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Weekly Rumours – Could the trade market heat up?

A day late, but regardless, I’m here to deliver some of the most interesting rumours from around the NHL! Is it the middle of August? Yup! But this offseason has been a very busy one and with teams still looking to either shake up their roster a little bit or simply get cap compliant, I wouldn’t be surprised if the trade market starts to heat up as we get closer to September. Let start with the story that will never die, Jesse Puljujarvi.

IS JP HOLDING UP THE OILERS?

There’s no doubt that the Oilers would probably like to add a third-line centre before the regular season begins. I just can’t see Ken Holland and Dave Tippett being confident with some combination of Kyle Brodziak, Colby Cave, Gaetan Haas, and Sam Gagner handling those minutes.

The issue is that the Oilers don’t have a lot of cap space and I’m getting the feeling that the Jesse Puljujarvi situation might be stopping them from making another move. If this was all a bluff by Puljujarvi and his camp, they need to plan for him potentially needing a contract for next season. If they suddenly find a trade partner, they can’t really afford to sign a free agent centre and then have even less cap space to make a trade.

Every day that Brian Boyle, Derick Brassard, and Riley Sheahan go unsigned, their value drops. The Oilers have a bit of wiggle room to make a signing but until the Jesse Puljujarvi saga works itself out, they might be limited to just PTO options.

CAPITALS ARE STILL OVER THE CAP

Right now the Washington Capitals are about $1.3 million over the cap. They need to make a trade before the season begins and they have some players that the Oilers should be interested in. The most likely name to move is Chandler Stephenson. There have been rumours that the Caps might just try to send him to the minors since that would free up $1 million in cap space.

Stephenson’s box cars aren’t very impressive, he had just five goals and six assists in 64 games, but what he brings is speed and an ability to play both the wing and centre. I can’t understate how fast he is. He’s cheap, he’s apparently expendable to the Capitals, and he shouldn’t cost very much to acquire. To me, this could be a good chance for the Oilers to buy low on a player with some serious upside who can also play in the NHL right now.

STARS SET ON MOVING HONKA

Julius Honka has had his name being thrown around for over a year now, but no deal has come. According to reports out of Dallas, Stars management appears set to move on from Honka before the end of the offseason.

Honka is a 23-year-old, right-shot defenseman, who just can’t seem to find a regular spot in the Stars lineup/ Like Stephenson, his surface numbers are not very impressive. He has just two goals in 87 career NHL games. He does have some decent AHL career numbers, in 201 career games at that level, he has 108 points.

I think there’s a player here and if the reports about the Stars only being offered a 4th round pick for Honka are true, the Oilers should be taking a look at the Finnish d-man. I know they have lots of d-men with some upside in their system, but Honka could be ready for NHL work next year. 

If the acquisition cost is cheap, he could be a nice stop-gap for Evan Bouchard on the right side. If he comes to Edmonton and starts to produce, then they would have lots of defensemen vying for spots next season, which is a great problem to have.

FLYERS HAVE TOO MANY D-MEN

A report out of Philadelphia suggested that the team might be willing to swap one of their extra defenseman for some forward help since they currently have eight NHL calibre d-men at the NHL level.

On the right side, they have Matt Niskanen, Justin Braun, Travis Sanheim, and Phillipe Myers (who is waiver exempt). On the left side, they have Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov (who is currently an RFA), Robert Hagg, and Samuel Morin

I don’t think they’re moving one of their big names, which means it’s mainly depth pieces and the only players who appear to be even slightly expendable are Hagg and Morin. They both play the left side, so that means they wouldn’t really be a fit for the Oilers.

WILD SEARCH FOR A GM CONTINUES

The Minnesota Wild GM search is very interesting. First, it was reported that they wanted someone with experience and the names being linked to them were Ron Hextall, Peter Chiarelli, and Dean Lombardi. Now, their search has reportedly opened up a bit. They’ve talked to Bill Guerin and asked for permission to speak to Chris Drury, who is currently the New York Rangers Assistant GM, but were denied. Notice how Keith Gretzky, who was a finalist for the Oilers job, hasn’t been mentioned in any of the reports.

