I believe we can see enough of summer to draw some conclusions. Each offseason takes time to make itself known, but we usually get some kind of indication a couple of weeks out. Last year, we didn’t get the full photo in color until June 23:
I have written several times this spring about the possibility of the Oilers trading Taylor Hall. The reaction from some of you has been swift and negative, and I understand that feeling—trading him makes little sense to me. I began the spring thinking that Hall for Subban would satisfy the asset value, but begin summer thinking only Hampus Lindholm (and his lower cap hit) represents fair value.
The Milan Lucic news from yesterday (in my opinion) puts Edmonton on a collision course with a mammoth contract for the former Bruins winger. There are ways around dealing Hall—Benoit Pouliot could be dealt—but let’s get real the likely move is Hall for a RHD.
Since the moment we found out Connor McDavid would be an Oiler, the mind struggled to find superlatives for this stunning forward group. The two men have had one season—less, really—and it looks as though No. 4 will be cashed for blue.
There is more than one way to win—Whitey Herzog and Earl Weaver taught me that 35 years ago—but the Gary Carter trade taught me trading Taylor Hall is not a winning notion.
We wait. Source
WHAT ABOUT THIS YEAR?
The theme of this summer (in my opinion) will be the second pairing. Part of it comes from the Andrej Sekera injury (ugh) and part of it comes from the polarizing issue that is Kris Russell. When the SCF ends, and that could be tonight, we may see a transaction surrounding Jordan Eberle being dealt for a defenseman. I’ll name Travis Hamonic, Alex Petrovic, Matt Dumba and Tyson Barrie based on Frank Seravalli’s latest trade bait list.
I think the Eberle shopping may not be enough, and suspect that’s what happened a year ago. Peter Chiarelli may have to adjust his sights, perhaps making Ryan Nugent-Hopkins available or making a decision to acquire a less prominent option on defense.
It doesn’t sound sexy, but Jordan Eberle has value to this Edmonton Oilers team and trading him for something less than a quality option makes no sense. We may see Peter Chiarelli sign Kris Russell, move Matt Benning up to the second pairing, followed by a free-agent addition in the Cody Franson end of the free-agent pool.
CURRENT TRADE ASSETS OUT
- Jordan Eberle
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Jesse Puljujarvi
- No. 22 overall
- Caleb Jones
- 2018 first-round selection
- Anton Slepyshev
- Jujhar Khaira
- Ethan Bear
- Griffin Reinhart
What we have to ask ourselves is this: How many of these names could serve as substantial payment for a player like Travis Hamonic or Alex Petrovic? A year ago, Peter Chiarelli identified Milan Lucic as a suitable replacement for Taylor Hall before making a trade. One wrinkle we can look at now to possibly inform the future is that target list.
TARGETS, FORWARDS (MODIFIED)
- LC Martin Hanzal FREE AGENT (71gp, 20-19-39). Has to be high priority.
- RC Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning. RFA 2017. 56 points per 82 games.
- C-R Ryan Strome, NY Islanders (69gp, 13-17-30). Rumors.
- R Sam Gagner FREE AGENT (81gp, 18-32-50). PP savant.
- R Justin Williams FREE AGENT (80gp, 24-24-48). Luxury.
- LC Nick Bonino FREE AGENT (80gp, 18-19-37). Two-way C.
- R Radim Vrbata FREE AGENT (81gp, 20-35-55). Scorer.
- R-L Thomas Vanek FREE AGENT (68gp, 17-31-48). Offensive option.
- R T.J. Oshie FREE AGENT (68gp, 33-23-56). Not affordable.
- R Brett Connolly FREE AGENT (66gp, 15-8-23). Inexpensive scoring on RW.
- R Patrick Eaves FREE AGENT (79gp, 32-19-51). Volume shooter!
- RC Derek Ryan FREE AGENT (67gp, 11-18-29). Fine utility player.
- L Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres (70gp, 28-15-43). Buy low power forward.
