Jesse Puljujarvi’s name was back in the media recently. Nothing new has really happened with the former fourth overall pick but with the trade deadline roughly six weeks away, fans and media in Edmonton have started to wonder what assets Ken Holland could potentially deal off in order to get this year’s team more help.
It’s obvious why Puljujarvi jumps off the page. He wants out and he has some value, although we could argue all day about just how much value he has. Still, you could see why a rebuilding team might be interested in him and the fact that he can’t play in the NHL this season shouldn’t really matter to a team that’s out of the playoff race.
Besides Puljujarvi, what other assets could the Oilers dangle? Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal chimed in the other day:
Holland won't trade his first-rounder but his 2nd and, say, a defence prospect, is likely in play for another forward at trade deadline.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) January 8, 2020
Jim Matheson is pretty connected to the team so my ears perk up when he tweets out stuff like this. The idea of trading a defensive prospect is interesting. They certainly have a surplus there but I wonder which pieces Holland would consider expendable. I think Bear, Bouchard, Broberg, and Samorukov are pretty close to untouchable. Jones is the most interesting name in all of this. He’s no longer waiver eligible after this season and the organization needs to make a decision on him. He should have some value as well.
As far as trading a draft pick, I could see Holland trading a second-round pick, but I bet he would prefer to deal a draft pick from the 2021 class considering he will likely have to send the teams 2020 third-round pick to Flames as part of the Neal/Lucic trade.
The Oilers are in the hunt right now and if they stay in the hunt come February, then they’ll be buyers. Here are some notes from other teams around the league that could affect the Oilers:
- Chris Kreider is one of the more popular names that is reportedly available but he does have a limited no-trade clause that allows him to nix a trade to 11 teams in the league. Earlier this week a report surfaced saying that Kreider, a Massachusetts native, would likely have all seven Canadian teams on his no-trade list. That likely kills any chance of the Oilers being interested in the pending UFA.
- The Flames are another team that likely would have been interested in Kreider. They have some cap space to spend now that they’ve gotten rid of Michael Frolik and are looking to add a scoring forward. They’re in a similar boat to the Oilers and I wonder if opposing GM’s could pit the two teams against each other and create a bidding war between the two Alberta clubs.
- Elliotte Friedman wrote in his ‘31 Thoughts’ that the Detroit Red Wings want to acquire draft picks and prospects and have players they are willing to move. One issue is that a lot of their players aren’t having great years so their value isn’t quite where GM Steve Yzerman would like it to be.
- You can bet Andreas Athanasiou is one of the players that the Wings would like to move, but just aren’t getting what they view as good offers. I would be willing to bet that both the Flames and Oilers would be interested in the speedy forward.
- Friedman also said that if things don’t go well this year in Calgary, then there could be big changes coming this summer. He mentioned the struggling Johnny Gaudreau right after. Wouldn’t that be something? Obviously, nothing will happen in-season, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
- Kristopher Martel (Host of The Neutral Zone in Nashville) told me the other day that if Predators GM David Poile were to make a trade right now, just a few days after firing Head Coach Peter Laviolette, it would likely be to add a defenseman. I’ve said it on a few different platforms now but I can’t shake the idea that a trade built around Kris Russell and Nick Bonino would make a lot of sense. Bonino’s wife is from around Edmonton, so I’m sure he wouldn’t be against the trade.
- Craig Custance of The Athletic wrote a piece on some names that are available ahead of the deadline. He mentioned that some teams believe that Ken Holland’s preference is to upgrade the team’s defence instead of getting more scoring. I don’t believe that. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. They have too many defensemen and giving up assets to add more when they have such a clear need for more scoring would be foolish.
- Josh Anderson (CBJ) and Ondrej Kase (ANA) were 10th and 12th respectively on Custance’s list. Anderson is an RFA after this season while Kase is under contract for one more year at $2.6 million. I think they would both be really good fits in Edmonton and I really like the fact that they’re under team control for next season. The acquisition price would be very high for each player but I think the Oilers would be more willing to pay a high price for a player that they know they’ll have next year as well.
- The Rangers recalled highly-touted prospect Igor Shesterkin the other day and now they have three goaltenders on their roster. I doubt Henrik Lundqvist is going to go anywhere unless he retires, so that means 23-year-old Alexander Georgiev could be on the move. He’s not waiver eligible and he’s established himself as an NHL goaltender, so the Rangers might look to trade him. If they do, I suspect a lot of teams will be interested and the Oilers should be one of them.
That’s it for this week! Things are really going to start heating up over the next 30-45 days and with the Oilers in a playoff spot, they should be right in the thick of the rumour mill.