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WWYDW(FE): A hindsight look at the trade deadline

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?

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

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? 

  • oiler_head

    I would have liked to see a Pulijarvi for Ho-Sang trade. Not sure about money but how about getting a change of scenery for both players. Also try to get Nathan Beaulieu…. somehow.

      • Moneyball

        There was always an element of skill to draisaitls game and you could see that he worked hard and was a student of the game. When is the last time you have seen a puljujarvi breakaway,a great pass or a decent shot on net? No one has accused puljujarvi or being a student of the game. He couldn’t even bother to learn English for a 7 figure salaried job.

        • 2centz

          Draisaitl played junior in Canada and could speak perfect English the day he was drafted. Jesse didn’t get an English coach until his 2nd year in the NHL. The team dropped the ball there. The Oilers shouldn’t have 1st round picks anymore, because they sour in them if they can’t cut it in the NHL at 18yrs old. Organization is flawed. Demanding a culture change of the players while maintains the same culture at the top, is borderline Dorian/Melnyk

      • Jimmy_Gatz

        Drai scored 51 points as a 20 year old. In the beginning of 2016-17 he became 21 years old and scored 77 in that season. He already was good at Puljujärvi’s age but he definitely had the advantage of being in North America since the age of 16. So there is (of course!!) hope for Puljujärvi. I am looking forward to the game tonight (cet). It is broadcasted live on german nationwide TV! Maybe one should tell that to Drai … 😉

      • oiler_head

        Its less the Oilers (or me) bailing on him, than he bailing on the Oilers. My thought is the NYI have a guy who should be playing in the NHL and while he has proven in both leagues he can, the NYI have him buried. We have a guy playing in the NHL, who clearly can’t at this stage but shows signs on life in the AHL level. We can’t bury him for whatever reason. I think a swap would be good. I think Ho-Sang would deliver on the wings and NYI can keep a guy in the minors with all that potential to deliver.

    • CMG30

      Gretz couldn’t make any large ticket moves considering his interm status. He just needs to try and keep the rudder pointed north till the next fellow is selected.

    • NZOF

      So bring back Cogs and Gags? Rebuild 1.0 all over again? What’s Nilsson doing these days anyway?

      Not disagreeing with you one bit, Cags is a hell of a 3rd line winger, just amusing to me that our young “core” from 10 years ago that was discarded in favour of the new shiny is now being considered as potential pickups to start rebuild 3.0. Or is it 4.0 now? I’ve lost count.

  • Becauseoilers

    I would have made a move with Detroit for Jensen as the Capitals did and signed him to a very reasonable deal imo. He would have been a nice 2 line RD.

    • Clayton

      I am not sure that other GMs really would be interested in Chaisson. His scoring rate has plummeted since the new year now that he isn’t having a ridiculously high shooting %age. His play has regressed to his career level. Useful bottom 6 forward at best. There is a reason why he ended the off season with just a try out with the Oilers.

    • toprightcorner

      There was no selling high on Chaisson. Based on some of the other trades, a 5th was likely the get and if lucky, maybe a 4th. That is not a good enough return to trade an NHL forward and call up another AHL forward and subject them to this mess of a season.

      Chaisson also really likes it year and he can probably be resigned for about $1.1 mill as a bottom 6 guy who will score 10-12 goals. That would still put him 4th on this years roster.

      To many future benefits to give up for a 4/5th round pick

  • rektangle

    Im glad they stood pat at the deadline and maintained warm bodies for the lineup so they didn’t have to disturb what is going on in Bakersfield. Leave the farm team alone, let them enjoy the success theyre working so hard for!

  • Kelly Youngblood

    Josh Ho Sang, Devante Smith-Pelly & Brandon Pirri are examples of the type of young skilled players Edmonton should be trying to stock pile for a run at the playoffs. Won’t cost too much, eager for playing time & if given the chance could be very productive. Once they dump the bad Chiarelli contracts the new GM will have the cap room to sign a few young guns.

  • Sparky Blue

    It’s called the trade deadline not the force someone to take your crap deadline. No trade can be made unless you find a partner to trade with and no one wanted what Edmonton had or has to offer. Case closed.

  • Dark Knight Returns

    Lol. Nothing to write about…
    OIlers chances for playoffs: done.
    Trade deadline: done.
    Summer potential UFA’s: with the cap situation done too.
    Draft: well… there’s that for whoever isn’t tired of “this is our year because we have a top pick “.

    For this site to survive with some sponsorships you guys are gonna need McDavid to ask for a trade.

    Or

    We can start the Lucic articles

  • DannyGallivan

    Tired of making moves for the sake of showing progress and losing out. When Chia’s job was on the line he made a bunch of stupid transactions e.g. signing Koski when he didn’t have to, Manning, Petrovic, Cave etc. Can we please get a GM that can find his A$$ with a flashlight? No GM interview process for the past 40 years. What mgmt team thinks that is a good idea?