The games are scheduled and the auditions continue into April, but we are free to discuss the coming changes. A year ago, I listed possible trade assets—almost all are now gone—but this summer’s group is going to be more difficult to identify. Why?
We have chatted about this before, but the bottom line is this: Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli is going to have a list of players who are trade targets, and I imagine he will aggressively pursue those options. If and when he finds a player who satisfies the need and the asking price is agreeable, we will be looking at a deal.
POSSIBLE RIGHT-HANDED OPTIONS (A LIST)
- Alex Pietrangelo, STL (Unlikely)
- Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (Possibly)
- Brent Seabrook, CHI (Possibly)
- Kris Letang, PIT (Unlikely)
- Dougie Hamilton, CGY (Unlikely)
- Travis Hamonic, NYI (Yes)
- Sami Vatanen, ANA (Possibly)
This is my list (modified from an item at ON) and I also encourage you to read (suspect most have already been) Darcy McLeod’s excellent work at Because Oilers (and his list—names like Josh Manson, David Savard, Chris Tanev, and attractive free agents like Jason Demers).
Peter Chiarelli can acquire quality without trading any of the assets listed below—signing Jason Demers costs only money—but the top of my list is going to cost a pretty penny. I have been thinking about this list for awhile, because trading some of these names runs counter to the idea of building a strong team the correct way.
It would also be silly to ignore rumors that have been out there for many months—and from credible and established reporters:
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) January 15, 2016
You may not like it, but these things don’t happen in a vacuum. RNH’s name was out there in the winter time, and one suspects it could be out there again. Why do I believe this? Because the issue isn’t about what Peter Chiarelli wants to trade, it is about what he is willing to part with in order to address a massive need. We don’t know the point at which the pain of losing an asset intersects with the level of return being satisfactory, but we do know it exists, and that PC will be very aggressive in the summer.
Will it require an overpay? I believe it will. One of the key elements in a negotiation is indifference with regard to outcome. Peter Chiarelli is going to have a helluva time playing it cool this summer. Here’s the list.
- L Taylor Hall. I expect there is a very small list of defensemen out there who reach these heights. Hall is an outstanding offensive player and difference maker, who (despite his scoring slump in the second half of the season) remains one of the two true impact players on the roster. He has scored at .5-point-per-game since January 1, but history tells us that making decisions with small sample sizes leads to very poor results. Taylor Hall may be available, but the return would have to be earth-shattering.
- First-round selection, 2016. This could be Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi and one of Matthew Tkachuk, Jacob Chychrun and several other top quality prospects. For various reasons, this is the first asset I am somewhat comfortable in trading this summer. Peter Chiarelli may not shop the pick, my guess is that both Matthews and Laine hold enough value for Edmonton to merely take the pick and address need by using other assets.
- C Leon Draisaitl. Although trading Leon is next to impossible, if Hall is on the list then all bets (beyond McDavid) are off. Leon, since January 1, is 36gp, 9-8-17, and that isn’t going to get it done. Trading LD becomes possible (imo) if the Oilers draft No. 1 or 2 at the 2016 selection.
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Despite words by coach and GM, word and deed by management since fall suggests to me that the Nuge is in play. Any deal that involves him going out must also mean another C comes back in return, leading me to believe an RNH trade might be a blockbuster trade that sees both a center and a defender coming back. I think it very likely the Oilers lose a trade involving this player.
- R Jordan Eberle. Another terrific talent, Eberle scores 27.85 goals per 82 games in the NHL. Although he is the lesser of the $6 million men, he is a substantial asset and (as with the Nuge) replacing Eberle would be job one after the deal. None of the available men on the roster have shown themselves to be a suitable replacement on RW.
- D Oscar Klefbom. Injury issues may cloud his value, but (as with Hall) this is the summer when all the cards (save 97) may be on the table. Wonderful young player, if healthy.
- L Benoit Pouliot. I am undecided about his perceived value ($4 million second-line LW) but his actual value may be greater than his trade value. He is on the list because it only takes one team to value him highly—but I suspect he will be back in fall and am completely satisfied with the idea.
- D Andrej Sekera. Although he does have a limited no-trade, Sekera is part of the large group of LH blue, and trading him for a righty could be an option. Unlikely, and based on his season I would like to see him stay.
- D Brandon Davidson. A quality contract and a terrific early track record give him some extra value, but having said that, those things also make him an attractive player to keep.
- D Mark Fayne. His value may not be high (waived early in the year), but I wonder if there is a market after what has been a solid year (after his return). No idea what his market is.
- R Nail Yakupov. I have no idea what his trade value will be this summer, but the club is likely to deal away draft picks and support players, so he may well be sent away to replenish those areas. If Eberle is dealt, I believe that reduces the chances 10 is traded.
- D Griffin Reinhart. We are reaching the summer where a three-for-one is possible and GR could be part of that kind of package. He is one of many emerging LH D.
I imagine all of the picks are also available, and here they are:
- No. 3 overall
- No. 33 overall
- No. 63 overall
- No. 76 overall (Pittsburgh pick)
- No. 83 overall (Florida pick)
- No. 123 overall
- No. 148 overall (St. Louis pick)
- No. 153 overall
- No. 183 overall