At some point, Ken Holland will hire a head coach and then we can really turn our attention to the fun part of the off-season; trade speculation.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli dropped his first trade bait board of the off-season and it’s somewhat intriguing from an Oilers perspective.
It’s only fifteen players deep but the list does include Milan Lucic and a couple of guys I think the Oilers should have some interest in.
TSN TRADE BAIT BOARD
I still don’t see a reasonable way for the Oilers to move Lucic without adding an asset to the deal that will end up looking like a major overpayment to move the contract.
I’ve mentioned Connor Brown in the past and I still like the idea of picking him up for a number of reasons. His junior history with McDavid is nice, he scored 20 goals as a rookie, his cap hit is a manageable $2,100,000 and I don’t think he’d cost you a significant piece in return.
Matt Benning for Connor Brown, who says no? Probably the Leafs but I do think it’s close to being a fair deal.
The Oilers would probably have to move a d-man to free up both a roster spot and the cap space to put them in a spot to go after Miller. He could be a second pairing guy who could also handle some decent power-play minutes.
On Friday’s Morning Mandate TSN’s Ryan Rishaug suggested Zucker as a target but I’m not sure acquiring him is even a possibility for the Oilers. First of all, he has a modified no-trade clause so if the Oilers aren’t one of the teams he’d be willing to go to it’s dead in the water.
He has four years at $5,500,000 per season left on his deal. He has three 20-goal seasons and a 33-goal campaign in 2017-18. He most certainly skates well enough to not look out of place on a McDavid line but once again the Oilers would need to move some salary to fit him in or simply go super cheap filling other holes in free agency.
NOT ON THE LIST
J.T. Miller isn’t on Seravalli’s trade bait board but Rishaug did bring his name up on the smash hit Nielson Show.
The first thing you need to realize is that the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to have to do something to help their current cap situation.
The Bolts have 10 forwards, five defenseman and two goaltenders under contract for 19-20 but only have $8.5 million left to work with in cap space. You could make the argument that $8.5 million won’t even be enough to get a deal done for Braydon Point.
They could buy out Ryan Callahan. The former Ranger has a cap hit of $5.8 million but a buyout would knock that down to $2.6 million this year and $1.5 million the following season. They’ll probably need to spend any money they save on a Callahan buyout on signing at least one veteran defenseman. They also need to get an extension done for Vasilevsky at some point as he’ll be an RFA at the end of the next year.
There were some rumours that the Lightning would like to go after Erik Karlsson in the off-season but at this point, that idea almost seems impossible.
Which brings us back around to J.T. Miller and why they may want to move his $5.25 million dollar cap hit.
If Miller produces at the same rate he did this year the $5.25 million would be a little pricey. He scored just 13 goals for the Lightning in 18-19 but was 8th among forwards in 5-on-5 ice-time playing 11:42 per game. He did get a pretty good look on the power-play with only Kucherov, Stamkos and Point playing more on the man advantage than Miller.
Miller’s 5-on-5 goals/60 was 0.62, placing him 10th among Lightning forwards. A .62 goals/60 would have ranked 9th among Oilers forwards right behind Zack Kassian and Josh Currie.
On the power play, Miller scored 1.25 goals/60 good enough for 7th on the Lightning and 5th on the Oilers behind Draisaitl, Chiasson, McDavid and Nuge. Quick side note, only five forwards scored power-play goals for the Oilers last season, that’s sad.
Like a few of the other guys discussed I don’t think the Oilers can pick up Miller unless they move salary out and I’d be shocked if the Lightning would be willing to accept sort of decent sized cap hit in return. So if Miller ends up being a target they’ll have to find some space before making a move.
He scored 20 goals in back to back seasons at the ages of 22 and 23 with the Rangers so it’s reasonable to think he could do that again in a top-six role with the Oilers.
Do you think Holland should have interest in Miller and what should he be willing to part with?