Can The Oilers Swing a Season-Saving Trade?

by | Jan 11, 2018 | Soapbox | 36 comments

To put it politely, 2017-18 has become a mess for the Edmonton Oilers.

Considered by many observers (including yours truly) to be a Stanley Cup contender when this season began, the Oilers find themselves floundering near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Following Edmonton’s 5-1 loss last Saturday to the Dallas Stars, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos speculated someone could lose their job if the Oilers failed to reverse their fortunes in a week’s time. Over the following four days, they fell 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks and dropped a 2-1 decision to the Nashville Predators.

Kypreos’ comments prompted some talk suggesting head coach Todd McLellan might lose his job, but general manager Peter Chiarelli rejected that notion.

If a coaching change isn’t in the cards, and assuming Chiarelli isn’t in any danger of getting canned, the only realistic shake-up option is a trade. Not a minor move involving depth players but a significant, season-saving deal.

Such trades are usually difficult to make. Given the Oilers’ current precarious position in the standings, it’s likely impossible.

Chiarelli’s rivals won’t do him any favors. The Oilers GM won’t land an established top-four defenseman or a speedy top-six scoring winger unless he sends something substantial the other way.

None of the Oilers’ best players – Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Cam Talbot – are going anywhere. Good luck peddling Milan Lucic’s hefty contract with its $6-million annual salary-cap hit and no-trade clause. Rival clubs would love to pry young defenseman Darnell Nurse away from the Oilers but that’s not going to happen.

Rearguard Adam Larsson won’t fetch a winger equivalent to the guy (Taylor Hall) he was traded for. Blueliner Oscar Klefbom’s struggles this season have probably his value in the trade market.

Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ value has probably never been higher. However, he’s also got that $6 million cap hit and Chiarelli could be reluctant to move him.

Wingers Patrick Maroon and Mike Cammalleri are eligible for unrestricted free agent status in July. Chiarelli could shop them by the Feb. 26 trade deadline but they’ll be consider rental players for postseason contenders. The return for either guy won’t provide immediate help. Same goes for depth players such as Zach Kassian, Kris Russell, Matt Benning and Mark Letestu.

For a return with the potential to provide a quick reversal of the Oilers fortunes, Chiarelli would likely have to bundle a promising youngster, such as Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto, with his first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Puljujarvi, a 19-year-old right wing, was the Oilers’ first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 2016 NHL draft. Yamamoto, another 19-year-old forward, was selected 22nd overall in last year’s draft.

Given the Oilers’ current spot in the standings, they could be in line for another high selection in the 2018 draft. That assumes, of course, that they don’t significantly rise in the standings between now and season’s end.

Packaging Puljujarvi or Yamamoto with their 2018 first-rounder would be a tantalizing offer for clubs looking to move a scoring forward or a quality defenseman. However, most of those teams could be non-contenders peddling pending UFAs or players carrying budget-busting contracts. There’s also the danger the players Chiarelli ships out could blossom into stars elsewhere.

Sure, there’s a chance Chiarelli shocks the league and pulls off a major deal that addresses the Oilers’ needs and vaults them back into contention. Unfortunately, the stark reality is that deal probably doesn’t exist right now.

At this point, Chiarelli’s best bet is to consider shipping out those pending UFAs who don’t figure into the club’s long-term plans (Maroon, Cammalleri) for the best possible return, give more playing time to his younger players and look toward retooling the roster in the offseason.

That’s probably not what Edmonton fans, thrilled by last season’s promise following a decade of mediocrity, want to hear. Nevertheless, any hasty short-term decisions could have damaging long-term consequences.

For now, patience is the only reasonable option.



  1. WTF another retooling for this team… Please take me out to pasture and shoot me to put me out of this misery

    • Now you know how we Blue jackets fans have felt for the total of our team’s existence.

    • Am I the only one that sees or wants to admit the inevitable writing on the wall for 2 teams here! Seriously… eye wide shut stuff here!

      Oilers are a winger and a goalie away from taking a huge leap forward …with the core and Mac D.

