So with the trade deadline only a few days away what should the Oilers gameplan be going into Monday? Let’s take a look:
Courtesy of NHL.com
The lack of NHL ready Prospects in the organization has been talked about a lot in the last few days. The guys on the post game show last night mentioned it as did Jason Strudwick in his interview with Mike @Oilerslive which can be heard here. At first glance, the Oilers have an excellent young core at the NHL level in 21 yr old Connor McDavid, 22 yr old Leon Draisaitl, 19 yr old Jesse Puljujarvi and 23 yr old Darnell Nurse. They also have 5 highly touted Draft picks who are all 19 yrs old or under playing extremely well in the CHL:
Kailer Yamamoto – 30GP, 16G, 33A, 49 pts with Spokane of WHL.
Tyler Benson – 46GP, 20G, 35A, 55 pts with Vancouver of WHL.
Kirill Maksimov – 51GP, 30G, 31A, 61 pts with Niagara of OHL.
Ostap Safin – 52Gp, 24G, 28A, 52 pts with Saint John of QMJHL.
Stuart Skinner – 16 GP, 2.43 GAA, .923 SV% with Lethbridge of WHL (Was traded from Swift Current).
Edmonton also have a few Prospects in the U.S. right now who are progressing nicely especially 20 yr old John Marino of Harvard and 19 yr old Philip Kemp of Yale both who are Right shot defensemen with some upside. What they don’t have unfortunately is those Forward Prospects who have had a couple seasons of development in the minors and who are ready to step in at the NHL level. There’s a gap there. Now again, part of the reason for the gap is that some of those young forwards are already up in the NHL but when Peter Chiarelli took over this team in 2015 the cupboard was pretty much bare to begin with and it is really showing now. All of his draft picks as an Edmonton Oiler are 20 yrs old or younger. He’s tried to fill those roster holes with College free agents but has had mixed results with that so far. Caleb Jones & Ethan Bear hit Bakersfield this year which is great but they are defencemen. Fact is, there is only ONE forward from any of the drafts BEFORE Chiarelli playing in the AHL – Kyle Platzer. ONE. So going into this Trade Deadline that should be the major focus for Chiarelli & his staff – to bridge that gap.
The best way to do that is to move guys on expiring contracts out for players who are in the 20-23 yr old range and are waiver exempt. It’s no secret by now that the Oilers have a few guys that will likely be gone by Monday. Patrick Maroon, Mark Letestu & Mike Cammalleri are all pending UFA’s and should all have a new home come next week (It’s possible no one trades for Cammalleri who could also be waived or play out the season in Edmonton in a minor role). So the goal for Peter Chiarelli should be to acquire young prospects who have a legitimate shot at making the NHL roster next year but who could also provide some much needed depth up front in the organization. So what’s a likely scenario Oiler fans would be happy with?
There is a lot of talk that the Boston Bruins already have made an offer for Patrick Maroon. As @beerleagueheroe mentioned in a piece last night found here the deal offered appears to be a Prospect like Austin Czarnik & a 2nd rd pick. My take is if the Oilers hold out long enough they should be able to squeeze Peter Cehlarik & a 2nd for Patty if the rumour is true since Boston has so many good young prospects they can afford to give him up. Cehlarik is a much more appealing player IMO than Czarnik. Either way, that trade would bring a good young prospect who would likely climb to the top of the list in Bakersfield if nothing else and bring a quality draft pick back along with it.
Courtesy of hockeydb.com (ctrl+click to enlarge)
As for Mark Letestu, there appears to be interest in him as well. While he has clearly lost a step, a Right shot Center who can win faceoffs and play on the PK is a valuable player for most teams heading into the playoffs. With Columbus & Pittsburgh the two most likely candidates it’s very possible “Test” could net the Oilers a 3rd rd pick by Monday.
If both of those trades were to happen (or something similar) I would suggest it would be in the GM’s best interest to potentially flip one of those newly acquired picks and go after another young player in the 20-23 yr old range to again address the gap I mentioned earlier. That late 2nd rd pick acquired for example could be used for a guy like Josh Ho-Sang (22 yrs old) who should be available from NYI or someone similar. It is a deep draft this year so a 2nd rd pick has real value but the Oilers are in a position where if they can essentially turn an 18 yr old into a 22 yr old now they should do it if it’s the right player. Sound like the Griffin Reinhart trade? Yes, so don’t go crazy with it I suggest just dangle that one late 2nd rd pick as bait see what you can get for it. They would still have all their original picks which could be as high as Top 5 each round.
That scenario would give the Oilers a couple of young 22 yr old forwards with potential in Cehlarik & Ho-Sang (both who would still be waiver exempt) along with still having their 1st rd & 2nd rd picks plus they’d have two 3rds. That is a pretty good haul for a couple of UFA’s that will likely leave at the end of the year for nothing anyways. If the Oilers were to get anything for Cammalleri that would be just be added bonus. Everything I just laid out though seems pretty reasonable and should be the goal for Management I would think heading into the weekend. Added depth at the forward position at the AHL level minimum with good NHL potential then come summer time they can continue to work on solidifying the needs up front. That’s what Oiler fans have to look for this Trade deadline.
What are your thoughts? Let me know via Twitter @ TheOilKnight