Peter Chiarelli is active at the trade deadline each year and should be again this time. Among the holes that need filling: a scoring RW (or a veteran C who will allow Leon to move to RW for the rest of the year); a veteran RH option for the power play; and a backup goalie.
PC is somewhat similar to Glen Sather in that he is willing to risk losing a deal in an effort to hurry progress overall. That has gotten him into a lot of trouble with Oilers fans, and we may be reaching the point where the general manager no longer feels risky deals are necessary. My guess is that we are not quite there, but we will see.
CHIARELLI RECENT DEADLINE DEALS
- March 2, 2015: Traded second-round picks that turned into Matt Spencer (2015) and Boris Katchouk (2016) for RW Brett Connolly.
- March 2, 2015: Traded C Jordan Caron and sixth-round selection used on Oscar Steen to Colorado Avalanche for C Maxime Talbot and LW Paul Carey.
- February 24, 2016: Dealt the rights to RHD Phil Larsen to Vancouver Canucks for 2017 fifth-round selection.
- February 27, 2016: Traded RHD Justin Schultz to the Pittsburgh Penguins for third-round selection used on RHD Filip Berglund.
- February 27, 2016: Traded RW Teddy Purcell to Florida Panthers for third-round pick that turned into LHD Matthew Cairns.
- February 27, 2016: Traded G Anders Nilsson to the St. Louis Blues for G Nicklas Lundstrom and the fifth-round selection used on LW Graham McPhee.
- February 29, 2016: Acquired LW Patrick Maroon from the Anaheim Ducks for LHD Martin Gernat and the pick that was used on LW Jack Kopacka.
There are some trends here, and I want to spend a couple of minutes discussing them.
- At the deadline, Chiarelli trades for draft picks or NHL players who can help him immediately and into the future. Patrick Maroon fits that description, but so did Brett Connolly and Maxime Talbot.
- He is very active. I actually left out a minor one by Boston (Jared Knight for Zack Phillips), so he has averaged four trades per deadline over the previous two seasons.
- He is absolutely a gambler. The Connolly trade was a risk, the Maroon trade carried risk. It may not look risky now, but Maroon went 42gp, 1-6-7 before the All-Star break one year ago—he scored just four goals in 56 games during 2015-16 before getting dealt to Edmonton. This was not a clear cut value. In this way, Chiarelli’s deadline deals remind me of Glen Sather in his time as Oilers GM. Less worried about specific deals, more concerned with getting better now. Chiarelli does not remind me of Slats in terms of success, so far anyway.
WHO IS OUT THERE?
We have three specific areas (scorer up front, C or R, preferably a righty to help on the PP who could also be a RHD, and a goalie) but let’s open this thing all the way up and see what happens. Again, we are looking for another Maroon—NHLer who is perhaps feeling a chill from current usage in another NHL city. Here are 20 for the Oilers.
- Anaheim Ducks: LHD Shea Theodore has been challenged under Randy Carlyle and is minus 5 in his last five games. Not that it means a lot, but you get the feeling he might be available, depending on the offer.
- Arizona Coyotes: C Martin Hanzal is coming up on free agency, but I think Chiarelli would look long and hard at this player—with an eye to re-signing him. Hanzal at center allows Leon to move up, and if necessary to move out RNH. Probably cost the first rounder plus plus, probably doesn’t happen. We are dealing with a gambler in the GMs chair, though.
- Arizona Coyotes: R Radim Vrbata is also a rental, but he would be a perfect fit for Edmonton this season. In 37 games, he has 113 shots. Excellent match for the Oilers.
- Boston Bruins: C-L Ryan Spooner is coming on now, but there was a time not long ago when his name appeared on several rumor sites of note. More winger than center, he has actual skill and could be a useful addition.
- Buffalo Sabres: G Anders Nilsson. You think I am fooling, but he makes the list on merit. Owns a .946 SP at even strength. Hole-eee.
- Chicago Blackhawks: C Marcus Kruger. He is 51.0 in the dot, 20 points in a full season, good checker, 3.083 cap, injured right now. Not ideal for the Oilers, and expensive in price, could be value if the acquisition cost isn’t too high.
- Colorado Avalanche: C Matt Duchene has a $6M cap and would take a village to acquire, but hell boys he might be worth it. Fantastic player.
- Colorado Avalanche: RHD Tyson Barrie is actually playing more, not less, but has been disappointing so far this season. Edmonton might be able to pry him out of Denver, but a substantial defender—or two—would have to be going the other way. Fits the risk definition perfectly.
- Columbus Blue Jackets: C Boone Jenner is not scoring (6 goals, 11 points) this season but the CBJ are winning everything and scoring at will on the power play, so who cares? Jenner would be a fine third-line option for Edmonton should he be available. More likely an offseason option, but thought I would mention him here.
- Detroit Red Wings: RHD Ryan Sproul can help (18gp, 1-5-6) but the Red Wings are not playing him enough (15:57). He has a goal and an assist in 46 minutes on the power play this year, but Detroit has Mike Green. This guy might be able to help.
- Florida Panthers: RC Nick Bjugstad is absolutely a wheelhouse player for Peter Chiarelli based on his own established past. He is just 19gp, 1-1-2 this year, well off the pace of a year ago and that was a ways off the pace of past seasons. Lordy. No idea on the price.
- New Jersey Devils: LHD Yohann Auvitu. I know many don’t evaluate defenders in the same way as me, but my numbers like this fellow plenty. What’s more, I don’t think the Devils value him that much based on handling. Real nice player. Honest.
- Ottawa Senators: R Bobby Ryan. All kinds of issues here, including a massive contract ($7.25M through 2022) and middling results (32gp, 7-7-14). For me, at 6.02, 209, Ryan fits (a little) the Nathan Horton description for a Chiarelli team. Would need to send Nuge or Eberle over imo.
- Ottawa Senators: G Mike Condon. The Sens have a bunch of pro goalers, but they might keep this one long term. Worth asking about.
- Philadelphia Flyers: R Matt Read is making big coin ($3.625M for this and next season) while shooting and scoring less this year. Edmonton could probably acquire him for less than 100 cents on the dollar and he could help on RW.
- Philadelphia Flyers: R Dale Weise signed a handsome contract with the Flyers coming off a career year, and now has two goals. It is the Flyers problem until they trade him, and a rugged winger who is 28 and scored 14 goals in a recent season is going to be on PCs list somewhere.
- Philadelphia Flyers: LHD Mark Streit is injured, projected to be back some time this month. Strictly a rental, suspect he could help the power play.
- Philadelphia Flyers: G Michal Neuvirth. I know his numbers look terrible, and he is hurt, but he can tend goal. Flyers’ Stolarz is emerging, may get a bargain.
- Toronto Maple Leafs: L James VanRiemsdyk is a bigger winger with skill, certainly has been in the rumor mill from time to time this year. No idea of price, but he would be a help this season and beyond for Edmonton.
- Winnipeg Jets: R Drew Stafford is having a putrid season, and makes a lot of coin. That said, he is 31 and should have lots of miles left. What is wrong with him?
Some of these options may be no better than players on the roster, as a for instance Matt Benning looks pretty damned good so maybe Sproul or Streit are unnecessary. Also, maybe Laurent Brossoit is the guy who will settle the backup goalie situation between now and the deadline.
If I had to choose one player on this list for Chiarelli to target? Vrbata. I know he is a rental, but this team needs a shooter. You?