This morning, you can make a strong case for the Edmonton Oilers acquiring three players for 2013-14: Braydon Coburn, Cal Clutterbuck and Valeri Nichushkin. It appears all three men are within the grasp of the Oilers this morning. This article has the Oilers dealing for Coburn, with the pricetag being #37 overall and a prospect like Martin Gernat or Joey Laleggia. That’s certainly a fair price for a defender who could reasonably be slotted into the Oilers top 4D. Coburn’s fancy stats last season were a nightmare, but as Jonathan Willis wrote earlier in the week this past season is out of time with Coburn’s career.
- Willis: Coburn is likely vulnerable after a poor season. He fell to a career-low minus-10 rating, went from 24 points in 81 games to five in 33, and saw took 18 minor penalties in an abbreviated season after taking only 22 in 81 games the year prior. Some of the problems were illusory – his on-ice save percentage (something he can’t control) was a miserable 0.888 5-on-5. His on-ice shooting percentage was also remarkably low, meaning the Flyers struggled to score on shots with him on the ice (again, something likely outside his control). At age 28, with lots of problems happening with him on the ice that aren’t necessarily his fault, and with a long track record of strong play, Coburn’s in the sweet spot where a new team can plausibly look at him as a strong rebound candidate and an old team could see him as expendable.It would be unsurprising in the least if the Oilers and Flyers were talking about the possibility of a trade.
The Clutterbuck deal (for Tyler Pitlick plus) has been out there for some time. It makes sense in that the Oilers wanted to add some toughness to the 3line and certainly Clutterbuck can do that (along with chipping in a few goals and playing the disturber role).
If the Oilers can grab Clutterbuck and Coburn without giving up roster players–better to trade 2nd rounders than Magnus Paajarvi–the depth chart might look like this after the draft:
- Smid-J Schultz
- N Schultz-Potter
Oilers would be down at least one pick, but if they’d like to trade back in the club has Horcoff, Hemsky and perhaps Nick Schultz to offer. These are not the names I would have chosen (Coburn, Clutterbuck) but they do fit with the plan and one can see creative thinking in both moves. I especially like MacT’s avoidance of dealing any of the kids on the roster or close to helping (a range that would include names like Paajarvi, Marincin and Klefbom).
- Sign Sam Gagner to a multi-year deal that has begins with a number in the 4′s.
- Get Paajarvi signed and then find a role that suits him (suspect it’s 3line).
- Deal Hemsky for immediate help (even if its a checker).
- Deal Horcoff or slot him into the 3line job for which he is actually ideal.
- Find a 2line L who can complement Gagner-Yakupov with puck retrieval, blocking out the sun, etc
- Find a 3line C to play with Paajarvi
Find a 2line R to play with Paajarvi(Clutterbuck)
- Find a 4line C to play with Smyth/Brown
- Decide on Lander/Belanger or other for 13F (and 14F if they go with 7D).
Top 4 defender (a genuinely effective one, no ‘almosts or sortas’)(Coburn)
- Better blue depth (MacT has done this with Belov, plus Klefbom/Fedun/Marincin)
- Backup goalie
- AHL #1/NHL #3 goalie
- Sign Paul Ranger
The downside to all of this? Oilers may not have much to do after the first round at this year’s draft. Still, if they can use draft picks and prospects (Pitlick, Gernat, Laleggia) to address needs at the NHL level, that’s a very good day.
A week ago, Bob McKenzie tweeted that Roberto Luongo would no longer be a Canuck by the end of the draft. Yesterday he said this:
- McKenzie: “Keep an eye on the Edmonton Oilers, I’m not saying they’re trying to trade for Roberto Luongo but I do know they’ve had interest in Luongo before. He has a no trade clause, but if he’s on waivers, I’ve got to believe the Oilers are looking for a number one goaltender.”
Aside from ‘ballsy’ I’d view the move as running counter to the club’s cap interests. Although the ceiling is going to be higher in 2014 summer, that $5M is on the books forever and then some. What is MacT thinking? Clearly, he wants a starting goaltender not named Devan Dubnyk–there’s no other way to spin it should this come to pass.
I still believe the Oilers would like to take a center, and should they end up trading a second round pick the club is more likely to deal down in the first round to pick up an extra selection. If they stay at 7, and the centers we know they value are gone (MacKinnon, Horvat, Monahan) I think it’ll be Nichushkin. He can come into camp, push for a 2line job and then either spend the season in OKC or the KHL if he’s unready. Getting the young man signed will be the key. If they deal down, Horvat or Lazar will be the target.