Not sure how to feel after sitting through hours of trade deadline coverage and not getting a single trade involving the Oilers? Well, I’m in the same boat. At the very least I was expecting them to move out someone like Alex Petrovic for a late round draft pick. We didn’t even get that.
It’s disappointing because the team will likely miss the playoffs and now they’re sitting with the expiring contracts of Alex Chiasson, Tobias Rieder, Alex Petrovic, and Kevin Gravel. I’m expecting at least two of those players, and possibly even all four, to be off to new teams (or leagues) come July 1st. The Oilers will have nothing to show for them.
There’s a little bit of anger in me as well. There were deals made for players similar quality to what the Oilers had, yet Keith Gretzky did not announce one trade. If Michael Del Zotto, Oscar Fantenberg, Matt Hendricks, Nathan Beaulieu, and Par Lindholm could bring back either late picks or prospects, then how could the Oilers not sell off one single asset and at least say they did something?
Then there is the part of me that is actually kind of happy. The Oilers didn’t go out and make a bad deal, which would have been more of a concern if Peter Chiarelli was in charge. They didn’t go out and trade their second-round pick for a rental or Zack Kassian for a fifth-round pick. That’s a positive.
While I’m mad they couldn’t offload some UFA’s, I can see why keeping Alex Chiasson is actually a good thing too. They probably could have gotten a fifth-round pick for him but now they’ll get another 20 games to see what they have in him and that will allow them to make a better decision when it comes to potentially re-signing him this summer. He was lights out for a third of the season, ice cold for the next third of it, and now we get to see how he plays down the stretch. That’s probably worth more to the team than a late round pick, although I stand by my previous statement that they should have traded the other three UFA’s for whatever was offered to them.
They clearly had a value assigned to each of their assets and didn’t budge off of that. So kudos to Gretzky for holding his ground I suppose.
The one thing we did get out yesterday was one very juicy trade rumours involving the Toronto Maple Leafs. Multiple Edmonton media members reported that the Oilers had discussions with the Leafs about forward Connor Brown with Matt Benning being involved in the deal.
Then today, a report out of Boston riled up the fan base.
Hearing again today that #LetsGoOilers and #LeafsForever discussed a large trade that would've seen defenseman Adam Larsson end up in Toronto and Connor Brown end up in Edmonton. There were lots of moving pieces and that's likely why it didn' happen. Could revisit in offseason.
— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) February 26, 2019
I don’t know how much I believe that especially because no one in Edmonton has even hinted at that being a possibility, but it’s out there. I would imagine, during their talks about Connor Brown, the Leafs inquired about Adam Larsson and the Oilers shot it down and said maybe this summer. That would be my best guess.
Back to Connor Brown though, there was serious chatter. The fact that the Leafs have an abundance of young, offensive forwards and some serious cap problems to handle this summer means that the rumours connecting Edmonton and Toronto likely won’t go away anytime soon. So let’s look into Connor Brown a little bit more:
Brown is a 25-year-old right shot winger with 40 goals in 233 NHL games. His best season came in 2016/17 when he potted 20 goals while shooting 14.4%. This season has probably been his worst as he has only scored five goals with a shooting percentage of 7.2%. He has one more year left on his current contract with a cap hit of $2.1 million.
I went back to look at his 16/17 campaign to try and find out why he found so much success and found some interesting notes. That year he scored 17 goals at even strength. That’s nice to see because it means his numbers weren’t inflated by a great powerplay.
That season his most common linemate was Auston Matthews, who he played 432 even strength minutes with. They started 72% of their shifts in the offensive zone and Brown scored six goals and added six assists.
He also played 430 even strength minutes with Nazem Kadri. They started 51% of their shifts in the offensive zone and Brown scored seven goals and added five assists.
Compare that to this season, and you see a much different picture. His most common linemate has been Par Lindholm. The two have played 344 even strength minutes together, starting 35% of their shifts in the offensive zone. In that time, Brown has three goals and five assists.
He has also played 316 minutes with Nazem Kadri this season. They started 45% of their shifts in the offensive zone and Brown has produced two goals and eight assists.
In 16/17, Brown got the benefit of some great minutes with an elite centreman. This year, he hasn’t been used as a scoring winger and it has hurt his production. That makes sense.
I think this is a guy that the Oilers should be interested in and if the price is Matt Benning, then they should be all over it. I don’t think Brown will come here and score 30 goals just because they plunk him next to McDavid or Nugent-Hopkins, but I’m very confident that he can be a 20 goal scorer and at the worst, he’s a solid third line winger.
In no world is he worth Adam Larsson, that’s straight up crazy talk, but if he costs you one of Matt Benning, or a third-round pick this summer, then I think you jump all over that deal. It’s a good gamble.