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Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Deadline: The Rest

Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu are Edmonton’s two big rentals. After that, there’s not a lot of talk around the rest. Michael Cammalleri, Yohann Auvitu, and Mark Fayne are all unrestricted free agents. Maybe there’s not much interest in those players, but Edmonton should explore moving them for any sort of pick or prospect.

Mike Cammalleri

Cammalleri came over from the Los Angeles Kings for Jussi Jokinen. The idea was Cammalleri, like Jokinen, could rebound after being bought out in the summer.

Cammalleri’s put up some decent scoring totals and hasn’t looked that out of place alongside Connor McDavid or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He’s on pace for 30 points and maybe a contender thinks he can provide some skill in their bottom six.

Edmonton needs better wingers, and maybe that’s a veteran on a one-year deal, but that’s unlikely to be 36-year old Cammalleri. Trade him for a late round pick if possible.

Yohann Auvitu

Auvitu on another one-year contract next season might make sense. He brings a different dimension than the rest of the Oilers’ blueline, even if that side is a little chaotic. He’s quick, can play on the power play, and didn’t look out of sorts as a fourth-line winger.

Auvitu hasn’t played much so I doubt he draws much interest around the league, but defensive depth never hurts in the playoffs.

Mark Fayne

Here me out. Fayne’s in the minors playing for the Florida Panthers’ AHL affiliate in Springfield. His three points across 20 games between Springfield or Bakersfield doesn’t scream NHL defenceman. Maybe a team wants him around as a depth defenceman in the AHL in case injuries destroy their defence.

Fayne’s cap hit is $3.626 million. That number will be much lower by the deadline, but even with the Oilers retaining that’s a hard sell on a guy who couldn’t make the Oilers’ defence during the worst of times.

Still, it’s something to explore.

Eric Gryba

Gryba’s not a UFA, but he only has $900k left for one more year after this season. Gryba can be a serviceable depth defenceman, and brings the toughness that teams salivate for in the playoffs,

The Oilers could clear out another contract and open up more ice time for their defence prospects.

Expiring Contracts

Edmonton’s biggest asset might be their cap space. They went into the season with a lot of room, hoping to add at the deadline and load up for a playoff run. That plan failed spectacularly, and now they may have a comical amount. Some of McDavid’s performance bonuses will account for that, and perhaps Darnell Nurse reaches a few of his, but the Oilers should have plenty to acquire bad contracts that expire at the end of the year.

The Oilers should utilize it and help contenders free up space to add at the deadline.

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  • Explicit

    If the leafs got a 7th for Fehr I gotta think some of these guys could get something. Chia made some big bets that didn’t pan out. Time to restock again

  • Disappointed

    See, Chiarelli is a Harvard grad. Made a bet he couldn’t loose on by having that cap space at the end, pure genius. Lets hope he is smart enough to use it as an advantage.

  • OilersBro

    Considering Russell’s play this year (I can’t speak for the future) has actually been worth 4MM (leading scoring d-man, leading in blocked shots) we could look to ship him out at the deadline to a contender like the Leafs who wants to make a run.
    Treat it like a salary dump and get a late pick for him
    Then we can replace his minutes for the rest of the year with young guys like Davidson, Benning and Auvitu to see what they have on a consistent basis

    • Spaceman Spiff

      Um… er … uh … why would they trade a defenceman who’s played well and, as you say, is earning his keep? Doesn’t this team need defencemen next season? Why trade one who’s playing well and is what appears to be, for the time being, a value contract?

      • The Whispererer

        Ask yourself this question:
        Faced with a choice of Russell, Klefbom or RNH to be traded for magic beans in order to fit within the cap next season, who would you prefer to unload ?

        • crabman

          @Whispererer, not exactly a fair question. In a world where the return is the same I trade Russell every time. But the fact is 1st he has a nmc and 2nd he is getting older and past his prime so trading him for any real return right now isn’t happening. So My answer would be trade Klefbom for a simular Dman but RD. And I don’t think any of them need to be traded for a salary dump next year with the cap going up as long as a hole is filled with the trade.

    • crabman

      I didn’t like the Russell deal when it was signed mainly because it was long-term with a nmc for what I thought was our #5 Dman. After the season Klefbom had last year and the expectation of Nurse to continue to develope I couldn’t see Russell as a top 4 guy. That said he has been a top 4 guy this year and until we see if Sekera fully rebounds from injury and Klefbom rebounds from a bad year Russell may very well be in the top 4 again next year. $4M for that guy is fine and he can be moved in year 3. It looks a lot less ugly today than I thought it looked on day 1.

      • Dan 1919

        Exactly what Russel supporters said from the get go. He was a PROVEN #4 dman in the NHL. Swing position on the Oilers and #5 dman on full moon Wednesday’s blah blah all you want… the Oilers D was not proven or as deep as many believed and paying $4mil for a 4d was fine.

  • crabman

    Interesting article. I doubt anyone touches Fayne and there probably isn’t a market for Auvitu, plus we will need someone to fill out the roster down the stretch. We should be able to get a piece back for Cammalleri even if it is a late rounder. I didn’t even think of all that cap space as an asset since we aren’t shopping for the playoffs but it is an interesting idea. Cap space always seems to have value at the draft if a team is willing to take a bad contract. I hope Chiarelli can use that to his advantage at the deadline and get some picks or prospects.

  • RJ

    Are there bad expiring contracts the Oilers could trade for? If they were going to make this move, wouldn’t earlier in the season have been the time to do it?

    • crabman

      I don’t know what contracts are out there right now but the later in the season it goes the bigger the contract they can afford to take on. Plus a team wanting to add at the deadline but doesn’t have space might be willing to part ways with a pick or prospect if we take that bad contract now that they know they are trying to load up for a playoff run.