Oilers won’t be playoff contenders until at least 2020/2021 at best, when Bouchard and wingers from Bakersfield are able to play fulltime and contribute in the NHL.

    • On Chiasson, what if a team offers up a 2nd or 3rd rounder for him as a rental? Being that the Oilers scouts have a history of not being great in finding talent in any round, and that when they do draft, they often don’t pick the best available player, so getting draft picks is probably only good right now as an additional asset to sweeten a deal for a trade a bottom six guy like Rieder, Lucic, Rattie, etc. for an upgrade.