40

Trade Targets – Part Four: The Disappointed

All month I’ve been looking at potential trade targets for the GM Ken Holland to look at this offseason and now, it’s time to give you the fourth and final group of teams that I think will be very active this summer. These teams all suffered very disappointing seasons in 2018/19 and I think their General Managers will be itching to change things up in the next couple of months.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

I put Nashville at the top of this list simply because they have plenty of defensemen and are clearly upset with how their season ended. Their powerplay was horrendous and despite the additions of Mikael Granlund, Brian Boyle, and Wayne Simmonds, they could not get it going when it mattered most. On top of that, they have young, right shot defenseman Dante Fabbro, who appears to be ready for more responsibility.

If they’re comfortable with elevating Fabbro and want to upgrade their forward group then I could see one of PK Subban (three more years at $9 million) or Ryan Ellis (eight more years at $6.25 million) being sacrificed. Both of those guys are pricey and would likely command a big return. If the Oilers wanted one of these defensemen, they’d likely have to sacrifice Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I’m not sure if that’s a good deal for the Oilers.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

As a parting shot, I’ll throw this out there: Eeli Tolvanen for Jesse Puljujarvi. The Oilers may have the prospect with more upside, but Tolvanen is very talented and still has two years left on his ELC. If Holland isn’t high on Puljujarvi, that’s a deal both sides may be intrigued with.

WINNIPEG JETS

For the second straight season, expectations were very high in Winnipeg and for the second straight season they came up short of their ultimate goal. This year they came up very short.

In part two of my trade targets, I mentioned that the Jets could look at trading away some veterans like Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault, or Dmitry Kulikov. But what if they take it a step further and look at dealing off Nikolaj Ehlers. He’s averaged 25 goals a season over the past three seasons and based on the fact that he’s only 23-years-old and his shooting percentage has been incredibly consistent, it’s fair to assume that he’ll continue to produce at that level or higher.

Still, in 21 career playoff games, he hasn’t scored. That’s left a sour taste in the mouths of some Jets fans and there’s a chance that feeling is shared by management. Could the Oilers take advantage of that in a similar way to how the Islanders took advantage of a poor postseason run by Jordan Eberle? It’s certainly possible. I’ll add that the Oilers would need to move out salary if they want to bring in Ehlers and his $6 million cap hit.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

One other name I’m intrigued by is Jack Roslovic. There are rumblings that he’s frustrated by the lack of opportunity he’s been given throughout his career and could ask for a move. Could these two teams swap prospects?

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

There are wild rumours that the Penguins will consider moving names like Kris Letang, Phil Kessel, and even Evgeni Malkin. I don’t think any of those names are going anywhere. But I think we’ll see them shift around some depth pieces.

Up front, there are a few names I like. Nick Bjugstad would be a nice third-line centre in Edmonton, but he carries a $4.1 million cap hit. I don’t think the Oilers would be able to find a way to afford that. Bryan Rust is a little more affordable at $3.5 million and he can play both wings, but he’s usually on their top line. They also have Dominik Simon and Jared McCann as affordable wing options. It’s a pipe dream, but if the Penguins need to shed cap space, I think Rust would be an absolutely perfect fit in Edmonton.

On the backend, they currently have four left-shot defensemen who are NHL calibre. They’re high on Marcus Pettersson and Jack Johnson has a big contract and is likely going to stay. That leaves Olli Maatta and Brian Dumoulin as potential moves. Both guys had poor offensive seasons and could be on the move. The Oilers have three left-shot defensemen (Klefbom, Nurse, Sekera) and if all three are still here, I don’t think the Oilers would view any of the Penguins left shot d-men as upgrades.

BUFFALO SABRES

The other three teams were all eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, well the Sabres didn’t even get that far. After a scorching hot start, they fizzled out in a truly tremendous way. Resigning Jeff Skinner is likely priority number one and I expect they’ll get that done. After that, they need to revamp the supporting cast around Skinner, Jack Eichel, and Sam Reinhart.

