Trade Targets – Part Two: Teams in cap hell

In part one of my trade targets series, I took a look at some teams that are currently heading towards the rebuilding process. This week, I’m looking at a handful of teams who are really tight up against the salary cap and could be forced to move on from some talented young players this summer.

Now, the fact that the Oilers are also up against the cap is a challenge and if they want to really make changes to their roster, they’ll have to send out some money in a separate deal. If they could do that without blowing away any assets, then they could be in a spot to take advantage of one of these teams:


The Jets will have around $27 million to sign Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, and Jacob Trouba. They’ll also have to replace Tyler Myers and Ben Chariot, who are heading for free agency. Brandon Tanev and Andrew Copp are valuable bottom six pieces that need new deals as well.

They have some pricey vets in Bryan Little (5 years at $5.29 million), Mathieu Perreault (2 years at $4.1 million), and Dmitry Kulikov (one year at $4.33 million). Kevin Cheveldayoff will no doubt try to unload two of those deals before he makes a big change to his core just for the sake of cap relief.

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There have been plenty of rumours surrounding both of Jacob Trouba and Nik Ehlers as well. Trouba had a contract dispute with the Jets not too long ago, so I think there is a real chance he is dealt.  I’ve also heard that he’s not interested in signing long-term in a Canadian market. Ehlers would be a great fit here and while part of me doubts that the Jets would part ways with a good, young winger, he does make $6 million dollars for the next six years and hasn’t scored a goal in over 20 playoff games. I could see the Jets wanting to shake things up after a disappointing playoff exit.


The Leafs are really strapped for cap space this summer and the threat of an offer sheet to Mitch Marner could have them wanting to clear out salary sooner rather than later.

They should have between $8-9 million to start the offseason and they have a long list of RFA’s aside from Marner, who should get more than $10 million. Andreas Johnson is fresh off scoring 20 goals in his rookie season and Kasperi Kapanen potted 20 himself. Both of those guys should fetch between $3-4 million.

They will also have to either sign or replace Ron Hainsey and Jake Gardiner who are both pending UFA’s. They need defenseman and it will cost some serious money to replace those two.

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They have two bad contracts. The first is Patrick Marleau who has one more season at $6.25 million and Nikita Zaitsev who has five more years at $4.5 million. Even if they move both of those contracts, they’ll likely still need to move a young forward.

There was the rumoured Connor Brown for Matt Benning deal at the deadline. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two sides revisited that. Based on the fact that the Leafs need defenseman, I could see them being interested in one of Adam Larsson or Darnell Nurse. If that is the case, the Oilers would no doubt be able to bring back one of Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen, or if the deal is bigger, maybe even William Nylander. These two teams appear to be a good match.


GM Julien Brisebois will have some hard work to do in his first full offseason as Lightning General Manager. He’ll have around $8-9 million to play with but most of that will evaporate with the signing of Brayden Point. On top of that, he has RFA’s Cedric Paquette and Adam Erne along and he has four defensemen that are pending UFA’s. There’s not a lot of money to replace the likes of Anton Stralman, Dan Girardi, Jan Ruuta, and Brayden Cobourn.

They do have Mikhail Sergachev and Eric Cernak who should be able to step up next season but both of those players are RFA’s after next season. Brisebois will have to keep that in his plans.

The really bad contract they’ll likely try to move is Ryan Callahan who has one more year at $5.8 million. Just based on the fact that deal is done after this year, they could probably move that out without much trouble.

I believe we’ll see them try to move out one of their forwards this summer. Tyler Johnson (five years at $5.0 million), Ondrej Palat (three years at $5.3 million), Alex Killorn (four years at $4.45 million), and JT Miller (four years at $5.25 million) are all candidates and are all players I think the Oilers should be interested in.

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The issue is that all of those players but Miller have no-trade clauses. That probably means the Oilers would have trouble acquiring them. The Oilers would also have to clear out some money to make those deals work. But I think it’s worth a phone call. The Lightning have forwards to move and the Oilers need scoring.


After making the NHL’s expansion process seem like a joke, the Golden Knights suddenly find themselves in a tough situation with the salary cap. If the cap goes up $4 million, they will still just have $1.25 million in cap space and they only have one goalie, six defensemen, and ten forwards on their roster. They’ll need to add at least five contracts. They’re also facing an interesting situation with first-line centre William Karlsson who is coming off a down season, but still had 24 goals and 32 assists. He’ll command a minimum of $5.5 million. They’ll need to move some contracts.

