Monday, January 7, 2019

Chiarelli's December 2018 moves puts defense lineup into a pickle

Here's what Oilers GM Chiarelli did in and around December 2018:

Claimed F Valentin Zykov from Carolina on waivers and four weeks later, was waived then claimed by Vegas:

  • The 2017/18 AHL leading scorer didn't make an impression

Called up D Caleb Jones:

  • He's turned out to be rather solid, yet with some rookie mistakes, he'd likely stick but with the loaded defense, he'll be sent down without having to clear waivers to make room for Oscar Klefbom

Traded RD Chris Wideman and a 2019 3rd round pick to the Florida Panthers for local guy RD Alexander Petrovic:

  • Not a bad trade as Petrovic is a slight upgrade on Wideman defensively

Traded F Drake Caggiula and LD Garrison to the Chicago Blackhawks for McDavid collarbone killer LD Brandon Manning and D Robin Norell (who's in Sweden):

  • No one liked this trade except for David Staples not minding the ridding of Caggiula, who is poor defensively
  • It made no sense to let go of an ok scoring winger for a loaded defensive left side and weighed down with a contract into next season.  You'd think with Jones and Gravel playing well, there wasn't a need to swap help
  • No idea who Norell is

Called up F Kailer Yamamoto, who played one game until being put on IR:

  • Having a lack of scoring wingers makes one dip into the farm.  Then look what happens.
Called up F Joseph Gambardella:
  • He was top scorer in Bakersfield, so he deserved a look
  • He's playing ahead of Spooner, so that makes the Strome for Spooner trade look like the dumbest thing Chiarelli has done this season
Now the roster looks like this based on the lineup versus the Ducks:

Benched:  F Ryan Spooner, LD Brandon Manning, RD Matt Benning

Forward lines:
That's a lot of red showing on the wings.  Yeesh.

Defense pairs:
Hold on there, Jones (#4 LD) ranks higher than Nurse (#57 LD)?   

The near future for forwards:

Kassian (UFA 2020) is currently on the top line, I believe he and his $1.95m are being pumped and dumped at the trade deadline, but if he stays, I'm okay with it.

Lucic (UFA 2023) - The only way out for Lucic is if he waives his no movement clause or he gets injured.  Bob Stauffer hinted Lucic is having eye issues (whatever that means).  He's not playing enough or hard enough to get injured.  It's time he was benched, but if you do that, then he becomes less tradeable.  Buying him out is way too pricey.

Chiasson (UFA) most certainly deserves another contract.  He'll be a personal record high 20 goal scorer this year, so I'd consider a 1-2 year deal at $1.5m AAV.  But the Oilers will cave and give him $2.0m at least. 

Spooner (UFA 2020).  Buy out.  Untradeable except for high round picks.  That Strome trade looks so bad.  Or trade him for Eberle!  HAHAHA!!!  No seriously.  Why not try?

Rieder (RFA) has zero goals.  I said from the beginning he's not a top six guy, yet there he is.  Useful on the PK but despite his good speed hasn't been able to finish.

Rattie (RFA) should be playing and should be resigned. He's a useful winger with chemistry with McDavid.  I'd go $1.5m AAV for 2 years.

Khaira (RFA) mostly definitely be resigned.  Very useful player as a centre and winger.  If Kassian is moved, this opens up space for a $1.5m AAV 2-3 year contract.

The near future for defense:

Based on the best 6 d-men, a healthy defense going into the second half of the season looks like:

Klefbom - Larsson
Nurse - Russell
Gravel - Jones
Sekera - Petrovic
Manning - Benning

Madness.  10 d-men?

For Russell, on July 1, a no movement clause kicks in and he can list 10 teams to be traded to.  With the emergence of Jones being able to play both sides I'm sure Chiarelli, or whoever the GM is then, will call every one of those teams to see about moving his $4m contract for draft picks.

With Sekera returning before the trade deadline, on July 1, his no movement clause kicks in and he can list 15 teams.  Same deal on moving him as Russell.  But the only easy answer is to send Jones down because you don't need to waive him, where the others you do.   Lineup:

Klefbom - Larsson
Nurse - Russell
Sekera - Petrovic
Gravel - Benning

That's still 1-2 too many d-men on the roster.  Someone has to go.

Gravel (UFA) deserves to stay.  He's a pretty solid 3 pairing guy.

Petrovic (UFA), we'll see.  They traded Wideman which they didn't trade for but traded him and a 2019 3rd.  So if you waive him, you lost that pick for nothing.  

Manning, why?  If you waive him, he won't get claimed, and you'll have a $2.5m guy playing in the AHL.  

Benning will get moved eventually.  Bouchard will replace him next year, so I can see Benning being moved here.  I always thought Caggiula, Benning, and the 2019 3rd pick would get moved for a decent winger.

But sadly, Gravel is quite tradeable once Sekera returns.

This is quite the pickle.