One of these things is not like the other. Photo courtesy Edmonton Oilers

Should Craig Mactavish pull the Trigger Now?


The Edmonton Oilers have started this season at 1-5-1.  After 7 years of missing the playoffs, fans are upset and most of them want Mactavish to make that bold move he promised.  While the angst among fans is understandable, is a trade now really going to turn the Oilers fortunes?

It has been difficult to make trades since the cap was negotiated as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Early in the season teams are close to the real cap or the teams internal cap – so adding salaries can be almost impossible.  Teams that are doing well do not see a need to change their roster and are reluctant to give up assets that they may need later. Teams that are struggling want to get rid of their problems, and unless that problem matches a real need in another organization, a trade is not likely to happen.

Any team that is accepting Craig Mactavish’s phone call is most likely going to want to help him by trading expensive, aging “help” for a less expensive younger player.   Cue the Yakupov for {insert name here} rumours.  Most of the rumours out there do not provide the Oilers with any long-term benefits and many of them are even questionable in the short term.

One example is Ryan Miller for Nail Yakupov.  Miller is 33 and an unrestricted free agent at the end of year.  33 is closer to the downside of his career than the beginning and there is no guarantee that the Oilers would be able to sign him at the end of the season.   Can he take the Oilers to the playoffs? Even if the answer is yes, that is a trade you make if you are Stanley Cup Contender, not a team hoping to get to the playoffs.

Imagine if Miller doesn’t lead the Oilers to the playoffs. He leaves at the end of the year and Yakupov goes on to lead the Sabres in scoring for years to come…

Rental players like Miller do not warrant a giving up a recent number one pick that lead the Oilers in scoring last year.  It matters little if that player was in the press box for two games. That is too high price for a rental player, but it does demonstrate the kind of trades that would be out there at this time.

This does not mean Mactavish should not be on the phone and looking for a solution.  He may have no choice but to take a chance if the Oilers continue on this path of futility, but he needs to find a hockey trade that will benefit the Oilers now and in the future. Finding a hockey trade is a long shot at best right now. He can’t afford to be trading a future star for fool’s gold. He cannot make a deal out of desperation that will have the fans wanting his head on a silver platter.

Hopefully the Oilers can string a few wins together.  This would then have Mactavish dealing from a position of strength and make it easier to make a good trade not a desperate one.

The rest of the teams are sharpening their knifes and will make offers that may or may not help the Oilers in the short term.  Mactavish is best served by being patient and making sure any move he makes, helps the team now and in the future!




Tags: Craig MacTavish Edmonton Oilers

  • BillHK

    MacT should definitely not make a trade at the moment from a position of weakness. The issue that they have at the moment is in goal and the same should be done of this as any other position. According to the coaching mantra that Eakins espouses, you perform, you get more ice time, you don’t perform, then you don’t get ice time.

    Dubnyk is injured (in his head) at the moment. Send him down and bring up Bachman. Once Dubnyk finds his form (mind) again, then bring him back up.

    Bachman currently has a save % of .927 in the A which is on par with his previous seasons in that A with that same .927 save %. Translated to his time in the NHL with Dallas, he “Appeared in 32 games for the Dallas Stars over the past 3 seasons, combining to go 14-10-1 with 1 shutout, a 2.94 goals-against average and .901 save percentage”.

    .901 and 2.94 isn’t great by any means, but is what could be expected by Bachman. It would be considered NHL “below average”, but it is a far cry better than the what Doobie and Labs have been doing. Starting whichever player(s) is playing best in their position in organization is the best message that they can send to all the players without hanging anyone out to dry.

    The Flames have 8 points in 6 games with a tandem of Macdonald and Ramo in net with a pretty bad save percentage of .891 and .897. Therefore, even with AHL netminders, rebuilding teams can stay relatively competitive, and any way you slice it, the Oil are a couple years ahead of the Flames in this “rebuild”…

    • Heather Marginet

      Great Comment BillHk, Bachhman is also much younger. I think you hit the nail on the had when you said that Dubnyk’s problem is more mental than technical.

      I also think Bachmman should get the opportunity.

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  • Dylan nardone

    I think the Oilers need a strong goalie. I don’t think Miller is the right choice for them

    • Heather Marginet

      Oilers need a younger goaltender that they can rely on for many years.