You can begin the countdown on one healthy human hand.
Five days until the NHL’s trade deadline, and Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan has already put his team on notice — under no uncertain terms.
“Maybe we have to eliminate some players,” McLellan said after his porous, uninspired team lost at home to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday. “I have a huge concern because the spirit of the team isn’t where it needs to be.”
Today’s roundup of the freshest trade chatter begins with the sell-sign Oilers and touches Andrew Ladd, Scott Hartnell, Loui Eriksson, plus the Blackhawks, Capitals, Avalanche, and Panthers.
Who does Edmonton ship out?
With the changes-are-coming messages resounding from the general manager and the head coach Tuesday, which Oilers don’t survive until Monday afternoon?
Well, defenceman Justin Schultz has been on the market for months and could be tossed in as part of a package that includes one of Edmonton’s attractive forwards. UFA-to-be winger Teddy Purcell is also expected to go.
GM Peter Chiarelli is also open to dealing name-brand players with term. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov. None are safe, reports the Edmonton Journal.
Chiarelli has said a more complicated deal like that would likely wait until summer, but you wonder if McLellan’s anger speeds things up.
Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean tackled the dilemma on Dean Blundell & Co. Wednesday morning.
MacLean figured Edmonton would be selling low on Yakupov now and might be better served by pairing the first-overall pick with Connor McDavid early next season and propping up his value that way.
The former GM also suggested Chiarelli’s former club, the Boston Bruins, as a good fit for Eberle — who would look good next to a David Krejci or Patrice Bergeron. In a scenario like that, the Bruins would have to move out pending UFA Loui Eriksson in the next few days, replacing him with the younger (and possibly cheaper) Eberle, who is already signed through 2018-19 at $6 million per season.
“That might be a fit, but those are tough deals to make,” said MacLean, who knows Chiarelli is cognizant of the mistake he made by dealing away a young Tyler Seguin to Dallas. “If he is thinking of trading a young player, he’s thinking, Seguin, Seguin, Seguin. You’d think it’s a valuable lesson.
“But he’s got to move one or two of those guys. This defence is so bad, he’s got to make a move.”
Of course, the Oilers are looking for size, grit and defence. We’re not sure Boston has a D-man to spare. That’s the Bruins’ greatest need as well.
Chicago, Florida, Pittsburgh all want Ladd?
Very cool that Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd scored and received an ovation in what could possibly be his final home game at MTS Centre.
In attendance Wednesday night? Chicago GM Stan Bowman, said to be keen on swinging a deal to bring Ladd back to the Blackhawks for a Cup run. The obstacle here is that the Blackhawks are fairly tight to the cap ceiling and would love to move out some bad money, like a Bryan Bickell.
Pittsburgh beat reporter Josh Yohe reports that the Penguins have been looking at veteran wingers such as Ladd and Scott Hartnell, leading scorer for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Then there is Florida Panthers co-owner and Andrew Ladd superfan Doug Cifu.
“He’s a great player, a character guy, obviously Dale [Tallon, GM] knows him very well,” Cifu told the Florida Sun-Sentinel of the Jets captain. “I’m not going to comment on discussions, but he’s a great character, a great hockey player. He really is.”
Considering the Jets have one of the lowest payrolls in the league, there is still a case to be made for Winnipeg to re-sign Ladd.
Alternately, the Jets could take on a bad contract or two in exchange for picks or prospects and use their enviable cap flexibility that way. The Toronto way.
The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the consensus trade value for Ladd is a first-round pick plus a prospect (sounds about right on the Spaling Scale) and wonders if a Ladd trade sends a signal to veterans like Bryan Little, Ondrej Pavelec and Tobias Enstrom that the Jets are hitting reset.
Bruins, Eriksson still talking
When I inquired about the future of Loui Eriksson a few weeks ago, a source close to the Boston franchise told me, “Getting information out of Don Sweeney is like getting information out of Bill Belichick.”
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported Tuesday that the sides are still in dialogue, but this one is tricky. Boston appears playoff-bound but not Cup-bound, and Eriksson — IMHO — should be worth more than Ladd, Eric Staal and Mikkel Boedker on the rental forward market.
The guy already has 23 goals, 25 assists and is a plus-12. The easiest way to inject instant offence.
Colorado, Washington hit the limit
As General Fanager points out, the playoff-hopeful Colorado Avalanche have reached the maximum number of roster players (50) and would have to get creative if they wish to take on another player for the stretch run.
The Avs have been actively placing players on waivers, likely hoping one gets scooped, which would free up a slot.
The Washington Capitals moved to 49 contracts when they acquired blueline depth rental Mike Weber from Buffalo Tuesday evening, but made sure the Sabres paid half of Weber’s freight.