Trade Targets – Part Three: Culture Changers

Every Friday, I’ve been going through different groups of teams that the Oilers could potentially target as trade partners this summer. While I’m not convinced the Oilers will be particularly busy this summer, there are some teams out there that are no doubt open for business.

This week, I look at a few teams who are coming off disappointing seasons and for one reason or another, might be looking to change up their culture this season:


The Minnesota Wild have made some surprising moves over the last six months. They dealt Nino Niederreiter to Carolina for Victor Rask and shipped Mikael Granlund to Nashville for Kevin Fiala. It’s clear that Fenton wants to put his stamp on this team and he might not be done yet.

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Jason Zucker almost got dealt to Calgary at the deadline and I wonder if the Wild dangle him out there once again this summer. He has four years left at $5.5 million which is pricey but he’s scored 20 goals in four of the past five seasons. He would look good next to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

I would be interested in one of Matt Dumba or Jared Spurgeon, they would be dream fits on the Oilers blueline, but I doubt that either of them are available and if they are, the price tag is probably Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and I wouldn’t do that.

If Minnesota’s focus is on making the playoffs next season, then they probably aren’t a fit. But if they’re looking to rebuild on the fly and acquire prospects, I could see the Oilers being a good trade partner. They’re also drafting 12th and given how many players from the USNTDP are projected to go early in round one, I wonder if the Wild would be interested in moving up a few spots to get someone they really want.


They got their new Head Coach in Alain Vigneault and the fact they traded Wayne Simmonds at the deadline shows that there are very few players on their roster who should feel safe.

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I think Shayne Gostisbehere is a player who could benefit from a change of scenery. He’s a lefty, which is not ideal for the Oilers, but if they move out a defenseman from their left side for help in their forward group, maybe they’d look at Gostisbehere as an upgrade.

The Flyers also have six RFA’s to deal with this summer and one that interests me is Scott Laughton. The soon to be 25-year-old has played in 274 NHL games and has scored at least ten goals in each of the last two seasons. He’s not the sexiest option out there, but I think he would be a really good fit on the Oilers third line.

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That’s the end of the names I see as a fit in Edmonton unless we’re talking about a big deal with names like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Darnell Nurse involved, which I would be cautious to do.


They just brought in Joel Quenneville and they’re expected to heavily pursue both of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. If they miss on one, or both, of those players, I think they’ll be heavily involved in some other areas of free agency. Reports say that Vinny Viola and Panthers management are ready to spend money, they proved that with the expensive hiring of Quenville.

If they bring in a high-end winger, I could see them looking to move a top-six winger as well. Mike Hoffman seems like an obvious target (one year at $5.1 million) and while I like the fact he’s a pure goal scorer, I’m not sure if he’d be interested in resigning in Edmonton so paying a lot of assets for one year of Hoffman may not be the smartest play.

There’s also Jonathan Huberdeau. He’s owed $5.9 million for the next four seasons, which the Oilers could afford. There have been rumours about Huberdeau being shopped for a few months now and if the Panthers want to make a change to their culture, then it makes sense that they would be looking to move one of their longest-tenured players.

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I don’t mind Mark Pysk either. He has one more year with a $2.7 million cap hit so he isn’t a very expensive option. The former Oil King doesn’t produce very much offence, but he could bring a stable presence to the Oilers right side. If the team moves out Kris Russell for cap relief, replacing him with Pysyk wouldn’t be much of a downgrade.

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The Panthers could also be looking to bring in a new starting goaltender and if they do that, they could be looking to move out James Reimer and his $3.3 million cap hit. The Oilers need a backup goalie. It will be tough for the Panthers to find a taker for that deal, if it helps them get someone like Huberdeau, or if there is money retained, I wonder if the Oilers take a look at Reimer.

    • Randaman

      I don’t know, is Jonathan Huberdeau better than Nuge? I think so. I’m not emotionally attached to Nuge like lots on here. Tippet will love the Nuge though.

