Photo Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports

LAING: Could the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks be trade partners?

There’s an interesting case to be made for the Edmonton Oilers trading their first-round pick this year.

The club is in a position as we embark on the all-star break that they haven’t been in a long time — that being one where they’re in a playoff spot.

Edmonton goes into the break with a 26-18-5 record with 57 points. Here’s how they shape up to Oilers squads in the last five years.

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Yr + Div Rank W L OTL PTS GF GA +/- GD
2019-20 (2nd) 26 18 5 57 155 153 2
2018-19 (6th) 23 23 3 49 142 160 -18
2017-18 (6th) 21 23 3 45 131 149 -18
2016-17 (3rd) 26 15 8 60 144 131 +13
2015-16 (7th) 19 25 5 43 121 145 -24
2014-15 (7th) 12 26 9 33 109 158 -49

Standings on Jan. 21 for each year via shrpsports.com

Now, this can come and go as quickly as a good game with only a one-point separating 1st and 5th place in the division today. But Edmonton, nonetheless, is in a spot where one or two pieces could give them a big step up on some of their other competitors.

A Sunday morning piece penned by the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch caught my eye. You can read it here, but the gist is that the San Jose Sharks are going to “desperately (try) to get a first-rounder back at this year’s deadline.”

“Wilson is scrambling and he’s getting lots of calls from his counterparts who are willing to help in any way they can,” Garrioch penned.

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The Sharks don’t have any big-name UFA’s this year that could likely pull back a first-rounder, and Garrioch said GM Doug Wilson will be getting calls on players like Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns.

If the Edmonton Oilers are serious about acquiring a top-six forward — a blatant team need that has to be addressed sooner, rather than later, then Edmonton and San Jose may make great trading partners.

While a 34-year-old Burns with five-years left on his contract isn’t the answer for Edmonton, taking a good hard run at Meier or Hertl might be a solution.

The following chart looks at how the two forwards have faired in the last three seasons amongst Sharks forwards with over 1000 minutes played in all situations. In brackets are where they’d rank amongst Oilers forwards for the same time frame.

GP G-A—PTS TOI 5v5 P/60 CF% GF% xGF% SH% PDO
Hertl 202 (4th) 72-83—155 (3rd in pts) 3761:12 (3rd) 1.91 (4th) 55.74 (3rd) 53.47 (5th) 55.88 (4th) 15.6 (3rd) 99.0 (6th)
Meier 209 (3rd) 66-67—-133 (4th in pts) 3390:13 (4th) 2.14 (3rd) 55.94 (2nd) 53.61 (6th) 57.58 (2nd) 11.4 (6th) 99.4 (5th)

The acquisition of either Hertl, 26, or Meier, 23, would be a huge addition to the Oilers forward corps. Both are bonified top-six players and would immediately provide a huge boost.

But numbers on the ice aren’t the only factor to consider as cap implications need to be examined too.

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Meier has three years after this season at an AAV of $6-million and is a restricted free agent at the end of the deal. Hertl, meanwhile, has two years remaining after this with an AAV of $5.625-million. He is a UFA at the end of the deal.

It’s clear that Meier would be a better target largely thanks to his contract. He’s coming off a 66 point season — the best of his career — and has shown better even-strength production than that of his counterpart.

Now comes the ever-important discussion surrounding cost acquisition. Despite being unwilling to deal a first-round pick for Taylor Hall last month, I would hope Oilers brass would give a longer think about dealing that pick for a player like Meier.

While that pick, one likely to fall in the 15-20 range in the draft, would be a key asset, I don’t think it would be enough on its own to seal a deal. The Sharks are an organization that are hurting when it comes to their prospect pool and Edmonton, to an extent, is struggling too.

Edmonton has some strong defensive prospects in the likes of Dimitri Samorukov, William Lagesson, Philip Broberg, and Evan Bouchard. I’d think the latter two are closer to the “not about to be traded” camp, but a guy like Meier might be worth it.

The current cap situation might curb any deadline talks given that Edmonton has only $1.217-million in cap space. In theory, the Oilers would have to package some kind of salary back totaling $4.73-million for any kind of in-season deal.

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In the offseason, when Edmonton has $22.2-million in space to worth with, things could be a different story.

On Twitter: @zjlaing