SAFE TO SAY
It’s been a season from hell. Last year was lots of fun, this year has been considerably less so. Oh, there’s still some fun, like watching Connor McDavid throw an entire franchise on his back while trying to meet the 100 point mark for the second consecutive season. Save for that, it’s been no fun.
The Islanders visit tomorrow night. It’ll be the first time that Jordan Eberle will visit Edmonton as a member of the opposition. What was that trade again? Aw yeah. Eberle for Strome. Nothing against Ryan Strome (who has come on a bit as of late), but this deal sucked. There’s no nice way to put it. The Oilers sold low on a top six forward for a player who has an outside chance at 40 points on the season despite being given gobs of power play time. The players are what they are. Eberle will come close to (if not reach) 60 points this season. The Islanders might not make the playoffs this year, but the Oilers clearly miss Eberle on the wing. Milan Lucic buried his first goal in 30 games the other night, and Jesse Puljujarvi’s been playing on his off wing. The Oilers could use a 50-60 guy on the top right. Maybe Leon could even play centre. Ah well.
Don’t even get me started on Taylor Hall.
This brings me to today.
I thought silly season was over a week ago, but here we are. Elliotte Friedman speculates that the Oilers are actually showcasing an injured Oscar Klefbom.
THERE’S A LOT GOING ON HERE
I’ve got a lot of time for Elliotte Friedman, and whether or not the Oilers are showcasing him remains to be seen. But if it’s an accepted belief that Klefbom is playing hurt, first and foremost why are the Oilers playing him in a nothing-season? Are they seriously waiting for the season to end to let him heal, or get him surgery? Does anyone else see how brain-numbingly stupid of an idea that sounds?
Now ask yourself this: does it sound so impossible that the organization flat-out wouldn’t do it?
THAT’S ONLY THE FIRST PART
If you’ve been following the Oilers for any length of time, you’re aware that things are going to get tight as far as cap space goes. While dollar amounts aren’t yet set it stone, even a generous increase of something like five million would mean the Oilers have less than 18 million in cap space to sign 8 players to the club. They’ve also got to wrestle with Darnell Nurse’s new deal, Ryan Strome’s new deal, whether or not they’re going to sign Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev, a 7D, a couple of forwards...you get the idea.
They’ve got a lot to do, and not a whole lot to work with. What does it all mean? It means that Peter Chiarelli might entertain trading a player that doesn’t have a NMC (breathe easy, Milan). It might mean parting ways with a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Or, and Oscar Klefbom.
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THAT PETER CHIARELLI WILL MAKE AN EVEN HOCKEY TRADE INVOLVING OSCAR KLEFBOM. NONE.
Here at Copper and Blue Industries, we’ve suggested that perhaps moving Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson wasn’t the savviest of business moves. That’s not earth-shattering news for anyone who watches the games, but some of the bigger voices are now coming around to the idea that perhaps trading a future MVP candidate for a middle pair defenceman wasn’t the most solid of actions a hockey club could make.
Trading Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome was a bad trade. There’s no two ways to slice it. Yes, it’s nice that Ryan Strome has come on a bit recently, but Eberle’s a career 60 point average player. Strome doesn’t come close to that.
If Peter Chiarelli decides that he’s going to trade a player in order to get help on the wings or to try and boost the right side of the defence, there’s a significant chance that Oscar Klefbom is the odd man out. Honestly, Chiarelli shouldn’t make it to sunup after this team takes on Vegas on April 7th. Chiarelli has bombed out of two major trades already (plus the 16+33 for Griffin Reinhart deal), and I have absolutely zero confidence that he improves the team by moving Klefbom.
The idea that this club is showcasing an injured defenceman who’s on a sweetheart contract for the next five years should get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up. It’s also not the craziest thing I’ve heard since Peter Chiarelli has become this club’s general manager. Chiarelli’s taken so many L’s when key pieces are dealt, it’s all but a foregone conclusion that a trade involving Oscar Klefbom will be yet another deal that this club will come to regret.
But hey, there’s always next year. Or, the next five years. Whatever. Once the rest of Kris Russel’s NMC expires in three years, and the rest of Milan Lucic’s NMC expires in five years, then this club will have some real cap space to manoeuvre with. Connor McDavid will still only be 27, and watch out then, baby.