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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Weekly Rumours – A Ripple Effect

It’s Thursday, which means I’ve scoured the web for some piping hot (and reliable) rumours from around the NHL to breakdown. This week, I’m focusing on some the potential destination of a big name and a nixed trade involving another high-end player and how those two pieces of news affect the Oilers.

KARLSSON TO FREE AGENCY?

The 28-year-old defenseman seems destined for unrestricted free agency and assuming he gets there, the list of suitors will likely be long. Even though we’re a just over a month away from the official opening of free agency, some front runners have emerged in the Karlsson sweepstakes.

San Jose, who acquired him last summer, is obviously one of those front runners. They have around $24 million in cap space, but they have ten other pending free agents (four RFA and six UFA) including big names like Joe Pavelski, Kevin LaBanc, and Timo Meier. They might want Karlsson back, but they likely can’t afford to pay him the $7-$9 million he may command in free agency.

It goes without saying, but Karlsson leaving the Pacific Division and the Western Conference benefits the Oilers. Any time an elite player at any position goes to the other side of the league, it’s a good thing.

Two other teams that appear to be serious front-runners for the dynamic defenseman are the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If the Rangers could land Karlsson, who’s a right shot d-man, they could be in a position to deal off one of their current defenders. Currently, they have Kevin Shattenkirk, Brendan Smith, Neal Pionk, Anthony DeAngelo, and the newly acquired Adam Fox on the right side of their depth chart. 

Shattenkirk has one more year at $6.25 million and a partial no-movement clause, so I don’t think there’s a fit there unless the Rangers take back a salary like Milan Lucic (highly doubtful) or Kris Russell. To me, the Oilers should only think about Shattenkirk if there is money retained and money going back the other way. 

The two young options on the right side are interesting. With Fox coming up to the NHL, I could see one of those two players shaking loose, regardless of the Karlsson signing. Both DeAngelo and Pionk are 23-years-old and are coming off of 30 and 26 point seasons, respectively. They both have less than 150 games of NHL experience but looked good last season. They would be gambles for Ken Holland, but they’re both solid puck movers, which I think he really values. Also, they’re both RFA’s this summer.

As for Tampa Bay, if they want to try squeeze in Karlsson they would have to move out salary and that would likely have to come from their forward group. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, and JT Miller would all be of interest to the Oilers given that they’re proven top-nine forwards who can score goals. The only issue is that they all make well north of $4.4 million and they all have some sort of trade protection built into their contracts, that likely takes the Oilers out of the conversation unless they move out some money.

KESSEL NIXES MOVE TO MINNY

Like Karlsson, I don’t think the Oilers have a chance of acquiring Kessel, but him using his no-trade clause to veto a trade to Minnesota is interesting to me for a couple of reasons.

First, it shows that the Wild are still serious about trading Jason Zucker and now that they’ve essentially traded him twice and had it blow up both times, I think it’s a lock that Zucker is moved out this summer.

Zucker has four more seasons with a $5.5 million cap hit, so it would be tough for the Oilers to fit him in, but the rumoured deal with Pittsburgh (which had Victor Rask also going to the Penguins and then Kessel and Jack Johnson going to Minnesota) showed that they were willing to take on bad contracts.

The fact that Wild GM Paul Fenton was also willing to get older shows that the organization clearly wants to win now. That surprises me. A lot of people thought Minnesota might take a year off and try to re-tool their roster a little, the trade of Mikael Granlund fits that line of thinking, but clearly, they aren’t focusing on getting younger.

It’s also worth noting that Minnesota picks at 12th overall, just four spots behind the Oilers. These two teams might be a fit for a deal this summer.

SOME SMALLER NOTES

Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov is reportedly getting some interest from NHL teams. He’s 40-years-old and hasn’t played in the NHL since 2016-17, when he posted 36 points with the Canadiens. He spent two years in the KHL and posted 40 points in 104 games. I don’t think the Oilers are one of the three teams that would have reached out, it makes no sense for them.

Also, our very own Jason Gregor was on TSN Radio in Vancouver and dropped this:

But then, on the same radio show, TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie threw this out there:

So it appears as though Gregor has a nugget of info that McKenzie doesn’t but it’s clear from listening to both of their hits, that both believe a Lucic for Eriksson swap is possible this summer.

    • Ken Holland

      Lucic For Eriksson after July 1.

      Eriksson has 3 years left and makes 9 million real cash with an 18 million dollar cap hit.

      Retain 1.5 and he earns 4.5 million over the last 3 years real cash with a 13.5 mil cap hit.

      This is a moveable contract. This is how we free up cap space.

      Worst case we run him one year, pay him a 3 mil bonus next july 1 and trade him when he makes 5 mil over his last two years.

  • Ken McTippett

    I would do the Lucic for Loui deal if it’s there. Eriksson is washed up too, but he would probably score a couple more goals than Lucic did over 82 games. Lucic just can’t play another season here. He is a symbol of Chia’s failure. He’s likely to wave his NMC for a chance to finish his career in his hometown.

