Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers need to take advantage of the Tampa Bay Lightning

As the Edmonton Oilers continue trying to find a new NHL home for Jesse Puljujarvi, the rumors and trade suggestions keep pouring in.

On Thursday, Jim Matheson got grilled on Twitter for suggesting the Oilers would want Anthony Cirelli or Mikhail Sergachev in a trade for the disgruntled Finn.

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But the more and more you look into him suggesting the Oilers would want either of them, the more it makes sense.

Hear me out.

The Lightning are one of the best teams in the NHL — full stop. But they’re also one of the most expensive teams in the NHL and the money crunch is only going to be getting tighter.

As I write this, they have $8,476,669 in cap space. They still have to sign Brayden Point.

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So, for the fun of this scenario, let’s say he signs for a very team-friendly $8-million on the dot. Fast forward to the end of this year, they are going to be in an even tighter spot than they are now.

With only $6.1-million in cap space to work with, assuming Point signs the aforementioned deal, they have to sign both Cirelli and Sergachev to new contracts. Both are RFA’s, both are coming out of entry-level deals, and both are going to be due for a pretty nice raise.

Baggedmilk on #theLOCKERROOM: Praising Leon Draisaitl and a look at Connor McDavid's quad injury

This, of course, happens without taking into account seven other free agents they currently have on their roster.

Oh, did I mention that basically their entire team has some form of trade protection? Basically everyone making over $1.7-million on their team is protected in some form.

That makes things very, very difficult for the Lightning.

Cirelli is only 22-years-old, but took on a big role for Tampa Bay last year and produced well doing so. He put up 39 points in 82 games playing under 15 minutes per game. He was strong in the faceoff dot, too, winning 53 per cent of his draws. Analytically he drove play better than the majority of his team, posting a 53.7 CF per cent — 3.3 per cent higher than his teammates.

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Cirelli has also established himself as a very, very good penalty killer.

Moving forward it’s clear that Cirelli is quite a talent who likely won’t move any further up the lineup than the third-line centre position he’s in. That, considering there’s a few really good centres named Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point in front of him.

Mikhail Sergachev, 21, just wrapped up his second season with the Lightning and has amassed 72 points in 154 games with the team. His most common partner last year was Brayden Coburn, and the pair were one of the strongest for the team posting a 54 CF per cent and a 58 GF per cent.

At 6’3″, 215 lbs, Sergachev has good size and is a strong, young skater with lots of room to develop on an already good start to the year.

Grease is the Word

Anytime in the next year, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the Oilers to put together a package of Jesse Puljujarvi, a/some first-round pick/s, and any of Edmonton’s top prospects for either Cirelli, or Sergachev.

It’s probably more of a starting point in conversations, but we’d need to remember that Tampa wouldn’t be able to bring in a lot of cap space back if they were looking at making a deal with the Oilers.

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Both players, like I mentioned, are already very good players in the NHL at very young ages. While I don’t know how accurate a lot of Jim Matheson’s reports are, the fact he is linking these two to Edmonton specifically has me intrigued and moving into next year, I think it’s a situation the Oilers need to monitor.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Holland doesn’t need to rush into any trades, if a deal makes sense then he should do it, if it doesn’t then he shouldn’t. Holland does not need to pull a Chia and do a trade just for the sake of one. Poolparty’s value is low, so the Oilers are risking nothing by letting Pollparty play lots of minutes hopefully put up points and drive GM’s interest in him.

    Lots of teams still figuring out there cap and contract space and guys will be getting there walking papers, so Holland can afford to wait and see what happens around the league

  • BR

    Don’t think that it’s wishful thinking?

    We’d have to add considerably to Puljujarvi to get either. Tampa know that he doesn’t have much of a market. And they know they can start a bidding war on their own talent who absolutely do have markets. Particularly Sergachev.

    Maybe Puljujarvi, Jones/Samourokov and a high pick for Serg? Do we want to pay that?

  • Kr55

    THe proposal makes sense, until you ponder how Tampa has 29 other teams to look at to try to get a good return for Cirelli or Sergachev. Would have to be pretty slim pickings around the NHL for them to settle on Pulju as the center piece of a return.

