The trade deadline came and went and the Oilers stood pat. They made a couple of moves prior to the deadline, but the front office didn’t do anything on deadline day to help the team make a push for the playoffs or stockpile future assets.
After Peter Chiarelli was fired in January, Keith Gretzky was moved into the interim general manager position and the focus was shifted on the future. Since taking over, Gretzky has made two moves. First, he sent impending UFA Cam Talbot to Philadelphia for a younger goalie in Anthony Stolarz. Shortly after, he shipped struggling forward Ryan Spooner to Vancouver in exchange for a familiar face in Sam Gagner. Then, at the deadline, he stood pat.
A little over a month ago, I did a WWYDW asking readers how the Oilers should navigate the trade deadline. The situation was pretty similar to how it is right now. Edmonton was towards the bottom of the Western Conference at the time, but, thanks to some poor competition, they were within striking distance of a playoff spot. The logical choice pointed at selling but there was also an argument to be made for buying and taking advantage of the weak Western Conference.
Now, I want to look at the deadline and reflect on what the Oilers did. That’s this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday FRIDAY EDITION question. Or maybe I should call it this week’s What Would You Have Done Wednesday FRIDAY EDITION question. With your hindsight goggles on, how should have the Oilers navigated the deadline?
Some of the names that floated around in trade talks were impending free agents Alex Chiasson, Alex Petrovic, and Tobias Reider (RFA), and guys with more term on their deals like Matt Benning, Kris Russell, and Zack Kassian.
At no stage did we hear that the Oilers were in on any rental players. It wouldn’t have made sense for Edmonton, given their position in the standings and low odds at making the playoffs, to use draft picks or prospects to add somebody like Ryan Dzingle or Wayne Simmonds. Other names with more term on their deals like Connor Brown and Tyler Toffoli got floated out there, but nothing came to be.
Personally, I’m glad the Oilers remained quiet. I would have been fine seeing guys like Chiasson, Reider, and Petrovic dealt for whatever draft picks were out there, but it isn’t the end of the world that they’re still here. I’m mostly glad the Oilers didn’t decide to chase the dream and overpay at the deadline. While acquiring someone like Toffoli, who has another year left on his deal, would have been nice, the price of acquisition for players at the deadline always tends to be higher than during the off-season. For example, Buffalo pulled the trigger on a deal for Brandon Montour, a player under control beyond this year, and it cost them a first-round pick.
What say you, Nation? How would you have handled the deadline? Did the Oilers mess up by not firing off more assets? Are they close enough that they should have made some additions?