Welcome to our weekly rumour recap on Oilersnation! Every week, I’ll scour the web and Twitter pages of various beat reporters from around the NHL to bring you some rumours involving other NHL teams and how they could affect the Oilers. One of my favourite things about an NHL offseason is trade talk and the rumour mill, so I’m excited to do this every Thursday. So let’s get going!
This week, I’m looking at some of the defenseman around the NHL that could be available.
The king of NHL rumours is Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet and he had a few interesting nuggets in his weekly “31 Thoughts” blog and podcast.
“One of the guys I’m hearing about is Spurgeon from Minnesota,” said Friedman is his weekly show with Jeff Marek. “Minnesota is going to make some changes and he has a lot of value.”
Will Minnesota extend him or will they trade him? That’s the big question as Spurgeon has one more year on his current deal with a cap hit $5.187 million. He also has a modified no-trade clause that requires him to submit a list of 20 teams he would approve a trade to. Usually, I would say that disqualifies Edmonton from consideration but Spurgeon is a local product so he might consider waiving.
On the ice, Spurgeon would be a dream fit with the Oilers. He would give them the offensive, puck moving, right shot defenseman that they’ve been searching for. The fact he could be available should have the Oilers licking their chops.
Minnesota has made some moves that I’ve viewed as pretty questionable as of late. Sending out Mikael Granlund for Kevin Fiala was a head–scratcher and I would imagine they’re regretting trading Nino Niederreiter to Carolina for Victor Rask.
Given their lack of depth down the middle of the ice, the Wild are probably interested in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but they would need to sweeten that offer. I wouldn’t deal trade Nugent-Hopkins for a 29-year-old defenseman on an expiring deal. If GM Paul Fenton is simply looking to change the culture in Minnesota, maybe something involving Darnell Nurse would interest the Wild. If they want future assets then Jesse Puljujarvi, Ethan Bear, or Caleb Jones could be on the block, but that likely wouldn’t be enough.
There will be plenty of teams wanting a player like Spurgeon. That could ultimately drive the acquisition price up and take the Oilers out of the running. They would also have to move out salary to bring in Spurgeon.
Tyson Barrie will also hear his name in plenty of trade talks this summer due to the emergence of Sam Girard and Cale Makar. Friedman says that if the Avalanche were to move on from Barrie, it would be in a “purely hockey trade.”
As soon as I heard that, I immediately thought that there’s no way the Avalanche would consider sending the 27-year-old, right shot defenseman unless Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is going the other way. The value lines up on that deal, but I still wouldn’t do it. Keeping Nugent-Hopkins allows the Oilers to play McDavid and Draisaitl together. I wouldn’t sacrifice that luxury for a player who will be a UFA in July 2020.
One name within the Pacific Division that could be available is Ben Hutton.
NHL teams can't walk away from arbitration awards that are less than $4.39M, which could make the Canucks think twice about going down that road with
Hutton. Chance he's not qualified if Van doesn't work out a trade or extension beforehand
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) May 13, 2019
The 26-year-old has appeared in 276 games and is a pending RFA. He plays on the left side and the Oilers have plenty of options on that side of the ice including Caleb Jones, who many expect to graduate to the NHL level next season. Don’t think there would be any interest in a player like Hutton.
If the Oilers are going to add anyone to the mix, it will be a proven right-shot defender who can handle top four minutes and quarterback a powerplay. Traditionally there haven’t been very many of those available, but this summer with names like Barrie, Spurgeon, Justin Faulk, and Jacob Trouba reportedly available on the trade market as well as Erik Karlsson set to hit free agency, this summer may see some high-end defensemen moved.
One player that has been connected to the Oilers for a few years is Rasmus Ristolainen, but it sounds like the trade talk surrounding the Finnish defenseman will simmer down this summer.
So you have to figure no Bogosian and now no Pilut to start the season. If Botterill was seriously pondering a move of Ristolainen, can't imagine how that happens now. #Sabres
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) May 13, 2019
I think that’s a bullet dodged for the Oilers. Despite his reputation as an offensive defenseman, Ristolainen has never topped ten goals in his six-year NHL career. He struggles at time in his own end as well. It just wouldn’t be a good match with what Edmonton currently needs.
Let me hear your take Oilersnation! What kind of deal do you think could land Spurgeon or Barrie? Is there someone out there you think the Oilers should target?