Another Thursday, which means another week of rumour talk here at Oilersnation. As I do every week, I’ll be going around the NHL and digging up some spicy rumours and discuss how they could impact the Edmonton Oilers.
Up first, we take another look at Frank Seravalli’s ‘Trade Bait Board” which was updated last week.
The board features 25 names and one of them is an Oiler as Milan Lucic has crept his way up to #15 on the list. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Canucks forward Loui Eriksson sits one behind him. Those two are continually linked and as our very own Jason Gregor mentioned last week on TSN Radio in Vancouver, the Canucks have reportedly discussed the idea.
When dissecting this list, I kept the Oilers biggest needs in mind.
They need a third line centre, but none of the centres on Frank’s list make under $4 million and that would be a non-starter for me.
They could use an offensive-minded right shot defenseman and while there are five on the list, the only one that’s really a fit is 26-year-old Colin Miller out of Vegas. He’s due $3.88 million for three more years and with Vegas tight up against the cap, I think it’s inevitable that he’s dealt. The Golden Knights will also likely need to deal a centre and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oilers had interest in either of Erik Haula or Cody Eakin.
As for scoring wingers, there are plenty of Franks list, but I’m not sure if any of them are true fits. Obviously, names like Kessell (#1), Panarin (#16), and Marner (#25) are unrealistic from a handful of reasons. There are guys like Jason Zucker (#3) and Mike Hoffman (#21) as well, but both of those players have limited no-trade clauses and I couldn’t see them waving to come to Edmonton.
As far as the Trade Bait Board goes, the Oilers might need to look at a guy like Connor Brown (#12). He was linked to the team at the trade deadline and given the Leafs need for defenseman and cap space, I think there could be a fit with the Oilers and the acquisition cost wouldn’t be very high.
Florida Panthers goaltender James Reimer (#15) is also on the board and while I wouldn’t mind it if the Oilers went out and got a veteran backup goaltender, Reimer has had his problems with consistency and he carries a $3.4 million cap hit for the next two seasons. Unless the Panthers are willing to retain half of his contract, I don’t think I would consider it.
LEAFS TRYING TO SHED CAP SPACE
Believe it or not, the Leafs ability to shed one, or both, or Patrick Marleau or Nikita Zaitsev actually could have an impact on the Oilers and their offseason plans.
The Leafs currently have $8.7 million to sign Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnsson, and Kasperi Kapanen. If they can only shed one of Marleau or Zaitsev, then it’s very likely that they’re forced to move both of Kapanen and Johnsson for future assets or cheap young players.
The Oilers need young scoring wingers and they have a surplus of young defenseman that they could move on from. If the Leafs can’t figure out a way to ship out some big contracts, then the Oilers could slide in and possibly snag one of those young wingers for cheap. Both of those players had strong offensive seasons and if the Oilers could snag them for a second round pick and someone like Ethan Bear or Matt Benning, they should do it.
Of course, their ability to shed the two albatross contracts could also affect the futures and acquisition costs of players like Nazem Kadri and Connor Brown, who might intrigue the Oilers.
I think the Oilers would have interest in Brown and Kadri but I don’t think the latter would work. Kadri has two 30 goal seasons under his belt and he’s under contract at $4.5 million for the next three seasons. I personally think he would look really good on the Oilers third line, imagine the chaos he and Zack Kassian would create on the forecheck, but at the end of the day, I think there would be a few teams out there that would really value Kadri and might be willing to overpay. I don’t think Ken Holland would do that.
THE FUTURE OF TAYLOR HALL
This has been a hot topic around Oilers Twitter as of late. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported earlier in the week that the reigning Hart Trophy winner has told the New Jersey Devils that he is not interested in signing a long-term extension with them. Hall is set to become a UFA in July 2020 and if what Pagnotta is reporting is true, then there’s reason to believe Hall could be traded this summer.
First off, I take whatever Pagnotta reports with a grain of salt. I do believe that he is well connected to some players in the league, but he has been wrong lots in the past. That doesn’t mean that this report is 100% false, but I don’t blame anyone for being skeptical.
Would the Oilers be interested in a reunion? Well, I think the answer to that should be rather obvious, but I don’t think they could afford it. Hall’s next contract will likely cost around $10 million per season and that would be really tough for the Oilers to squeeze in unless they get shed Milan Lucic’s contract without retaining anything. The acquisition cost would be very high as well. The Oilers would probably have to give up two high-grade prospects, a solid NHL player, and a handful of first and second-round draft picks.
Would Hall want to sign in Edmonton? I’m not sure about that. He obviously loved the city and the regime that dealt him is almost all but cleared out of the organization. I don’t think it would be a hard no, but I also wouldn’t blame Hall if he wanted to sign with a legitimate Stanley Cup contender or if he just went to the highest bidder.
This rumour also had some cold water poured on it earlier this week when Ray Shero denied the report.
“No idea where [the website] got that from aside from a ‘source,'” Shero said (via NHL.com). “Nothing on our end has changed and I have never heard differently from Taylor or Darren Ferris.”
That’s all for this week. I’ll have another look around the rumour mill next week and as we creep closer to the draft, expect the trade talks to really heat up.