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Weekly Rumours – A big July trade?

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for me to take a look around the NHL, dig up some piping hot rumours, and talk about how they could affect the Oilers! Of course, it’s the middle of July, so naturally, things are a little quiet around the league but regardless, there are still some interesting nuggets of information floating around including some talk surrounding the two Alberta teams.

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CALGARY & EDMONTON

Last week on his very popular radio show, Dustin Nielson mentioned that there is a little bit of smoke around the Oilers and Flames. It makes sense. These two teams both have forwards on bad deals and a pair of RFA’s that have had their names thrown around the rumour mill. They appear to be a good match on paper, but we all know that these two sides rarely ever make a trade.

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The big rumour that has been floating around since Elliotte Friedman mentioned it in his weekly 31 Thoughts piece earlier this offseason is something around swapping Milan Lucic for James Neal.

Lucic is under contract for four more seasons with an AAV of $6 million while Neal has four more seasons with an AAV of $5.75 million. So when it comes to cap hit, Neal has a slightly better contract but when you factor in real money, things change a bit. Now that his bonus has been paid, Lucic has $16 million in ‘real money’ left on the books while Neal doesn’t have any signing bonuses on his deal so he still has $23 million left. So by swapping Neal for Lucic, the Flames will save $7 million in real money over the next four years.

On the ice, we all know that Milan Lucic has struggled mightily, I don’t need to dissect that any further. James Neal is coming off one bad year. In 11 NHL seasons, Neal only failed to hit the 20 goal mark once and it was last season. He was buried low in the lineup and shot just 5%, which was the first time in his carer that he shot under 10%. I think it’s almost a guarantee that he bounces back in a better situation. The Oilers can give him that.

It would be weird to see Lucic in a Flames jersey, but Neal has so much skill that if I were the Oilers, I would even considering adding a sweetener to get this deal done.

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As far as the Sam Bennett rumours, I’m not reading that much into it. I think he would be a great fit to be the Oilers third line centre but I just don’t believe that the Flames would move him to a divisional rival. The idea of a Puljujarvi for Bennett swap is interesting in theory but Bennett is a more proven player and he’ll cost more on his next deal. Add in the fact that the Flames would be asking for more from a divisional rival and I just don’t see this as a real option for Ken Holland.

RANGERS SELLING OFF

Reports have come out that the New York Rangers are looking to lose a little bit of money. Right now they have about $7 million in cap space and need to sign Jacob Trouba, Anthony DeAngelo, Pavel Buchnevich, and Brendan Lemieux. They also need to be mindful of Kappo Kaako’s potential ELC bonuses, which I’m sure he’ll hit.

I doubt they’ll be able to move out one of their albatross contracts on the backend like Brendan Smith, Marc Staal, and Kevin Shattenkirk so they’ll likely have to move out some money from their forward group.

Chris Kreider is the first name that jumps off the page. He carries a $4.65 million cap hit and is a UFA after this season. As much as I think he would be a great fit, the Oilers would need to free up money to bring him in and giving up a lot of assets for a pending UFA in a year where the Oilers are far from a lock to make the playoffs worries me. Don’t think Kreider is a good option.

Vlad Namestnikov is a good candidate to be moved. The 26-year-old has a $4 million cap hit, which is pricey considering that he only scored 11 goals last season, but he can play all three forward positions and his age leads you to believe he might have some good years ahead of him. I wouldn’t mind the Oilers taking a gamble on him, but the Rangers would need to retain a lot of money and I’m not sure if they would be interested in that. Even though he’s a UFA, I’m not as worried about potentially resigning him as I would be with Kreider.

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Finally, there’s Pavel Buchnevich. If the Oilers could get their hands on him, I would be ecstatic. He’s scored at a 15+ goal pace in each of his first three NHL seasons and considering the fact he’s young, I think he could become a perennial 20 goal guy in the Oilers top six.

He’s an RFA as well, so the Oilers can control how much he makes next season to an extent. This is a dream fit and Ken Holland should be willing to move a lot to get him.

THIRD ANNUAL OILERSNATION OPEN

After having such a blast over the past two years, we absolutely knew that we were going to organize another golf tourney for the summer and, after a few months of planning, we’re psyched to finally be able to launch our third annual golf tournament.

  • When – August 29th, 2019 (Thursday). Tee off at 2 p.m.
  • Where – Cougar Creek Golf Resort
  • How much – $1000/team
  • Teams – Groups of Four (4)
  • How – Book your team here

As always, a portion of all proceeds from your ticket purchase will be donated directly to a local charity. This time we’ve partnered up with the Gregor Foundation to make sure that our kids are at their most handsome.


  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Lucic to the Value Villlage team with us taking back their Lucic in Neal, yeah that’s not happening. Unless Holland clears out a couple of guys in a trade, none of the big money list there are headed to the Oilers, no cap space, now Pavel their on the cheap, sure the Oilers could sign him, but didnt we just sign a bunch of guys just like that? I would think other teams will be sniffing around the guys on cheap deals.

    • All Ice

      I think Pavel is a step above most of the wingers the oil have. Legitimate middle six 20 goal scorer, RFA and should be able sign to a decent deal. Worth moving something out for

    • TKB2677

      Their ownership is known to be cheap so if you could save 7 mill American which is close to 10 mill Canadian, that’s a plus. I think the big reason is the coach. If you listen to Calgary radio, the Neal experiment was a massive bust in their mind and part of it based on what I heard is Neal is not a Peters guy. Neal has been a top 6 20+ goal scorer for his whole career. Neal was brought in and sold on being in the Flames top 6. He got very little top 6 time from almost the start of the season and guess what, it didn’t go well because he doesn’t think he is a bottom 6 guy nor does his game suit that. He was barely played, scratched. So if the coach doesn’t like a player and won’t play him much, they have a 5.75 mill guy sitting in the press box.