      Candiens are in FULL BLOWN rebuild mode or you my as well love last place next year too.

      This is such a perfect hockey deal for both sides that “YES” takes balls but also admitting has to be done!

      Price and Pacioretty
      Draisital, Puljujarvi,Talbot and a 2nd rounder 2018

      Habs get a true #1 center put Drouin on wing ..a prospect and a draft pick and help out in goal share the net with Lindgren during rebuild.

      Oilers get deep on wing to help support Mac D who needs a sniper on his wing who can score.
      Oilers get a true legit Stanley Cup goalie during his prime years and Mac Ds prime as well.

      Has to happen …its the only way out!
      Oilers money out is $13.6 million
      Habs money out is $15 million

      Oilers will need to free up $2 million ..find a taker for Mark Fayne in minors at $3.75 1 year ..Arizona or the Habs to make it work Mark Fayne contract for Jordie Benn to make money work.

      Just sayin!

      • Price is signed for way too much money for way too long. No doubting his pedigree but this package is far too slanted in the hab’s favor.

        So now they have McDavid at 12.5 and price at 10.5. Plus resigning Patches which will be around 7-8 Million, IF they can sign him?

        Pretty sure this is a no thank you from Edmonton.

      • you have got to be out of your mind as a true blue oiler fan win or loose which is more the case lately i would rather they miss the another 10 play offs then make that ludicrous deal you must be a habs fan i mean dreamer

      • Lol like the oilers make that trade. You been hanging out with the xbox too long!

  2. They would be retarded to trade any draft picks espically their first rounder. Pool party and Yamo theo wont get dealt either.

    If your trading Nurse, you best be getting a massive return. I could see a team like the leafs all in on a stud young D like Nurse.

    • The Leafs should trade Jvr plus a second for Nurse.

      ok ok, that was a joke, just typed that out to get some blood boiling.

  3. Maroon, Camalleri, Kassian, Letestu will get draft picks back, at best

    Nurse isn’t going to get a big return either

    IF Chiarelli is in charge of changing the roster, he needs to find a team that wants a #1 or #2 center, and consider trading Draisaitl for a fast #1 winger (not Kane who will be a UFA). LD will never live up to his contract. Oilers need speed to add to McDavid and LD isn’t that.

    Lucic isn’t going to bring back an impact d-man or forward, Oilers are probably stuck with him until the offseason. Maybe they can trade him at the draft, or worst case, buy him out

    Just like in Boston, Chiarelli seems to be messing with a good thing. He seems like an overrated GM

    • With you on your first comment line mikeP, the rentals they ship out won’t bring back much. Maroon being the best asset.
      Their only position of strength is center, so it makes the most sense do deal from there.
      I wouldn’t trade Draisaitl for a winger, unless he is elite and young. Their 2 best prospects are also RW in JP and Yam. I pursue a high end D man and I’m not sure RNH will get you that unless you go young and unproven. Is a deal similar to the Johanson Jones trade out there. I think Draisaitl will be a better player/scorer than Johanson long term and already is, but also has a hefty contract.
      CLB seems like the natural team to target in the off season.

    • Okay, here’s your challenge. According to you, Draisaitl won’t live up to his contract. Pretend I’m the GM for any other hockey club and you’re Chiarelli. Convince me to trade you anything for the player you signed to a ridiculous contract and don’t believe will live up to it.

      • Where did I say he won’t live up to his contract Paul? I said he has a hefty contract, so the team you are dealing with needs the cap space. The comparable I used was Johansen/Jones deal. Johansen just signed for $8M/year and Draisaitl is a better offensive player.

    • true on the first part Nurse is nt going anywhere he is a future #2 d man improving every year Lucic has a nmc and 6 mil is in effect another nmc Chia is over rated can t judge player potential and has been hosed by Snow twice enough said

  4. Do you think Wayne Simmonds is enough to get Puljujarvi and their 1st? Reasonable contract with another year left on it after this. He seems to me to be the type of player, both in skill set and character, that could foster a turnaround if one is even possible at this point.

