Another week has gone by in the NHL and we saw another trade get made. Teams are showing that even though the playoffs are still going, they aren’t going to wait to make moves, which is certainly helping spark the rumour mill. Let’s dig into some of the big stories from around the league!
The Blues sent backup goaltender Jake Allen and a seventh-round pick to Montreal in exchange for a third-round pick and a seventh-rounder. For the Blues, this was really just a cap dump as they try to find the money to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo and I’m a little surprised that they managed to get a third-rounder for Allen, who has one more year at $4.35 million. For the Habs, they dealt the third-round pick that they got in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal and still have eight picks in the first four rounds of this year’s draft. They clearly liked Allen and from their perspective, didn’t give up a lot.
There are going to be a lot of goaltenders finding new homes this offseason and the Oilers are going to be very involved in the market. Allen is a good backup goaltender with a high cap-hit and he managed to fetch a third-rounder, so for the Oilers to get a solid 1B option to play with Mikko Koskinen, they’ll likely have to cough up more than a mid-round pick.
Dustin Nielson from TSN 1260 says that the Oilers have had conversations with the Penguins regarding Matt Murray. That shows that Holland is serious about upgrading the Oilers goaltending and wants to do more than just bring in a veteran on a one-year deal like he did last season.
The goaltending rumours are dominating the headlines right now and it seems to be all Oilers fans want to talk about but there are some other really interesting stories developing around the league that connect to the Oilers.
TRADE BAIT BOARD
Frank Seravalli released the first offseason edition of his Trade Bait Board and there are some really interesting names on the list. At number five, Frank has Jets sniper Patrik Laine, which is a huge surprise. I really don’t understand why the Jets would trade a 22-year-old who has averaged 37 goals per 82 games so far in his carer. I know they have some big holes to fill down the middle and on the blue line, but you can fill those without trading Laine in my opinion. I think it’s more likely that the Jets deal Ehlers, who is 12th on the list.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is just ahead of Laine on the board at number four and this one interests me as well. The Coyotes are clearly trying to get rid of his big contract but this will be a difficult deal to make. First, Ekman-Larsson has a no-movement clause so he must approve any deal. It’s safe to assume he would only want to go to a contender but he has a cap-hit of $8.25 million for the next seven years so I’m not sure how many contenders could afford him.
The Oilers have one player on the list and it’s veteran defenseman Adam Larsson, who is a UFA at the end of next season. If I’m the Oilers, I’m only moving Larsson is you’re getting back a top-six winger or a really good third-line centre. I still value what Larsson brings to this blueline and I do not think it’s a guarantee that the Oilers move him.
There are some names on the list that I think the Oilers should be really interested in. Josh Anderson (#3) and Kyle Palmieri (#7) would both be really good fits in their top six, but I don’t think the Oilers have the assets to acquire either of those two players. Andreas Johnsson (#17) will cost less to acquire and while he’s coming off a tough year, he did score 20-goals in 2018/19.
As for third-line centers, Jared McCann (#16) is an interesting name. He can also play left-wing, which makes him an even better fit. He scored 14 goals in 66 games and as a pending RFA, he likely wouldn’t cost too much to acquire. Max Domi (#8) is on the board as well, which brings me to my next point.
WILL MAX DOMI BE MOVED?
Arpon Basu from The Athletic told TSN 690 that he doesn’t expect to see Max Domi back in Montreal next season and honestly, he would be a perfect fit with the Oilers. He can play centre or left-wing, which makes him even more intriguing. There will be no shortage of suitors for the 25-year-old. He plays a tough style of hockey, which lots of teams will love, and he can produce offence. He posted 44 points in 71 games this past season but in 2018/19, he racked up 72 points in 82 games.
Considering his age, ability to produce at multiple positions and the style of game he plays, the Oilers should absolutely be looking into acquiring Domi. I could see a deal being built around Domi and one of the Oiler’s pending RFA’s (Athanasiou, Benning).
- Penguins GM Jim Rutherford confirmed that Justin Schultz won’t be back with the team next season. Schultz is a UFA and is coming off a pair of seasons where he struggled to stay healthy. He won’t get the $5.5 million he made on his last deal, he should have plenty of suitors this offseason.
- Michael Russo from The Athletic is reporting that the Minnesota Wild could deal one of Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba this offseason as they prepare their roster for the expansion draft.
- The Arizona Coyotes are expected to make another pitch to pending UFA Taylor Hall in the coming days as they try to keep the star winger in the desert. I personally can’t see a scenario where Hall signs before testing the open market. Also, I’m a little confused as to why the Coyotes are aggressively pursuing Hall while also looking into trading Ekman-Larsson for the purpose of cutting costs. It just doesn’t quite add up.