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Weekly Rumours – Is it a buyers market?

We are now just a few days away from the NHL trade deadline, which will officially hit on Monday at 1 pm mountain time, and while the market is starting to take shape, there is still plenty of time for things to change.

Personally, I think this will start to turn into more and more of a buyers market as we get closer to the deadline and because of that, I think Ken Holland would be wise to wait until right up until the final hours before making a move. Elliotte Friedman even mentioned this in his recent 31 Thoughts article, that the buyers around the league are waiting are hoping that the sellers start to sweat.

The first big move has now been made with Kyle Palmieri going to the New York Islanders, where we sort of expected he would end up. On top of that, we’re already starting to see teams like Buffalo starting to sit their big deadline assets and I would fully expect to see teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets start to do the same.

As for the Palmieri trade, it’s a good indicator of what other trades will look like. Yes, the Devils got a first-round pick for Palmieri, but to do it, they had to include Travis Zajac and keep half of each of the player’s salaries. They also got a pair of lower-level prospects in the deal and a conditional fourth-round pick.

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For me, the message this sent to other sellers is that if you want a first-round pick, you’re really going to have to work for it.

One other team that could be emerging as a seller ahead of the deadline is the St. Louis Blues. GM Doug Armstrong is apparently open to moving pending UFA’s like Tyler Bozak and Mike Hoffman. Both carry cap-hits of at least $4 million but honestly, they could be fits for the Oilers. Bozak is a right-shot centreman and Hoffman is a goal-scoring winger. Those are two types of players that we know they’re interested in acquiring.

With that being said, their cap-hits would be hard to squeeze in and honestly, I don’t think the Oilers have the assets to get it done but the fact that they’re on the market means that the prices for some other pending UFA’s might go down and that is good news for Ken Holland and the Oilers.

I still think that this deadline will be a quiet one for the Oilers but the one name we keep hearing about is Luke Glendening. The right-shot centreman is known for his ability to win faceoffs and be an effective penalty killer. I think he might be a little overrated, but I could totally see why the Oilers would be interested in him. He’s the type of player that Dave Tippett would probably really like and Ken Holland knows all about him from his days in Detroit.

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I don’t think he’s worth a second or third-round pick, which might be what he ends up going for, but as long as the Oilers don’t overpay for him, I think he would be a decent pick up ahead of a playoff run. It’s worth noting that Friedman recently threw cold water on the idea. Derek Ryan is another name to keep an eye on from an Oilers perspective.

Here are some other big stories from around the league.

THE GOALIE MARKET

First off, I do not think the Oilers have an interest in adding a goaltender. They have Smith, Koskinen, and Stalock already plus they don’t really have any cap space. There’s close to no chance they make a big move for a goalie.

There are plenty of puck stoppers on the market though. Jonathan Bernier in Detroit is the top name with others like Devan Dubnyk, Chris Driedger, David Rittich, and Antti Raanta. Friedman has mentioned the possibility of the Hurricanes dealing one of their three goaltenders but this week on The DFO Rundown, our roundtable kind of dismissed that idea.

Will a big name like John Gibson get moved? It sounds unlikely. Elvis Merzlikins and Darcy Kuemper are both apparently available but from an Oilers perspective, I would be hoping they each stay put and get traded in the summer.

THE WINGERS

I mentioned Mike Hoffman earlier. He joins a list of available wingers that includes Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno, and Mikael Granlund. I don’t think the Oilers have any interest in a rental winger and I certainly don’t think they have what it takes asset-wise to get one of the big names on the market. 

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Jake Virtanen and Sam Bennett are still being talked about as well. Bennett seems to be gelling pretty well with Daryll Sutter though. I would say Virtanen is more likely to be dealt.

The one name I personally keep coming back to is Rickard Rakkell. He’s under contract for another year, he can play either wing, and he’s a proven goal scorer. Friedman recently wrote that the Ducks are looking for players between the age of 19-23 who can play right now. The Oilers don’t really have any forwards that fit that description (outside of Puljujarvi and Yamamoto who I’m sure they won’t move) but they do have some defenseman. 

THE DEFENSEMEN

It sounds like Matthias Ekholm is all but off the market. Frank Seravalli has him down to #11 on his Trade Bait Board and by all accounts, the Predators are not going to be major sellers. Ekholm being potentially off the market is likely music to the ears of Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. The value of David Savard likely just went up.

The Winnipeg Jets are likely very much in on Savard. Friedman mentioned that the Lightning could be a stealth team to keep in mind here too. 

One other defenseman that is worth keeping in mind is Jamie Oleksiak out in Dallas. Jason Gregor has connected him to the Oilers on The DFO Rundown while Friedman mentioned that the Leafs could be interested as well.

Josh Manson of the Anaheim Ducks is on the Trade Bait Board and if the Ducks decide to move him, I bet they would get a lot back. Brandon Montour, Vince Dunn, Alex Goligoski, Colin Miller, Nikita Zadorov, and Ryan Murray are some other defensemen that could be moved.

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QUICK NOTES

  • The Flyers are going to be an interesting team to watch. They seem to be undecided on if they’re buying or selling.
  • There is apparently not a lot of interest in Ryan Dzingel of the Senators. I wonder if that will change and how little the Senators would take for him.
  • The Leafs will be a fascinating team to watch. Frank wondered if they found their forward addition in Alex Galchenyuk already but others think that Dubas will get something done. There’s been rumours connecting them to goalies, forwards, and defensemen. They are all over the place.
  • The Leafs, Avalanche, and Islanders are apparently interested in almost every winger on the market. I would include the Bruins in that group as well.
  • I don’t buy the reports that the Oilers are in on Taylor Hall one bit.
  • Scott Laughton is apparently available out of Philadelphia and he is the type of player that helps you win a Stanley Cup. A really good centreman who can play in almost all situations.
  • The Canucks situation is interesting. What they’re going to do at the deadline is currently on the backburner, for obvious reasons, but there is talk they might be getting close to an extension with Tanner Pearson. Virtanen and Brandon Sutter are very much on the market though.