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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – NHL Trade Deadline Recap

Happy Monday, Internet compadres, and welcome to a brand new Monday Mailbag. As I do each week, I’ve taken the questions you’ve sent me over the past seven days, fired them off to our writers, and copied and pasted their words of wisdom right here on the ol’ Internet machine for your education and enjoyment. Today, we’re looking back at the trade deadline, Kyle Turris, the Canucks’ schedule, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got one, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.

Mar 21, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (70) takes the ice to play the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. New Jersey won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1) Oilers fan in Van asks – It was a quiet trading day for the Oilers this past week and I’m wondering what are everyone’s thoughts about what Ken Holland did at the trade deadline?

Jason Gregor:

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Kulikov could be a major addition if he slots in as the 2nd pair LD. He will play more minutes than most forwards they could have acquired most likely. Had he been able to add someone to play on second line LW would have been ideal, but it was smart not to trade their 1st round pick.

Robin Brownlee:

Solid move landing Kulikov. Depth on the left side that gives coach Dave Tippett some options.

Cam Lewis:

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It wasn’t at all surprising. I’m a little disappointed he didn’t lean in and go for it this year considering the impending UFAs and how wide-open the division is, but, again, no surprise given their lack of draft capital and cap space. Anyway, Kulikov is a nice addition as he’s an upgrade over Kris Russell as a shutdown veteran. I think he could be good next to Ethan Bear and Cales Jones could play with Adam Larsson. That spreads out the defence nicely and creates three balanced pairs.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It was what we should have expected. Holland didn’t have a lot of assets that he wanted to spend and they didn’t have a lot of money to burn. That’s not a great combination around trade deadline time. The result was what we saw. A small trade for a depth defenseman. I’m surprised that we didn’t see a deal for a depth forward though.

Zach Laing:

You can read my thoughts on it here. Cliffnotes: should’ve traded for Hall, happy with the Kulikov acquisition despite the risk involved.

Baggedmilk:

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It was pretty much what I expected, to be honest. The Oilers didn’t have many draft picks or much cap space, so I would have been shocked if Holland did anything major.

Mar 21, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (70) steps into the penalty box against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. New Jersey won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2) Sarah asks – Where do you see Dmitry Kulikov slotting into the lineup? Who comes out?

Jason Gregor:

He should play with a puck mover, so either Barrie or Bear. And Jones will come out.

Robin Brownlee:

He’s a second-pairing, left-side defenceman who can also play down one pairing if need be. Also kills penalties, so we’ll see him there as well. Caleb Jones is the best bet to come out.

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Cam Lewis:

I said in the last point I would like to see him as Bear’s defensive anchor but I wouldn’t be surprised if Tippett loaded up and paired him with Larsson to form a reliable shutdown pair.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think he’ll pair up with either Ethan Bear or Adam Larsson. I personally like the idea of having him with Bear. Kulikov had good numbers with PK Subban in New Jersey, so he’s shown he’s comfortable playing with a puck-moving defenseman. That’s the best spot for him.

Zach Laing:

I see him on the Oilers second pairing. He’ll eat into Nurse’s minutes and give Kris Russell/Caleb Jones/William Lagesson some softer minutes.

Baggedmilk:

I think he’ll be 2LD with Bear. As for who comes out, I can’t imagine Tippett pulls Russell so I guess that leaves Caleb Jones.

Jan 13, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris (8) and Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (53) take a face-off during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Randeep asks – Kyle Turris has not performed very well for the Oilers in his first season and I wonder if Holland might look to cut bait on him in the offseason. What is your opinion on the veteran centremen and do you think there’s any chance he can rebound?

Jason Gregor:

Cut bait how? Buyout would not be smart cap management. The Oilers can put him in minors next season and he would only count $575K against the cap. Maybe Holland convinces a team to take him a trade, but giving up a pick to do that wouldn’t be wise either because of how cheap it is to have him in minors. I suspect he comes back to camp and competes for a job. If he doesn’t make team he can go to AHL and be a good veteran leader for young guys there.

