Defence ‘top priority’ for Edmonton Oilers as some within the team reportedly covet Erik Karlsson

Photo credit:John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
11 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers have made addressing the team’s defensive woes a top priority and there are some within the organization who are interested in Erik Karlsson.
This, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, who made this report during a Tuesday edition of Insider Trading.
What we know is defence is an area of concern for the Oilers. It was going into the season and it continues to be. The Edmonton Oilers need a top defenceman. Now, do they get wild and crazy and swing for the fence and get in on Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks? It seems impossible they could do that but there’s some around the organization with interest.
The problem is their key veterans in Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci are playing too much and their younger guys like Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg, well they’re not quite ready yet as we saw Bouchard benched in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals.
Defence top priority for Kenny Holland.
The logistics around a potential deal are mind-numbing. It’s apparent that the Sharks are at least willing to listen in on moving him. This comes after he’s seen a massive resurgence in his career with the 32-year-old looking like his old self again.
His contract, however, is a major blockade for not only the Edmonton Oilers but any team looking to acquire him. He carries an $11.5-million cap hit that has four years after this one remaining on it.
For any deal to be made, the Oilers, who are operating out of the LTIR this season, would need to be money-in, money-out. Finding a third team to eat 25% of Karlsson’s contract would be ideal, but it might be tough to do. That’s a significant chunk of change for any team.
That being said, if the Oilers could somehow convince the Sharks to eat 50% of the deal themselves, Edmonton might be able to make the money work. It would likely need to include them sending Tyson Barrie and his $4.5-million deal out the door, as well as another roster player making $1.25-million. Names include Mattias Janmark, Derek Ryan, Warren Foegele and Jesse Puljujarvi.
High-end draft picks or prospects would undoubtedly need to be included too.
While the salary cap is expected to go up, the Oilers need to be aware that Leon Draisaitl is due a new contract ahead of the 2025-26 season, while McDavid will be up for renewal the following year. It’s imperative the Oilers have as much cap space as possible for those two.
At the end of the day, Karlsson would be a massive boost to this club. He would be able to come in and play top-pairing minutes on the right side and quarterback the powerplay. He’s playing upwards of 25 minutes a night in San Jose right now, and through 28 games has scored 11 goals and 34 points.

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