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Oilers won't make big moves before Deadline: GM

Edmonton will explore trades of core players in offseason

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- After the Edmonton Oilers made three trades Saturday, general manager Peter Chiarelli said he likely won't make any more significant moves prior to the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday.

Edmonton traded backup goaltender Anders Nilsson to the St. Louis Blues for minor league goaltender Niklas Lundstrom and a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Chiarelli then traded forward Teddy Purcell to the Florida Panthers for a third-round pick in the 2016 draft and defenseman Justin Schultz to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.

"The advantage of completing the deals like we did today, is that we have two days to dig down on some other stuff," Chiarelli said. "That may not be stuff that gets done at the deadline, but you get a little better sense of where other teams are going for the summer. We'll certainly be pecking away at that stuff, and we have some other things that we're looking at, and if we get them done, great, if not, that's fine."

Purcell, 30, had 11 goals and 32 points in 61 games for the Oilers and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Schultz, 25, had three goals and seven assists in 45 games for Edmonton and can become a restricted free agent July 1.

"Ted is a player that the contract was coming to an end, and at this point in the year, we're not a contending team and management's job is to manage assets, and so we felt we should trade him for an asset, and that's what we did," Chiarelli said. "Ted's been good for us and he's played on that top line, made plays and had some success. We had three or four teams after him. He's had some success in the playoffs and he became a valuable player to have. It was something I felt I had to move on, and we decided to move forward on it."

Purcell spent the majority of the season on the Oilers' top line with center Leon Draisaitl and left wing Taylor Hall.

Purcell was a healthy scratch the past two games (a 2-1 loss at the Los Angeles Kings and a 2-1 overtime loss at the Anaheim Ducks) in anticipation of being traded.

Schultz also was a healthy scratch in Edmonton's past two games. He was minus-22 this season.

"In defense of Justin, he didn't play very well in the last little bit and there were a lot of critics," Chiarelli said. "I've seen a lot of players that have been booed -- and I can understand why fans boo players -- that go on and have success elsewhere. We had a player in Boston, Dennis Wideman, that for some reason or other, he fell into that category and he's had success after that. It happens."

Schultz signed with Edmonton as a free agent out of the University of Wisconsin in 2012. He was a hot commodity after he refused to sign with the Ducks, who selected him with the 43rd pick in the 2008 draft, and became an unrestricted free agent.

"In certain situations right now, he can help teams; that's why we had some teams after him," said Chiarelli, who is in his first season with the Oilers, hired on April 24, 2015, nine days after being fired by the Bruins. "Where did it go wrong? I can't tell you, I didn't watch him close enough when I wasn't with the organization. I do know he was highly coveted and I saw him in college. Defending in college wasn't quite as important, generally speaking. Maybe he got a little too much too soon here and the defending side didn't come. He's still young, and we wish him the best in Pittsburgh and after that."

The Oilers retained 50 percent of what remains on Schultz's salary-cap charge of $3.9 million this season. Chiarelli said it was the only way to trade Schultz.

"The teams that were inquiring about him were all capped out or close to it," Chiarelli said. "So anything of the discussions we had were about retaining salary."

The Oilers (22-34-7) are 30th in the NHL standings and are expected to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 10th consecutive season.

"When I took the job, I didn't dismiss the notion that I might be a seller at the deadline, so I knew anything was possible," Chiarelli said. "This is the first time in 10 years that I have been a seller, and it's a little disappointing that way. But we had some housekeeping items to do, and I say that, with all due respect to these guys, but there were some expiring contracts and we had to move forward without them and we have to move along."

Edmonton was expected to be a seller leading up to the deadline, but Chiarelli said he was unlikely to move a core player, instead waiting until the offseason to explore those options.

"There is a lot of discussions that take place not necessarily for the deadline, but for the summer and the fall," he said. "You really exchange ideas and exchange thoughts where your team is going, you talk about certain scenarios. I feel like we've accomplished quite a lot of that, but my thoughts remain the same on [not moving a core player]."

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