  • oilbaron

    its too bad Chia didnt make the correct trade in that draft!
    Hall and #4 to MTL for Subban and #9

    NO WAY tampa trades him now! Hes got way too much upside, is a prime position player which teams covet and they have another season before they have to make a move, and the move they make will not be him. theyll find a way to NOT trade him, especially to edmonotn. The oilers are the ones in trouble here and under the gun, not tampa.

      • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

        According to Friedman it was Draisitl, Kelfbom, Nurse, the 4th overall pick, and “a piece” (whatever “a piece” is). Regardless, Montreal was asking too much from Edmonton for Subban, yet they were content with asking for a older, more injury prone Shea Weber.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    I dont think I would sell the farm to make a trade especially when it involves certain picks and prospects, Tampa is going to be put in a position where they either have to a trade of someone off their roster that makes a good salary to sign some guys that they want to keep or buyout someone, or dump a player if they want to keep those two. Otherwise they are in a spot where they are in limited choice land making a trade for picks and prospects for down the road, they cant really afford to take salary back. It is no different than Vegas was with Gusev, where they couldnt afford to sign him and had to take what they could get. This is one of those situations where GM’s can sit back and wait and see what happens, because teams are going to have to make some hard choices when it comes to cap constraints and the allowable number of contracts because sooner or later the ball is going to drop and moves will have to made

  • The Rookie

    But they would still need to qualify Puljujarvi which is more than the ELC each of those two are on now. And with the amount JP has produced in the NHL, teams would be better off bringing in veterans on PTO for less risk and possibly more reward.

  • Niurou

    Why the good team like lighting always draft good, and sell their old player (like JT Miller) high? Our management (and some fans)always want to buy high and sell low?


    I always like Mikhail Sergachev as a player before the draft. He reminds me of a young unpolished Zubov. Our team including the farm are well stocked with depth dmen probably in the top three in the NHL. Not sure who we will keep next year or the prospects will be ready once Nurse’s bridge deal ends given Trouba’s 8 million per with NYR, it will be tough summer on deciding who to keep and who should go. However, the priority currently is in the forward position-a top 9 forward preferably a centreman (wonder what Strome is doing?). Love to have Mikhail Sergachev to replace one of our top 4 dmen next year but a top 9 forward is more pressing need but then again, perhaps one of our farm players could step up for next year. It is all up in the air no matter how you slice it…

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      The Oilers will deal Russell and or Benning at some point this season, they are going to want to free up spots for the up and coming guys and we have too many D to keep. Russel contract is on the downward slide and a team will find Russell useful, Bennning isnt expensive by any stretch but if you place him with the right partner he plays a lot better than he can play ( like when he wass paired with Sekera he was much calmer and steady ) All some team has to do with Benning is what the Pens did with Schultz cut down his minutes get him a steady partner and his play will improve

      • Kelly Youngblood

        I could still see Benning ending up in Toronto. There was the Connor Brown/Matt Benning deal that didn’t happen last year so if true, Dubas was at least kicking tires on him. Maybe Puljujarvi & Benning for Kapanen. Toronto also needs to make room for Marner. Very similar to the TB situation.

  • Lyxdeslic

    Are Oilers fans really that hard on Puljujarvi that we have to give Puljujarvi + a prospect + a 1st rounder for Cirelli?!?

    Cirelli is a year older than Puljujarvi (22) and scored .47ppg and netted .23 goals/pg last year playing on the third line for one of best regular season team in hockey in the last 20 years. 2 seasons ago Puljujarvi (20) scored .31 ppg and netted and .19 goals/pg playing on one of the worst teams in the league on their third line. I’m not arguing that Puljujarvi is as good as Cirelli at this moment, but when a guy at 22 years of age playing on a third line with Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde or Alex Killorn out produces a 20 year old playing with Strome, Lucic and Kharia by only .16ppg and .04goals/pg, im not convinced that the skill deficit is so great that you must include a first rounder and a prospect to obtain said player.

    Also if Holland is asking for a 1st rounder for Puljujarvi and his value is somewhere in that realm, that’s the equivalent of trading two 1st rounders and a prospect for Cirelli, a player who had 39 points last season on one of the best regular season teams of the last three decades.

    Say what you want about Puljujarvi but even if he never pans into a top 6/9 forward, people here are wayyyyy over valuing Cirelli. Btw at age 20 Cirelli had 37 points in 54 AHL games. At age 20 Benson had 66 points in 68 AHL games, take that however you want it LOL