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Monday Mailbag – What happens to the 3rd round pick from the Neal/Lucic trade?

Welcome, Nation, to another edition of the free college replacement known as the Monday Mailbag! Obviously, it’s a strange time to be alive right now but we still wanted to put together your questions and try to come up with whatever answers we can As always, this feature depends on you so please send me your questions by email or Twitter for next week and I’ll try to sneak you in. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful week and please enjoy the free learning opportunity.

1) Daniel asks – If the season is indeed cancelled should all 31 teams be eligible for the draft lottery? After all, none of them made it to the playoffs.

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Jason Gregor:

The league played 85% of the season. I wouldn’t put all the teams in the draft lottery. I might only have the obvious 10-12 who weren’t going to make it. No easy decision, but putting all 31 teams in doesn’t make sense. You might have two lotteries. One for the top half of draft and then a second for those you expected to make playoffs. That could be interesting.

Robin Brownlee:

No. Do you think teams like Boston and St. Louis having a shot at the first overall pick like Ottawa and Detroit would be a good thing? You can still weight the teams in an equitable way.

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Zach Laing:

While I do love chaos in sports and this would be the utmost chaos, I just don’t see it happening. It would go against everything the league has been working on eradicating in terms of giving the worst teams the best chances. After all, could you imagine if the Oilers won the draft lottery? It would be super cool as someone who covers the team, but it would surely be a cause for concern from the NHL.

Nation Dan:

You know what, I like how you think Daniel (great name by the way). Why can’t Oilers fans be selfish for a minute? The virus took down what was sure to be our Stanley Cup year, give us Lafreniere and we will be happy.

Baggedmilk:

Oh, baby! Give us another chance in the draft lottery. Just think of how funny it would be if the playoff-bound Oilers ended up winning. DO IT FOR THE COMEDY!

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2) Dana asks – Seeing as the NHL is trying to maintain a similar cap as this year, if Gary Bettman allowed one compliance buyout that did not count against the cap for next season, who from the Oilers (if any) would you choose to be bought out to create some salary flex for next year?

Jason Gregor:

Based on having three years and a $5.7m cap hit it likely would be James Neal. I think the salary cap, will be a big challenge next season. I don’t see them finishing this season and playoffs, so that is a large amount of lost revenue. Both sides need to prepare for a different economic situation. I’ve believed sports would need a financial reset at some point, and this might make it very quick and drastic.

Robin Brownlee:

James Neal makes the most sense for me.

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Zach Laing:

This is a great question. I would have to think it would be best used on James Neal. He has three years left after this on the contract that pays him $5.75-million. Neal’s scored a lot on the powerplay this year, but it’s clear he’s not a top-six option for the Oilers moving forward. With that you really don’t want to be paying a guy that much to be in your bottom-six. Neal is 32 and not getting younger and has been bitten pretty hard by the injury bug in recent years, this season being no different.

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Having that nearly $6-million in space would be huge for GMKH to weaponize.

Nation Dan:

The only person it really makes sense to buyout would be James Neal. I know that’s what all the other smart minds in here will say. He’s under contract (according to Puckpedia.com) until 2022-23. That said, I might look at Kris Russell, or even Mikko Koskinen if I wasn’t picking Neal. But honestly, I think Russell is movable and Koskinen is serviceable, even if he is overpaid by Pistol Pete.

Baggedmilk:

I would assume it would be James Neal. I think we can all agree we like the player, but probably not at the current price tag/term. Maybe? Who knows.

Feb 16, 2020; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) goes past the fans before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in the overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

3) Lyle asks – If you were going to pick NHL award winners based on the season as it was, who would be your Hart, Norris, Vezina, and Selke winners?

