You can expect the Edmonton Oilers to make a few moves on trade deadline day, but most will not involve trades, instead it will be assigning players to Bakersfield and possibly claiming one or two players off waivers.
Monday is the trade deadline, but because the Oilers won’t be making the playoffs they will need to decide which current Oilers they want to play in the AHL playoffs.
Jordan Oesterle, Laurent Brossoit and Jujhar Khaira are the obvious choices. In order to be eligible for the AHL playoffs they need to be on the AHL roster tomorrow, so they will be sent down. It could just be a paper transaction and they will be recalled immediately, or they might stay down for a short time.
Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl are also eligible to be sent down, because they don’t require waivers. Of the three, Nurse is the most likely because he played there at the start of the season and they want him to keep playing.
There is a good chance Draisaitl could continue playing for Germany at the World Championships, so I think it unlikely he will be sent down just to be eligible for the AHL playoffs.
The issue the Oilers have is teams are only allowed to recall four players from the AHL after the trade deadline. If they suffer more injuries they can recall players on an emergency basis. Teams bend this rule all the time by claiming an NHL player is injured so they can give a young player one or two games in the NHL.
As of right now the Oilers only have 20 healthy players, after Benoit Pouliot injured his shoulder (suspected dislocation) in the third period vs. the Islanders.
There will be some “paper transactions” with the aforementioned players, but you should also expect the Oilers to claim one or two players on waivers to fill out their roster and avoid using all four or their eligible recalls right away.
Players placed on waivers today include:
Forwards Adam Cracknell, Mike Brown, Zac Rinaldo and Rene Bourque.
D-men David Warsofsky and Adam Pardy
Goalies Reto Berra and Alex Stalock.
Berra has one year remaining on his deal, so I doubt they take him. Bourque makes too much, $3.3 mill cap hit, and he’s too inconsistent effort-wise to be around this group.
Pardy, Cracknell and Stalock would make the most sense since they are all UFAs at the end of the of the season. Cracknell has a $575,000 cap hit, Pardy is $1 million while Stalock is $1.6 million. It would cost the Oilers around 23% of their respective cap hits if they were claimed.
I expect the Oilers to recall Nikita Nikitin prior to trade deadline, because they won’t be worried if he doesn’t play in the AHL playoffs and could keep him in Edmonton as an extra and only play him sparingly. They could do the same with Rob Klinkhammer and Luke Gazdic if they didn’t want them eligible for the AHL playoffs.
Oesterle has played well, and the only reason he will be sent down, and possibly not recalled right away is strictly so he can be play in the AHL playoffs. Same with Khaira and Brossoit.
“It is more than day to day. We have lost him for awhile,” McLellan replied when I asked him about Pouliot’s injury.
I thought there was a slight chance Nail Yakupov would be moved before the deadline, but I doubt he is moved now. He will replace Pouliot on the left side with McDavid and Jordan Eberle. He’ll have an opportunity to end the season on good note, and possibly increase his trade value in the summer, if indeed Chiarelli is considering trading him.
If a good deal was available tomorrow, I doubt Chiarelli would hesitate, but I’d be surprised if that transpires.
Rumours are swirling that the Oilers are interested in Brandon Pirri in Florida, so we’ll see if Chiarelli does make a trade or if his moves on Monday are simply waiver claims and AHL re-assignments.