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Photo Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Options, Goalie Carousel Gets Started And More

Usually in September, NHL rosters are finalized and we are discussing the late-summer signings of Professional Tryouts.

But everything is different in 2020, and now we’re watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, getting set for the NHL entry draft which coincides with the busiest trade time in the NHL.

Awesome. Who doesn’t like trade talk?

Yesterday, TSN’s Frank Seravalli released his Trade Bait Board.

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TSN TRADE BAIT BOARD

PLAYER POS AGE GP G PTS CAP HIT YEARS
1. Matt Murray, PIT G 26 38 2.87 .899 $3.75M RFA
2. James van Riemsdyk, PHI LW 31 66 19 40 $7M 3
3. Josh Anderson, CBJ RW 26 26 1 4 $1.85M RFA
4. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI LD 29 66 9 30 $8.25M 7
5. Patrik Laine, WPG LW 22 68 28 63 $6.75M 1
6. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI LD 27 42 5 12 $4.5M 3
7. Kyle Palmieri, NJD RW 29 65 25 45 $4.65M 1
8. Max Domi, MTL LW 25 71 17 44 $3.15M RFA
9. Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK G 35 49 2.77 .905 $7M 2
10. Kris Letang, PIT RD 33 61 15 44 $7.25M 2
11. Ryan Dzingel, CAR LW 28 64 8 29 $3.38M 1
12. Nikolaj Ehlers, WPG RW 24 71 25 58 $6M 5
13. Vince Dunn, STL LD 23 71 9 23 $723K RFA
14. Alex Killorn, TBL LW 30 68 26 49 $4.45M 3
15. Adam Larsson, EDM RD 27 49 1 6 $4.17M 1
16. Jared McCann, PIT LW 24 66 14 35 $1.25M RFA
17. Andreas Johnsson, TOR LW 25 43 8 21 $3.4M 3
18. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF RD 25 69 6 33 $5.4M 2
19. Frederik Andersen, TOR G 30 52 2.85 .909 $5M 1
20. Dougie Hamilton, CAR RD 27 47 14 40 $5.75M 1
How many of these 20 players will actually be traded before the start of next season? Often it is fewer than half, but who and where they go is intriguing.

This year might be more, because general managers will want to make moves, but with a flat cap, and less money to spend on free agents, I sense we will see more trades.

It isn’t a surprise Adam Larsson is on this list. I wrote a few weeks ago that the Oilers blueline needs some changes, and Larsson is a proven NHL defender. Trading him isn’t because he is a bad player, rather it is about the Oilers needing to change the dynamic of their blueline.

I watch the success of Zach Bogosian in Tampa Bay, and he is prime example of how a veteran, defensive-minded defenceman can really help a Cup contending team. Bogosian has averaged over 18 minutes a game at 5×5 in the playoffs. That is skewed a bit due to overtime, but he has been a huge contributor at 5×5.

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He has played 217 minutes and 137 of those have been with Victor Hedman. When paired together they have outscored the opposition 6-0. Bogosian is 0-3 with Ryan McDonagh in 36 minutes, while his GF-GA is 3-1 when paired with either Mikhail Sergachev or Brayden Coburn.

I mention this because it is important to note that Larsson is still a bonafide NHL D-man, and he will have value, and if Ken Holland decides to move him, he should get a solid NHL player in return.

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TRADE OPTIONS…

Dec 16, 2018; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers (27) is congratulated by his team mates on his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are many players on the board who could help the Oilers.

If the Jets are actually considering trading Patrik Laine, I’d call them right away. There are very few players who can score like him, and he improved his play away from the puck this season. I think they’d regret trading him, but if they do I’d hope Holland is in on the conversation.

I believe Rasmus Ristolainen is much better than his underlying numbers suggest. He’s played on a bad team, and good players, especially defencemen, can have numbers that make them look much worse. I think he’d benefit, and flourish, in a new spot. I’d call Sabres GM Kevyn Adams and see what he wants. We’ve seen many teams give up on D-men too young, only to watch them play well in their new home.

