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Are the Canadiens a good trade partner for the Oilers?

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Photo credit:David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Yaremchuk
3 months ago
Rumours were swirling over the weekend as Elliotte Friedman reported that the Oilers were in Montreal recently to watch their three goalies.
On the surface, this is a slam-dunk fit. The Oilers desperately need to add a goaltender, and the Habs have been keeping three goalies on their roster all season out of fear that they’d lose 24-year-old Cayden Primeau to waivers.
Primeau, along with 33-year-old Jake Allen and 27-year-old Samuel Montembeault, make up the awkward three-headed monster in Montreal, and the idea of them wanting to get a future asset for one of them makes a lot of sense.
While Allen has a somewhat sizable $3.85 million cap hit, Montembeault and Primeau are cheap. Montembeault carries a $1 million cap hit and becomes a UFA at the end of the season. Primeau has one more year on his deal after this season and comes with an $850k cap hit.
If the Oilers feel like Primeau can be a quality backup to Stuart Skinner, then getting him with that cap hit would carry a lot of value.
While Montembeault doesn’t come with any term, having a $1 million cap hit is intriguing because if you could get the Canadiens to keep 50% of it for the rest of the year, it could give the Oilers some much-needed wiggle room.
Montembeault is the more experienced of the two, having played in 111 career games compared to Primeau’s 24 and his numbers look better.
I’m not sure which of the two I would prefer more, but both are somewhat attractive simply because, they likely can’t be worse than what the Oilers have and they both come with a decent amount of upside.
I don’t really see Allen as an option, unless the Canadiens were going to take Jack Campbell’s contract back, which brings me to my next point.
Would the Canadiens be a team that’d be willing to take on Campbell?
Obviously, they don’t need another goalie. But would the Oilers be able to cough up enough future assets to make it tempting for Canadiens GM Kent Hughes to just take Campbell for the rest of the season and buy him out at the end of the season?
The Habs are in the middle of a rebuild and have already locked up a lot of key future pieces like Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, so there probably one of the few teams in the league that wouldn’t hang up the phone when Ken Holland asks about trying to get out of Campbell’s deal but it won’t be cheap.
Not only will it not be cheap, it will likely be very, very expensive. We’re talking about at least two premium future assets and that might not even be enough. 
Does two first-round picks and Philip Broberg or Dylan Holloway sound insane? Does it make you feel uncomfortable as an Oilers fan? Well, it’s probably what would be needed.
So, if you’re the Oilers, what’s the smarter play? Sacrificing all those future assets? Or just keeping Campbell buried for the season and buying himself out yourself?
I think it’s the latter and while I know that opinion may be unpopular but the Oilers need to be focused on winning and while losing Campbell’s cap hit would be great, think of what else three premium assets could get them on the trade market.
Could a first-round pick packaged with Cody Ceci get you a legit upgrade on the right side of the blueline? Probably.
Could a first-round pick and Philip Broberg get you a good young top-six forward from another team ahead of the deadline? Potentially.
Losing Campbell’s cap hit would be great, but what good could creating all of that cap space do if you have no more future assets to spend upgrading the roster? It’s quite the conundrum. The Jack Campbell paradox if you will.
You can’t make significant upgrades to the roster unless you trade Campbell but trading Campbell means that you’ll be left with basically nothing left in your system to use as trade bait.
Another team that I think could be a fit, and could maybe do it for a much more manageable cost is the San Jose Sharks. 
They’re just starting off what will likely be a long and painful rebuild and they have a decent young goalie on their roster in Mackenzie Blackwood. Let me throw you a little arm chair GM proposal:
Edmonton receives Mackenzie Blackwood ($2.25 million cap hit for two more seasons)
San Jose receives Jack Campbell with $2 million retained and the Oilers 2025 first-round pick
The Sharks get a first-round pick, which they desperately need, and only need to an extra $775k for the next two seasons. The Oilers get a goalie solution and they’ve saved $775k against the cap for each of the next two seasons.
It might not be enough value, but it could be close and with a move like this, where the Oilers retain a bit of Campbell and get another goalie back, they’ve fixed their crease and still left themselves with some other future assets that they could use at the deadline to further bolster their roster.
Giving up three premium future assets for Jack Campbell doesn’t make a lot of sense in my eyes but that doessn’t mean the Oilers shouldn’t be trying to trade him. They might just need to get creative.

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