A week ago, I wrote about Erik Karlsson and the Oilers. That was more pie-in-the-sky thinking, though nothing’s impossible with Eugene Melnyk there, but the Senators reportedly want to shed salary and the Oilers are a natural fit. That doesn’t mean Karlsson, but Edmonton should still be interested.
Nick Kypreos talked about this on Sportsnet’s Saturday Headlines segment.
“Well, if, and I use the word if, the mandate for the Ottawa Senators is to shed some money off that 68-million dollar payroll that Eugene Melynk alluded to, the easiest way for them to do that is to trade Mike Hoffman. Now, unlike a Phaneuf or Bobby Ryan trade, this potential deal for Hoffman wouldn’t necessarily be money-in money-out. Now some have suggested to me that the Ottawa Senators and the Edmonton Oilers have had conversations on Hoffman and a potential deal like that, I think the Oilers would like to have [a deal] built around top draft picks and prospects ,that that way the Oilers wouldn’t necessarily upset the current roster they have, and for maybe one more shot at getting back in a playoff race.” – Nick Kypreos
Chris Johnston noted that Ottawa has put this on the players, and there’s the possibility of something drastic being done after the season if things don’t improve. Elliotte Friedman mentioned Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s name as well, and he thinks if Ottawa makes these moves, it’ll be picks or prospects, or young players currently in the NHL coming back.
Hoffman’s been productive after becoming a full-time player in 2014-15. He’s 21st in goals and 41st in points since, and a legitimate top-line winger with fantastic speed. His $5.187m cap hit is very reasonable, with two years left on his contract after this season making him more than a short-term solution.
For Edmonton, the fit is obvious. He’d slide in beside any of the three centers, and add much-needed speed to the Oilers’ lineup. The Oilers have the cap space and Hoffman could replace Patrick Maroon’s slot on left wing, especially if the cost is future assets. The season is more likely than not done, so selling at the deadline could recoup picks or prospects lost in a potential Hoffman deal.
Pageau’s versatile. He can plays, and penalty kills regularly. Unlike Hoffman, he’s right-handed which would be a blessing in Edmonton’s left-heavy lineup. Pageau’s less of a scorer than Hoffman, but can still be relied upon for 35-40 points. He only makes $3.1 million, so the cash-strapped Sens might want to clear Hoffman’s salary instead.
Pageau’s a career 52% faceoff guy, which could help both of Edmonton’s special teams. The top power play is reliant on Letestu’s right-handed shot and ability to win draws, so Pageau could be another option, though he hasn’t played much on the power play in Ottawa.
Adding another centre also gives Todd McLellan the opportunity to load up his top line with both McDavid and Draisaitl, without worrying about leaving his other lines thin.
The Oilers cleared salary when they traded Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome and Benoit Pouliot. Some of that went to Kris Russell’s dubious extension, but the rest went unused. Most cap sites have the Oilers $6-7 million below the cap ceiling, so the Oilers should be primed to take on salary, even with McDavid’s bonuses accounted for.
Both Hoffman and Pageau would be excellent additions. The Senators are sort of a disaster and Edmonton desperately needs more NHL players. They have a chance to acquire one for just draft picks and prospects or young players. Would that cost a first round pick or Kailer Yamamoto? That might be tough, but the Oilers should put all that cap space to use.