Credit where credit is due, the NHL bubbles remain COVID-19 free

I could see them looking to move on from someone like Reilly Smith, who have averaged just over 20 goals a season with the Knights but makes $5 million for the next three seasons. Cody Eakin and his $3.87 million cap hit. He would be interesting on the Oilers third line. He can kill penalties, give you reliable even strength minutes and he scored 22 goals last season. I really don’t like his cap hit, but it’s only for one year.

They could be forced to move a blueliner as well. On the left side, they have Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb, Jon Merril, and newly signed college free agent Jimmy Schudt. They might move on from a veteran, but the Oilers have enough left-handed defensemen so I don’t think they’d be interested. On the right side, they have Nate Schmidt, Colin Miller, pending UFA Deryk Engelland, and Nick Holden. They could let Engelland walk, but they really like him in Vegas. Colin Miller would be a name for the Oilers to target. He’s 26-years-old, shoots right, and was anchoring a Golden Knights powerplay unit in the postseason. He was also healthy scratched at some points, so that leads me to believe the Knights would be open to moving him in a cap dump situation or for a young defenseman, maybe someone like Ethan Bear.

For the Oilers to make a splash on the trade market, they need to clear out some salary of their own. Whether it’s Sekera, Russell, or Lucic, they need to find some money. 

Here’s a rough trade proposal: the Oilers send Kris Russell out in exchange for a mid-round draft pick and then flip Ethan Bear and that draft pick for Colin Miller. They’d get a younger right-shot defenseman who can chip in some offence and they’d save $125k against the cap. Vegas would get a draft pick, a young defenseman who could be a third pairing guy in the next 18 months and some salary relief. It might seem like the Oilers are giving up a lot here, but I think Miller would be a good upgrade to their blueline.

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  • Oil Can

    Yes, that sounds like an Oiler trade to me. Trade Russell and a very good prospect like Bear, for a third pairing defenceman that was a healthy scratch at times this year

    • toprightcorner

      Do you even know who Collin Miller is?? He plays 20 min a night, 1st PP unit that scores 15-20 PP pts a season and is a 40 point guy for under $4 mill for 3 years. He also has the best Corsi and Fenwick on the LVK backend. He would be a perfect 2nd pairing RD for the Oilers.

      He could play top pairing without an issue, but Larsson is best with Klefbom instead of Nurse. You would be trading Russell and Bear for a player twice as good a Russell and has a lower cap hit and has significant offense. Bear is a good prospect, but he is behind Bouchard and Persson on the depth chart and there is not enough room for all of them. Bear is waiver eligible after this year so that makes it very difficult to manage.

      The Oilers would get significantly better on the back end, add a great puck mover, PP QB and only lose a prospect that is being crowded out and don’t add any cap hit.

      That trade makes the Oilers backend significantly better with no additional cap.

      • Ken Holland

        Preliminary Off Season Game Plan:

        – Trade Benning to TOR for Brown
        – Trade Lucic to VAN for Eriksson
        – Trade Russell, JP and a 2nd to PIT for Kessel
        – Trade Brodziak and a 4th to OTT for Z Smith
        – Trade Gagner and a 3rd to OTT for Pageau

        – Pirri for 1 year $1 mill
        – Tanev for 3 years $3 mill
        – Mrazek for 2 years $3 mill

        Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
        Eriksson – Nuge – Kessel
        Pirri – Pageau – Tanev
        Khaira – Smith – Brown

        Klefbom – Larsson
        Nurse – Bouchard
        Sekera – Jones

        Zack Smith 3.25 x 2 years
        Jean Gabriel Pageau 3.1 x 1 year
        Vincent Trocheck 4.75 × 3 years
        Kessel 6.75 x 3 years

        Pittsburgh saves 14 million dollars real cash, plus JP gives them a potential long term winger for Malkin or Crosby for their eventual rebuild.

        Senators(Melnyk) save 5.4 million in cash on the Brodziak trade, and have already waived Smith, so this trade would be a no brainer.

