I was a little surprised this morning when we started discussing value payments to Los Angeles for Kyle Clifford. The Kings are led by an exceptionally smart General Manager and are extremely unlikely to trade Clifford for something less than full value.
It started me thinking about value, and what GMs are going to be asking from the Oilers in future. Edmonton is in full ‘add’ mode now, there’s no turning back–that means the days of stockpiling prospects with no one going the other way are gone, gone gone.
This summer, Craig MacTavish traded the following prospects/picks:
- Magnus Paajarvi
- 2nd round pick (37th overall) in the 2013 Entry draft
- 2nd round pick in the 2014 Entry Draft
- Defenseman Kyle Bigos
That’s some pretty big value dealt away. Paajarvi could play another 15 years in the NHL as a quality 2-way player, the 37th pick was spent on Valentin Zykov and he could be a very productive player for a long time too. The 2014 pick has slightly less value but remains a big item and Bigos is a fringe prospect.
WHAT ISN’T AVAILABLE?
Let’s start with a list of ‘untouchable’ players, guys who are not going anywhere. This list would include Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov and Sam Gagner among the forwards, and it’s probably reasonable to suggest David Perron, Boyd Gordon and Jesse Joensuu aren’t going anywhere this season. On defense, Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Ladislav Smid and Andrew Ference would probably be considered safe bets to stay. Beyond that, I think Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Smyth aren’t likely to be dealt for one reason or another.
The rest of the NHL depth chart–Ryan Jones, Anton Belov, Denis Grebeshkov, Corey Potter, Nick Schultz, etc, they’re probably available and some may be waiver available later this year. However, those players are unlikely to bring back value (Belov and Schultz possibly being exceptions) when the Oilers look to add NHL players to the roster. Veteran defensemen like Nick Schultz always have value at the deadline, but usually go for a 2nd or 3rd round choice.
THE COST OF CLIFFORD
If the Oilers are going to acquire a useful piece for their current team, and a piece who will be part of the club long term, some of those prospects are going to be going. And you know NHL teams want the ‘close to ready’ edition because there’s less guessing if they’ve been productive in the AHL. My summer top 30 (here) has only two untouchables from my point of view–Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom. Beyond that, any and all of the top 30 is a trade asset in a possible Clifford deal. Here are my 5 most likely trade pieces to be sent away for Clifford or similar.
- D Martin Marincin: He’s young, big and mobile, plus he has an AHL season under his belt. In that year, he flourished early, struggled badly and then regained himself posting impressive numbers (69, 7-23-30 in OKC). Los Angeles needs another defensive prospect like a hold in the head, but the Carolina Hurricanes could use Marincin rfn, and the Oilers/Kings/Hurricanes were once involved in a deadline three-way–it could happen again.
- C Anton Lander: Lander is a young, fairly inexpensive center with some NHL experience and defensive acumen. I think a coach like Darryl Sutter might be able to find Lander to be a useful player and if he does work out that’s a player who can hang around for a decade.
- 2nd rd pick in 2015: Clifford’s worth a 2nd and maybe a little more, but I bet if the Oilers had a 2nd rd pick in 2014 that would be the price. The 2015 pick will be less attractive because the Oilers will be better.
- L Teemu Hartikainen and D Dillon Simpson: Hartikainen might be an ideal fit, the Kings get a useful asset they don’t have to find a roster spot for until next summer (one assumes Harski’s agent got him a window in that 2-year deal); Simpson might be a little strong as an addition, but he’s unsigned and there’s some risk there because of it.
(photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).