Jason Gregor:

Hart… Draisaitl
Norris… Carlson
Vezina… Hellebuyck
Selke… Anthony Cirelli

Robin Brownlee:

Hart – Leon Draisaitl
Norris – Roman Josi
Vezina – Tuukka Rask
Selke – Sean Couturier

Zach Laing:

Hart – Leon Draisaitl, although Artemi Panarin is a very, very, very close second.
Norris – Roman Josi
Vezina – Connor Hellebuyck
Selke –  Mark Stone

Nation Dan:

Hart – #1 Leon Draisaitl, #2 Nathan MacKinnon, #3 Artemi Panarin
Norris – #1 John Carlson, #2 Roman Josi, #3 Cale Makar
Vezina – #1 Tuuka Rask, #2 Connor Hellebuyck, #3 Andrei Vasilevskiy
Selke –  #1 Sean Couturier, #2 Patrice Bergeron, #3 Mark Stone

Baggedmilk:

Hart – Leon Draisaitl
Norris – John Carlson
Vezina – Tuuka Rask
Selke – NUUUUUUUUGE

Mar 3, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing James Neal (18) in action during the game between the Stars and the Oilers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

4) David asks – Obviously, everything is a guessing game at this point but what does everything think will happen to the 3rd round pick that was supposed to be included in the Neal for Lucic trade?

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see Oilers giving it up. The wording in the trade said Neal had to score 21 goals and be 10 more than Lucic. That didn’t happen. Flames might not like it, but there was no guarantee Neal would score two goals in final 11 games. You can say he might have, but that’s it. No one truly knows.

Robin Brownlee:

From NHL.com:
“Two conditions have to be met for the Edmonton Oilers to send a 2020 third-round pick to the Calgary Flames.”

1. Oilers forward James Neal has to record at least 21 goals in the 2019-20 season
2. Flames forward Milan Lucic scores at least 10 fewer goals than James Neal in the 2019-20 season
If only one or none of the conditions are met, the Edmonton Oilers will not be sending a draft pick to the Calgary Flames as part of the July 19th trade

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Conditions not met. No third pick to Calgary.

Zach Laing:

Judging by the fact we’re not going to be seeing any more regular season, it looks like the Oilers will be holding onto that pick.

Nation Dan:

Early into the pause, Eric Francis tweeted about this and my initial reaction was to say no way they could pro-rate games and say that a player “would have got” this. But it was pointed out to me that in the lockout season they did do just that for players bonuses, so who knows at this point. Lucic has really come on as of late for the Flames and I am sure they are hap… hahaha I almost go through that last one.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t see how Calgary can get that pick if none of the requirements to do so have been met. Sorry, Calgary, all you get is Milan.

5) Warrens asks – Simple question: How is everyone passing the time in this sports-less world?

Jason Gregor:

I still host my show, we have just changed focus to more guests with stories. We are re-living the 1997 Oilers/Stars series with coaches and players from both teams. We had a baseball historian on last week going in-depth in the life of Lou Gehrig. I learned a lot.

But at home, I get to play with my son more. We are doing book activities. We went on a long adventure walk at our family farm through the trees. And I’m reading quite a few books.

Robin Brownlee:

Looking well beyond sports. Everything has changed. Navigating those changes. Health. Work.

Zach Laing:

I’ve been working on pumping out content across the Nation Network nearly non-stop which has kept me occupied lots. Otherwise, I’ve been spending lots of time with my girlfriend and cat. I’ve also made lots of soup, drank some white claws, listened to Africa by Toto and played lots of the new COD Warzone game (DM me on Twitter and lets play!).

Nation Dan:

Just trying to remain normal in this new normal. Lots of simulations of Oilers games (thank you to everyone tuning in for those), more gaming than I have ever done in years it seems, lots of time talking to friends and family, and just trying to remain normal in this new normal.

Baggedmilk:

I’m still writing a tonne for this site and other sites in the Network to try and keep people entertained and distracted from the bad news we’re all being pummelled with. Personally, though, I’ve set some goals of reading more, learning to juggle, learning to play the piano, and trying to stay connected with friends and family as best as I can.

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