Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has built quite the reputation for himself when it comes to making questionable moves in the National Hockey League and now one of his more recent decisions is coming back to bite him in a rather bad way. We are not just talking trades, here, though it is quite easy to look at what former Oilers Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle have accomplished with their respective clubs and get discouraged from the trade work that has been done.
However, another terrible move made by Chiarelli has been the lengthy and lucrative contract extension he offered gritty forward Milan Lucic. After a relatively dominant 2015-2016 NHL season as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, Lucic hit the free-agent market and reportedly had a large number of suitors for his services. However Chiarelli offered Lucic a massive seven-year contract worth a whopping $42 million allowing him to grab the coveted free agent and all would have been well if the deal had worked out, but unfortunately it has not.
While some might be quick to suggest that the Oilers should seriously consider a buyout of his contract, the signing bonuses provided by Chiarelli in the signing have made that almost impossible for Edmonton. This was of course done by Lucic's agent in order to protect his client from ever facing a potential buyout. That leaves the only option a potential trade for the Oilers and while that may seem far-fetched there is now legitimate talk that it may actually go down this summer.
Allan Mitchell of the Athletic recently reported that there could be a match between the Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens on a potential blockbuster trade for Lucic. He explained a match for forward Andrew Shaw in the following lines:
"A Lucic-for-Shaw transaction with Montreal might be pretty straightforward, perhaps small pieces on each side added ala the Phaneuf-Gaborik trade.
You can probably hear the media avails in each city. The Habs can talk about acquiring an enforcer who can play on a skill line, the first real one since John Ferguson (also from Vancouver) 50 years ago. The Oilers, after deciding on whether or not to buy out the Shaw deal, can talk about his face-off percentage and strong track record of success. In truth, both contracts are an overpay but for the Oilers there's one year and $2 million per season shaved off the cap. That has value."
However, Mitchell pushed the envelope even more by noting that the Oilers might have to consider other undesirable options and heavy contracts to rid themselves of Lucic. We mean other burdens... These options sounds like the worst possible trade offers for the veteran forward:
"If the list was expanded to other teams, Edmonton might be able to procure Jason Spezza from Dallas (one more year at $7.5 million); Bobby Ryan from Ottawa ($7.25 million times four); Brent Seabrook from Chicago ($6.875 million times six years); Kyle Okposo from Buffalo ($6 million times five more years); Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million times three more seasons); Travis Zajac from New Jersey ($5.75 million times three) all via CapFriendly. Many of those names have some kind of no-movement as part of their current deals and of course Lucic has to be willing to waive his no movement in order for a trade to take place. There are options (and worse contracts) out there that could be discussion points this summer."
So, are the Oilers better off with Lucic? Is it worth taking on another bad contract with a player you barely know? What would you do if you were Chiarelli?