4

WWYDW: Which desperate GM should the Leafs screw over?

Things are going well in Toronto. The Buds are rolling, as their 14-8-0 record has them sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference. A loss to the terrible Arizona Coyotes snapping a six-game winning streak and Mike Babcock driving his car rather than walking to the ACC are the biggest causes of stress right now in Leaf land, which is rosy compared to what some other markets are dealing with.

The Edmonton Oilers, after their fans spent all summer explaining to everyone how good they’re going to be for the next decade, are a tire fire. The Montreal Canadiens are predictably terrible and their freshly-extended $80 million goalie is nowhere to be found.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. Of this season’s underachieving disasters in markets with high expectations, who should the Leafs actively go out of their way to fleece in a trade?

The Oilers

Honestly, everyone should be on the phone with Peter Chiarelli at all times. He inherited an absurd amount of talent when he was named general manager of the Oilers back in 2015 and, like he did in Boston, has burned through a good chunk of it, leaving the Oilers in a big mess. Over the years, the Harvard graduate who won the Stanley Cup back in 2011 off the back of Tim Thomas’ absurd performance has dealt Blake Wheeler, Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle for sub-optimal returns. And he’s hungry to add to his resume.

Who’s next? Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is having a breakout season and looks to be evolving into that two-way, Pavel Datsyuk-esque centre everyone wants on their team. Of course, the Oilers need a scoring winger to play with Connor McDavid, and as we saw with the Strome/Eberle deal, the price you have to pay for a good winger is a centre. Oscar Klefbom looked to be evolving into Edmonton’s best defenceman last season, but he’s struggled this year in a bigger role and Darnell Nurse has passed him on the depth chart. Realistically, Chiarelli should be able to get a haul akin to what New Jersey got for Adam Larsson when he deals Klefbom, right? Obviously not.

The Oilers need to sign Nurse and Patrick Maroon this summer, so Chiarelli will certainly be itching to dump RNH and Klefbom for the worst return possible.

The Habs

Montreal? More like MontreLOL. Is there a more hilariously predictable fall from grace than this one? A couple years ago, Marc Bergevin had a nice wealth of puck moving defencemen, PK Subban and Mikhail Sergachev, and no top centres. It made sense to deal from a position of strength in order to fill a need. That, uh, didn’t happen.

He dealt Subban away for Shea Weber to make the team tougher, or something, I don’t know, and then moved Sergachev to Tampa Bay for a winger, who seemed to be an attractive commodity largely because he’s french. Then, in free agency, he threw a bunch of money at Karl Alzner because the team needed more guys who can’t move the puck.

Bergevin is feeling the pressure. He needs a centre because the team simply won’t allow Alex Galchenyuk to play his natural position and Jonathan Drouin is a winger no matter how badly they want to believe otherwise. This Victor Mete kid that came out of nowhere looks pretty good and Bergevin hates defencemen that are mobile. Maybe there’s a deal to be made here?

Someone else?

The Chicago Blackhawks are having a rough time and continue to struggle with salary cap issues. But this roster is pretty barren. The Philadelphia Flyers boast a stupid amount of young talent on the blueline but not a hell of a lot up front. The Florida Panthers want Erik Gudbranson back so badly Dale Tallon would personally drive literally anybody on that roster to the airport in order to make a deal happen. Get Jim Benning on the phone and execute a three-way trade? Maybe the Leafs can get someone from the Panthers with good underlying numbers so that Tallon can stick it to the computer boys.

What do you think, Nation? There are a lot of bad, desperate teams with general managers who have a history of getting fleeced. Who should Sweet Lou and Young Kyle be calling on the phone?


WWYDW IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY ARCTIC SPAS

Arctic Spas is a proud partner of the Nation Network. Looking for a way to stay warm during hockey season? Check out a local dealer near you.

  • Stan Smith

    I agree with you in regards to the Habs, and their centre issue. Drouin is actually playing bettter than I expected of him. Galchenyuk isn’t playing centre because he is way too slow to play centre. To me the Subban deal wasn’t about hockey talent, it was a dressing room issue, and the Habs management thought Subban felt he was bigger than the team. As it was, they did bring back one of the best dman in the NHL today, in Weber. How long he can maintain that level of play is another question. Overall I thought they already had a pretty good defence, so the signing of Alzner was a puzzle.

    As for the Oilers, I don’t think many people thought they would struggle nearly as much as they have. I also think no one thought they would have the troubles scoring that they are.

    I don’t think you can count either team out yet though. I don’t think either team is as bad as their records would indicate, and being 5 or 6 points out, at this time of the year, while it makes things tough, it doesn’t make it impossible. I think one of the two teams will make a run for the playoffs yet. Of the two, my money is on the Oilers.