I reached out to fellow Rig writers WheatnOil, Supernova, Quinlan and Jon MacLeod for their thoughts on the deals and delays the Oilers made yesterday on the NHL trade deadline.
Unfortunately by the time I’d gotten myself organized to do so it was Jon’s bedtime (he lives out East and is a responsible adult who goes to bed at a Reasonable Hour).
Still, we muddled on the rest of us.
I posed four questions to the group and these were their thoughts.
Question 1: What are your thoughts on moving Davidson for Desharnais? Does it address a need? Did you think Davidson would be gone in expansion?
1) EDM seemed convinced that Vegas was taking Brandon Davidson (likely right) & wanted value out of him.
2) Even if not picked, they clearly didn’t see him in their long-term plans with Klefbom, Sekera, their perspective on Nurse & about 1,000,000 LHD prospects.
3) Davidson was low-key
#Dreamy (ed. note: he’s referring to Klefbom) last year but hasn’t been the same this year since injury. 2nd lowest CF% (to Russell) despite playing 3rd pair minutes. Zone exits & zone defence off last year’s tracking by a wide margin. Kept thinking he was coming around & might still but might not.
4) Edmonton clearly wanted to add another skilled forward. I assume a center to free up Draisaitl as a winger option who could also be a center if necessary.
5) Desharnais has a history of scoring and does have skill. A UFA this yr but Edmonton only gives some someone who, as mentioned, is either lost or not in long-term plans
6) Desharnais would not be my choice. He’s declined last few yrs & is left-handed, but is a legit NHLer.
7) If McL sees Davidson as an 8th D behind the Top 3, Russell, Nurse, Benning & even Gryba, likely Desharnais provides more value to Edmonton as 8th forward than 8th defenseman.
8) Does no Davidson increase chances Las Vegas takes a big contract like Pouliot or Fayne in expansion? Seems Edmonton would like that, though not sure if Las Vegas does. Possible though.
9) All that said, I like Davy, think he’s worth more than Desharnais & would not have made this trade. But I can see the thought process.
For me, Davidson had stalled in his sophomore season, and was likely to be 7th or 8th on the depth chart come playoff time. Like others, I do think he was Vegas’ top target from the Oil, so I don’t mind moving him; I just hope this doesn’t mean Vegas takes a guy like Jujhar Khaira instead.
Even though I am an analytics guy, I wasn’t as high on Davidson as some others were. I like to try and assess value as we see players move throughout the league, I would have traded him straight up for Nesterov in Tampa Bay but they traded him to Montreal for a 6th round pick earlier (worries about him leaving for KHL might have played into it).
As far as Desharnais, I see his numbers as a 3C type who isn’t bad defensively. Perhaps he has hit the wall and is on his way out of the league, or he is just going through a rough patch. I think the Oilers lost the trade but Desharnais is an interesting “trial”. I also think Davidson is more likely a 5/6 D and those D can be found nearly every year on waivers.
Question 2: Outside of that Davidson move what others were you expecting they might do that, obviously, weren’t done?
First, I thought they might try to move Matt Hendricks in order to open up room for a younger player with a wider range of skills.
Second, I thought they might look for a skilled winger like Patrick Sharp in order to get Draisaitl off of McDavid’s line. I still prefer that approach moving forward, as McDavid doesn’t need Draisaitl in order to produce.
I would have liked a veteran scorer like PA Parenteau. He went for a 6th rounder and that would have been an easy cost. Also I see an opportunity to grab a back up goalie with experience in Steve Mason for likely a really low cost.
Question 3: How do you feel about more or less standing pat in terms of the balance between improving the roster today and having to restock the draft cupboard this June?
Given the low prices for depth forwards, I am unhappy they didn’t add one for a mid-round pick. That said, I suspect Chiarelli knew that this team has little chance of making a push for a Cup without a more significant addition. We can argue he could have made different choices before now so that wouldn’t be the case, but here we are.
I’m lukewarm on the draft this year, so I wouldn’t have minded moving any of the picks for the right return. But, when you look at how things shook down on the trade market, there were not many “needle-movers” dealt. Once they lost out on Hanzal and Shattenkirk, I think it was pretty clear they weren’t going to be obvious contenders, and it didn’t make sense to load up on 3rd and 4th liners.
Our farm level talent is almost nonexistent. I would have preferred a trade like Davidson for a 3rd/4th rounder and David Desharnais for a 6th. At least giving us the chance to stock the shelves a little.
The Oilers will have to work the CHL overage wire like they did with Ryan Mantha and also see if they can get a organization’s afterthought like Arizona did to get DeAngelo off of Tampa Bay. Asset accumulation time.
Question 4: Does this set up for any moves that you foresee happening this summer?
I think Desharnais likely doesn’t get re-signed unless he does a great job in to the playoffs. They’ve saved up room for a Draisaitl extension. I think they’re going to offer Russell a 1-2 year deal that I’m not going to like. If Russell goes elsewhere, I think they try to acquire a defenceman, possibly including trading one of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Eberle to acquire another right-handed defenceman, the salary saved used for that defenceman and a smaller contract UFA forward.
If it’s Nugent-Hopkins that goes (and I suspect it will be) then they’ll sign Desharnais to fill his 3C spot. *Note: this is not what I would do but what I’m guessing the Oilers will do.
I do think Chiarelli would consider extending Desharnais if he proves to be a good fit. At this point, there’s not a whole lot out there amongst UFAs. Also, with all the smoke surrounding Eberle leading up to the deadline, you have to wonder if this is crunch-time for #14. If he can’t find his game and fit into this team’s style moving forward, then I expect he’ll be dealt in the off-season.
I think the need on defence isn’t for Russell back but a right-handed defenceman that can play the powerplay and play 16-ish minutes at evens. Someone like Colin Miller in Boston.
That’s a collection of the sage considerations of some of our writers here at the Rig. Thank you for reading.