As we roll closer to the NHL trade deadline, the Edmonton Oilers are starting to become connected to more and more names. That’s not surprising. What is surprising however is the fact that they’re starting to be connected to some big names.
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug has said on multiple occasions that Senators forward JG Pageau would be a perfect fit for the Oilers. Rishaug has stressed that the biggest need for this team is a high-end third-line centre who could also play on the wing if needed. He usually adds that the price for Pageau will be high and potentially too high for the Oilers liking.
Still believe the Oilers top priority heading to deadline is a 3LC. Pageau would be a great fit but not sure they’ll move their 1st. Perhaps a more traditional shut down 3LC is more realistic. Win some face offs and play against top Forwards.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) February 4, 2020
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic has also said on a few occasions that the Oilers would likely be interested in Pageau. It makes sense but I think a lot of people recognize that Ken Holland may be hesitant to spend significant assets at this year’s deadline on a rental.
Jason Gregor recently mentioned Chris Tierney out of Ottawa. That name would be very intriguing. He’s only 26, has put up good numbers on the Senators third line, and is an RFA at the end of the season. Potentially a guy who could help both this year and next.
This past week, a new name entered the conversation as Elliotte Friedman wrote in his ‘31 Thoughts’ piece that the Oilers have “at the very least” looked into Montreal Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar. Friedman added that you would really have to ‘move the needle’ to get the Habs interested in dealing the 29-year-old.
The fit makes sense. Tatar is a proven goal scorer who has hit the 20 goal mark in each of the last six seasons and already has 20 under his belt in just 55 games so far this year. Of course, just because a player scores a lot, it doesn’t mean he would immediately click with the Oilers top-six but Ken Holland has a long history with Tatar, having drafted him back in 2009 with the Red Wings, so I’m sure he would have a pretty good idea as to how Tatar would gel both in the room and on the ice.
It’s hard to tell what the cost would be. Tatar has another year left on his deal and carries a cap hit of $5.3-million. If he was a rental, I’d feel confident saying that the cost would be a second-round pick and a mid-tier prospect but the fact he has another year on his deal makes things very interesting. I think the Habs could get a first-round pick for Tatar if they create a bidding war.
Would Ken Holland consider moving a first-round pick in either 2020 or 2021? Would Habs GM Marc Bergevin be interested in a package based around Jesse Puljujarvi? Those are the big questions.
On another note, Darnell Nurse has been the topic du jour as of late and Friedman had a note on that as well, saying that he doesn’t believe Nurse will be signing a deal worth $8 million. He added that “there’s a difference between what you ask for and what you’re actually looking for”.
People who overreacted to the story that Nurse’s camp might look at Jacob Trouba’s long-term $8 million a year deal were being ridiculous. I think most people knew that was nothing more than a starting point in the negotiation.
I do buy that the Oilers and Nurse are considering a shorter-term deal, maybe two or three years, as Bob McKenzie reported earlier in the week on Inside Trading. It will all come down to how badly Nurse values being an Oiler over getting market value and how comfortable Ken Holland is with his cap situation over the next few seasons.
- Lots of chatter around what the Canadiens could get for a rejuvenated Ilya Kovalchuk at the deadline. The 36-year-old has racked up five goals and five assists in 13 games since joining the Habs. He makes close to the league minimum as well which should make a lot of contenders interested in him. I think a second-round pick is a stretch but I could easily see the Habs getting a third-rounder for him.
- Would the Oilers be interested? I’d say no. They already have a slow, physical, goal-scoring winger in James Neal and they really don’t need to slow down their lineup anymore. It wouldn’t be a smart use of an asset.
- It’s sounding more and more like Dustin Byfuglien and the Jets will terminate his existing deal which has led to speculation that the 34-year-old could sign with another club before the trade deadline. However, lots of insiders are saying that isn’t a very real possibility. Would teams be interested? Sure, but Byfuglien hasn’t played all season and I doubt he would be ready to just jump back into the league and be an effective player.
- Lisa Dillman of The Athletic reported that the Golden Knights, Predators, and Panthers are all interested in defenseman Alec Martinez.
- Kings Head Coach Todd McLellan reportedly lobbied for Tyler Toffoli to be extended (per Friedman) but ultimately it seems like he will be dealt. Boston, Calgary, and Philadelphia are all reportedly looking at the scoring winger.
- On the Flames, they are dangerously close to being bumped out of a playoff spot and after watching Mark Giordano go down against the Sharks, I wonder if the Flames are itching to make a move sooner rather than later.