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Weekly Rumours – Oilers Thoughts and Potential Pacific Division Moves

The Edmonton Oilers are legit. You probably didn’t need me to say that here, but it’s clear that this team is more than capable of winning their division and that means, they’ll likely be big buyers at the trade deadline.

The problem for GM Ken Holland is that he really doesn’t have a lot that he can trade. His second and third-round picks are locked up because of the Duncan Keith trade so if he wants to move a pick this year, the first-rounder is really his only choice. He does have all of his 2023 draft picks as well.

Prospects-wise, I don’t think Holland would move either of Holloway or Broberg. They’re just too close to being NHL players and considering the cap crunch that this team is facing this summer, they’ll need as many players on ELC’s next year as possible. Every other prospect could realistically be on the table.

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As for what they could target, there seems to be three areas consistently coming up: left-defence, goaltending, scoring depth. 

Let’s start with goaltending. Chris Johnston (TSN) recently said that how Mike Smith looks when he comes back from injury will determine how the Oilers handle their goaltending. I would say that how Stuart Skinner plays will have just as much of an impact. If they think that they can trust a Skinner/Smith tandem, then I don’t think they’ll go and shell out the assets needed to acquire someone like Marc-Andre Fleury.

Pierre LeBrun was on The Suitcase and The Scribe with Mike McKenna and Scott Burnside and once again connected the Oilers to Fleury. Personally, I just think Fleury’s cap hit makes that trade too difficult to make.

Also, let’s just assume that the Oilers can move out Koskinen’s cap hit in a deal, I would argue that the extra $4.5 million in cap space would be better spent on a defenseman and maybe even a depth winger. Skinner and Smith could very well show that they’re capable of being a good tandem.

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Ben Chariot continues to have his name thrown around the rumour mill and I expect that’s a name we’ll hear a lot about in the coming weeks.

Here are some other stories from around the NHL that I’m keeping an eye on:

COULD EVANDER KANE RETURN?

The 21-game suspension given to Evander Kane for his fake vaccine card is nearing its end, but it’s believed that he’s played his last game for the San Jose Sharks. Frank Seravalli said earlier this week that Kane has been skating at the Sharks facilities, but just when the team isn’t there.

They might send him down to their AHL affiliate so he can play games but Seravalli said that if the Sharks simply told Kane to stay home, the NHLPA wouldn’t have much of an issue with it. It’s similar to what happened last season with Tony DeAngelo. The Sharks would simply pay Kane to not play games.

Sheng Peng reported earlier this week that the Sharks would be willing to retain salary if a team was interested in bringing in Kane but, if you’re a contending team are you going to use $3.5m+ of cap space on a player like Kane? Are you going to risk bringing a player like that into your locker room? I can’t see it happening.

The most likely scenario for me is still a buyout. If the Sharks took that route this summer, Kane’s cap hit would go from $7m for the next three years to $3.6m next season, $2.6m the year after, $4.6m in 2024-25, and then it would sit at $1.6m for three years after that.

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It’s pretty stomachable and it would also save the Sharks organization $5m in real money.

QUICK NOTES

  • An outdoor game in Arizona? Sounds like it will be happening at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • If the Oilers need to use a third team to eat cap space on someone, like Mikko Koskinen, then keep an eye on the Arizona Coyotes. They want to add draft picks and are open to using cap space to do that.
  • Corey Masisak of The Athletic made it sound like Miles Wood could be the odd man out when looking at the three pending RFA’s that they have to deal with, Pavel Zacha and  Jesper Bratt are the other two. If the Devils are open to moving him, I think he would look good in the Oiler’s bottom six.
  • Jim Rutherford reportedly wants to return to the NHL. Anaheim and Chicago have GM openings. Vancouver very well could as well.
  • Thomas Drance of The Athletic mentioned JT Miller as a name that the Canucks could move. Brock Boeser has had his name thrown around the rumour mill as well. Would the Canucks fully commit to a rebuild or re-tool? I’m not sold on that.

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