Not much longer than a year ago, you’ll recall when OIlers General Manager Peter Chiarelli made a move that helped bolster the blue line. There’s no mincing words, the defence needed a big upgrade. The defence received an upgrade in the form of Adam Larsson, a bonafide top four defenceman with a right hand shot. The only issue in acquiring a good young defenceman is that it ended up costing the Oilers their best player not named Connor McDavid.
“This is the price you have to pay for defence”, said Chiarelli. Many fans were furious, myself included. Fast forward to June 2017 (and one playoff run later), and many fans have become complacent with the deal. You and I can argue about the efficacy of the deal all day until we’re blue in the face. Adam Larsson helped the Oilers, there’s no arguing this. Edmonton paid a lofty price to acquire him.
If we’re to believe Darren Dreger of TSN, then it’s “somewhat obvious” that former first round pick Jordan Eberle will be moved, and that the Oilers have offers on the table for Eberle. Chiarelli is dealing from a better position now than he was a year ago (the Oilers made the playoffs for the first time in 273 years), but they’ve got to be excruciatingly careful if they’re sending a guy away that averages 60+ points a year.
The Oilers have a few needs, namely
- Replacing Jordan Eberle’s production
- Second pairing RHD
- Injury replacement for Andrej Sekera
- Bottom six winger
The Oilers are trying to accomplish two things in a trade that involves Jordan Eberle.
- To trade away more cap than what will be returned
- To not get totally burned in the deal.
Look at all these things! You’d think that a top line player would be able to fetch at least one or a couple of these things in a deal, yeah? This is likely going to be a difficult move. I think there are plenty of teams who could use 50 or 60 points, the trying part will be getting them to take 100% of Eberle’s six million dollar cap hit for the next two years. Maybe NYI gets frisky and deals Travis Hamonic for Jordan Eberle straight up, which is probably the best case scenario for the Oilers. Edmonton is then forced to go outside (or hope Jesse Puljujarvi is ready for a big promotion) in order to replace Eberle’s production.
What is a fair return for Jordan Eberle? Is Travis Hamonic the best possible scenario? Do the Oilers go all pick-and-a-prospect here, then chase a UFA like Patrick Eaves? Like the Larsson deal, I expect an actual player to come back in any move that sends Jordan Eberle away. Knowing what Peter Chiarelli’s big moves tend to look like (seeing him ship Tyler Seguin to Dallas, Hall and Larsson) I just wouldn’t be too surprised if the return was along the lines of a third line winger and a draft pick.