Do you ever wonder where trade rumors come from? We can never be sure, but we can make educated guesses. As an example, when you see a flood of rumors, as we did yesterday, seems more likely management or someone from the team was sending out semaphore signals. It was a large group of names for one day (Matt Benning, Anton Slepyshev, Jussi Jokinen) added to the weekend news that Ryan Strome could be had for the right price. Doubt this came from multiple sources (agents, other teams), my guess is Edmonton leaked for several reasons (motivation? stir up interest? Let the fan base know action was being contemplated?).
Based on the list published in the last few days, the most valuable piece out there is Matt Benning. Despite early struggles this season, Benning has real value. He is a righty, can move the puck and is mobile. Plays a rugged game and defends well if sometimes betraying his inexperience.
- Mark Spector: There is no evidence that the Oilers are shopping Benning, but the sense would be that Chiarelli has targeted other young defenceman and as such, Benning becomes the ask. Source
I wonder if the team is looking for a more dynamic defender, like Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche. Beyond that, I’m uncertain what might be gained in dealing a reasonably priced player like Benning. I will confess bias in this case, for me the youngster was a Godsend and really helps the lefty-righty axis. Either way, if the names being dropped represent the entire pool, Benning’s the man headed out of town. On a team short of value contracts, this looks like a bad idea.
OILERS ROSTER AND CAP
Plenty of talk lately about calling up Jesse Puljujarvi and I’m on board for sure. One of the reasons to wait involves the cap. Trading out (say) Kailer Yamamoto for JP doesn’t change much in salary, but adds $2.5 million in possible bonus cap. Eventually much of these cap bonus issues will burn off, but even if we include only Connor McDavid and assume $500,000 total for the rest of the group, it’s $3 million in cap hit. That would put actual cap room number at $5,653,300. Still we hear about $8 million.
Why is it important? Let’s say the Oilers are talking to the Avalanche about Tyson Barrie. His cap hit ($5.5 million) is basically the amount of cap room available if McDavid reaches max and the rest of the bonuses cash in $500,000. This also includes keeping Jesse Puljujarvi in the minors until all bonuses have been extinguished. Matt Benning’s salary ($925,000) would be your cap room. Depending on ask, trading for Chris Kreider ($4,625,000 cap number) would be a little more comfortable.
A reminder: When you read someone saying “the Oilers have $8 million in cap room!” today, you’ll know they are framing issues. Important to be factual, I believe.
LINES AND PAIRINGS FROM PRACTICE
- Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Leon Draisaitl
- Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Kailer Yamamoto
- Drake Caggiula—Ryan Strome—Anton Slepyshev
- Iiro Pakarinen—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
- Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
- Oscar Klefbom—Matt Benning
- Yohann Auvitu—Kris Russell
- Cam Talbot (Laurent Brossoit)
Every day in the comments section I read about Todd McLellan needing to move Leon Draisaitl to center and with each new shuffle Leon remains on RW. The coach is comfortable running power v. power, so maybe things change with a Chris Kreider trade but I don’t think so.
As for the other changes, maybe this gets Anton Slepyshev going a little. I like the player, that training camp injury really bit him in the ass and he could be in a new town soon. One of the things these rumors tell us is that PC is interested in offloading someone, possibly to sign Chris Kelly. With that in mind, good moment to mention Jujhar Khaira also outside the four lines yesterday (along with Jussi Jokinen).
Anton Slepyshev has a nice range of skills. He has size, skill and speed, plus he boasts a heavy shot. I’m not convinced he’ll be a 20-goal man annually but there are elements in his game that suggest he has a chance to become one. Here were my projections during the RE series for Edmonton’s RW:
- Leon Draisaitl 79gp, 26-58-84
- Anton Slepyshev 70gp,12-13-25
- Jesse Puljujarvi 65gp, 14-14-28
- Zack Kassian 74gp, 11-14-25
- Iiro Pakarinen 10gp, 1-1-2
That absolutely conveyed the uncertainty of summer, simply no way to correctly suss out what was to come (Kailer Yamamoto). As it stands, including Yamamoto, the Oilers RW boxcars total 11 points. The projections above would have this group posting 20 points after 10 games. It’s been a tragic start to the season.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy day on the radio (snow day!), 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. What does Jon think of McLellan’s new lines? The trade rumors?
- Corey Graham, TSN1260. Oil Kings are off to an interesting start.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. World Series, Oilers, Habs, Leafs, CFL playoff picture.
- Simon Boisvert, Prospect Insider. Who among the Oilers young RWers has the most offensive potential?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!