      • Slick77

        There are 3 reasons why I would be TEMPTED to do this.
        1) Eriksson’s contract expires 1 year before Lucic’s
        3) Eriksson can play the RW, and this would open a spot on the LW to get both Nygard and Benson on the roster next season.
        3) Draisaitl – McDavid – Eriksson Vancouver doesn’t have the quality of those 2 players to put on a line with Eriksson.

        • Ben918

          I like the 3. If I could add a 4th. Trading Lucic means one less player with a NMC that has to be protected during the expansion. I don’t think Eriksson is a better player though. I don’t like Lucic but he at least sounds motivated to spin his wheels trying to get better. He won’t but something to be said for an increased level of compete.

  • kormega

    I’d hate Lucic/Eriksson trade. At least Looch is scary and can beat the ish out of any goon in the league. Eriksson is just useless 3 year 6 mil anchor.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Agree 100%. We can’t bank on a 33 year old rediscovering his 30g former self any more than we can expect Looch to get 50pts next year. Lucic is the devil we know and at least he has the physicality part of the game going for him.

    • Kepler62c

      Ya, you have to ask why Vancouver would want to do this — do they think Eriksson (deal expires 1 year sooner than Lucic) is actually that much worse than Lucic? And do we want him if they do?

    • T.J.F.M

      Lucic contract is buyout-proof. Eriksson would be a standard buyout. Also, Lucic has a NMC which would affect our ability to expose him in the Seattle Expansion Draft – Eriksson can be exposed. It is not that Seattle would take him but it is more about our ability to protect someone else instead of Lucic.

      Eriksson’s best years are far behind him. But if this trade proposal, even at a one-for-one, is in fact an offer, then we should at the very least, strongly consider it. I would probably do it.

      • The Whispererer

        Actually, Eriksson’s contract is heavy on bonuses also, so his buyout is over $1.9 million more against the Cap than Lucic in year 1, slightly less than Lucic in years 2 and 3, then it swings BIGLY ( reference DJT ) in favour of Eriksson’s buyout. Year 1 would be a killer for the Oilers Cap situation.

      • HockeyYoda

        I think you’ve made a good enough argument to do the deal. While I agree with the point that at least Lucic brings the nuclear option. Lucic doesn’t seem to want to do that job anymore anyway. Or it seems only when he’s defending himself. But whenever he should be picking up for McDavid or sending a message ….always seems to be Kassian or Maroon who was doing Lucic’s job.

    • CityofWhat

      Lucic turtles like Tkachuk when he sees Reeves, I don’t like Reeves at all but I’ve seen Lucic turn his back on a lot of scrums last year, disengaged a lot. Mr. swagger has lost his mojo.

    • Kevwan

      If Lucic would fight he might have some value but he doesn’t. He had ONE fight last year. And that was with a nobody (Kurtis Gabriel). The kid did OK against Lucic which inspired the Devils to a win (after getting blown the previous night in Cowtown). The one time he shouldn’t have fought and he did.

      Then 4 nights later against Vegas, Ryan Reeves is gooning Klefbom all night and Lucic does nada.

      Someone has to sit down with Milan and explain to him that he’s got to go back to being an enforcer. It’s the only way he has value right now. Not 6 mil/yr but still some value.

  • OilCan2

    No big trades coming. Holland is going to build brick by brick. Picking up the Swede last week is a good example. Signing the best of the Condors this week is another piece of the puzzle. Lucic will play here next year. His cost is going down but the front loaded contract still hits the cap hard. Deal with it. There is no going back to high school to ask the prom queen for a dance because you didn’t have the cajons to do it back then.

  • Since 72

    No! Rather keep Lucic than take Ericksson. Ericsson is old for a player and only has a downside. At least Lucic is somewhat reliable on the wing and scares people.

  • Oilersrule

    I get anxiety and elation at the same time when I see these Lucic articles. I guess it’s high risk /high reward. I believe Holland and his staff will tread carefully when dealing with this contract . In many ways it may be in the Oilers best interest to leave it alone for another year and hope with the right coaching and use he can be somewhat of an impact player while taking 1 more year off a contract that should have never been signed in the first place.thats 20/20 hindsight, on the positive side I do agree Lucic plays a playoff style hockey and when he wakes up he’s hard to take off the puck and look for him to be a positive impact when and if the Oilers can get in the post season.

  • The Whispererer

    Eriksson is owed $13 million including a $4 million bonus July 1st. Lucic is owed $19.5 million including a $3 million bonus due July 1st. I can’t see why the Canucks would entertain this trade without a significant sweetener from Edmonton, especially when Eriksson’s contract is very tradeable to a cap floor team; after his bonus is paid, Eriksson is only owed $1 million on a $6 million Cap hit next year.