They have some bad contracts (Kyle Okposo and Vladimir Sobotka) and while they’ll no doubt want to try to get rid of those, it isn’t a priority considering they’ll have well over $20 million in cap space.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

On the backend, they have Rasmus Dahlin on the left-side and it appears that they’re very high on Brandon Montour. For a while, I thought that could mean that the Rasmus Ristolainen could shake loose, but I don’t see that happening based off of the injuries the Sabres will be facing at the start of the 2019-20 season.

They’ll be missing Zach Bogosian and Lawrence Pilut to start next season, so I wonder if the Oilers could dangle Kris Russell to the Sabres. Russell can play both sides of the ice, which might intrigue the Sabres. As I said earlier, they have a bad contract is Vlad Sobotka. Sobotka scored just five goals in 69 games with the Sabres last season but he has just one more year on his contract at $3.5 million. He doesn’t have the value that Russell does, but the fact that his deal expires a year earlier would be tempting to me. Buying out Sobotka is also very team friendly. I would still think the Oilers could get some more in that kind of deal, but it would save them money for next season.


  • billsbills

    Any trade involving the core players for the Oilers and that includes RNH is not a good idea IMO.

    Just as trading Nurse would make a major crater of a space to fill in the back end, so would trading RNH create a massive space in the top six. That’s currently only 50% filled BTW.

    • The Big 3 is exactly how you want the core of your top 6 built. You have a generational talent with a 50 goal scorer and 2-way Center, the last 2 who can play wing or center wherever they’re needed.

      • 99bestever

        Would you people stop 🛑 talking about trading Nurse…please…or else go out and find a 🧠! He played 82 games! He was the highest Oiler defensive scorer. He is still improving!! He is going to be a bonafide #1 D man. Did the Oilers learn anything by giving up on Petry and Schultz?! Don’t give your top drafted and developed players away!! They are more loyal to the team than trades or free agents! So stop 🛑 it already!

        • Nanook

          I could not agree more. Nurse is starting to munch the minuits, he never seems to look tired and hes getting better every year. After watching the worlds I thought he could have easily been their best dman. he shates hard, finishes his checks and has a mean streak we have been missing since pronger or j smith. He wants to be here, hes home grown and has MacD and Drai as buds. leave him be already

        • Oilerz4life

          Exactly, all this inflammatory hot button media. Deliberately provoke buzz talk.

          Kind of insults fan intelligence. Like fans in Edmonton are a bunch of meat heads.

          Trade scenarios that obviously aren’t going to materialize. Half the time media lie about trade scenarios to instigate spin anyway.

        • Flint

          Nurse was excellent at the world championships. And although he may become a contract problem he’s a contract solution this coming year. If the Oilers traded Nurse… somehow it wouldn’t be surprising, but it’d be crazy unless the return was equally unbelievable.

        • herecomesGUMP

          How is he a bonafide #1, that statement is horse pucky, Nurse has value and will grow, and we should not trade him. He has not how ever proven to be a #1. When the time came for him to step up, he proved that step was too much.

  • Slick77

    I wonder if there is something with Buffalo, Okoposo and Russell. With Buffalo retaining 2 million of each teams cap hit is a wash. Or Buffalo retains 1 million and that will balance out the cap hit with both teams getting 5 million.

    • Slick77

      Capfriendly has the Oilers with a projected $10.7 million in cap space. That is if the cap goes up by the minimum that it’s projected to go up by for the new season.

  • FanBoy

    Idk how we acquire Ehlers without giving up major assets and at this point, the Oilers aren’t in the position to be making block buster trades.

    Guys I would keep in the organization are: McDavid/Draisaitl/RNH/Benson/Klefbom/Nurse/Jones/Bouchard/Samorukov/2019 1st rounder/2019 2nd rounder.

    Anything else is fair game. With that being said, guys who we could traded probably won’t fetch a lot so the most logical thing is draft and develop. Keep the powder dry for a couple seasons, sign a couple seasoned vets to 2 year deals and go from there.