        Gagner for Pageau is even salary and term, the Sens get a 3rd round pick for their rebuild.

        Benning for Brown, Lucic for Eriksson is even salary and makes sense for both teams.

        I would do my best to pick up Trochek over Kessel and possibly look at Varlamov over Mrazek depending on the cost.

        The trades add up to +3 million in salary.
        The free agent signings add up to +7 million.

        The goaltending and bottom six is much improved. Kessel improves the powerplay and adds some much needed proven scoring to the top six.

        Team overall is much faster, with more skill spread out across the lineup.

        • The Whispererer

          Gagner at $3.15, Benning at $1.9, JP at $1.5 = $6.55 doesn’t save much over Nylander at $6.962.
          How does Benning ( RHD ) replace Gardiner ( LHD ) ?

          Toronto has holes at RD so Benning + JP, filling 2 positions for Toronto, might put you in the conversation for Kapanen or Johnsson ( both of whom will be looking for somewhere in the $3.5 to $4.5 range as RFAs ).

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Big no on Nylander… I’d rather get Kapinen, Johnson, Gardiner, even Brown, for the kind of issues that Nylander brings if things aren’t going well… He’s too much of a sideshow, like Kadri (although if Lucic were gone, he’d be a great replacement). But Nylander is waaayyy too expensive & high maintenance when things aren’t going well. And we all know at some points in the season, things won’t go well…
      Also, I’d like to hold onto JP for at least one more season, there is something there & he’s only 19…

        • Glencontrolurstik

          Oh, I know full well, but his is because of age, immaturity (literally) and language… Not having to be the centre of attention. There is a huge difference as far as a team goes…
          That will change. Having to be the “centre of attention” when you are not the big star on the team, that will only get worse & lead to chemistry issues… Nylander,… “full-stop”

          • OnDaWagon

            JP has been over here for 3 years, and he still has trouble with the English language. I think you blame that 100% on him. The Oilers may have messed up his development, but i doubt they stopped him from learning English.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        He is expensive for what he brings to the team on the ice, although he has gone through upswings…
        I do think (and only if he can continue to produce big goals) that he has value to the club, in that he is a fan favourite (if he stays on his game), the kids like him, he does a lot in the community & he seems to love Edmonton… Unfortunately, I am forced to watch Canuck games (my daughter is a Cnuckle-head) and let me tell you that for whatever reason, Gagne sucked, his heart & head were not in it… He seemed to have regressed terribly, it was sad actually. But wow, when he came back to Edmonton, I think he scored more goals in 10 games than he did his whole time as a Canuck…
        If the Oilers are going to keep Gags, do it short term, and do it at a reduced contract, as his talents are wavering. “Gags” does have value, … just because the fans generally love him, and he’ll get some timely points, not to mention his value in the dressing room… That’s important to a successful team in my mind.

  • hagar

    They really do need to bump the cap a pretty large chunk. Seems like average players are commanding 5 mill a year now, and with stars now signing at over ten, it’s getting tight.
    I guess it’s fair for all, but seems like inflation is out pacing money on hand faster than normal lately.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      You are right, I hate to say it but… Chia was a genius signing McD & Drai when he did for long-term. Absolute bargains,,, (kidding, tongue in cheek). But they are in today’s NHL.
      Seriously though, I think that because TO is in trouble with the cap, that will be looked at & we will go up.
      It’s a catch 22 for the owners, if they want to win. Look at how quickly the cost of an NHL team went up?
      Compare how much Winnipeg & Vegas had to pay in such a short time. Or even Vegas & Seattle…
      They cap has not gone up that %…

    • Serious Gord

      The cap increase isn’t supposed to cover over bad cap management.

      We are now almost completely in the cap era – only a few players left from before the lost season. Some teams still are struggling to adapt. Some never will – if the NFL is anything to go by.

      Good cap management along with excellent analytics-driven scouting are THE keys to being a well managed team.

      And we just hired a guy to be POHO/GM who is from another era.

    • Beer

      Especially in Canada, I was at the hardware store the other day, and something I bought 3.5 years ago for a 150$ sticker price, is now 257$. Most of our goods are imported in US$. It helps if your paid in US$ like hockey players, but being taxed on the taxes takes care of that.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Its tough for the Oilers to actually take advantage of teams in cap hell because, well, the Oilers are in cap hell themselves.

