Rumours abound as the NHL draft wraps up and eyes turn towards free agency kicking off early Friday morning.
The Edmonton Oilers have been linked to Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom for the last number of months dating back to August. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun said that if Markstrom was to not re-sign with the Canucks, he expected the Oilers to at least inquire on his services.
When the first round of the NHL draft wrapped up Tuesday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman linked Markstrom to Edmonton again.
“I wonder if he does not re-sign in Vancouver, if Edmonton is one of the teams that takes a long look at Markstrom.” – Source
Friedman was on the NHL Network Wednesday for day two of the draft, where once again, he linked Markstrom to the Oilers making a point that Edmonton is a team waiting to get a shot at him. Now, LeBrun has doubled down the Markstrom to Edmonton connection in an article for The Athletic Wednesday.
Both Edmonton and Calgary have Markstrom on their radar, sources confirm, which would be a real kick in the pants for Vancouver if indeed either scenario played out.
Mind you the Flames have been active on many goalie fronts so who knows at this point where they end up. They’ve kept the door open with Cam Talbot’s camp as well regarding the possibility of bringing him back.
The Oilers would be intriguing to me because their cap situation doesn’t really indicate they’ll be able to outbid other teams on the AAV. But maybe they throw term at Markstrom as a way around it.
But again, the door isn’t closed with Vancouver at this stage.
The speculation is interesting. Markstrom is undoutably a No. 1 goalie that the Oilers could use, but they need to tread carefully. After the Puljujarvi signing earlier Wednesday, Edmonton has $7.07-m in cap space to work with and still need to sign RFA Ethan Bear, who was qualified by the Oilers.
Markstrom is likely to command a deal in the six-year, $6-million AAV area on the free agent market and is a 60 game a year workhorse. Edmonton already has a goaltender in Mikko Koskinen being paid $4.5-m and I can’t imagine the Oilers spending $10-m to keep him them both in town. Koskinen has a 15-team no-trade list that could complicate things, too.
Hall and Barrie
LeBrun dropped some other interesting information in his aforementioned article.
Talking about TAYLOR HALL and where he may land, he reported that Hall would be doing Zoom calls with suitors and may not ink a deal Friday and that the Nashville Predators are one club that will be calling.
Beyond that, LeBrun says he has a feeling other teams may offer short-term deals.
I’ve got a feeling other suitors may try to sell Hall on a shorter-term deal, the idea being he could head back on the market in a few years when the salary cap eventually goes back up.
For example, if a team like Edmonton came calling Friday — and I’m not saying for sure the Oilers will — but it would be the kind of situation where I would foresee a short-term approach in trying to entice Hall.
But I doubt Hall’s agent Darren Ferris will be endorsing the short-term approach for his client.
And Tyson Barrie is another player to keep an eye on:
I also think Alberta rivals Edmonton and Calgary will show interest in Barrie. The Flames have both Travis Hamonic and T.J. Brodie from their right side potentially headed to market on Friday (Hamonic for sure, Brodie we’ll see), so it makes sense they would inquire on Barrie.
Defense is not a big need for the Oilers but with Oscar Klefbom’s long-term injury, I think it opens the door to Edmonton making a pitch to Barrie’s camp Friday. And if I were the Oilers, I would try to sell him on a one-year deal with the pitch being: come quarterback a power play with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on it, rack up the points, and hit the market again in a year with your market and profile re-established after a miserable year in Toronto.
There’s a lot going on here and it’s going to be difficult to make one, let alone all three of these things happen. The Oilers would need to move out money in order to bring in any of Markstrom, Hall or Barrie. Edmonton has cap issues and the only way one, or multiple of these suggested moves could happen is if the Oilers are able to move out money. Would a team like Ottawa or Buffalo or Detroit or New Jersey or the Rangers be willing to take on the contracts of Koskinen and someone like Zack Kassian and/or James Neal?
At the end of the day I think any of these players could be great adds to the Oilers lineup. If Klefbom were to miss the year, they need to fill that void on the backend somehow and Barrie would be a viable option to do it. Lord knows how many points he could rack up on the Oilers powerplay which last season was one of the best to ever do it in the NHL.
Hall would be a big-time add to the Oilers top six and help take some pressure off McDavid and Draisaitl. I think it’s a longshot, but man it would be fun to see him back in Edmonton.
Lastly, Markstrom would be, as I mentioned, the No. 1 goalie that the Oilers have been chasing for years.
Let’s see what shakes out in the next couple of days.
On Twitter: @zjlaing