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Weekly Rumours: More questions than answers

The last rumours blog before the trade deadline! Things are really heating up and some Pacific Division General Managers have been very busy as of late. Kings GM Rob Blake seemingly ready to sell anything with the ability to skate and a pair of rival GM’s have taken advantage. Jim Benning went out and made a big splash, acquiring Tyler Toffoli to cover for the injured Brock Boeser. Most recently, the Vegas Golden Knights scooped defenseman Alec Martinez to solidify their blueline. Ken Holland hasn’t made a move yet, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been trying.

Holland has been connected to a handful of big names over the last week and probably the most interesting nugget of information that has been dropped on our from one of the NHL’s Insiders came from Elliotte Friedman, who reported that other teams believed Ken Holland was prepared to part with a first-round pick in order to acquire Blake Coleman, who was dealt from New Jersey to Tampa Bay just a few days ago.

The Oilers being interested in Coleman was not a surprise, but the fact Holland was apparently willing to dangle their top draft pick in the deal got my attention. It shows that he’s serious about improving this team if he believes the player is the right fit.

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So what other options out there could he be interested in? That’s the biggest question surrounding the Oilers and their deadline plans.

If he were to dangle his upcoming first-round pick and a prospect, he could definitely land players like Ondrej Kase, Josh Anderson, or Pavel Buchnevich, but does the organization look at those players as favourably as they looked at Coleman?

How much has Holland considered getting in on the rental market? He sort of answered that question during his availability earlier today when he said rather bluntly that he will not trade a first-round pick for a rental. That pretty much takes the Oilers out of the running for one of JG Pageau or Chris Kreider.

If he doesn’t want to spend assets on a big name rental, at what point would he be interested in going after a rental? Would he be interested in players like Joe Thorton or Derek Grant?

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There are more questions than answers right now but luckily, they will all be answered by Monday afternoon, or potentially earlier. I will say that the news about Holland’s interest and willingness to spend assets on Coleman should be music to the ears of Oilers fans who are hoping to see the team load up for a potentially deep playoff run.

Another other big note that came out of Hollands scrum was what he said in regards to Jesse Puljujarvi. Holland said that he “isn’t shopping him and no one is asking.”

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I can totally see why a team wouldn’t want to acquire a player who is ineligible to play in the NHL this season and it seems very unlikely that a deal will happen, but I would not be totally stunned if he was traded in a package for a young, scoring winger that’s under team control.

Here are my two lists of potential fits for the Oilers heading into the deadline, using Frank Seravalli’s Trade Bait Board as a reference point. I put a * next to players I really like or feel would be very good fits with the Oilers:

EXPENSIVE TARGETS: Andreas AthanasiouBrandon Saad – Vincent Trochek* – Kasperi Kapanen* – Kyle Palmieri* – Alex Kerfoot* – Pavel BuchnevichOndrej Kase* – Chris Tierney* – Josh Anderson*

CHEAPER ADDS: Jesper Fast* – Joe Thorton – Derek GrantBarclay Goodrow* – Connor Sheary 

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It will be an interesting day to be monitoring the Oilers.

While the Pacific Division has been fairly busy, some teams with Stanley Cup aspirations have stayed relatively quiet, which should make for an exciting deadline.

The Boston Bruins have been rather quiet and I expect that to change. I am almost certain that they will land one of Kreider or Kyle Palmieri. Don Sweeney will not sit still and he likely will not settle for a player on the secondary rental market.

The Avalanche are getting pummeled with injuries and considering where they sit in the Western Conference and the amount of cap space they have, it’s hard to imagine Joe Sakic not making a significant move. I believe they’ll push hard for the high-end players, just like Boston will.

The Carolina Hurricanes reportedly like to add as well, so would the Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights. There are also teams like the Flames, Blue Jackets, Leafs, Panthers, and Coyotes who are stuck in a weird spot. They would probably like to add but with limited cap space and no guarantee of a playoff berth, they need to be careful with how much they spend.

The Canadiens and Blackhawks have assets they could sell but those two GM’s need to ice a competitive team next season and stripping down their current roster is a little counterproductive to that.

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Right now things seem quiet but I expect that to change big-time before Monday. Maybe I’m being eternally optimistic, but I think this could be a very frantic and busy deadline around the league.

As for the weekly rumours blog I’ve been doing, I’ll likely put it on hold until the Oilers are eliminated from the playoffs. The stretch run after the deadline isn’t a great time to be blogging about trade rumours. Thanks for reading and you can expect to see more weekly rumour recaps once the offseason gets going!

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