    With that said, a few other targets from Vegas, for me, are Cody Eakin and Riley Smith.

    I would also throw in the UFA rights to Brandon Pirri in any deal.

    The Oilers really need to sign this guy – he’ll be super cheap and a great bet at essentially no risk – all his advanced metrics are positive and positive relative to his teammates and I think he is a good bet to be able to produce in the top 6 if given consistent minutes.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I think the Oilers have to look for cheap options, they still have guys to sign, they need to get rid of contracts and free up some money. It’s great all these names re out there with some heft to their contracts but I dont see the Oilers going near some of those guys because it would land the Oil right back up against the cap not to mention the Oilers can have only have so many contracts on the books.

      The Oilers are going to have to look for guys who teams had to sacrifice just because of cap issues or contract numbers. There will be gems out there, but the fans that think signing someone like Nylander or someone else making big money isnt going to happen

    • jesse says yep

      The trick for Holland will be to find another team in cap hell who has too much cap space tied up in top 6 wingers and need to add defense. They should be able to send Russell and Benning to teams like these and upgrade the wings without paying the premium that a non-cap strapped team would ask for. Both teams would get a better value for their players while improving their teams and riding out bad contracts. And saving prospects and picks to pay for upgrades that require a premium

  • OilCan2

    Ken Holland sure has his work cut out for him. My guess is he waits out some of the boat anchor contracts. We all would be thrilled if he moved one or two of them for picks in Vancouver next month.

  • ed from edmonton

    Cody Eakins would be a nice add that may not cost too much in the way of assets going out. I wouldn’t count on him repeating his 20 gaols, but he a good 3rd line center has been a good penalty killer all of his career. An area the Oil have been terrible at for a number of years (even in their playoff year the PK was less than average).

  • HockeyYoda

    I don’t feel it’s realistic expecting an asset to take on Russel and his contract. (unless Chia is on the other line) In fact I would consider it a win if you could get someone to take on his contract by packaging in a mid round pick.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Careful what you wish for… I’m probably not the only one that thinks that Russel is a better D than let’s say Zaitsev? I know if you asked an ardent leaf fan they would agree. Also, I believe the aforementioned is 1.5ish M more on his contract…? Russel’s contract is definitely heavy, however there is worse value out their, and a lot of it, & I’d be careful if a team would just want to switch a player. One thing that Russel gives, that I know Zaitsev (and most others) don’t consistently give, is heart & drive. What Russel may lack in defensive positional defensive play, he more than makes up for in other areas.
      Ask our goalies if they would like it if Russel didn’t block all the shots he does?

      • HockeyYoda

        I don’t recall posting that Russell‘s contract is the worst of the bad contracts across the league. Zaitsov’s maybe worse. So yeah, you could probably trade Russell if you’re trading one bad contract for another. ie: Lucic for Eriksson. I’m just stating that I believe Russel and his contract are not an asset, but rather a liability. It may not be as big as a liability as Lucic, but I still believe it is a liability.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          Oh, I was trying to determine what you meant by “an asset taking on Russel”?
          I narrowed it down to the Oilers getting something of value back. My point is that if you were to trade Russel, you probably wouldn’t get anything back that would be more of an asset than Russel already is… Sorry, I misunderstood.

  • McDangles

    Erik Haula from Vegas would be a player I would target, if the Knights are trying to shed salary. A d-prospect and a mid round pick might get it done. He’d be an ideal 3rd line Centre and comes in with a cap hit in the high 2 million if I remember correctly. Then possibly add one or two wingers like Donskoi or Pirri via free agency, or pull the trigger on the Brown for Benning deal, and the forward group looks a lot better.

  • Total Points

    It certainly looks like all the teams are in cap hell.

    The teams have to quit giving all those high priced long term contracts and they give way too much to the “core” which leaves the bottom have of the team to be rookies.
    The cap situation that the players union negotiated with the NHL benefits the top players only (McDavid, Drai, Traveras, etc) and rookies. The veterans who normally fit on the 3rd and 4th line are left out.

  • Danger Pay

    A Canadian team will never win the cup until they amend the salary cap to account for State/Provincial tax. A flat cap across the board creates an unfair advantage for USA franchises.