Max Domi is an RFA and made $3.15 million last season. He scored 17 goals and 44 points in 71 games last season, after potting 28 goals and 72 points in 2019. His 72-point season looks more like an outlier, as he has scored 52, 38, 45, 72 and 44 in his five NHL seasons. I like his tenacity and quickness, and he’d be a great addition to play on the wing in the Oilers top-six. He has played centre, but I’m sure he’d be fine playing the wing with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. I think his cap hit will be around $3.5-4m and he is 25 years young. He’d be a great fit.

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Do the Oilers have something to offer that would entice the Canadiens? They need depth on the blueline. Would Larsson — who is a UFA next summer, while Domi is an RFA now — be enough, or would Montreal want a younger prospect as well?

I like Josh Anderson a lot — a big, strong, skilled winger who can skate. He scored 17, 19 and 27 goals before scoring only once in 26 games this past season. This past season was a write off for him with injuries and struggling early. He just finished a three-year deal with a $1.85m cap hit. He earned $2.1m in salary this season, so the Blue Jackets need to qualify him at that, which is a no-brainer. But rumblings of him being moved out of Columbus have been going on for over a year.

He has had good goal totals the previous three seasons and solid possession numbers to match. I’m not sure what Columbus would want, and if the Oilers acquire him then Holland will have to move out a right-winger or two as the Oilers have Zack Kassian, Kailer Yamamoto, Josh Archibald, Alex Chiasson, Patrick Russell and Jesse Puljujarvi. I’m not sure Holland could make it work, but I’m a big fan of Anderson.

This morning St.Louis traded Jake Allen and a 2022 seventh round pick to Montreal for third and seventh round picks next month. This was a salary dump by the Blues, as they shed $4.35 million in salary. The Habs have loads of cap space and they wanted a veteran so Carey Price won’t start 87% of the games next season like he did this year, but does it set the market for Matt Murray?

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Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has been very open about trading one of his goalies, and made it clear it is most likely Murray. Murray struggled this season with a .899Sv%. Goalie analyst Kevin Woodley explained last week on my show the areas where Murray struggled. “The game is now more side to side. Teams attack laterally more and he struggled by playing a low-wide stance. It is something he can work on, and I expect he will narrow up his stance a bit more in the off-season. But it might not be a quick fix,” said Woodley.

Murray made $3.75m the past three seasons. With a flat cap I think a raise is unlikely, and he might have to sign a short, show-me contract. I think draft picks or a prospect will be the cost to acquire Murray. I’m sure the Penguins would like to get a second rounder. The Oilers don’t have a second rounder, but I expect them to retain their third rounder (from the James Neal trade) this year and give Calgary their 2021 third rounder instead. Would a third and a prospect be enough to land Murray? I don’t think his value will be any higher than Allen’s.

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Edmonton would love to have Ehlers, but the Jets want a centre. Does it make any sense to trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Ehlers? Not really, so I don’t see a package the Oilers can make to land Ehlers.

I’m likely in the minority, but I wouldn’t be that interested in Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He has seven years remaining on his $8.25m/year contract, and he just turned 29. He is an upgrade on Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom, but he also costs $3m more and the Oilers need help in other areas. My main concern is he was willing to take the money and remain in Arizona for the remainder of his career with little chance of being on a competitive team. I’m leery of that kind of attitude. You can say he was loyal, which is valid, but I want guys who want to win, and, whether it is fair or not, I saw his signing as a guy who wanted comfort and consistency over a chance to win.

I would be more interested in Kris Letang for two seasons at $7.25million. He has a no movement clause, so that makes it difficult, but if the Penguins want to shed salary, and Letang agreed, would Larsson, plus something else, for Letang work? It would be a great deal for Edmonton, and is probably unlikely, but a puck-moving right-shot defender is what the Oilers really need.

Which players would you want the Oilers to acquire?

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