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Three forwards the Oilers could trade for

The Edmonton Oilers need to fix their scoring woes and the clock is ticking.

In two weeks time, American Thanksgiving will be upon us. As American hockey fans will eat their turkeys and say grace, NHL fans from all over the globe should also be looking at the standings, as American Thanksgiving tends to create a clearer picture as to who will, or won’t, make the NHL’s postseason.

Since the league expanded to 30 teams back in 2000, close to 80% of teams that were in the playoff picture at American Thanksgiving cracked a postseason berth. That day is fast approaching, and there ought to be some urgency amongst the Oilers personal, with the team sitting seven points back of a wild-card spot, and the team scoring the least amongst any NHL team, with 2.31 goals per game.

The team’s lack of goal scoring is generally attributed to the team’s lack of forward depth, as they’re getting almost no contributions coming from the third and fourth lines.

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So, how do the Oilers bolster their offensive attack?

They could look from within, but with Kailer Yamamoto back in Spokane and with Jesse Puljujarvi needing more time in the AHL, the Oilers will have to outsource, and they’ll have to do it fast.

Let’s take a look who the Oilers could acquire to help bolster their offensive attack.

Josh Leivo/Nikita Soshnikov

Sep 27, 2017; Quebec City, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Josh Leivo (32) shoots against Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the second period at Centre Videotron. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

A deal between the Oilers and the Leafs could make a whole lot of sense.

For starters, the Leafs have a surplus of forwards, many of whom could be of excellent service to Edmonton. In return for one of those forwards, the Oilers could offer up the Leafs some trade deadline chips, giving them a mid-round pick that they could dangle at the deadline if they plan to be buyers.

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Now, how about these players?

Josh Leivo, 24, is an interesting and well documented, case of a player that has produced exceptionally well in a small sample size, but has yet to receive a longer leash from Leafs head coach Mike Babcock. Despite scoring at a 0.76 point per game pace for the Leafs last season, Leivo has only been given two games with the Leafs this year, and he’s yet to eclipse more than 12 NHL games in a season. By the looks of things with the Leafs, it doesn’t appear like he’ll be given more opportunity with the team down the road, barring an injury, thus making Leivo an attractive trade chip as his deal expires at the end of this season.

The 24-year-old forward can play on both the team’s power play and penalty kill, and could even ride shotgun with Connor McDavid if needed. This would allow the team to spread their offensive players out a little bit, and create a more balanced top-nine.

As Leivo continues to warm his press box seat at the ACC, Nikita Soshnikov continues to impress at the AHL level.

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Soshnikov, whose blistering wrist shot and slick hands are the first few things you’ll see if you search him up on youtube, is another one of the Leafs forwards left out of the fold, despite playing 56 games with the team last year. Soshnikov’s deal expires at the end of the year as well, and sparring a fourth or fifth round pick for Soshnikov could be well worth it for Chiarelli, whose team lacks offensive creators in their bottom six.

Grabbing ahold of perhaps a third or fourth round pick for either of the two forwards could be worthwhile for a Leafs team that likely wouldn’t be too upset if either of the two, or both, walked.

Chris Kreider

Oct 26, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) and Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers (55) fight during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

This possibility is somewhat of a long shot but bear with me.

While the panic surrounding the Rangers has dimmed down, for the time being, it may not take long before things turn sour for the Blue Shirts and if that becomes the case–Chris Kreider could find himself on the trade block.

Kreider, 26, has started to heat up as of late, while recording eight points in 16 games, with four of his five goals coming in his last six games. For a Rangers team that may be shifting towards a re-tool, selling high on Kreider could be in the cards for Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton, who has already started to turn the page in The Big Apple.

The speedy left winger is no Taylor Hall, but he’s a three-time 20+ goal scorer who would cost a reasonable 4.625 mil cap hit for the next three seasons. With the skilled centres the Oilers have, Kreider could slot anywhere from the team’s first line, to even their third line, giving Oilers head coach Todd Mclellan another tool in his arsenal to roll out an effective attack.

But what would it take to land Kreider?

I think it’s safe to say that Puljujarvi and Yamamoto are off the table, especially for this kind of deal. Perhaps the Oilers could offer up ‘D’ prospects Caleb Jones or Ethan Bear, tweeners like Slepyshev and Khaira, and package that up with draft picks. That price would likely be steep, but for an Oilers team that can’t afford to take a step backwards this year, it may be the necessary price to pay.

And for an Oilers team that has made some questionable decisions with the salary cap, getting a bargain of a deal in Kreider and his contract, is better than overpaying in free agency, something the Oilers can’t afford to do.

Conclusion

While McDavid and Draisaitl may not be leading the league in points, there’s little doubt they’ll climb the ranks and find themselves amongst the NHL’s elite in point totals.

But no matter how good Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Leon Draisaitl are, playoff hockey requires four lines you’re confident in–not just two lines.

Or rather, two or three players.

  • Brossoit31

    I really like the Krieder idea, although since the NYR have a tight cap right now they would probably like to free some cap space up and they probably wouldnt want to give up krieder because he has a very cap friendly contract. I think that Rick Nash would be something to consider, but it all depends on how much he would like to be paid. He is currently making 7.8 million, we CAN afford it but we would have very little cap space to work with and as i said if i was chai i would only make the deal if Nash was comfortable with signing a 5-6 million dollar contract. so maybe you ship Russel and a nice prospect for nash? if this deal was made the way i have it written we would also have to lose lucic, which i have no problem doing

    • Oilerchild77

      Nash can be had in the off season for much less than he’s making now and it won’t cost the Oilers anything but cash. So why would they give up assets for him? No. The Oilers are likely looking for a player with term.

