Different Ways for the Oilers to Go All-In
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
Should the Oilers be going all-in at this year’s trade deadline? Absolutely.
The Pacific Division is wide open and as things currently stand, I’m not even sure if there is a single team in the Western Conference that is miles better than the Edmonton Oilers. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they’d be favourites against every team, but I don’t think there’s a team that they couldn’t beat in a seven-game series.
The Avalanche aren’t as good as they were last season, the Golden Knights are banged up, and I think both the Stars and Jets are imperfect. They’re good, but they have holes. So do the Oilers, but if GM Ken Holland gets aggressive at the deadline, he could not only fill the deficiencies that exist in the Oiler’s lineup but make them better in areas where they’re already strong.
One idea that’s been floating around over the last 24 hours: acquiring Patrick Kane.
Now, at first, this really confused me. Why would the Oilers want an elite scoring forward who struggles in his own end? It seems like it’d be a waste of assets. Sure, Kane would make the Oilers even scarier from an offensive perspective, but they would still be a team that struggles in their own end.
But what if Kane was part of a plan to truly go all-in?
Frank Seravalli had a mock-trade idea at Daily Faceoff the other day and it looked like this:
This deal doesn’t involve the Oilers moving their first-round pick, which is interesting.
“This also frees you up to make other moves. Like, let’s say you want to address centre or the penalty killing issues or you want to go after a depth defender, you would still have all your assets intact” said Seravalli. He mentioned Red Wings defenseman Olli Maata, Blues centre Noel Acciari, and Blackhawks forward Sam Lafferty.
Now, what if they also moved another mid-round pick to get a solid defenseman like Maata? Then another mid-round pick for a piece like Acciari, who would make them stronger down the middle and tougher to play against in their bottom six.
It seems like a lot, but they have their third-round pick this year and their fourth-round pick next season that could be used in these deals.
All of a sudden the Oilers would be better defensively, have a stronger bottom six, and their top six would feature a collection of skill that would be absolutely unmatched. Yes, they’d have to sacrifice a high-end prospect in Xavier Bourgeault, but they would still have their first-round pick this year in a very deep 2023 NHL Draft.
This is clearly a bit of a dream scenario, I think that expecting Holland to make three trades is asking for a lot, but the point I wanted to make is that there are layers to this. Hearing they’re interested in Patrick Kane, which Frank Seravalli said on Oilersnation Everyday earlier this week, doesn’t mean they’re going to ignore the other holes in their lineup.
Also, going all-in doesn’t mean you have to trade your first-round pick. Maybe there are ways to get more creative when it comes to upgrading this roster at the trade deadline.
The team really does need to be pushing some big chips into the middle this year, because they can’t afford to let another year of having Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl go by without saying they didn’t do everything in their power to win. But, there is also a balance that must be had.
You can’t just trade three first-round picks and a top prospect at one trade deadline because then you’ll be out of the mix at future deadlines.
Tampa Bay has sacrificed a lot of first-round picks in the past, but a lot of the time they do it in exchange for players with control. Think of Blake Coleman, Nick Paul, and Brandon Hagel. These were young players that helped the Lightning for multiple runs.
If the Oilers are going to move their first, I would imagine that they would want a piece that can help for multiple years. Sacrificing a piece like Bourgeault in a Kane deal seems like the opposite of that, but Seravalli made an interesting comment in regards to that:
“It’s a pure rental that maybe you can convince him if things go magically to stay on a really cheap deal next season,” said Seravalli. Maybe this could be a longer-term partnership than we think.
Again, the point I’m trying to make here is that there isn’t one concrete, slam-dunk plan that Holland should be following. There are plenty of different ways that he can go and going all-in doesn’t just mean sacrificing the first-round pick for a pure rental. Things are fluid and they can really change over the next 16 days so buckle up Oilers fans.
If you want to hear Frank’s take on the Erik Karlsson rumours and also, what the Oilers could do with Jesse Puljujarvi, you can watch his full hit here:
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