        • toprightcorner

          I would trade Nuge for Huberdeau in a heartbeat. Huberdeau has a significantly higher offensive ceiling, is a much better skater and is a bonafide #1 center. The biggest advantage is Huberdeau has 4 more years at $5.9 and Nuge has 2 years at $6 mill. If Huberdeau was a UFA, he would get over $8 mill, if Nuge was a UFA, he would get about $6.5 mill. Huberdeau is a better value short and longterm

      • Spydyr

        I’m not emotional attached to Nuge. I am however attached to his complete 200 foot game. Offensive and defensively gifted ,smart hockey player that brings absolutely no drama despite having more coaches and GM’s than most players have their entire NHL career. Nuge is a class act on and off the ice. The very definition of a keeper.

        • Republic of oil

          Youre not wrong about nuge but this was his best pro season too. I am attached to him but i think this move make some sense to get a top winger for 4 yrs at 5.9m aav. With nuge only signed for 2 more and probably deservedly getting a raise .

    • toprightcorner

      It all depends on the return and you have to look at future value and cap hit. Nurse will be an RFA next summer and he wanted over $5 mill last year on a long term deal and will want over $6.5 mill next year. that is way too expensive for a payer who struggles with puck transition.

    • Republic of oil

      Selling high on nuge and nurse is a smart thing to do as long as the return is equally high. Nurse will need a big raise by the end of the season and nuge in will need a little more money after the following season. I really like both players but it boils down to a cost benefit analysis beyond 2019-20 and cep restrainsts.

  • Beer

    I’d be willing to swap 1st round draft pick’s with somebody, if roster player’s were involved. Lucic would be involved on our side. We would still get a good prospect because of KG’s excellent amateur scouting.

  • tkfisher

    Huberdeau would be unreal, but so would the cost. I don’t play NHL 19, so your guess is as good as mine, but I’m guessing the conversation starts with our first this year, JP and a solid roster player like Klefbom.

    • tkfisher

      If that were the cost, i’d pull the trigger today. It’s risky on the back end putting Sekera as 2LD (but if he’s healthy he can do it), but Jones could play 3LD. JP in his current state is very replaceable and the salaries would be basically a wash. For Florida, they improve on the back end, have a chance to rehab a player with potential and they get a high pick with the cap space needed to sign Panarin.

      • tkfisher

        The fact people are trashing this, means the value is probably about right for how much we have to give up. Huberdeau is a 90 point player and is highly underrated because he plays in Florida. Unless your trashes are saying that the Panthers would shoot down the trade, I’m sure where the trashes come from. We’re not getting a Hall back for a Larsson.

        • Exactly. I love the guys we have in our room but it’s clear there’s going to be some tough decisions to make, we’re going to have to let go of a few of those guys in order to get better. We can’t just get solid pieces out of thin air.

  • Slipknot 8

    Huberdeau Is a 90 point player…….I find it amazingly stupid if the Panthers are actually shopping him.
    This sounds like dart board material.
    There is only room for one dumb GM in the NHL & the Oilers finally put that nail in the coffin.

    I would do a Koskinen for Reimer & walk away knowing you got the better player with less term.

    Right now the Oilers needs are to unload Lucic & Russell possible Sekera as well whatever that looks like it needs to happen.

    • 1.Yeah, imo the only way Florida is shopping Huberdeau is if they’re looking for a big splash in return
      2.Imo it only makes sense to swap Riemer and Koskinen if you’re planning to add another potential starting goalie. Reimer’s contract and term is friendlier but his numbers were worse and he started less games.
      3.I’d look at unloading Sekera more more before looking at Russell. We don’t know how much Sekera has left nor if he can play 50 games next year. Russell’s contract is more manageable too

  • ed from edmonton

    Culture change is much more than just a players thing. It is something that impacts, or should impact, the entire organization.

    In retrospect it appears the Oil culture in the in the Katz era can be summarized as thinking we are “the smartest guys in the room”. We are going to do things our own way and in many instances contrary to the conventional wisdom because we are smarter than everyone else. Sometimes this type of contrary action can result in a great success where you change the paradigm and are ahead of the curve as you define the new curve. But if you are wrong you become the worst organization in the space. Most businesses would have gone bankrupt long ago but the Oil are in a market in which it pretty well impossible to fail (in a business sense).

