Hello, Leafs Nation. I’m here reporting from Edmonton with some hot inside information: Peter Chiarelli is ripe for the picking. It’s that time of year! The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and Chiarelli is sitting in his desk itching to make his annual horrendous summer trade.
Let’s back things up for a second. The Oilers had a disastrous season in 2017-18. Despite Stanley Cup aspirations, the team fell flat out of the gate and failed to rebound, ultimately finishing 23rd in the league’s standings. Despite this, the organization is leaving full faith in Chiarelli. I can’t tell you why exactly, but it’s a thing and somebody needs to take advantage of it.
Kyle Dubas, eager to make a big splash in his new role as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and prove to everybody that he isn’t just some too-young-computer-nerd, needs to get on the phone with Chiarelli immediately so that the Leafs can be on the winning end of whatever absurd deal he decides to make.
The 10th overall pick
Remember the last time Chiarelli dealt away a first-round pick? Good lord. When he inherited an idiot-proof situation in Edmonton, one in which a team that was already loaded with assets like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Oscar Klefbom was inexplicably gifted the Connor McDavid lottery ticket, he also held the 16th overall pick acquired when the Oilers dealt David Perron to the Penguins earlier during the season.
2015 was a ridiculously deep draft. Talent like Thomas Chabot, Mat Barzal, Kyle Connor, and Brock Boeser was available in the middle of the first round. So what did Chiarelli do? He traded the 16th pick and a second-round pick for Griffin Reinhart. A slow, stay-at-home defenceman who was already well on his way to bust territory. I mean, sure, the Oilers needed help on the blueline, but rather than acquiring a veteran defenceman who could, ya know, actually make them better, they acquired a guy who couldn’t crack the New York Islanders.
New York ended up getting Barzal, who’s going to win the Calder Trophy this year, and another solid player in Anthony Beauvillier. The Leafs could honestly probably convince Chiarelli that Nikita Zaitsev is the answer for Edmonton’s somehow-still-bad blueline and get themselves the 10th overall pick in return.
Hey GMs: STOP asking about Klefbom! Not trading him unless he’s packaged with our #10 pick.— Keith Gretzky (@FakeOilersGM) May 9, 2018
Last summer, Chiarelli inked gritty defenceman Kris Russell to a four-year deal worth four million annually that the son of a cowboy never could have imagined in his wildest dreams. Honestly, good for Russell. The guy works really hard and takes an absolute beating on the ice and I’m thrilled for him that he got paid. But, in doing so, Chiarelli essentially determined that one of Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom won’t be with the team long-term.
The Oilers already had Andrej Sekera signed to a deal with a no-movement clause, Russell also got a modified no trade clause, meaning there’s only really room for one of Nurse and Klefbom on the left side of Edmonton’s blueline.
Nurse had a good season and Klefbom had a down season. Knowing the Oilers, they’ll deal the player at their lowest point of value and sign the other player at their highest point of value to a long-term deal. That would make Klefbom available for Toronto to poach. As we know, the Leafs could use some help on their blueline, and, as recently as last year, Klefbom looked like a true top pairing option. The Oilers need a winger who can score some goals. Maybe Dubas could convince Chiraelli that Zach Hyman is the driving force on Toronto’s top line and make that this summer’s The Trade is One for One splash. I mean, considering Eberle for Strome and Hall for Larsson, is it really that far-fetched?
Shoot for the moon!
Trust me, Peter Chiarelli is going to do something dumb this summer. I mean, he does every summer, but I have a feeling this year is going to be special. Chiarelli is on the hot seat after a miserable year in Edmonton. He’s in need of a quick turnaround and he has assets to burn.
Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, and the 10th overall pick in 2018 might not be able to help next year. Why not deal them for something that can help now? Like, say, a second pairing defenceman? Oscar Klefbom had a down year, why not sell low on him and get a forward that can play with Connor McDavid?
It’s hard to say what it’s going to be, but all I know is that this is an excellent chance for Dubas to make a big splash to kick off his tenure as Maple Leafs general manager properly.