Teddy Purcell traded to the Florida Panthers

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The Edmonton Oilers, as expected, have traded pending free agent Teddy Purcell. Although reports indicated that the Los Angeles Kings were very interested in the player, as it turns out Purcell is bound for the Eastern Conference, where he’ll play for the Florida Panthers.

Coming back the other way? A third-round draft pick.

The return is more-or-less what should have been expected. I thought there was a possibility that the Oilers would be able to land a second-round pick for Purcell’s services, but he was one of several complementary wingers on the market and obviously there wasn’t a team willing to pay such a high price.

The third-round pick represents decent but not exceptional value; given what general manager Peter Chiarelli was able to cajole in return for Anders Nilsson and Philip Larsen I expect he sees this as mildly disappointing. 

However, there are two significant caveats which we should consider.

The first is that Edmonton seemingly did not retain salary on the deal. That’s interesting for a bunch of reasons. Readers will recall that the Oilers retained money in the Ben Scrivens trade; that leaves the club with the ability to hold back salary on two other contracts. Justin Schultz will surely be one of them. What I wonder is if this doesn’t give Edmonton the flexibility now to trade someone who might otherwise not be tradeable – such as Lauri Korpikoski or even Nikita Nikitin. 

The second caveat is that just this summer, many fans in Edmonton hoped that Purcell would be bought out. Ultimately the Oilers didn’t use any of their buyouts and at least in Purcell’s case that restraint looks inspired. He played pretty well for two-thirds of a season and Edmonton managed to get a draft pick in exchange for his rights. A third-round pick isn’t a perfect return, but it’s much better than nothing and the $1.5 million cap hit next season which a buyout would have caused. 

The deal Edmonton apparently wanted to make involved prospect Nikolay Prokhorkin. The 22-year-old Prokhorkin is a big winger who had 20 goals, 38 points and 93 penalty minutes with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. He finished fourth on the team scoring list, behind former Oilers Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen, but he contributed more goals than either and actually led the team in that department.

The key question with Prokhorkin is over his willingness to play in North America, which McKenzie suggests ultimately pushed the Oilers away from a trade with the Kings. One would imagine there’s still a possibility of a smaller transaction between the teams centered on Justin Schultz alone, but as was the case with Purcell it’s likely that Los Angeles isn’t the only club with an interest in the player. There aren’t a lot of right-shooting defencemen available right now, and in a lesser role on a stronger team Schultz might be helpful.

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