Imagine you're at work and suddenly your boss calls you in. It's a call you were dreading to receive. You like where you work. There have been some good days and some bad days. Successful years, individually speaking, and other years where things didn't go quite as well. Sometimes the company was trending upwards and then there were years where things don't go so well. You could have a contract or maybe your contract is running out but there was a day circled on the calendar. Any time after that and you couldn't go anywhere but then the call came. You don't have a clause in your deal that says you can't be moved so off to the bosses office you go. He breaks the news to you. Your services aren't necessary anymore. You've been traded.
Video: Peter Chiarelli talks Desharnais trade on Sportsnet
Welcome to pro sports and specifically to the NHL. It's a hazard of the job that gets exponentially enhanced when the trade deadline arrives and it's almost here. One more game, two more sleeps and it's March 1st. It is the last chance teams have to make a push for the Stanley Cup by grabbing players from other teams to help the cause. It is a day not as much about money compared to July 1st. It's a factor but it's less about dollars and more about what makes sense. Picking up a missing element to add to your lineup. Whether it's in net, on the blueline or up front. It's also a chance to add something that maybe doesn't have a number attached to it (leadership, grit, experience to name a few).
Which leads us to the Edmonton Oilers and what they need or what they want as they make a final push to the playoffs. It's different this season and Todd McLellan put it best prior to departing on this season-long road trip. This time last year (trade deadline time) we were sellers and now we could be buyers. They definitely could be but if they are what are they buying? Only Peter Chiarelli and his closest confidantes know for sure but here are a few things they might have in mind.
1.Backup goalie - I put this first because it think it's the least of their concerns BUT you can never have enough goaltending. That was proven by LA going out and getting Ben Bishop when they already have Jonathan Quick. I will say Pittsburgh are a perfect example of the above. They had Marc Andre Fleury, a Cup winner, in net and yet an unproven, at the time, kid named Matt Murray stepped in to be the goaltending gift from the hockey gods to help them secure the Stanley Cup. Edmonton is second in the Pacific and Cam Talbot had a huge hand in this development. As the Oilers push for a playoff spot if they could secure something with a few games to go Talbot could rest Laurent Brossoit could play and the Oilers would be set to go in the post season.
2.Centreman - The Oilers, theoretically speaking, have enough centremen. It's just that one of them is playing so well on the wing it's given them an unexpected gap down the middle. It's not really about finding a point producer in this position. Someone with size would be a pre-requisite. Martin Hanzal an example and he was picked up by Minnesota on Sunday. Faceoff ability, in my opinion, would be the biggest determining factor on who they get or if they get anyone. It's no secret Edmonton would like to improve their numbers in the faceoff circle. Along with all the work they do before and after practice on this particular skill the easiest and fastest way to remedy the situation is to go out and get someone who is already good at it.
3.Playoff Experience- This is something that could arrive in any shape or size and in any position. Getting a player or players who have been there, done that in the post season would be a wonderful thing to add. To have it at your disposal down the stretch would be nice but to have it for games after April 9 would be necessary. An intangible that isn't found in a column or can't be traced back to a game sheet. It's just something the Oilers don't have a lot of right now. I don't think this will be the case in 2-3 years. For now a little extra seasoning would be a great thing to have available to a core of kids getting ready to crack the seal on hockey not judged by the standings but instead the wins and losses in a series.
It's a nervous time for players. An exciting time for fans and likely both for general managers like Peter Chiarelli heading into the Trade Deadline.