On the day the Edmonton Oilers signed Milan Lucic, it wasn’t at all clear the move improved the team. In a post called Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats, I wrote:
- The Edmonton Oilers are a far different team than they were a year ago, but are they better? The team has more balance—and that is a good thing—but suggesting this team is closer to the playoffs is a tricky case to make. I like Milan Lucic and Adam Larsson, but the Oilers lost Taylor Hall and $4 million in cap room to make this happen. What’s more, the team now has (just) one forward who can push the river, and a plethora of well paid complementary (but effective) offensive wingers and pivots. Put another way, the thing that always made the Chicago Blackhawks special—Patrick Kane on one line and Marian Hossa on another—no longer applies (to the Oilers). It is a real concern.
Two years later, we are here. One thing that may be happening—and it benefits the Oilers—is a ‘fame aided’ exit by Lucic that may not require a nuclear sweetener. Music! And probably impossible.
Give The Athletic as a gift for Father’s Day and get a free t-shirt! Offer is here, less than $5 a month and your Dad will love a unique gift. I find myself reading both the hockey (Willis, Dellow, Pronman, et cetera) and the baseball coverage a lot, it’s compelling reading and a pure pleasure to visit. I’ll be running draft articles for my contribution to The Athletic now through next weekend, come aboard!
- New Lowetide: In search of the new Pisani (will link)
- New Lowetide: Oilers coveted righty defenceman could come in Round Two of the draft
- Tyler Dellow: Milan Lucic’s transition into rush player wiped out much production
- Lowetide: Shopping Milan Lucic for another problem contract.
- Tyler Dellow: The value of draft picks and reasonable trades Canadian teams can make
- Corey Pronman: 2018 NHL draft board.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the USHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers at the draft: Overagers.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers scouting directors: A history.
TODAY’S LUCIC UPDATE
— Tyler Max (@akaRCN) June 13, 2018
Elliotte Friedman talked about Lucic and his situation on a Vancouver radio station yesterday. There’s an account of his interview here, and more teams to talk about (Vancouver, Dallas, Florida) based on the Friedman blue sky. What’s coming back? In yesterday’s comments section I was asked about acceptable deals, so have cobbled together a few ideas. My opinion only, I don’t expect any of these to get done as written.
- Dallas Stars: Jason Spezza ($7.5M times one) for Milan Lucic ($6M times five) with $2M a year retained. Another contract that can’t be bought out, but it is for only one year. I’m not a fan of retaining money, but this gives Edmonton four summers of $4 million in extra cap. while adding $3.5M to the cap for the coming season. Blech.
- Florida Panthers: Jamie McGinn ($3.33M) for Milan Lucic ($6 million times five) and maybe the Oilers retain $2 million a year for the remainder of the contract.
- Los Angeles Kings: Dion Phaneuf ($5.25M times three) and No. 20 for Milan Lucic ($6M times five) and No. 12. Phaneuf’s deal is also impossible to buy out but the contract has just three years remaining.
- NY Rangers: Marc Staal ($5.7M times three) for Milan Lucic ($6 million times five) gives the Oilers freedom two years early. Staal is a limited player for this era.
- Vancouver Canucks: Loui Eriksson ($6M times four) for Milan Lucic ($6 million times five) gives the Oilers a player with more utility (he can play in all three disciplines) and offensive ability (despite last year’s poor totals). He is older, Edmonton gets out from under a year earlier.
I’m not thrilled with any of these, but would find the Florida and Vancouver deals acceptable. If Peter Chiarelli can do better, using the Lucic Fame Modulator, credit will be due. I still think it’s Everest to make a trade that doesn’t cost an extra asset.
CHIARELLI’S NEEDS LIST
- A scoring winger capable of sliding up and down the depth chart as required (Rattie insurance and a finisher for Leon’s line).
- A two-way winger who can provide veteran presence on the third line.
- A second-pairing defender (patience may require this solution arrives later).
- A backup goalie (Mikko Noskinen).
OILERS ASSETS LIST
- Milan Lucic. Moves up to No. 1 from ninth in a quick hurry.
- Zack Kassian. He’s likely in a few conversations.
- Oscar Klefbom. The OEL signing has him moving down my list (from No. 1).
- No. 10 overall. There will be a good player there, EDM is still building.
- Jesse Puljujarvi. He’s vulnerable, suspect they’ll regret dealing the big man.
- Ryan Strome. Oilers may want to reset that third line.
- Andrej Sekera. Injury unknown likely keeps him here.
- Kris Russell. NMC probably keeps him here.
The first player buyout window is now officially set to open exactly one week from now (June 15th at 12:01am). pic.twitter.com/BlLSE0gFju
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 8, 2018
The Kris Russell buyout is the most palatable (here, via CapFriendly) but it is doubtful Edmonton uses the option this summer. It will be interesting to see who gets bought out, hopefully it will increase the free-agent pool greatly.
If the Oilers can deal Lucic without taking back a big salary, what might they pursue in free agency? I’ve always thought James Neal was the target, maybe JvR? I keep looking for any signing news on Alexander Barabanov, who was mentioned by Elliotte Friedman in late May. He’s 23, is a good skater with a quick release and was strong at the World Hockey Championships.
I will do my own mock next week.
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 12, 2018
We’re into the good stuff now, McKenzie has his list out Monday and Pronman will have his mock sometime next week. I’ll have a lot of draft coverage on the Lowdown next week, The Athletic this and next week and the usual rambling here.