      Plus when I heard their GM talk about there team, he talked a ton about how in the regular season teams play one style of hockey, then when the playoff starts, it goes back to heavy hockey. The Flames built a fast, skill team that got their show run in the playoffs. So my assumption is if this trade happens, the GM talked to the coach, the coach likes Lucic, thinks they could used him and if you are going to have a 6 mill guy on your 3rd line, you might as well have a guy who brings a skill set your team lacks.

      I don’t know if this trade happens but as crazy as it sounds, it actually makes sense for both teams. Each guy is the same age, has the same number of years left and are 250K apart in salary but play 2 very different styles of game. If they had too, the Oilers retain 250k to make the money even.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Calgary has to dump a couple players, they have to Sign Turlechuk, Bennett and Rittich and only have 9 mil of cap space. That why their biggest free agent signing was Talbot..and the couple elcheapo contracts they sign like Holland did….

    • nbandito

      I live in Calgary and Neal’s name is mud around here. I watch only half as many flames games as oilers games but from what I’ve seen Neal is a square peg trying to fit into a circular hole in the Calgary roster. Calgary’s ‘small but tough’ roster makeup didn’t go very far in the playoffs so having a guy like Looch might hold more value. Chemistry is huge between players and a change of scenery would likely be good for both players. I don’t like the pulju for Bennet swap but the aforementioned Russel for Frolik would help both clubs also.

      • Taking Russell back? No idea how a 6-7th D at 4 million (IIRC) helps Calgary. Saves nothing in cap and is not a position needed. If Treliving considered this he should be fired. The Lucic swap for Neal is just below it in stupidity for Calgary.

  • billsbills

    Neal for Lucic I would be much happier if it was out of our division. But I doubt that happens. You may not like Lucic but nobody likes to play against him.

  • ed from edmonton

    Another unlikely trade that is being kicked about is Bennet for JP. The cowtowners need to dump some salary and JP would be maybe 2M less than Bennet. Bennet would fill the 3C spot the Oil need.

  • Gary

    Bennet will sign for less than 3 million. Lucic has absolutely no fit anywhere for the Flame outs, he’s way to slow for the first line, way to slow for the second line and to old for the third line.

  • Viperx

    Can someone please confirm when Lucics bonus was paid? You would think that would be possible, but to this day there are reporters reporting 2 different dates.

  • SLURVE

    Does any Oiler fan like to see Lucic coming down the ice waiting to hit one of the Oilers and pushing and shoving our d-man after the whistle-NOT a chance in heck. The Oilers need some offence but not offense caused by Lucic. I would sacrifice a bit of offence than to see us getting intimidated by Lucic each time-have we not learned what the BOA means? We do not have anyone that can handle Lucic and he may not score as much as before but he still can throw haymakers. Who knows, perhaps Tippett can get Lucic going again- I rather take that chance…

  • Elgin R.

    Holland – make the Lucic for Neal trade happen. We know that the Flames are in cap trouble so the sweetener is for the Oilers to retain 1 million of the Lucic contract for the next four years. Why make the trade if you are the Oilers? Because Neal does not have a NMC and therefore you don’t have to protect him in the Seattle expansion draft (the draft is June 2021). If, and when, Holland obtains a couple of decent top-six forwards, then at least we can protect them. I think Lucic brings more than Neal, but the NMC is the albatross – not his salary (although that is also not so good for the Oilers).

  • Spydyr

    “Add in the fact that the ̶F̶l̶a̶m̶e̶s̶ ̶ Oilers would be asking for more from a divisional rival and I just don’t see this as a real option for Ken Holland.”

    Fixed it for you.

    • Kevin R

      As a Flames fan I would put my money on Neal having a rebound season. With Lucic, offensive production is not expected, but really isnt an issue for the Flames, we scored a lot of goals last year. But we do lack what Lucic would bring to our team, so 3rd or 4th line with some 2nd PP time is certainly doable for Lucic. But his NMC is a real b!atch. He would almost certainly have to be bought out prior to the expansion draft & he doesnt exactly have a friendly buyout contract. So a straight Lucic for Neal is a definite no go. Personally, I would rather try to acquire Reaves from Vegas for a a pick & a B prospect as they need the cap space & he only has 1 more year at 2.75mill.

      So if Oilers throw in Pulji with maybe a 2nd or 3rd round pick with Lucic, I could see us throw in Czarnik & then we can gain about a mill of cap space.
      To me Czarnik has more offensive upside & speed than Chiasson & could easily fit on your 2nd or 3rd line. We may be good fit for a trade but I cant imagine our teams pulling one off lol.

      • TKB2677

        When the expansion draft happens, I think Lucic would waive his no move to allow himself to be exposed. He was already on Vancouver radio a few months ago saying how great it would be to play for the Canucks. So he’d definitely waive to go there. Seattle is just down the road and might even be better for him because he’d be in a big, American City so he would probably be able to disappear more than a Canadian market but he’d also be close to home. From downtown Vancouver to downtown Seattle is barely a 2.5 hr drive, less that Calgary to Edmonton. Whether or not Seattle actually would pick him up is another thing but I don’t think having to protect him would be an issue. I think he’d be happy to go there.