Buckle up, Oilers fans. According to Ryan Rishaug, the team has scouts and staff deployed all over the league in an attempt to find the right player to help the Oilers push for the playoffs.
Oilers organization is on a full court press to find help at forward. Scouts and staff deployed en masse.
Cap situation could make it tough, but first round pick, a goaltender, maybe a young developing forward likely all in play.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) January 14, 2019
It seems inevitable the first-round pick will be in play for the Oilers as they seek help up front through the trade market. Bob Stauffer tweeted over the weekend that the team should be ready to move the first, which, given his sources within the organization, suggest that’s the main bargaining chip that Peter Chiarelli is shopping. Should Chiarelli be allowed to deal such a valuable piece? Dustin Nielson looked at that very question this morning.
There’s no doubt the Oilers are desperate to make the playoffs. The team failed to live up to lofty expectations last year but Bob Nicholson was adamant that the organization has a plan that they’re sticking to. Part of that plan, though, was to get back into the playoffs in 2019. An important note to consider is that the Oilers renew their luxury tickets on three-year plans which expire at the end of this season. The frustration that comes along with another season on the outside looking in could result in luxury ticket seals taking a hit. People won’t shell out tens of thousands of dollars if they don’t believe the team will be competitive.
Elliotte Freidman was on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 with friend of Nation Network Pat Steinberg on Monday. Freidman stressed how important the playoffs are for the business end of the Oilers this year and how that will likely lead to a move even if it isn’t the best thing for the team long-term.
I think the biggest question is going to be does there ever get to a point where ownership says, ‘We’re not chasing anymore this year.’ And to me, right now, the answer is no.
There’s a lot on the line there. Their season ticket renewals go out soon. At the arena there, some of those suites are up three years because they were three-year leases when they first bought in, and it’s going to be tough to re-sell them.
Look, from a hockey point of view it makes no sense for the Oilers to do this. But from a business point of view, you see why this kind of stuff happens. I think the Oilers should just play it out and see where it goes. I think this is a risk of being a really, really poor outcome for them. But from a business point of view, it looks to me like the owner is saying, ‘I want to get into the playoffs.’ And if that’s the case, this move is going to get made.
Now, I mean we’ll see. I don’t think this is the best course of action for the Oilers, but I’m not paying for everything there. And this just says to me that they feel they’ve got to make the playoffs from a business point of view, and that’s the way these decisions get made.
After Monday’s big win against Buffalo, the Oilers sit tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with Minnesota, Vancouver, and Anaheim. Colorado, who sits seventh, is in a tailspin. The competition for these final couple of spots isn’t strong and a good finish to the season would more than likely get the Oilers into the wild card.
I wrote over the weekend that it makes more sense for Edmonton to go after a player with term on their contract than it is for them to dive into the rental market. I mean, if they’re giving up their first-round pick in a pretty deep draft, the Oilers need to get a player who can stick around and be a part of the solution for the next few years.
There’s also the issue of the salary cap. Edmonton is pressed right up to the upper limit after the acquisitions of Alex Petrovic and Brandon Manning, meaning a player is going to have to be sent out if somebody else is coming back in.
It’s interesting Rishaug mentions a “developing forward” and a goaltender. The latter is pretty obvious. Edmonton can save a good chunk of change if they decide to roll with Mikko Koskinen and Al Montoya in net, though trading an experienced goalie like Cam Talbot an incredibly risky thing to do. The developing forward line is interesting. Since Rishaug is talking about the cap, he’s probably talking about a player currently on the roster. To me, that points to Jesse Puljujarvi. The former fourth overall pick has struggled in Edmonton and can cost the Oilers $3,425,000 against the cap after his performance bonuses. Of course, I could be reading this wrong and he could be mentioning an AHL forward instead.
The trade deadline is on Feb. 26 meaning the Oilers have 16 games left to pull the trigger on a move. Thanks to the help of the weak Western Conference, the Oilers have managed to stay above water in the playoff race despite Oscar Klefbom’s injury. All signs are pointing to the team pulling the trigger on a big trade in these next few weeks.