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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.