No Matter What the Maple Leafs Do, At Least They Aren’t Edmonton

Mar 9, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) tries to knock the puck away from Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) tries to knock the puck away from Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

No Matter What the Maple Leafs do, at least they aren’t the Edmonton Oilers.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost in five straight first round series, but no matter how much they have failed or continue to fail, at least they didn’t trade for Duncan Keith.

Maybe there is an alternate universe where the Edmonton Oilers, under the guidance of billionaire owner Daryl Katz, have enjoyed long periods as an NHL dynasty and have hoisted the precious Stanley Cup numerous times, hanging banners to the rafters of Rogers Place with a packed Winter Garden overlooking 104 Avenue.

In this universe Nail Yakupov has multiple Rocket Richard’s; Taylor Hall and Connor McDavid are unstoppable on the number 1 line and Magnus Paajarvi is an offensive force instead of another high first-rounder that the Oilers prematurely rushed into the league and who, ultimately, drastically failed to live up to expectations.

The harsh reality; however, is that the Edmonton Oilers under the “guidance” of Daryl Katz have been nothing but an unadulterated mess. Monday’s acquisition of 38-year old defenseman Duncan Keith only exacerbates that fact.

The Worst Trade in Recent NHL Memory 

A 38 year-old defenseman with dwindling offensive numbers and possession metrics that has steadily declined the last three years (to an atrocious 45.1 CF% last year, all numbers from with a $5.5 million annual cap for the next two seasons with nothing retained by Chicago? Really, Edmonton? According to some, Toronto wouldn’t even want Keith for nothing.

Granted Caleb Jones certainly isn’t anything special but he just turned 24 and will be a cheap, decent bottom-pairing guy for Chicago. The Blackhawks also get a 3rd-round pick out of the deal. Edmonton gets a guy nearly 40 who finished 4th in Norris voting over four years ago and carries almost an extra $5 million in cap expenses.

This tweet by longtime Edmonton Oilers writer Jim Matheson tries to rationalize the deal for Edmonton and contains an interesting comment about how Keith’s salary commitment is much lower than his cap hit (Cap Friendly has it at $2.1 million this season and $1.5 million next), saying that, monetarily speaking, this is “a win for owner Katz.”

Is that what Edmonton Oilers fans have been reduced to; being thankful for a “win” for billionaire owner Daryl Katz?

And that’s what seems to be the inherent problem in Edmonton: Daryl Katz and his billions.

Katz successfully purchased the Edmonton Oilers early in 2008 for $200 million (as per Forbes, the franchise is now valued at $550 million) and quickly managed to lead the team to the middle of the pack with remarkable frequency:

2008-2009: 85 points

2009-2010: 62 points

2010-2011: 62 points

2011-2012: 74 points

2012-2013: 45 points (48-game season)

2013-2014: 67 points

2014-2015: 62 points

2015-2016: 70 points

In that eight-season span the Oilers had six top-ten 1st-round picks, including three number 1 overall picks, and that’s not including 1st overall Connor McDavid in 2015, who was the only reason Edmonton finally had a successful season in 2016-2017 (103 points). Of course, even with McDavid on board, the following two seasons (2017-2019) Edmonton still managed to finish under .500 with 78 and 79 points, respectively. Those are some seriously dreadful numbers over quite a significant period of time, particularly considering the deep pockets of the team’s owner and the many fortuitous draft positions that bounced Edmonton’s way.

But at least Rogers Place and the surrounding amenities have revitalized the Edmonton downtown core and ensured that the club would remain at that venue for the long haul. Surely we have to thank Katz (and his owned groups) for bearing the brunt of those costs, don’t we?

Well, here is a summary of the agreement between the city of Edmonton and Daryl Katz that outlines the total projected costs and contributions for all parties involved.

The total projected cost of the entire project (Rogers Place arena, Winter Garden pedway, community arena, LRT, pedestrian corner, land) was $613.7 million. Katz’ main contributions were $132.5 million towards the arena and $31.7 million towards the Winter Garden, barely more than a quarter of the total cost of the project. Moreover, the majority of each contribution for Katz ($112.8 million for the arena and $25 million for the Garden) is simply owed as rent to the city to be paid over a span of 35 years. Additionally, Katz receives 100% of all of the arena’s operating and parking revenue.

Acquiring all of this and receiving such sweetheart deals all the while spending less than $30 million in cash and, as of this date, having a net worth of $3.7 billion? That is a major win for owner Katz, indeed.

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But a loss for the Oilers and their fans.  The Toronto Maple Leafs may have their problems, but at least they didn’t trade for Duncan Keith.