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Dreger: Oilers have interest in Hurricanes defenceman Brett Pesce

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Photo credit:Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
9 months ago
I love a good silly season rumour and on tonight’s edition of Insider Trading, TSN’s Darren Dreger mentioned that the Oilers have apparently kicked tires on Brett Pesce from the Carolina Hurricanes as a means of upgrading the right side of their defence.
If you ask any Oilers fans which position on the team that they think should be upgraded, it’s probably on the right side of the defensive group. Seeing as Nurse, Ekholm, and Kulak are locked in on the left side, I can see why people think there’s room to improve with Bouchard, Ceci, and Desharnais on the other. So when a guy like Brett Pesce’s name comes up — a 6’3″ right-hand defender that averaged 22:01 with the Hurricanes last year — it’s hard not to imagine what our group could look like with him drawing the orange and blue. So what’s the story with the rumour? I’ve got the quote:
“I think the Edmonton Oilers are in on Pesce as well. We know that the Edmonton Oilers are one of those teams in the market that are also looking to add another top-four defenceman. In Edmonton, it’s about loosening up the money strings and creating the cap space so this going to be easy for Ken Holland. He’d also like to add a competitive forward, a bargain forward like Connor Brown so you’re looking at maybe Cody Ceci getting moved, Warren Foegele being on the move, Kailer Yamamoto, and maybe others. So, the Oilers could do more than just tweak.”
In the last year of his six-year deal that pays him $4.025 million, it’s no surprise why Pesce’s name is coming up in the weeks leading up to the draft. The 28-year-old defender just put up the best season of his career, and cashing in on a trade now could give the Hurricanes the assets they need to make other moves as they too got bumped out of the playoffs early. Pierre Lebrun added in that same hit that the Hurricanes are still trying to sign Pesce to a contract extension so all of this could be nothing more than a few trigger words that always tickle our offseason loins. Just a taste to keep our itch adequately scratched until the next rumour rolls around. Remember how hot we got for Erik Karlsson for a few days? Classic.
Either way, if Ken Holland can find a way to clear the space needed to make a deal like this happen then I am all for it because this is a guy that knows how to defend. Pesce spent a lot of time in Carolina’s top four, averaging over 20 minutes per night for seven consecutive seasons. According to Evolving-Hockey, Pesce ranks 26th among defencemen in goals above replacement since 2018-19, meaning he knows how to keep pucks out of the net and we all know that the Oilers could use some help there. Then again, when you’ve got a guy as reliable as Pesce, why would you want to get rid of him?
“We have a plan in place, but we haven’t started the negotiations yet, but I think the guys that are potentially unrestricted – Aho, Pesce, Skjei – are going to come quickly.We’d like to go into the year knowing we’re going to have them for the future. But saying that, players play all this time to become free agents. We’re hoping that what Rod has created here in the locker room and the culture and all that, that they all want to be here and we’ll figure out the value of those contracts should be.” Don Waddell, Carolina Hurricanes GM said in his end-of-season availability.
In 82 games played in 2022-23, Brett Pesce recorded five goals and 25 assists for 30 points to go along with 43 PIMs, 58.0 CF%, and 144 shots on goal. Pesce added two goals and four assists in Carolina’s 15 playoff games.

PESCE’S CAREER SO FAR

SeasonGPGAP+/-PIMPPGPPPSHGSHPGWGOTGSS%
2022-2023 Playoffs15246-412000000355.7
Career Playoffs55515201200001001114.5
2022-2023825253011431402211443.5
NHL Career557361491858220741906928654.2

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