      • Randaman

        Actually, yes it is! The equalization payments from the Canadian franchises pays for these sad sack Bettman franchises in non hockey markets. You probably know better though…

        • Serious Gord

          Equalization payments? Revenue sharing doesn’t know borders. You forget there was a time when Canadian teams needed to be bailed out.

          THere is no way to adjust for tax and currency. And I’m pretty sure players are taxed where they play – in the US cities they pay US taxes.

          And while some states have low or no income taxes sometimes the property taxes and other taxes are jaw-droppingly high.

    • jesse says yep

      Exactly! I have been banging this drum for a year or more and can’t help but wonder why owners haven’t addressed this by now.
      This is an easy fix during the next contract negotiation as the majority of players are playing in provinces or states with a higher tax bill. The majority of players or owners wouldnt blink at this if it was added into the fine print of how the cap is calculated .

  • ChrisG

    Eric Haula might be a good “buy low” candidate for the Oilers after his injury.
    Brandon Pirri could be a UFA target.
    I think the Leafs might be interested in Khaira as an inexpensive bottom 6 forward with some grit in any deal for Johnsson or Kapanen. We certainly won’t be able to dump our bad contracts in these teams, but Khaira, Marody, Bear, Lagesson, draft picks and maybe one of our young goalies – Wells? might entice them.

    • QuitForRealThisTime

      Also like Haula but the fact that he a a relatively low cap hit I doubt VGK move him. They will start by moving Reaves. Eakins I see a possibility and would defiantly be interested him. He only has one year left so in theory something like a 2nd and 2020 3rd or Bear and a 4th?

  • Serious Gord

    This off-season the GM should really have just a couple, kind of immediate objectives:

    1. Trading RNH at his maximum value for a couple young wingers and some prospects.

    2. (hopefully) Clearing out some upside-down contracts that are of a longer term: Lucic (obviously), and perhaps Russell and Sekera.

    Other than that, this is not the year to be aquiring high-quality (read pricey) assets on long-term deals. Next year is a wash – the team is too bad to do any better than a wildcard spot and a quick first-round exit. So better to bank some cap space and spots for the 2020 off-season.

  • El Connor mcdaddy

    Yea I hate this trade. When Bear is a full time NHLer he will not be a healthy scratch, Miller could be. And if we are only saving $125k against the cap then we better be getting a defensman who will make a big impact on our team, not one we may be healthy scratching.

  • Derzie

    The Cap is intended to keep rich teams from stockpiling stars and keeping poor teams honest in icing an NHL-quality lineup.

    In reality, teams stockpiling stars are very few BUT there are very many teams stockpiling overpaid ex-stars.

    How many teams are without bad contracts? Without checking I’d guess ‘zero’.

    I would suggest that each team have bucket for Legacy Cap (up to 10% over the Cap). To qualify for Legacy Cap, a player would have to be paid well above league average for the position and be performing well below league average for the position.
    At the end of the season, each team would have to pay their yearly average Legacy Cap to local amateur and minor hockey associations. If they overpay the old guys, give some love to the players coming up to replace them.

    This would help separate the bad cap managers from the star hoarders, and help the community.

  • toprightcorner

    Free up cap space
    – Trade Russell retain $500k to TBL for Paquette and a 3rd
    – Trade Sekera, retain $1 mill and Lagesson to MTL for 2nd
    – Trade Brodziak for a 4th
    – Trade Gagner, retain $1 mill to OTT for 5th

    – Trade Bear and 2nd from Sekera trade to LVK for Miller
    – Trade Benning to TOR for Brown
    – Trade Nurse to WPG for Elhers


    – Ron Hainsey for 1 year $2.5 mill as stop gap for Jones Plays both sides
    – Pirri for 1 year $900k
    – Connelly for 4 years $4.5 mill

    Ehlers – McDavid – Draisiatl
    Brown – Nuge – Connelly
    Pirri – Marody – JP
    Khaira – Paquette – Kassian

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Hainsey – Miller
    Jones – Perrson


    Elhers – McDavid – Draisaitl
    Connelly – Nuge – JP
    Benson – Marody – Brown
    Lucic – Paquette – Khaira

    Klefbom – Miller
    Jones – Bouchard
    Samarukov – Persson

    Everyone will hate that Nurse got traded, but this team is a significantly better and competitive playoff team. I would take Miller and Hainsey over Nurse and Russell because you replace 2 players who are not good puck movers and add Hainsey who is a solid puck mover and Miller who is a fantastic puck mover. Also, Nurse will cost $6.5 mill to extend next summer and you replace him with Jones who will be making $850k.