    • Slick77

      The Jets are needing to clear cap space. So they will be wanting prospects and picks in return. So maybe something that includes Yamamoto and/or one of Jones, Bear, Persson, and Lagesson.

    • The Jet won’t be trading Ehlers for a group of “B” prospects that the Oilers would be willing to part with. The Jets also wouldn’t want RNH as in 2 years he will be an UFA and want more money and term than the Jets would want to give him. Also the Oilers need a player like Trouba but what would the Oilers offer in return?

      • FanBoy

        For Trouba? I’d give up Larsson and JP or Yamamoto. But that’s contingent on Trouba signing for long term. Even at those prices, I think WPG could get better deals elsewhere.

      • Slick77

        The Oilers defence will do just fine, and will be built from within. Everyone knows that Trouba wants to be in the northeast U.S. so don’t expect anything from the Oilers for Trouba, nore would we want a spoiled player like him.
        No way will Ehlers get you anything close to RNH. Especially after Ehlers took a step back after signing his new contract, and Winnipeg dealing from a position of weakness needing to shed salary.

    • Oilman99

      Ehlers is not the solution, he might be fine in the regular season, but his size says he has difficulty come playoff time when size and physical play come to the forefront.

  • hagar

    With Jesse being stuck in purgatory, he could be seen as someone worth trading just out of sheer lack of options. Not sure he could get a proper return because everyone will know the problem, not even to mention just coming off surgery.

    Either have to wave him and lose him for nothing, play him off a surgery and hope he immediately trends towards a positive asset, or trade him now at a loss. Jesse has to be one of the biggest head scratchers right now for Holland.

  • OilCan2

    Sorry BUT none of those guys are going to be Oilers. The glass ceiling is the salary cap. Like it or not we have to work with it for the next year or two. Ken is well on his way by dropping Sutter and getting the Condors stars signed. The Swedish Speedster is a good signing and Ken is probably looking at getting some ink with Chaisson. I actually believe our D is OK. It’s the injuries that hurt but we may have some young talent available this year.

  • TKB2677

    I know that the Oilers need to change up the mix on the defense. They need to bring in a right shot that can play in the top 4 but if I am the Oilers, I am avoiding bringing in ANY players who are approaching 30 or already 30 and over. There is so much danger in having those guys because they tend to start declining.

    That even includes a guy like Ellis. He’s 28 going into a 8 yr deal. So for the bulk of that contract, he is above 30. He’s undersized and already has injury issues. Red flag in my books.

    • hagar

      Yep, when I hear pk’s name it sends fear shivers down my spine. Like selling a car right before the warranty expires, he has used the highest value of his carreer up, and the next team to take him, will be getting the portion of his carreer with the largest depreciation.

      I would much rather do nothing for a year beyond little complimentary trades than some big blockbuster trade for someone everyone used to want.

  • madjam

    Checking Hollands best trades and worst ones , he is hard to judge on whom he might trade for or trade away . His two best are probably the last two-three seasons in Detroit . Example Tatar for a first , second and 3rd rounder , and dumping Datsyuk . My guess is he will be very reluctant to rock the current player boat . He seems to like draft choices lately in trades.

  • TKB2677

    I believe for the most part, the Oilers do have enough defense either on the team or coming. They have Nurse and Klefbom to build around. Jones looks to be ready to step in. I think Bouchard won’t be long. Samorukov looks to be a dman who won’t take that long before he’s in the NHL.

    So what the Oilers need is to bring in a right shot, stop gap guy. I keep thinking about Miller from Vegas who has fallen out of favor. He’s a decent right shot dman who can move the puck, bring some offense and can play in the top 4. He’s signed for a few more years at just under 4 mill. He’s not spectacular but he’s decent. The elite, offensive, puck movers are coming in the way of Bouchard and Samorukov plus Jones is quite good. Rather than blowing a ton of assets to get an really high end, right shot guy. I would go after a guy like Miller who can do the job and hold it down until a Bouchard is ready to take it over. With the cap going up every year. When Bouchard is ready, you either slide down Miller to your 3rd pair and at under 4 mill, isn’t terrible or he is an easy trade given he doesn’t make a lot.

