If there’s one thing the fanbase in Edmonton might agree on, it’s that the general manager of the Oilers hasn’t done the best job making trades this season. Peter Chiarelli gets credit for signings like Alex Chiasson and Mikko Koskinen, but when it comes to in-season deals, the consensus is he’s failed miserably.
Adding the likes of Brandon Manning, Alex Petrovic, Chris Wideman, and Ryan Spooner haven’t exactly cemented the Oilers as a playoff team, nor have these trades made Chiarelli look like he’s got a handle on the ‘art of the deal.’ There’s very little confidence from the outside world he can maneuver the team into and through the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb 25. but this deadline means potentially more to the Oilers potential playoff berth than in any other year since 2006.
As Elliotte Friedman reported, this is a ‘buyers market’ for teams looking to acquire pieces. That’s the good news for the Oilers. The bad news? Edmonton has a very good chance of making the wrong deal.
Below are a few options that might be on the table for Chiarelli, but if he’s wise, he will stay away from them at all costs:
Larry Brooks of the NY Post is reporting that New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is back in the news as it pertains to a possible trade out of New York. His slightly improved play has given rise to the idea that teams might have interest in his services and it wasn’t long ago a player like Shattenkirk would have been a dream addition for Edmonton.
A right-side offensive defenseman, the old Shattenkirk was a power play and point-production machine. In fact, he isn’t even two full years removed from a 56-point season. Prior to that, he had three consecutive 44-plus point seasons and those types of numbers can be tempting for a manager who manages a team with a struggling blue line. One manager, in particular, might look and label this season for Shattenkirk as an “off campaign”.
The problem is, Shattenkirk is hardly a bargain. With three seasons left on a contract that pays him $6.65 million per, he’s being overpaid and if his production doesn’t improve, he holds a bigger albatross contract than someone like Milan Lucic who the Oilers are already stuck with for the long-haul.
Edmonton would love to improve the offense from the blue line but this season suggests Shattenkirk no longer has the weapons he once did. This is far too risky and far too long a contract to take a flyer on. Only if the Rangers take Lucic in return should Edmonton make this deal and in saying that, New York is not likely to do so. It’s all moot if Shattenkirk puts Edmonton down as one of the 10 teams he won’t accept a trade to.
There is speculation the Oilers are in on Micheal Ferland out of Carolina. Ferland certainly has the type of contract this year that would make him an excellent rental and at $1.75 million, he’s an affordable and gritty forward that many teams would covet. With 13 goals and 25 points in 44 games, he’d particularly add the kind of depth at forward Edmonton is looking for.
There’s a lot to actually like about this player for Edmonton this season.
The concern is this. Someone like Chiarelli will work his butt off in the summer to re-sign Ferland should he help Edmonton make the playoffs, even remotely produces, and Chiarelli keeps his job. That’s a scary scenario for the Oilers who do not have the space to overpay a player like Ferland and employ a manager who has a tendency to overpay for size and grit. If Ferland is hunting for Tom Wilson-type money on his next deal, this is not in Edmonton’s best interest to pursue.
Ferland could be a good player, but he could also be the type of forward who never lives up to his future over-inflated contract.
Carter can score. There are no two ways about that. With no trade protection and on a team that is looking at making changes due to a season that has not gone their way, Carter could be on the move.
The problem for Edmonton and any other team who has an interest in acquiring Carter, they better know his future plans before even thinking about adding him. If Carter doesn’t like where he’s going, he could up and retire, leaving the team who acquired him stuck.
Something about the way Chiarelli has done his deals this season and Carter’s history in locations he doesn’t love suggests this is exactly what could, and would, happen to the Oilers.
So, What Does Edmonton Do?
At any trade deadline, teams can make good deals and bad. With speculation the Oilers are looking to go for it and words like “full-court press” have been thrown out into the NHL universe, the feeling in the air is that Edmonton will make a move and there’s a 50/50 chance they’ll get it wrong.
If Edmonton wants to avoid that, it might be wise not to pursue any of the above-mentioned names. Doing so could wind up in disaster.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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