What, on earth, do you do with this hockey club?
I hear a lot of "no-donts" online about them. Let's face it, the last time they had success, that success' name was Chris Pronger, and his wife nagged him to Anaheim. Since then, they've been nothing but a train-stop in a dead city.
I'm not going to give some pretentious thorough evaluation of the team. The rumors speculate that they want an experienced top-line center and a first pairing d-man.
As an editor, I can tell you that when there's nothing left to tinker with on a project and you're still largely unsatisfied with the results, you build a new dynamic and you get the parts you need to fulfill that dynamic. That's what I would do, but suppose you're tinkering with this product...
You ask what the dynamic currently is: does Edmonton want to become like the Blackhawks? The Kings? The Canadiens? The Bruins? These are currently the models for success, and the Canadiens are the closest to their current dynamic: put together a team full of speedy players and a wicked power play... and back it up with the best goalie in the world.
Edmonton's goalies might be good, but they're not getting much help. Their PK is a less than respectable 79% right now... not terrible, but playoff teams generally float about 84-86%.
Their shot % is only about 7%, so they need to generate better scoring opportunities.
Edmonton's power play is currently atrocious, sitting at 13%. This is where they need to improve their game the most.
If they improved that 13% to 20+%, they'd win more hockey games. They're ranked 6th in power play opportunities, which tells you that they're a speedy hockey team. But teams with a terrible power play lack one of three things: One, a good one timer, two, big bodies to win puck battles to continue zone pressure, three, a d-man that can hold the zone.
Their five-on-five is 29th in the league, where they're also getting completely slaughtered.
So what they really need is a big-bodied forward with a good shot, and a d-man with a good shot that can hold a zone. You don't need to get big named players to do this; just get some utility guys.
And this is where the need to trade a player comes in. You can't just pick up a bunch of good players at Free Agency and think you have a winning hockey team. Ask Glen Sather if that tactic works. It doesn't. You have to address your issues.
Now, the reason I wrote this article:
Some say: Do not trade Taylor Hall. Trades are always lost when teams lose an all star player.
So they suggest: Moving Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, David Perron.
Some others suggest: Tanking for McDavid or Eichel.
Oilers don't need to tank. They HAVE the talent. Tanking is for teams that don't have any organizational talent like Calgary and Florida a few years ago. Tanking just compounds the problem. And you really think the NHL is going to allow them to win the draft for McDavid? No... when there's a generational player available, the NHL is going to give that player to a franchise that struggles with its attendance. I can almost guarantee you that McDavid is either going to Ottawa, Florida, Buffalo, or Arizona, should those teams be in the bottom 6 of the league. That's how they work. And so the Oilers might get Eichel, but if they tank, further damage the attitude of current players on the team. That's why tanking is a non-starter. Tank this year, tank the next, when does it stop?
A few weeks ago, it was rumoured that MacTavish had a hard time getting market value for most of his players. Now here's where most people fail with some above suggestions.
The only guy you're going to move that gives you market value right now is Taylor Hall.
Here's why it's actually a smart move.
You will lose the trade. That is almost guaranteed. But you won't lose it that badly!
Why make a trade if you're going to lose it? Because you can only win a trade if you're working with smoke and mirrors. That is, you can only win a trade if you show other teams that your players are actually good; the best way to do that is to win hockey games.
Now for example: You want to try to move Eberle to Montreal... you want Markov, they offer you Beaulieu and a draft pick. You say f off, you want Markov and they hang up on you. Well Eberle for Markov doesn't sound like a terrible trade... in fact, it can only be equalized if Montreal sends a younger player and Edmonton sends and older player as part of the deal. You're also not going to get Galchenyuk for him, so you don't move Eberle to Montreal. You talk to Toronto (even though they're a bad trading partner) and want Bozak or Kadri... you offer Eberle, they say no, they offer Gardiner and a pick. Okay, you look to Boston, you offer Perron, they'll give you a draft pick. You want to package Perron and some decent prospects for Chara, they say no; they want your first round pick.
MacT can't sit around and wait for market value to increase on guys when Edmonton's in the basement, because he's in a lose-lose situation. So long as Edmonton's in the basement, their players aren't worth what he's going to expect for them unless he's trading with other teams in the basement.
So the only real choice he has is to move Hall for players that will improve their power-play and five-on-five play. People site Joe Thornton as a bad trade for Boston: I disagree. Boston got better in those upcoming years and Thornton went to a more nurturing environment... REMEMBER, the Thornton that Boston traded away isn't the Thornton that played in San Jose. Yes, on the surface, they lost that trade. In the end, though, they got better and better. Yes, Quebec lost a few trades (Sundin), but in the end, they got better and better.
Edmonton seems to be trying to circumvent making that bad trade that steps their organization forward, but in the end, all they've ended up doing is stalling their organization.
So yes, trade the one guy on your team with market value and focus on making your team a respectable hockey team so that when you make future trades, all of your other players will be more valuable.