Before firing Paul Fenton, I thought the Oilers and Wild would actually be pretty good trade partners but there’s no way the Wild are pulling the trigger on anything until they figure out their front office. That could take a while.



  • ed from edmonton

    I don’t think that the JP situation is limiting the Oil’s search for 3C. The Oil have given JP a qualifying offer which is something less than 1M per year. I’m pretty sure thus us a take it or leave it situation now, I’m pretty sure if JP comes along and says I will come but I need a better offer the Oil will (or at least should) say you have an offer, take it or leave it. So if JP does come back he won’t be much if at all more costly than a player he is replacing. The big concern about JP if he shows up is that they may be forced to keep him on the roster and a better, but waiver exempt player, might have to be sent down.

    I don’t see the Oil being interested in any more Dmen unless it is part of some other bigger move in which they send a Dman for a center (say Benning for someone), then they might be interested in backfilling on D.

    • Obelisk

      The Oilers have 2.4 Million in cap space without counting JP’s qualifying offer. If he shows up they have 1.4 Million in cap space and still have to have a reserve for Mike Smith performance bonuses. There is no money for a 3C unless they move something out.

      • Redbird62

        Not true. The Oilers $2.4 million current cap space includes the maximum allowed 23 players under contract on the NHL roster. If they sign Jesse and he stays on the roster after camp, they would have to send another player currently on the roster to the AHL taking that salary (to a maximum of ~1.1 million) off the books. So worst case if they send down Cave making the league minimum they lose around $300,000 in cap space. Who they would send down would depend on training camp performance, who is waiver exempt or who might clear waivers anyway.

        Effectively, without a trade, the Oilers could have as much as $3.5 million to sign another player (the $2.4 they have now, plus the $1.075 million they can save by sending someone like Brodziak or Manning to the minors). I don’t see Holland doing this since it limits his flexibility. While any bonuses paid can be rolled into next season if it puts the team over the cap, it adds to next years problem so not ideal as mentioned by Holland already.

      • crabman

        @obelisk, if Puljujarvi takes the qualifying offer and joins the team he wouldn’t just be added to the team he would be replacing a player with a similar cap hit. Adding Puljujarvi shouldn’t affect their cap situation much at all.

        • Obelisk

          You ae correct… when I looked at Cap Friendly they listed 14 Contracts in their total but actually listed 15 players meaning if Jessie decides to show up in camp they would have to move a contract to the minors. I have a feeling Brodziak will be put on LTIR once the season starts although assignment to Baekrsfield is possible which would free up his space meaning the Oilers would be around 3 to 3.5 Million in cap space without accounting for bonuses for Smith which could be as high as 1.75 Million. All the same I still don’t see the Oilers having money for a 3C as it would mean Holland would not have much wiggle room if he wants to make a move mid season or at the trade deadline (which is when I think they will use any available cap space).

        • Obelisk

          Out of curiosity I just did a lineup on CapFreindly that has Manning and Brodziak burried with Jessie in Europe and it shows the Oilers at just under 3 Million in space with 2.4 in potential bonuses so I really don’t see them adding to the roster without moving something out.

          • Obelisk

            This is the roster I was looking at…

            CapFriendly.com Armchair-GM User-Generated Roster

            FORWARDS (14)
            Right wing: Zack Kassian ($1,950,000) – Alex Chiasson ($2,150,000) – Josh Archibald ($1,000,000) – Sam Gagner ($3,150,000) – Tomas Jurco ($750,000)
            Centre: Connor McDavid ($12,500,000) – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($6,000,000) – Gaëtan Haas ($925,000) – Colby Cave ($675,000)
            Left wing: Leon Draisaitl ($8,500,000) – James Neal ($5,750,000) – Markus Granlund ($1,300,000) – Jujhar Khaira ($1,200,000) – Joakim Nygård ($925,000)

            DEFENSE (7)
            Right: Adam Larsson ($4,166,666) – Matthew Benning ($1,900,000) – Kris Russell ($4,000,000) – Joel Persson ($1,000,000)
            Left: Oscar Klefbom ($4,167,000) – Darnell Nurse ($3,200,000) – Caleb Jones ($720,000)

