The Oilers have 13 games remaining prior the February 24th trade deadline and I’m sure things will heat up quite a bit between now and then.
TSN’s Insider Trading becomes appointment television at this time of the season and on Thursday Darren Dreger had the latest on the Oilers:
“The Battle of Alberta may drift off the ice as well because the Edmonton Oilers are also looking for a top-six forward. Not sure about the Flames but I believe the Edmonton Oilers are going to pay close attention to what happens with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Again, speculation around the likes of Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, maybe Alex Kerfoot. And another team to watch? The Minnesota Wild. I’m told that Bill Guerin is open for business and part of the trade bait list could include veteran defenceman Mathew Dumba.”
The Oilers and Leafs have been linked for a long time so it doesn’t surprise me to see it happening once again. Kailer Yamamoto has been a fine addition to the Oilers but it makes sense that Holland would still be looking for a top six forward, preferably someone with playoff experience.
In no particular order, here are the top six guys I would keep an eye on.
Andreas Athanasiou – RED WINGS
The Wings speedster has been dealing with a lower body injury over the past couple of weeks but I believe he is expected to be back before the end of the month. After scoring 30 goals last season he has just five in 36 games so far this year. I’m not sure how many of you believe in plus/minus anymore but he was a team-worst -35 prior to being injured. He’s a 25-year old who makes $3,000,000 and will be an RFA at the end of the season.
This is the type of player you’d like to see Holland pick up because the team would have control of an asset with significant offensive upside if put in the right situation.
Kasperi Kapanen – MAPLE LEAFS
Kapanen, like Athanasiou, would have a great opportunity to become a big part of the offence here in Edmonton. His name is continuously mentioned in rumours as the Leafs continue to find out what they can, and can’t, afford moving forward. Kapanen had 20 goals and 44 points last season but is on pace to come up just shy of those totals this year. He’s signed for the next two seasons at $3,200,00 per year which is a very manageable number for Holland.
Kapanen would be a nice piece in the puzzle the Oilers are trying to build around McDavid and Draisaitl. I’d rather see Kapanen on his way to Edmonton than Athanasiou.
ERIC STAAL – WILD
Staal would be a highly unlikely acquisition for the Oilers but damn he’d make a lot of sense as a guy you can move around your second and third lines. The 17-year veteran is scoring at a 30-goal pace this season and comes with experience that any team would love to add for a push to the post-season. He has a cap hit of $3,250,000 for this year and next. He may not be a popular choice but I think he would be a great guy for McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins to be around. He does have a limited no-movement clause which would allow him to submit a ten team no-trade list which could very well make this nothing more than a pipedream.
Tyler Toffoli – KINGS
I would look at acquiring Toffoli as a pure rental as the 27-year old seems to be having a decent bounce back season for the Kings but likely doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plans. Last year, he finished with 13 goals in 82 games, but this season he already has 12. He’s making $4,600,000 this season and will be a UFA at years end.
J.G. PAGEAU – SENATORS
It’s impossible to put together any Oilers wish list without having Pageau’s name on it. He’s already tied his career-high with 19 goals and will be a UFA in the summer. If the Oilers managed to sign him long-term, I see him as a solid third-line centre but with the year he’s having I’d have no problem fitting him into the top six. I know the Senators have some interest in keeping him around but in my opinion, they’d be wise to see high on him right now.
Alex Galchenyuk – PENGUINS
Galchenyuk had back to back 19 goal seasons prior to falling off a cliff in Pittsburgh this season. He’s scored just five times in 38 games and is producing at less than a 40-point pace but I believe the potential is still there. He’s only 25-years old but will be a UFA at the end of this season. His $4,900,000 cap hit won’t be easy to fit in but he has a lot of natural offensive ability.
WHO DO YOU WANT?
If the Oilers are indeed in the market for a top six forward who would you like to see them go after and more importantly, what is the most that you’d be willing to part with?
Previously by Dustin Nielson:
- Road Trip Recap
- The Ex-Oiler Cup
- Oilers Top 10 Prospects: Winter Edition
- Blame the Keepers?
- Nielson’s Notes: Oilers/Hurricanes Edition