    • Peplinski's Thunderbird

      Getting rid of either Lucic or Russell would be viewed as a cap dump no? why would these players give an incentive for the team’s trading for them?

    • Svart kaffe

      We can afford 7.8 mil if we ship out around 4, I think it’s pretty established that the Oilers have way less cap room than we think because of all the bonuses. And NYR aren’t taking Russell. Why would they?

    • Mahaloeh

      Soshnikov is a prospect! He is not a proven top 6 NHL winger. Ty Rattie is the same age & has the same amount of NHL points in half the games! Just a comparison but he’s not a sure thing & I believe there’s got to be some warts if Babcock doesn’t have him at the NHL level right now? Buyer beware!

    • jultz=2cups!??

      Why swap Nuge and Leon? Makes zero sense to me. We already know that Connor and Leon have good chemistry, unless you missed the game last night? Nuge is winning 54% of his face offs and is creating offence whenever he’s on the ice, so why change things that are working? We’re trying to fix the broken things lol. Which in my opinion is a winger for Nuge. I’d give Kreider a try. Not sure if he can play his off wing but Lucic, Nuge and kreider would be a nice 2nd line imo.

      • Big Nuggets

        Agreed. People keep calling for Nuge on McD’S wing, which would be interesting to see, but the fact is that Nuge is too important at center, atm. The assumption that Drai will be a better center than Nuge because of his obvious offensive talent is too simplistic. It takes a lot to make a good center. Drai will be one day but right now its McD and Nuge.
        I would however be interested to see if Drai could produce on Nuge’s line. Just need another RW to play with Connor.

        • I like the look of that Looch, Nuge, and Kassian line they had going for a bit versus the Islanders late in that game. They held the zone for what seemed like an eternity. No, they didn’t score…but you figure Kassian has GOT to get one one soon (although it will likely be waved off.)

      • Spydyr

        I said move Nuge for two reasons. The first being we know Nuge can centre a line for extended periods in the NHL. Let us see if Drai can as well. The second and more important reason is: If Connor has one weakness it is defensive zone coverage. Nuge could help out Connor’s line defensively more so the Dria IMO. Think Gretzky and Kurri.

        OK there is one more reason. Why not see how they play together. You should explore all possible line combinations to see what works and what does not work. The Oilers have never had a look at the Nuge-Connor combination.

    • camdog

      LD number one winger on team, Maroon second best winger on team. After that no other forward has really done anything on the wing. I don’t see the wealth of talent on the on left wing that you proclaim?

      • The Whispererer

        Must be my bad. I thought the point was to find a top 6 RW so that LD could play center.
        Our LW chart has Maroon, Lucic, Caggiula, Jokkinen, Khaira, Malone…
        With LD at center our RW chart is a bunch of question marks with Strome at the top followed by Slepyshev, Kassian, Pakarinen – none of whom have demonstrated ability to play top 6.

        • camdog

          According to Dave Staples one of Lucic or Maroon won’t be back next season. Oilers may be able to off load Lucic if they eat some major cap. Like I said remove Maroon and left side is just as bad with just as many question marks. At least Oilers have prospects on right side. All 3 of Malone, Khaira and Jokinen could be in the AHL by seasons end.

  • wiseguy

    “playoff hockey requires four lines you’re confident in–not just two lines”

    Playoffs? Don’t talk about — playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game! Another game.

    • MrBung

      More delusional fans. This is far from a playoff team. These guys need to win games to stay respectable. I would have thought most fans would have figured out there are no playoffs this spring. For goodness sakes. This team has yet to win two games in a row and it is mid November. Good grief.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Easy Mr.Bung
    If the Oilers get some scoring from the bottom 6 forwards tonight and moving forward, with Sekera coming back from injury, this team is not destined to be out of the playoffs. Talbot is starting to look like he did last year, and at any one point 97 can single-handedly win hockey games. It’s November 9th. Yes, the start to the season has been bad. Really bad. But to think you know who will be out of the playoffs today is ridiculous. The Rangers had 1 win in their first 8 or 9 games. Vegas was 1st in the West.
    But come April things will look much different.

  • btrain

    Conclusion…..trading Eberle before having any realistic replacement was idiotic. Though we don’t have the luxury of time, getting a prospect from another organization to leap frog the current prospect group, guarantees nothing (i.e. Strome being ignited by McDavid). Soshnikov for example is currently sitting 42nd in AHL scoring and one point up on Ty Rattie. Perhaps I am wrong but maybe the organization he plays for makes him more likely to have his tires pumped? Leivo, I mean what can you really tell from his limited experience so far? If the Oil are going to make a move they need to get someone they can be confident can help, not just another potential to add to the group. However, to get proven scoring, you are looking at paying much more than Eberle’s 6 million between new guy and Stromes 2.5mill, which again demonstrates how ridiculous it was to make this trade. The team is not as bad as they have demonstrated even without Eberle and Sekera, if Talbot has turned a corner, getting back to 500 could be just a matter of time. Stay the course.