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Weekly Rumours: Debrusk, Merzlikins, Staal, Rakell, and more!

We finally have some rumours involving the Edmonton Oilers and as someone who writes a weekly rumours blog on an Oilers website, I am very excited! 

The first name we heard them connected to was goaltender Elvis Merzlikins. Elliotte Friedman said in his weekly ‘31 Thoughts’ blog that Merzlikins is the kind of goaltender that would make sense as a long-term fit with the Oilers but added that it might be something that doesn’t happen until the offseason. 

We’ve known for a while that the Blue Jackets would likely be looking to move one of their goaltenders and hearing that the Oilers could have interest in the 26-year-old Merzlikins just shows that they are serious about upgrading their goaltending in the somewhat near future. 

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I don’t expect them to make a move for a goaltender in the next month, simply because that would require them to trade Mikko Koskinen in the deal and I’m not sure how many sellers would be interested in adding a $4.5 million contract in the middle of the season.

With that being said, after this season, Merzlikins has a salary of $5.0 million despite having a $4.0 million cap hit. Koskinen has a salary of $4.5 million, so the Blue Jackets would be saving $500k in actual cash if Koskinen was a part of the deal.

Obviously, there would need to be much more than Koskinen involved, but I can’t imagine that the Oilers would have to give up one of their big prospects like Philip Broberg or Dylan Holloway.

It’s worth noting that Merzlikins is also exempt from the upcoming expansion draft so it’s not like Columbus has a deadline to make a move.

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The other name we heard connected to the Oilers is centreman Eric Staal. Pierre LeBrun said that the Oilers have had internal discussions about acquiring the veteran centreman and that Staal is open to the idea of being traded to a contender.

Staal has nine points in 24 games this season and has a cap hit of $3.25 million. For the Oilers to make this move, some money would have to be moved out, which makes a trade tough to pull off.

“I think Edmonton can do things, but I don’t know if they can do things at a full salary” is how Elliotte Friedman framed things yesterday on Tim & Friends.

Money aside, I’m not crazy about the idea of acquiring Staal when you consider the ask if going to be either a good draft pick or a decent prospect. The Oilers don’t have a second or third-rounder this year. Would they part with a prospect like Dmitri Samorukov in a deal for a pure rental? I’m not sure if that’s a smart move. If they aren’t willing to move a top prospect, I could see them getting outbid for Staal’s services.

NEW NAMES ON THE TRADE BAIT BOARD

Frank Seravalli has a new trade bait board out now and he will discuss these names more tomorrow morning on The DFO Rundown, which is available wherever you get your podcasts from.

One of the new names on the board that I think the Oilers should be very interested in is Rickard Rakell. He’s got six goals so far this season, with four of them coming in the last five games. He’s a two-time 30-goal scorer who has produced in the playoffs. On top of that, he has one more year on a very reasonable contract that carries an AAV of $3.79 million.

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If I’m the Oilers, this is the kind of player I would consider moving a first-round pick and then something for. He immediately improves their top six and they’ll get him for one more season.

The price is going to be high though and there will be plenty of other teams interested in his services. Do the Oilers have what it takes to win a bidding war? I’m not so sure.

Other new names on the board include Nick Foligno in Columbus, Buffalo’s Colin Miller, Jamie Oleksiak out of Dallas, San Jose’s Marcus Sorensen, and Bruins forward Jake Debrusk. The latter was in the news this week after being healthy scratched and Oilers fans were excited about the possibility of him being moved.

The Oilers would be foolish to not make a call to the Bruins regarding the 24-year-old winger. He played a hard-nosed game and has averaged 23.4 goals per 82 games during his four-year career. I have no doubts that he could score 25 plus goals in this team’s top six.

The issue here is going to be the asking price. Would the Oilers be willing to move on from either Ethan Bear or Caleb Jones? Would one of them be enough or would the team have to add? Those are questions that we don’t really have answers to right now. I’m not sure if I would trade Bear. I’d rather move on from Jones but even then, that’s a risky move.

QUICK NOTES

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  • The Sabres are apparently open for business and no one is safe. Sam Reinhart is a very interesting name.
  • Friedman added in ‘31 Thoughts’ that the Sabres have two plans for the offseason. One with their Captain Jack Eichel and one without him. It’s starting to sound more and more like an Eichel deal is very possible.
  • Friedman also said that Taylor Hall has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause yet.
  • I wonder if the NHL’s new TV deal in the US changes how long we need to wait for the salary cap to go back up. I haven’t heard anything about that but it’s interesting. The NHL going to ESPN is exciting for the game though.
  • Calgary has apparently talked to the Predators about acquiring a right-handed defenseman (per Friedman).
  • Apparently, the Leafs are in on almost every name available. Kyle Dubas appears to be determined to add to his roster. They clearly believe they are in their Stanley Cup window now.
  • In a recent radio interview in Nashville, Predators GM David Poile said that Filip Forsberg is not someone that the team is interested in moving.