    • Kepler62c

      Ya, let’s count on two players with about 18 GP of combined NHL experience to form our 3rd pair (Jones – Persson) in 2019/20. Then in 2020/21, we’ll just toss our #10 pick into a top 4 role in his rookie NHL season AND we’ll pair him with a guy who’ll have about 100 GP in the NHL.

      It’s got potential, but you just crushed our depth on D in one summer.

      • toprightcorner

        Bouchard will likely play 40 games this year. Jones is NHL ready and Perrson has 3 years of pro hockey experience. Persson and Gravel will rotate when needed.

        The Oilers will have to play 2 rookies on the backend this year, there isn’t much of an option. You bring someone in on a PTO as cover, but there are too many quality prospects knocking at the door and if you only have Jones in the NHL and put Persson in the AHL, then next year you have Bouchard, Lagesson, Perrson, Bear all ready for the jump. You have to spread them out and that means 2 at a time.

  • KootenayDan

    I see that Yzerman has left TBL in cap hell and now is deemed the new savior in Detroit while Detroit has been left in good shape as Holland departs. Capfriendly says Detroit has about 14 million in cap space for next season. That is interesting seeing how there is worry Holland isn’t great at cap management but that is not really true.

    • Kepler62c

      Fully agree — he owned those mistakes he made in Detroit when asked about them by Edmonton media. Some bad cap decisions were made when trying to squeeze some extra playoff years out of Datsyuk and Zetterberg. He recognized the mistake, and spent the last two seasons correcting it while collecting draft picks and cap space.

      Yzerman inherited a nice situation after departing a cap train wreck — Holland left a team primed for a turnaround for the challenge of setting the Oilers up for success.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Wait a sec… Doesn’t Detroit have 3 huge contracts on LTIR right now? Are any of those guys playing ever again (can’t remember who they are)? That 14mil is misleading I think.

  • OnDaWagon

    Ehlers hasn’t scored a goal in over 20 playoff games, and YOU say, he’s be a good fit here. Is that because you assume we are not going to be a playoff team during his contract.

    NO…FLAT OUT NO. If you are no good during the playoffs, I DON’T WANT YOU. I want to win in the playoffs, not just get there. Quit killing brain cells.

    Nylander…really? Did you see that mouse in the playoffs? Not to mention that great season he had. I know, i know, he missed training camp and a couple of months. He wanted money, and he got it. Let Toronto suffer it out. We’ve had enough garbage signed, or traded for, to pay up for the next two decades.

    Tampa is going to try to dump money. They are not planing on taking back anything near what they are trying to ship out.

    Vegas. Same as Tampa.

    • OriginalPouzar

      Datsyuk had 6 points in his first 25 playoff games.

      A 20 game sample size is not indicative of future performance in the playoffs.

      See, Jordan Eberle for another example.

  • billsbills

    Trading Larsson or Nurse is just a dumb place to start. They are both legitimate top 4 dmen on a team that while they lack scoring, the biggest issue has been keeping the puck out of the net. It’s been an issue since 2007, finally getting depth on the defence with more coming doesn’t mean you gut the best players you have on the back end.

  • Ranford.85

    I’ve read few comments about Persson stepping into a 6-7 role with the Oilers. He hasn’t played one game in North America yet, so let’s pump the brakes a bit. If you trade Bear and Persson is a let down, when injury hits RD it’s a good thing Jones can play both sides. Bouchard shouldn’t be the first RD call up option from the Condors.

  • Ben918

    I agree that the Oilers and the Leafs could help each other out. The Leafs made their own bed with the Matthews contract so it is fun to watch them have a yard sale on their good young talent.

    I think the Oilers should consider an offer sheet for William Karlsson. 6 mil a year would most likely be matched but if not the Oilers would lose a first and third round pick for a 26 year old proven forward that can play in our top 2 lines. With Matthews contract, it might be hard to find a real top 6 guy for less than 6 mil this offseason.