As the trade deadline approached in 2011, Peter Chiarelli was on the lookout for veteran help. He wanted a two-way forward with enough utility to play special teams, win faceoffs and chip in a little offensively. Boston also needed a power-play quarterback and the back of the defensive depth chart was leaking. Further, the Bruins needed someone to ignite the offense and get the bottom 6F’s headed in a good direction.
- On February 15, two weeks before the deadline, he dealt his 2011 second-round pick to the Ottawa Senators for C-L Chris Kelly. Kelly was 30 at that time and had been playing well in Ottawa. The pick ended up being Shane Prince.
- On February 18, Chiarelli traded PF Blake Wheeler and defender Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for F Rich Peverley and D Boris Valabik. It was a stunning trade, Wheeler was a productive player whose only crime was a subpar offensive season.
- On February 18, Boston dealt Joe Colborne, their 2011 first-round pick (Rickard Rakell) and a conditional 2012 pick (second round, Mike Winther) to the Toronto Maple Leafs for D Tomas Kaberle.
- On February 26, Boston signed D Shane Hnidy. He had been recovering from rotator cuff surgery, one of the reasons for such a late signing.
- On February 28, the club dealt the rights to Mikko Lehtonen and D Jeff Penner to the Minnesota Wild for G Anton Khudobin.
Boston won the Stanley. Peter Chiarelli gave up an enormous amount of talent in acquiring very specific things. The first-round pick and two seconds could not help him win the 2011 Stanley, Wheeler had been in a long slump, Joe Colborne wasn’t enough. Chiarelli dropped gigantic amounts of gold, Boston won the Stanley.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE MONEY
The Edmonton Oilers have money and will have enough to add a substantial piece in the days after signing Leon Draisaitl. Chiarelli is in good shape for an offer sheet for Leon and could come out of that negotiation with $5 million+ to spend on a player(s) before opening night.
- I would like to see an additional RHD (Cody Franson), a C-L who can slide in to replace Benoit Pouliot and offer insurance against Ryan Strome struggling. If that player can kill penalties, it will be encouraging.
- If we apply the lessons learned above from the 2011 deadline, the roster is going to get a haircut at the deadline. Players moving out might be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Anton Slepyshev and Mark Fayne, depending on who performs well.
- I think the Oilers will hold on to Jesse Puljujarvi and the 2018 first-round pick but you never know. Beyond that, if PC thinks he can win the Cup, expect major moves. I can’t see any other reason why Edmonton would hold back their water today and wait for another time.
- The only way to avoid it? I would think Puljujarvi, Slepyshev and Caggiula emerging as 15-goal options would be enough. If you assume the top line (as above) is likely to score 82 goals (the trio delivered 86 last year), then the 2 and 3 lines would need to produce 96 goals (92 a year ago) to approach last year’s total.
- Can Lucic-Nuge-Slepyshev score 50? Can Caggiula-Strome-Puljujarvi? I think we’ll see a trade at the deadline if Edmonton continues to ignore the lack of proven offense on the wings.
- Don’t sleep on Kailer Yamamoto. I think there’s a chance he makes this team, at least for the first nine games. If I’m right about his offense being superior to Jesse Puljujarvi’s, then a look in pre-season may allow Yamamoto the chance to showcase his skills. I am not arguing in favor (or against) but do believe it’s a real possibility.
BILLY MOORES CUP
You can’t tell much from a highlight reel, but the Oilers most recent draft was impressive in Jasper last night in the Billy Moores Cup. Stuart Skinner drew good reviews, Kirill Maksimov showed good hands in scoring a hat-trick, and both Kailer Yamamoto and Ostap Safin scored twice. Encouraging results for an organization that is in dire need of scoring wingers.
The arbitration process this summer is a little off. Leon Draisaitl’s contract negotiations could stretch out to August and beyond, Joey Laleggia filed and Dillon Simpson did not file. Bogdan Yakimov is not a roster player, although Edmonton retains his rights. I have both minor leaguers as early callup options for 2017-18, still a little nonplussed about the Laleggia filing.
WHAT ABOUT NEXT YEAR’S FREE AGENTS?
A lot of talk about cap hell coming next year for Peter Chiarelli but I don’t see it that way. This season will be a lot about moving parts and next summer probably brings some goodbyes. Let’s have a look at the projected free agents.
- Patrick Maroon, UFA. I think it’ll be a quick negotiation either way. If Maroon scores 27 again, he will have earned a handsome raise. Suspect Edmonton will make an offer well below market value and Maroon will sign elsewhere. This is going to be a theme among McDavid wingers for the next decade.
- Mark Letestu, UFA. He was the No. 2 playoff scorer this spring and brings lots of utility. He is also 32, so PC will need to be aware of erosion. Suspect Letestu gets a two-year deal.
- Mark Fayne, UFA. He will not receive an offer.
- Matt Benning, RFA. Too soon to know, but he may emerge as the most valuable signing next summer. Could $4 million times five get it done? If he repeats his rookie season, getting a long-term deal in place will be a big priority. Has a chance to become the new Dan Boyle in Todd McLellan’s scheme.
- Darnell Nurse, RFA. A lock to sign long term, the question here is cap. I’ve heard intelligent people suggest $2.5 million times whatever, but doubt that gets it done. This may end up being the most interesting negotiation of the year.
- Ryan Strome, RFA. If he delivers a strong season, Strome gets signed long-term next summer. The cap hit will probably be mid-level ($4 million?) but he has a chance to be part of the cluster if things break right.
- Anton Slepyshev, RFA. Anything could happen here, from a trade to long-term deal. Slepyshev is in a good spot but will need to deliver quickly, as the organization will be more patient with Jesse Puljujarvi.
- Drake Caggiula, RFA. A Chiarelli signing, I expect the second contract gets signed quickly and without fanfare. He plays a physical style and may cash more in year two (had tons of chances). Outside chance he emerges as 97’s scoring winger, hopefully they sign him before that happens.
- Laurent Brossoit, RFA. His current season will tell us a lot and the range of possibilities is large. He could get a multi-year deal or lose the backup job, or could get thrust into a starting role due to injury. Could also lose ground due to the emergence of another goalie in the system.
- Iiro Pakarinen, RFA. A fringe winger, tough to say how things roll out. Pitlick’s exit gets him in a better spot to make the team and he does have some scoring ability. If he plays well in a support role, expect the Oilers to bring him back again.
THOUGHTS ON MCDAVID
Yesterday’s signing means the Edmonton Oilers will be Stanley Cup contenders from now through the middle of the 2020’s, possibly beyond. Important to make good personnel decisions and be strong in procurement, but 97’s presence gives the Oilers a fantastic edge. Yesterday’s news was a massive step for an organization trying to go from perennial loser to Stanley Cup champion. No negotiation this century could have had the same impact.
Speeds over at The Hockey Symposium has a post up that mentions the McDavid contract but focuses on the anticipated deal for Leon Draisaitl. Well worth the read (the first of three by speeds).
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning with plenty of Oilers chatter. We get underway at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. McDavid contract, what happens if Yamamoto shoots the moon in training camp?
- Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report. Scouting reports on Brian Ferlin (former Bruins prospect) as well as recent draft picks Skyler Brind’Amour and Phillip Kemp.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. CFL Week Three, McDavid deal and what it means to the Oilers, plus the impact on men like Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. 90 minutes from now!