    • Simmonds will be 30 before next season starts. He currently has 26 points. iMO he wouldn’t get Puljujarvi or a 1st let alone both. Puljujarvi or Yamamoto and their 2018 1st (which has the potential to be 1OA) is the opening bid for someone like Ottawa’s Karlsson.

      • ummmm……that offer is not getting you anywhere near Karlsson’s neighborhood. That offer might get you Simmonds though……not sure the Flyers are selling right now, but they will be interesting to watch as they are borderline playoff team right now. Once they are out, they can move Simmonds and multiple wingers and defensemen currently on the roster. The Flyers got plenty waiting in the wings on defense now and a few top 9 forwards coming relatively soon. Hart will be the goalie by midpoint next year hopefully as well…..

      • He’s a top 6 forward that has scored 28+ goals in 5 consecutive full seasons, inc 30+ the last 2…and he’s making under $4M per for this year and next. I love him but I don’t think he’ll be as productive in 3 years when the Flyers will be ready to compete. If the Oilers decide to try and save the season, I’m not sure how many better options there are at that AAV. And if it’s needed, Flyers can throw in a pick or a prospect and can retain $ as well.

  5. This year is lost and being sellers is ok especially with ufa’s. On a team as horrible as the oilers have been this year the biggest area in need of improvement is better defence and more speed up front! Lucic is a 3rd line left winger at best and has no foot speed and severely limits the top 2 lines when on them.($6 million ouch) Benning need’s some seasoning in the minors on how to get the puck out of his own end.(sophomore jinx?) Trading now is difficult as our pro scouting sure hasn’t paid dividends in recent years??? Sekera missing first half was very tough on the defence but one player we must keep is Nurse as he is getting better by the day and will be a total stud on the blue line for years to come!

    • Nurse has been a bright spot for Oilers for sure. He was a player I wasn’t sold on (some of that is bias. Sometimes I find myself not loving picks of big nasty D men, because they often get vastly overrated, but I likely over correct by painting too many of them with the same brush), but this year he is easily one of the most improved D men in the league.

      Last year he was ok in sheltered minutes, but this year he is taking on the a lot of extra minutes, against other teams best players, and is absolutely thriving. It doesn’t matter how you try to evaluate his game this year, it looks great. Teams don’t get as many shots or chances, they are scoring less with him out there, he is hitting, blocking shots, he is giving up lower quality shots and making his goalies life easier, and he is even moving the puck up the ice well. He is starting to look a lot like Josh Manson, in that he is the new age nasty shut down D.

      If PC traded Nurse after paying such a big premium for Larsson, he should be immediately replaced.

  6. Edmonton is in a tough position. When trade talk includes recent first round picks and potentially this year’s 1OA, you’re looking at players like Karlsson or Tavares, not Simmonds or Evander Kane. They may help turn it around but they’re also elite players who will demand a high wage. Edmonton already has $61 million committed to 13 players in 2018 with McDavid and Dreisidle accounting for $20 million of that. Can their salary cap situation withstand another $10 million hit if they take on another elite player?

    They should be going after guys like Duclair. Yamamoto and a 2nd or Puljujarvi alone may have been enough.

  7. There is no season ending saving trade for Edm. The worst thing to happen to Edm was everything going right last season. As I asked a few days ago, how many of you even had Edm to make the playoffs in 2016-17. I’d say most didn’t.

    Move out the pending UFA’s stay the course look to improve the team this summer. Edm wasn’t as good as they showed last season & they aren’t as bad as they are showing this season.

    Nurse isn’t moving, nor Puljujarvi, nor Draisaitl.

    • Agree completely with this but it’s the hardest thing for fans to accept – stay the course, make changes in the summer. A different set of voices behind the bench might help too but guys like Nurse need time to reach their potential – he is becoming a first-line player. Stick with him. Same with RNH. The most important goal should be to find a winger who can finish the multiple setups from McDavid every game. There’s someone out there who would score fifty goals every year with him. Find that guy.

