When you start thinking about the trades that did not pay off in Edmonton, you almost immediately link former Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli to them.
It's sad, but it makes sense when you think about Chiarelli trading Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in June of 2016 in return for defenseman Adam Larsson. While Larsson has managed to help the Oilers since his acquisition, Hall has blossomed into a star for the Devils, winning the Hart Trophy last season. When the GM traded Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome, fans were expecting more. However, Eberle is on pace to record his seventh straight season of 20 or more goals this year, while Strome tallied 34 points last season and was traded to the New York Rangers for Ryan Spooner in November. Spooner was waived by the Oilers this past Monday, two months after the trade.
Fans have also questioned his signings, including the lucrative pact he offered veteran forward Milan Lucic. After scoring 23 goals in the first season of a seven-year, $42 million deal, Lucic has not produce enough for the salary he puts in his pockets.
Then it's a good thing Chiarelli isn't in office anymore when you read what NHL insider Elliotte Friedman has revealed in his latest 31 Thoughts column on Thursday. Friedman does not mention that Chiarelli would have accepted to part with this very important piece of the Oilers' future, but you have to wonder what the former GM would have done. He was clearly exhausted from the toll the past seasons had taken on him and might have made this panic move:
"There was a rumour flying around yesterday that, in all the craziness of the last few weeks, at least one team asked about Evan Bouchard."
As Friedman continues, the move went nowhere, but we bet Oilers fans stopped breathing for a second and feel a lot of relief knowing that Edmonton wants to be prudent moving forward ahead of the deadline.
“There’s something in the water here in Edmonton that we don’t have right,” Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson told reporters Wednesday.
“I will tell you clearly: you look at the way this team played at times this year, we just have to get them consistent and playing that way. We know we have to bring in some other pieces.
“We will look to bolster the offense and the defense, but again we’re not trading away our first pick, when you look at some of our other top prospects, we are not giving them away unless it’s some real good pieces back.”
On track to miss the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 seasons, a drastic change is needed in Edmonton. Fans will just be happy to know that it will not included Bouchard, the team's first round pick this past summer.