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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Should the Oilers chase Phil Kessel?

Happy Monday, Nation, and welcome to a fresh Mailbag to help you get your week started and break down what’s going on with the Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at clearing cap space, the Phil Kessel rumours, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, 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 7, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left wing Warren Foegele (37) during the face off against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

1) ForgetIt asks – What can the Oilers do to get under the cap? Is there someone on another team’s LTIR that the Oilers can trade for or can they simply waive Foegele instead of trading him?

Jason Gregor:

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Acquiring another LTIR only helps if EDM trades a healthy player out for that contract. I wouldn’t Foegele. I expect Ken Holland will make a trade to free up the needed cap space.

Robin Brownlee:
The Oilers don’t have to be cap compliant until the season starts in October. No need to get into cap gymnastics in August. Lots of possibilities when teams get a look at what they have and what they need before the regular season starts.

Zach Laing:

You have to trade one of Warren Foegele or Tyson Barrie. I’ve wrote about it until my fingers have bled this offseason, but I think Barrie is the one that makes the most sense. The thought of a third pair of Philip Broberg and Tyson Barrie is not appealing to me. Here are some options to replace Barrie.

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Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m not really a cap expert, but they could trade Foegele for someone who’s on LTIR and then they should be able to make things work. The thing is, at the end of this season, both Klefbom and Smith are off the books and that means the Oilers finally have a chance to stop operating in LTIR. That would be huge as it makes trading during the season much easier. So I wouldn’t swap Foegele for someone in LTIR. I would move him for a pick and then sign McLeod and another free agent with the money.

Baggedmilk:

I have no idea how this stuff works if I’m being honest. I think it’ll be Foegele that moves but I also say that not knowing what the Oilers have planned for him or see in him. Do you move a guy only one year after acquiring him?

Apr 18, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes right wing Phil Kessel (81) skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

2) Rick in Dallas asks – Lots of speculation about Phil Kessel becoming an Oiler, thoughts?

Jason Gregor:

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It can’t happen until they trade someone to free up cap space. On a cheap contract, I could see him being a good value add as he can still produce points.

Robin Brownlee:
Wrote about it a week ago. Feel the same today.

Zach Laing:

Phil still put up 50+ points last year with the Arizona Coyotes. He’s a guy I’d have time for on the third line and could help push some more offence there.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

He’s past his prime, but I think he would be a fine addition if the price was right. The Oilers could use some extra depth on the right side so that they don’t have to shift over Hyman or Kane to their off-wing. I’d be fine with it but I don’t think it would be a huge, impactful move. Just a solid add.

Baggedmilk:

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Do it for the memes!

Apr 28, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer (47) makes a save on Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) during overtime at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Kevin asks – We’re still a long ways to go from the start of the 2022-23 season but how would you rank the seven Pacific Division teams as they’re currently constructed? Who has gotten better, stayed the same, or gotten worse?

Jason Gregor:

  1. Edmonton: Still have their core. If Campbell plays as well as Smith in regular season Oilers should win division.
  2. Calgary: Lost Gaudreau and Tkachuk, but got Huberdeau and Weegar. Still a solid team.
  3. LA: Added offence in Fiala and should be much healthier on defence.
  4. Vegas: Huge questions in goal. Can Logan Thompson carry the workload? If he can they will compete, if not, they could finish lower than 4th.
  5. Vancouver: Didn’t change much. Added some forward depth. Demko could push them into a playoff spot.
  6. Anaheim: Added some good pieces in Klingberg, Strome and Vatrano. They are deeper. If their young players continue to improve they could push for a Wildcard spot.
  7. San Jose: Lost Brent Burns. Huge blow on defence. Will Quinn play a more puck possession game and not as much dump and chase. That might help them. They have many veterans, but their team speed is a concern.
  8. Seattle: Will Improve on their point total from last year, but don’t see them as a playoff threat.

Robin Brownlee: 

Oilers are improved and will win the division with Calgary, Vancouver and Los Angeles next in line. Vegas is going the wrong way.

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Zach Laing:

I think Gregor’s spot on above, although, I’m much higher on the Kraken this year. I think they had a damn fine offseason bringing in offence in Oliver Bjorkstrand and Andre Burakovsky. Shane Wright will have a Quebec sized chip on his shoulder, too.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’ll go Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, LA, Vegas, Seattle, Anaheim, and then San Jose. Seattle will be better and Grubauer should rebound. Vegas has no goaltending. I don’t like LA’s goaltending either. Calgary and Vancouver don’t have perfect rosters, but they have the best goalies in the division.

Baggedmilk:

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Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, LA, Vegas, Seattle, San Jose, Anaheim. This order just feels most likely, no?

Apr 26, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) and center Leon Draisaitl (29) talk prior to a face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4) Trent asks – There appear to be two surefire Hall of Famers on the Oilers. Are there any other players on the 22-23 team that will make or be considered for the HoF?

Jason Gregor:

None that I see.

Robin Brownlee:
Don’t see anybody now. Might look different in 15 years.

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Zach Laing:

It’s definitely Jesse Puljujarvi, right? 😉

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Once Jack Campbell wins his three straight Stanley Cups in Edmonton and captures both a Conn Smythe and Vezina Trophy in the process, I’m sure there will be plenty of HHOF buzz around his name. Side note: did Zach Laing bring up Puljujarvi in his answer? (this is me saying no, it’s just Connor and Leon)

Baggedmilk:

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NUUUUUUUUUUGE! For real though, it’s probably just Connor and Leon.

Nov 4, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Kraken right wing Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates after scoring the third goal of a hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

5) Allen asks – The World Juniors Championship is off and running here in Edmonton, and that leads to my question about what would be the first WJC memory that comes to mind when you think about the tourney?

Jason Gregor:

Honestly I can’t think of one. It wasn’t a big tradition in our house. We had huge family gatherings on Boxing Day and didn’t watch hockey. The Toews three shootout goals in 2007 v. USA was a memorable moment.

Robin Brownlee: 

Wayne Gretzky at the 1978 WJC. He was voted top forward and led tournament in scoring during Soviet stretch of dominance.

Zach Laing:

Jordan Eberle’s 2009 and 2010 runs were incredible. His 26 points in 12 games is tied with Brayden Schenn for the second most in Canadian history. Only Eric Lindros, who had 31 points in 21 games, had scored more.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

The Eberle tieing goal against Russia in the semi-final. ELECTRIC! Gord Miller is so damn good at calling that tournament.

Baggedmilk:

How can it not be Eberle against Russia in the dying seconds of that game?

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