    Eriksson will be 34 in July, and also has a 15-team no trade clause. Would he waive to spend the remainder of his career in Edmonton winters rather than in Vancouver ?

  • Consultant

    Someone track down Lucic and ask how his summer of training is going. A summer doing speed and hands focused work could go along ways. Not sure I want to give up on him at this low value point. He said he planed on a different summer regime, curious how that is going… is that leg injury still a factor? I bet both St. Louis and Boston would have him in their line-up for game 3.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Lucic in the press box most of the season gives the oil a better shot at the playoffs. When they get there, that is when you play the big man. He is sure to be pissed off by then.

  • billsbills

    Tampa and Karlsson? No way they fit that in. They have to sign Bayden Point to an extension and if you sign Karlsson first, well that’s just dumb. They have a bunch of RF and UF A’s and will need to move out salary just to get enough players signed to fill their roster after Point takes almost every drop of cap space they have.

    Did you even research it before making this post?

  • CMG30

    Do the deal. Looch has an extra year on his contract and a NMC. He may waive to go to his hometown. Loui only has a full NTC for one more year making him far more movable in the future. Contracts like Looch are next to impossible to move so you need to go at it in stages.

    • Cageyvet

      As a Canucks fan, let me say that I’m on board with this…..but we’d do the deal direct, no need to get saddled with Lucic to make this happen. I understand why Oilers fans would be willing to trade Lucic for Eriksson straight up, but very few Canucks fans would be on board with this.

      Lucic isn’t necessarily any worse, or better, than Eriksson, but the contract term and trade restrictions are worse than we have with Eriksson. You’d have to sweeten the deal for us to get stuck with that. Even if you think Lucic is better than Eriksson, he still has a garbage contract, so nobody is lining up to make a deal.

  • QuitForRealThisTime

    This should be a interesting summer.. A lot of really top end RFAs set to make big money. A lot of teams will be looking to offload money to sign these guys. Cap floor teams will have a lot of option.
    RFAs Due for a big pay day:
    William Karlsson
    MItch Marner
    Brayden Point
    Miko Rantenen
    Sebastion Aho
    Patrik Laine
    Kyle Conner
    Matthew Tkachuk
    Kevin LeBlanc
    Jordan Binnington

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      That is one of the reasons I think The Oilers should keep an eye on who teams are going to not sign due to cap issues, there could be some gems out there on inexpensive contracts.

  • VvV

    I’m sorry but did you just say Erik Karlsson is going to command 7-9 million in free agency? Haha 9 would be on the low end and even then, it’s going to be over 10 a season easy

    • IRONman

      Lucic is embarrassing. If you go to the games, you know. Not even a goon anymore. EK will get 10 million over 7 years. Cash out contract. Great player, just injured a lot. But EK healthy could put the Oilers in the playoffs, just no cap. Thx Lucic you f@@king suck

  • Heschultzhescores

    Here’s a thought. How about supporting Looch, as he’s an Oiler. It’s amazing how guys perform better when they get out of Etown. We the fans are part of the problem too. The arena is a library. You want emotion on the ice, then show some emotion to pump the guys up. We have 18000 underperforming fans.

    • The future never comes

      18000 ubderperforming fans and nevermind a city that has supported a garbage organization that did not deserve it 12 of 13 years…yeah okay.

    • Speaking Cleary

      I agree in supporting the player but please don’t blame fans for the Oilers not playing with emotion. Fans really have nothing to do with on ice performance

    • Quoteright

      Also
      Poor guy has also been in the blender
      No role
      No communication
      Just ride the pine and do better with revolving line mates.
      He’s an older dog. He struggled at first in LA but then found his game with some consistency.
      He had his game and then we gave his seat to Big Rig
      Since then he’s never found a home

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Fun fact if Louie Erickson gets traded for Looch:
    Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin were draft picks 1a and 1b in 2010. Seguin was drafted by Boston but later traded by Chiarelli to Dallas for Louie Erickson. Hall was drafted by Edmonton but later traded by Chiarelli to create a $6M space for Lucic (even though Hall was not traded for Lucic, that was ostensibly the trade in the mind of the Oilers brass: swap out Hall and swap in Lucic–and get a much-needed Larsson in the process at a reasonable price).
    If Erickson gets traded for Lucic it’ll be like trading the trade-ins from the Seguin-Hall trades. And the Oilers will still have Chiarelli stink on them. I think I’d rather have Lucic’s hands of stone than Louie’s feet of clay.

    • cityofchampions

      I agree. Hard as it is to believe, Lucic is better value for money than Louie. Not to say Lucic’s contract is any good, but Louie is completely washed up.

        • The future never comes

          He was barely a NHLer last year, the bar goes up a notch ever year so he will be worse off. If his name was not Lucic and he was not priced at 6 million this player would not have a sniff at a roster spot anymore league wide.

  • Ten Long Years

    If the Oilers can make the playoffs with Lucic, then I’d rather have him as he could be effective when the rule book completely changes come playoff time