  • Oilersrule

    That’s an interesting trade proposal if possible, it saves 1 million this year and 4 starting next year instead of waiting for another 2 years for cap space .I guess it depends on how much interest is out there for Russell another two years at 4 . Holland and his staff like any team are going to need to delicately balance the needs of the present (maintaining a somewhat competitive team )with the needs of the future as in putting yourself in a position to ice a contender for the McDavid/ drsisstyl years .

  • Heschultzhescores

    Holland needs to undo lots before he can start doing. We are not starting from scratch, we are starting even lower than that. All those crappy draft picks are pretty much lost litres now. We accept and deal with the fact Chia murdered us. We need to move forward and let Chia-damage become a dark cloud in the rearview mirror . The actual first REAL rebuild in over a decade officially starts now.

    • Slick77

      Sorry I disagree. One thing under Chia that improved was the drafting. Also true rebuilds don’t already have the likes of McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH, Nurse, and Klefbom. Plus they don’t have prospects like Bear, Jones, Persson, Lagesson, Benson, Maroody, McLeod, Bouchard, and Samorukov.

      • Heschultzhescores

        5 players is a little shy of a team. We have huge holes in a 15 year, supposed rebuild. That is pathetic! JP Bust, Yak bust, Yam Bust, Taylor given away…and lots more crappy moves as you know. That’s some pretty horrific loss of first round draft picks. We should be Miles ahead of where we are. McD was a lucky lotto win, no skill in that. So No, our drafting has sucked!

        • Slick77

          Okay, don’t know if you are actually serious or if you’re just a troll. But if you are serious you have to stop over reacting. The only bust out of those 3 that you mentioned is Yakupov who was drafted 7 years ago in Steve Tambellini’s era and is irrelevant. You didn’t mention the 1st picks like Nurse, Draisaitl, and Bouchard. Yeah JP hasn’t turned out how we would like, but he isn’t a bust yet. Yamamoto was only drafted 2 years ago at 22nd, at the earliest he should see any real NHL games is this coming up season, but most likely the 2020/21 season. Yeah the Oilers should be miles ahead of where they are, but Chia didn’t manage the support players very well. ie Eberle. But the Oilers aren’t nearly as bad off as you think they are.

  • CARLSOTO

    People really need to stop suggesting we trade Nurse. Nurse is one of the few players we have that plays mean, he can skate, he can get pucks on net, and he is one of the few blueliners who is consistently healthy. I’d trade Klefbom before I’d trade Nurse. Yes, Klefbom is one of the few puck movers that we have on the blueline, but he isn’t as durable as Nurse and having a guy in your press box for 20 games a season is wasted salary. I’d rather see Klefbom shipped out to clear the logjam on the left side and hopefully he could bring back a solid return since his deal is so team friendly. Ideally you’d move Sekera or Russell first, but Nurse IMO is untouchable unless you know for certain that his asking price on his next deal will break the bank.

  • Everybody that has value on this team is pretty much untouchable. We need to go in to next year healthy and up the value of this personnel. When I hear names like Okposo with our luck of players taking a step back or off a cliff when coming here. I would rather give the farm hands a chance. At least they have energy when they play. Give Kassian some time with Conner, worries me that Nuge sounds a bit pissed . We lose him will set us back.

  • Big Nuggets

    The big name targets all sound like pipe dreams to me. Not really worth contemplating as far as I’m concerned. Miller on defense doesn’t excite.me much either. If he can’t defend what’s the point? We have an offensive specialist on the way with Bouchard and a potential place holder with Persson. That being said I am in favour of moving Russell and Benning this offseason which would likely require adding somebody on RD. Just not convinced that Miller is that guy. One of those forwards from Winnipeg might be alright, Roslovic or Perreault would both be nice additions.