- RC Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers. Averages 46 points per 82gp.
- LC Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche. Please please please Baby Jesus.
- LC Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis Blues. Signed to a nifty $3.5 million times two.
- L Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey. Splendid KHL season, he’s coming back.
- R Brett Ritchie, Dallas Stars (78gp, 16-8-24). Shoots the puck a lot.
- RC Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. UFA 2023. Would cost the moon.
- R Jaromir Jagr FREE AGENT (82gp, 16-30-46). Now 70, still going.
- R Kris Versteeg FREE AGENT (69gp, 15-22-37). What he brings has value.
- R Ales Hemsky FREE AGENT (15gp, 4-3-7). Still brilliantly creative.
- LC Dominic Moore FREE AGENT (82gp, 11-14-25). PK and FO option.
- R Drew Stafford FREE AGENT (58gp, 8-13-21). Chiarelli type.
- LC Brian Boyle FREE AGENT (75gp, 13-12-25). He is on their list.
- R Jarome Iginla FREE AGENT (80gp, 14-13-27). He can still shoot the puck.
- L Patrick Sharp FREE AGENT. Depending on health and price.
- R Tyler Pitlick FREE AGENT (31gp, 8-3-11). Finally emerged, could return.
- R Jordan Weal FREE AGENT (23gp, 8-4-12). Eastern Pitlick.
I know it’s a long list and you’ve seen most of it before, but there could be clues here. If we get to the end of this month and it appears RNH is the ask for a RHD who can really help, then names like Martin Hanzal and Nick Bonino become more prominent. If Eberle is the man out, that might mean we see Edmonton pursue Thomas Vanek, Radim Vrbata or Sam Gagner. I have modified this list (and the one below) to reflect changing tides.
TARGETS, DEFENSE (MODIFIED)
- LD Kris Russell FREE AGENT. GM and coach like him, good chance he’ll return.
- RD Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. A rumored target.
- RD Alex Petrovic, Florida Panthers. Rugged D, good possession numbers.
- RD Mark Pysyk, Florida Panthers. Panthers young and emerging blue.
- RD Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. It would take the Nuge.
- RD Kevin Shattenkirk FREE AGENT (80gp, 13-43-56). One year at big coin?
- RD Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks. Talented, inconsistent.
- RD Cody Franson FREE AGENT. His fancy stats: Out of the blue and into the black.
- RD Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. Power play option, chaos in his game.
- RD Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks. A dream solution to 2RHD
- RD Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers. Duck killer, if acquired.
- RD Jason Demers, Florida Panthers. Veteran D visited Edmonton as UFA last summer.
- RD David Savard, Columbus. Rarely mentioned but an interesting option.
- LD Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets. Doesn’t seem a fit.
- RD Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. He had a poor year, but has talent.
- LD Brian Campbell FREE AGENT (80gp, 5-12-17). The man can still wheel.
- LD Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins. Played over 23 minutes a game this past season.
- RD Michael Stone FREE AGENT (64gp, 3-12-15). Last chance Texaco.
I’ve modified the list and will continue to do so as we begin to find out more about the decisions facing the team. The list is morphing from ‘wish list’ with top options at No. 1, to ‘target list’ and players most likely to be reasonable options are ranked higher.
CHIARELLI SUMMER LIST
- Negotiate the expansion draft rapids without giving up a valuable piece of the future. (Griffin Reinhart?)
- Find a way to trade Benoit Pouliot off the roster. (They may keep him)
- Find a second pairing D with two-way acumen. (Travis Hamonic)
- Find a stopgap measure to replace Andrej Sekera’s minutes until he returns. (Kris Russell)
- Find a C-R who can help the offense and cover off where Leon isn’t at the time and to replace Jordan Eberle if he’s dealt. (Radim Vrbata? Brett Connolly?)
- Make enough cap room to get everyone in under the number with enough room to spare for the trade deadline. (Eberle out would help depending on actual deal)