            GOALTENDER (2)
            Mikko Koskinen ($4,500,000) – Mike Smith ($2,000,000)

            AHL BURIED (2)

            Kyle Brodziak ($75,000) – Brandon Manning ($1,175,000)

            BUYOUTS (3)
            Andrej Sekera ($2,500,000) – Benoit Pouliot ($1,333,333) – Eric Gryba ($300,000)

            RETAINED SALARY TRANSACTIONS (1)
            Milan Lucic ($750,000)

            DETAILS
            Roster Size: 23
            Salary Cap: $81,500,000
            Cap Hit: $78,561,999
            Cap Space: $2,938,001

    • TKB2677

      I agree with you and I think that is the right course of action by the Oilers. The only reason he is even getting close to 1 mill is because the CBA requires it because he’s still an RFA. If he a 25 yr old tweener like Rattie was, coming off 4 goals and 9 pts in 36 games, he’d be hovering around league minimum. I don’t know for sure but supposedly his hometown team is interested in signing him in Finland. I would highly doubt that he would be making 1 mill US if he signed for them.

  • OilCan2

    Ken wants his cap space. Smith has some bonuses hanging in the balance. Unless there is a decent trade moving JP out Ken will play it cool with that slightly less than $1M that JP will get if he comes to his senses and gets pen to paper and shows up motivated.

  • Hemmercules

    I hope the JP situation ends sooner than later. For sure before camp. Tired of hearing about it and the kid seems pretty entitled for what he brings to the table. Does he really not know english that well yet?? Seems to be a reoccurring comment but I feel like at this point his english should be pretty good? I get the feeling he wants a free ride and doesn’t feel the need to put in extra work to get better. At least Holland isn’t folding on it and just dumping him for nothing.

  • blobbo

    A cost effective player isn’t going to tip the scales. $2 million bought us Toby Rieder. We have enough unproven players on this team already. Until they show their stuff, they’re just hole fillers until next year.

  • blobbo

    Puljujärvi may never transition to the NHL. No matter who he plays for, there will be thirty other teams looking to make his life miserable over the course of a very long season. Maybe he’s better off in Europe. He can make a decent living and be in a comfortable spot. Things could be worse.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Poolparty is not holding the Oilers back, Jesse has yet to sign his qualifying offer because he wants a trade, as things sites now, Manning will stay in the AHL Brodziak will either be here as a mainly designated sitter or in the AHL Cave will not be going down unless someone of the guys that are new to the team blow the doors off and grab a spot and the fact that you have Cave and Brodziak and Brodziak had foot speed problems and makes just over 800k more than Cave why would you send Cave to the AHL when it makes sense to send Brodziak down

    If Poolparty doesnt sign his offer sheet, the Oilers still retain his rights, Poolparty doesnt have a lot of leverage here. Holland has stated he does not want to be tight to the cap like Chia had us last year and wants to have a couple mil of cap space. Unless Holland can move a contract or two out, I doubt he trades for anyone or takes on salary with big money attached to it without moving a couple guys out…

    • Big Nuggets

      Trade Russell for a 3rd line center is my suggestion. That might be unlikely because he still has some kind of no trade clause and maybe I am overestimating Russell’s value but I think there are a few teams that would be interested in him.

      • Vanoil

        I agree Russell is expendable if needed, but right now he is the insurance policy in the D who will be the 7th D by season’s end (if not sooner); in all likelihood the OIL stay put as they are now. I think Holland puts more stock in his scouts than Chiarelli did. They wouldn’t be bringing in Gaetan Haas on a one-way deal, if they didn’t think he was better than what was available already in the NHL. They can add PTOs, but reality is they brought this kid in because they think he can play. The scribes pushing for known alternatives are simply doing so out of ignorance to the new guy (I don’t blame them at all for doing so), but screwing up the cap and adding extra bodies to the contract pool for no reason, are not the way Holland does business. I doubt the OIL go hunting for an aging third line centre without seeing what they brought in with Haas. If anything there will be a PTO invite but little more.