Robin Brownlee:

Not sure he can rebound. Hasn’t managed to string together a stretch of any length where he’s been very good. Depth guy right now who could be in the minors next season. I thought he’d be better than this. Hasn’t happened.

Cam Lewis:

He doesn’t have a big contract so it isn’t the end of the world. It was a gamble and it didn’t work out. A buyout wouldn’t make sense because that means more dead space in the future. Just use him as a depth forward in 2021-22 or bury him in the AHL and save some cash.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I wouldn’t buy him out, I would just bury him in the minors and eat the $500k in dead cap space. I’m not overly confident that he can bounce back, but I’ve been wrong before. I just don’t see enough foot speed for him to be an NHL centreman.

Zach Laing:

I do think there’s a chance he can rebound. His numbers coming into this year still weren’t terrible. He’s an inexpensive vet, but has a lot of work to do to getting back into the lineup.

Baggedmilk:

They’ll probably bury him in the minors next year to save some space on the cap. No buyout, just a deal that didn’t work out. I honestly thought he’d be better than what we got.

Mar 13, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto (56) in the first period at Rogers Arena.

4) Tristan asks – Looking at what’s going on with the Canucks and COVID, do you think it’s still reasonable to expect that they play all 56 games? 

Jason Gregor:

I think they do due to TV/Radio contracts and sponsors. Unless they suffer a rash of injuries I suspect they will play. Maybe the final two games against Calgary won’t be played as they are meaningless, but I think partnerships will have them play.

Robin Brownlee:

The league wants 56 games and the Canucks have a difficult schedule the rest of the way. Will be interesting to see how they respond after Sunday’s game against Toronto. Don’t have a crystal ball on how this plays out because of any lingering effects of COVID.

Cam Lewis:

The league wants all of the games played in order to satisfy their broadcast and advertisement clients, so, yeah I would expect them to finish their season. Maybe some of the meaningless games against Calgary will get cancelled. I doubt it, though.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

No. They should cancel their four games against the Senators to make more room on their schedule. It’s wildly unfair to expect the Canucks to play as many games as they’re supposed to in a few days. Embarrassing for the NHL.

Zach Laing:

I don’t think it’s reasonable for them to play any more games this year, to be honest. Cancel their year and use points percentage to determine the standings in the North. Why are we asking these players to risk so much?

Baggedmilk:

The NHL really seems to think they’ll get this to work, huh? I honestly have no idea what to expect in terms of playing all 56 games but it certainly seems unlikely from a logical standpoint. From a money angle, however, I bet there will be plenty of pressure to keep them on the ice.

Feb 6, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Tyler Benson (49) and San Jose Sharks forward Alex True (70) look for loose puck during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

5) Clayton asks – Do you see the Oilers calling anyone up from Bakersfield considering the success of prospects like Cooper Marody and Tyler Benson?

Jason Gregor:

Only option I see would be Ryan McLeod or Tyler Benson, and odds are low at this point. McLeod’s size and speed might be enticing, but with many extra bodies on the Taxi –squad I see them trying those guys first.

Robin Brownlee:

I’d put Ryan McLeod as the likeliest call-up if there is one. He can play all three forward positions. Update: I’d call McLeod more than likely. He’s been recalled to the taxi squad.

Cam Lewis:

Ryan McLeod has killed it this year and he offers the skillset that Tippett likes, which is great speed. His natural fit is as a centre, but that’s a big ask for a rookie. I would actually like to see him on Connor McDavid’s left driving the net. Maybe he’s a solution there with Nugent-Hopkins out.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I would like to see either Tyler Benson or Ryan McLeod get a look but I have a feeling that it isn’t going to happen. It just feels like Dave Tippett and Ken Holland would rather keep giving their veteran options more chances.

Zach Laing:

The Oilers need to keep the powder dry on these young guys. They’re hot right now and would have to go through a seven-day quarantine before getting practices in. Keep them in Bako and let them continue to flourish, then prepare for them to come in next season.

Baggedmilk:

Based on what I could find before answering this question, Ryan McLeod seems like the most likely recall at this point but whether or not that happens is anyone’s guess.

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