With the Edmonton Oilers looking as though they are about to end their decade-long absence from the NHL post-season, names of potential Trade Deadline targets are starting to make the rounds. Of all the possible upgrades that have been mentioned in recent weeks, there are two that the Oilers would be wise to steer clear of.
As sexy as the notion of acquiring either Shane Doan or Jarome Iginla may sound, neither one would help address the holes on the roster.
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) January 23, 2017
Don’t believe it? Well, take a step back and give it some thought. With Leon Draisaitl now a regular fixture on Connor McDavid’s wing, the absence of a power play quarterback is still a concern and the depth behind Cam Talbot being Laurent Brossoit and Jonas Gustavsson, the club’s needs are apparent.
Does that mean the Oil will be looking for a third line centre, offensive defenceman and/or backup goaltender on the trade market? One would hope but chances are only two of the three would come at the price Peter Chiarelli would be willing to entertain and even that could be a stretch.
Oilers Don’t Need Another Winger
Where exactly would either Doan or Iginla fit in Todd McLellan’s lineup? It is true the Oilers are thin on the right side but by shifting Draisaitl, the need for a right-winger is not as pressing as many would believe. There is no question that Jordan Eberle has had a tough campaign but neither one would be capable of replacing a perennial 25-goal, top-six forward at this stage in their careers.
In other words, we are talking about adding depth to the bottom two lines and doing so with a player that has 1,500+ regular season games under their belt.
"If you are thinking Iginla, you are looking at a bottom six forward, who might help the PP. The speed of the game is a challenge." Ferraro
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) January 19, 2017
For a team as unproven as the Oilers, veteran experience could be a godsend down the stretch and in the playoffs. On the other hand, adding a 40-year-old Doan or a 39-year-old Iginla is a far cry from bringing them on board during their prime years.
Let’s be frank, the two have combined for a grand total of 10 goals and 27 points in 2016-17. To put that into perspective, both are scoring at the same clip as the much-maligned Benoit Pouliot, who for all his warts still has the capability of impacting a game on more levels when playing well and more frequently.
DO NOT TRADE FOR SHANE DOAN
— Raider Jesse (@EdmontonRaider) January 15, 2017
Can the same be said for the long-time Arizona Coyotes’ captain or the current elder statesman of the Colorado Avalanche? Recent history would suggest the answer to that question is no and the aforementioned experience they would bring is not as pressing a need with this year’s edition of the Oilers.
Make no mistake, this group is still young but the additions of Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon, Kris Russell and Andrej Sekera have brought some much-needed experience to those being asked to play key roles in this lineup. With that said, bringing in either Doan or Iginla over Anton Slepyshev or Jesse Puljujarvi, who will return to Edmonton before the year is up, makes no sense whatsoever.
Experience Can Be Overrated
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the NHL has been trending towards a young man’s game for some time and there is a reason for it. Unfortunately for those veterans who were once star attractions, they are on the back half of their careers and slowing down. Combine that with a renewed focus placed on adding as much speed and skill as possible and those players have become non-factors in almost every case. In fact, one could argue Doan and Iginla should be the poster boys for the group. And this is who Edmonton should be targeting in trade talks?
As much as Chiarelli favours his big-bodied players, even he would tell you neither one improves the team in the here and now or in the future. Again, outside of adding a depth centre, backup goaltender and/or a power play quarterback, it would be in the Edmonton Oilers’ best interest not to give into temptation and make a move for the sake of doing so.
Bringing in either Doan or Iginla at the Trade Deadline would be such a move and it is one the Oilers don’t need to make in order to secure itself a spot in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Rob Soria is the Author of Connor McDavid: Hockey’s Next Great One. He has chronicled the Orange and Blue since creating his Oil Drop blog in 2011 and has also had his writings featured over at HometownHockey.ca and Vavel USA, where he has covered the NHL, MLB and ATP Tour. Rob was born, raised and still resides in Edmonton, Alberta and can be reached via twitter @Oil_Drop.