      • That guys name is Draisaitl, but they paid Draisaitl to be the #2C not McDavids winger.

  8. PC moving a D to get a winger would be a sure fire sign that he is just grasping at straws. It would be ridiculous for this team to consider moving Klefbom or Larsson for help on the wing, considering the wingers they gave up. The issue is that PC had not done as good a job constructing this team as he received credit for last year, and it’s making the fallout that much worse.

    Klefbom’s value may be hurt a little, but really, for a team that traded an elite winger to get a D-man less than 18 months ago, there is no good time to trade a player like Klefbom. If he was playing well, that just makes no sense to move him, but if he isn’t you can’t sell low on a D-man when you previously paid such a big premium to acquire one.

    That all being said, Klefbom’s decreased value wouldn’t make it hard to move him, as teams don’t get many chances to get a good young D, just that the return would probably fall from the high end prospect/good winger they could have commanded to something lesser. For instance, if Klefbom was available this offseason, they could definitely have gotten Drouin or Drouin+ from Tampa. Now, I don’t think they can get that same level of talent from a team, instead it would have to be a lesser developed, or less touted forward (Maybe they could have gotten in on Henrique), or a guy with skill also having a pretty ugly season (Drouin?… which would be kind of funny given my first point).

    Either way, if he was available, trading him wouldn’t be difficult, just ill advised.

  9. kris russell and kassian for bobby ryan???

    all players are over paid and the Oilers have 8 mill in cap space now and with russell and kassian gone they will have 6 m cap space more

  10. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is probably the best 3rd line center in the league. But he makes $6M. If you make him your 2C, your team isn’t going anywhere.

    • I think you can win with RNH as your 2C. He has always been defensively responsible and it probably hampered his offensive development early in his career. He got thrown to the wolves and lined up against the oppositions best lines since he has been 19, so his focus was on defending and didn’t have the freedom to develop his offence at the NHL level. There are 31 teams, he is 34th in scoring and solid defensively. How is that not a good 2C?

      • 34th in scoring for center

      • I agree 100%, the Oilers should do everything possible to keep him… within reason

  11. A team like the Rangers might overpay for Draisaitl(which I hope they dont do) feeling he is a #1 center.

  12. Okay, hear me out on this one, given the coaching history there may be a way to spice up both teams. I could see Edmonton making a move with SJ.

    Something like this:

    To ED: Couture, Meier, Martin, 1st/2nd
    To SJ: Draisaitl, Nurse

    The logic behind this is that by giving up Couture, SJ moves the scoring back to the wing. They can put Hertl back at center and pair him with Draisaitl. Meier has played well but the lack of scorers on Sj doesn’t help his development. I think he could do well in ED.

    ED takes Martin to help absorb the minutes lost from Nurse (Pending his health obviously). The combo of pick and Meier seems fair for nurse. This way SJ gets an upgrade in the back end, swaps Couture for Draisaitl, and meier and the pick for Nurse. It’s a real shake up but I don’t think ED gets any better sitting on guys and letting another season waste away and SJ isn’t getting much for guys like Ward, Bodker, or Hansen, who have a combine 21 points in roughly 33 games among them. Both teams are in the same boat, something has to give. Will it happen not likely… but something should. The three boat anchors need to get shipped for a bag of doorknobs if you ask me.

    • Jshark would you give a trade like this

      to MTL: Martin(cap), 2 1sts and Timo Meier & Joshua Norris
      to SJ: Petry & Patches ?

      • It’s close, obviously I’d love to see Patches on the Sharks. I feel maybe a 1st and 2nd is more appropriate and if SJ gives up Norris then MTL has to take ward or Hansen to clear cap space.

        Just my thoughts.

        I’d imagine MLT would be better taking Martin & Meier for Patches directly.

      • I am sure they would take Ward and Martin if they get a 1st, Meier AND Norris

    • jshark go back to bed and finish your dream

  13. Please dont trade any good players,