My mother-in-law is Helen. She and her husband couldn’t have children of their own, so they adopted nine kids just to keep themselves busy. It’s an amazing story, I’ll tell you about it one day (including the day Helen stood and delivered to keep four girls together in a life and death meeting in Regina. One of those girls is my wife, Helen took on the church and the government to make sure those girls stayed together, in her home. After she won that battle, she walked to her car and told her husband about the four new kids coming to their house to live forever). Helen makes the best rhubarb pie on earth. No one knows the exact recipe but a mountain of Rogers sugar is involved and I’m here to tell you every grain is worth it.
The Edmonton Oilers may be looking to trade Milan Lucic this summer, with a sweetener thrown in. How many packages of Rogers sugar are involved? That is the question.
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- New Lowetide: Bakersfield Condors could be best Oilers AHL team in ages
- Lowetide: In search of value contracts for 2018-19
- Lowetide: Handicapping the race to win jobs on McDavid/Draisaitl wings
- Lowetide: Three prospects on the upswing after orientation camp, free agency
- Lowetide: Oilers grab Tobias Rieder in free agency
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers hopes rest on players already on the roster
- Lowetide: Frugal Oilers grab Kyle Brodziak in free agency
- Jonathan Willis: How will Oilers manage rich collection of goalie prospects?
- Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
- Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?
OILERS DRAFT TRENDS 2015-18
- OHL (26 percent)—Connor McDavid, Markus Niemelainen, Dylan Wells, Dmitri Samorukov, Kirill Maksimov, Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod
- USA (26 percent)—Caleb Jones, John Marino, Graham McPhee, Vincent Desharnais, Skyler Brind’Amour, Phillip Kemp, Michael Kesselring
- WHL (15 percent)—Ethan Bear, Tyler Benson, Kailer Yamamoto, Stuart Skinner
- Finland (11 percent)—Jesse Puljujarvu, Aapeli Rasanen, Patrik Siikanen
- Czech (7 percent)—Miroslav Svoboda, Ostap Safin
- Russia (4 percent)—Ziyat Paigin
- OJHL (4 percent)—Matthew Cairns
- Sweden (4 percent)—Filip Berglund
- QMJHL (4 percent)—Olivier Rodrigue
I like this alignment better, the Oilers are finally migrating away from the WHL as the main supplier of talent. The OHL has shown itself to be king for exactly one forever, and the USA is the big new market. Edmonton remains nervous about spending high picks with USA leagues but that will come in time. The OHL is providing Edmonton with a handsome future.
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) March 26, 2018
If you are trading Milan Lucic and have to add in a sweetener, there are a few items that have to be off limits. My list of ‘assets out’ that are not open for negotiation would include:
- RD Evan Bouchard. A big piece of the future.
- R Kailer Yamamoto. One of the great hopes among skill prospects.
- 2019 draft round pick.
That means the 2019 second-round selection, Ethan Bear, Kirill Maksimov, Caleb Jones, Cooper Marody, Tyler Benson and Phil Kemp might be the sweetener. For me, the appeal of dealing Lucic for a loss is gone, he’s a sunk cost until next summer. However, the extreme poison pill of the buyout might make a trade now worthwhile. I would not be in favor of a trade that costs an asset if the result is merely signing another elevator shaft contract. Best to stay away from free agent ‘bright lights, big city’ with this management group. I also think it reasonable to expect some recovery from Lucic (although I would not play him on the top two lines, as expressed here).
As a reminder about how poor this past season was, here are the 5-on-5 numbers without McDavid for the forward group (via Natural Stat Trick):
- Pontus Aberg 2.26 (159:08)
- Leon Draisaitl 2.01 (628:15)
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.66 (694:04)
- Jujhar Khaira 1.43 (712:51)
- Ryan Strome 1.42 (932:14)
- Zack Kassian 1.29 (696:30)
- Milan Lucic 1.22 (689:36)
- Jesse Puljujarvi 0.97 (558:31)
- Drake Caggiula 0.95 (629:45)
- Kailer Yamamoto 0.00 (53:24)
- Ty Rattie 0.00 (34.10)
Draisaitl is going to be relied on in a big way this winter to outscore opponents on a line that does not include McDavid, these numbers are solid (Leon was also 50.42 Corsi for 5×5 without 97 a year ago, just 42.42 percent in goal differential) and a key for 2018-19. If Lucic could win a job on Draisaitl’s line on merit, it would be a major help. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect it to happen and would suggest it wise to assume Tobias Rieder wins the No. 2 left wing job.
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) July 8, 2018
I know many wanted to see Maroon back in Edmonton, but his skills duplicate Lucic in many ways. Edmonton needs a different look on the portside, and a depth chart of Nugent-Hopkins, Rieder, Lucic and Jujhar Khaira means Maroon is probably on the outside.
ODDS AND ENDS
- There’s an interesting article on Ryan McLeod and his Oilers connections here, via Iain Colpitts of the Mississauga News.
- Derek Van Diest has an article on Evan Bouchard at NHL.com.
A lot of verbal online in the last 24 hours, I wanted to mention a few things about Frank Seravalli. If Frank tells you there’s something there, you can take it to the bank. He has been ahead of the curve on many transactions over recent years and his Oilers intel is excellent. Frank is not a Toronto insider, as far as I know he’s never covered the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I doubt my words will do very much to help, but wanted to put it out there. If you want to frame Seravalli as anti-Oilers and a Toronto insider, you are going to have to overcome the facts. He isn’t reporting things to piss you off, he is reporting them because they are real. There’s a difference.