    It would appear that the Oil culture was one of supreme hubris, they were totally convinced that they were smarter than everyone else and that 13 years of failure was just a temporary bump and their true brilliance will
    show through soon.

    Perhaps the organization’s most consistent failure was in the area of professional player aquisitions and movements, so firing Sutter makes sense and hopefully signals performance in the front office now means something.

    I hope Holland’s statements that he is a “grinder”, i.e. a hard worker and he will demand the same from people around him is a sign of a culture change. A change from “we are smarter the smartest guys in the room” to ” we have to out work everyone”.

  • TKB2677

    When articles like this get written, I always wonder why the author decides to include players who have no chance of being available.

    So the Panthers brought in a new coach in Quenville who will want some different players but why the hell would Quenville not want or the whole Panthers organization not want Huberdeau who just scored 92 pts and is making 5.9 mill. That’s an absolute STEAL of a contract. There is rumors that they will go hard after Panarin. It wouldn’t shock me if he signed a deal that was over 9 mill, maybe more. Panarin scored less than Huberdeau. It would be beyond stupid to trade a guy that cheap who is capable of scoring that much.

    • Big Nuggets

      yup, it would be. But if they are dumb enough to trade him hopefully the Oilers are lucky enough to get him. I doubt they will though. Of the more attainable players listed in the article I like Scott Laughton. He would be an ideal 3rd line center.

      • TKB2677

        If he is available, I would give up Nuge and something for him in a heart beat. I am a big time Nuge fan but not a chance in hell Nuge EVER scores 90+ pts. I’d be surprised if Nuge scored over 60 ever again. Put Huberdeau on McDavid’s left wing with Kassian and then have Leon anchor your second line.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      You are totally right on the surface, but maybe it’s a chemistry thing?
      What good is a 90 point guy if he’s a goof toward team-mates… Not saying he is by any means, but those are areas that as a fan we’ll never know. But should obviously be considered… No one want’s a 90 point ass-hole in the dressing room. Especially at 5.9 million $$$.

  • The Oilers have to bring in true leaders and players from winning organizations. They also have to trade some of their perennial losers and get a winning culture on this team. If Holland doesn’t get ride of at least a dozen of these type of players that are on the roster, NOW, the rebuild will be longer and more painful.

  • Quoteright

    NO trades
    Figure out how to utilize what you have
    Holland looks smart
    Value contracts creating competition and ahl cups of coffee.
    A good coach might work miracles.
    Oilers have always been Jykle and Hyde

  • TKB2677

    Here is a question to the author Tyler. Why do you think it’s a good idea for the Oilers to be targeting players who are going into the last year of their contract?

    Spurgeon – Good player. He’s coming off a career year in goals and points. He’s going to be 30 in November and he is a UFA at the end of the season. He’s a good player, key player for Minnie who’s coming off a career year. So it will cost a lot in assets to get him. Then he is a UFA so he could easily walk away from Edmonton after 1 season. Plus he’s 30 so there is a big time risk in signing players of that age. Chances are they don’t live up to the contract.

    Pusyk is in the same situation. The cost to get him would maybe be less than Spurgeon. But he’s still a good player and a right handed dman so it will cost a lot in assets to get him. He’s a UFA at the end of this season so he could easily walk after his season and you have nothing to show for it.

  • tyhee

    “… the fact they traded Wayne Simmonds at the deadline shows that there are very few players on their roster who should feel safe.”

    I don’t understand the logic of this statement. Simmonds was an aging (by NHL standards) unsigned pending ufa, so a rental on a team that was out of the playoff hunt. His production was taking a nosedive but he’d still have some trade value for a playoff team looking for a tough player that has a history of being able to score.

    It seems to me he was an obvious player for the struggling Flyers to trade so I don’t see why the fact they traded him should make the rest of the roster feel unsafe. Maybe they should, but you can’t tell from the fact they traded someone they obviously were going to move.