Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
It’s a seller’s market in the NHL this year, and that sucks for the Oilers
18 days ago
Around this time last year, Mattias Ekholm of the Nashville Predators emerged as a trade candidate and it was clear that he was the piece that the Oilers needed. Ken Holland recognized that, went out, and got his guy. The price was steep but nobody can argue that the addition didn’t work out perfectly for the Oilers.
This year, that target hasn’t emerged yet.
Chris Tanev would be fine, but he’s not a perfect fit. The same could said about Sean Walker.
The Oilers are in a position where they should be willing to move premium assets, like their first-round pick in 2024, in exchange for rentals. At the same time, getting a piece who can help for more than just one playoff run should always be the preference.
The issue is that not only does the rental market suck, but so does the market for players with term.
Travis Konecny would be an absolute dream, but it’s still unclear whether or not he will be available. Jake Guentzal would fit into the Oilers’ top six wonderfully but again, it’s unclear if the Pittsburgh Penguins would make him available. I would love a player like Tyler Toffoli but if the Devils stay in the playoff race, I doubt they would move him.
It’s very clearly a seller’s market right now. There are more teams with playoff aspirations than there are teams that are clear-cut sellers and of those teams that are undoubtedly going to be willing to sell off assets, most of them have already offloaded most of the actual talent on their rosters. They’re bottom-feeders with very few quality pieces left.
That’s why we’re at the point where people are wondering if the Philadelphia Flyers could potentially get a first-round pick for a player like Sean Walker. There is talk that the Anaheim Ducks are looking for multiple assets in order to part with Adam Henrique, who is probably now the top rental forward on the market.
Neither one of those guys is anywhere close to being considered a star player, and yet, they’re going to command a premium cost to acquire.
Earlier this week on Oilersnation Everyday, I asked Frank Seravalli if maybe some of the bubble teams in the league will look at the rumoured returns for players like Walker or Henrique and decide to sell off.
If you’re a GM of a bubble team and suddenly think you could get a contender to overpay for one of your players with term, maybe you change your tune and decide to approach things differently ahead of the March 8th deadline.
Frank threw cold water on that idea, instead saying that he believes we are locked into this sellers market.
“I think we’re pretty locked in with where we’re at. When push comes to shove, I think that the Blues, Predators, the Coyotes and the Wild are probably 95% sure going to be considering offers on their players whether they’re rental or guys with term”.
The issue is that of the names that we’ve heard could reportedly be available off those bubble teams, none feel like they would be considered high-end adds for teams with Stanley Cup aspirations.
So while I know Oilers fans would love to see GM Ken Holland go out and make a big splash at some point in the next month, is it smart to go and overpay for an average piece? Or is it smarter to spend a handful of ‘B-level’ assets and go pick up two or three support pieces?
Sadly, the correct answer may be the latter.
Could Vladimir Terasenko of the Ottawa Senators be a fit?
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Vladimir Tarasenko is just over halfway through his one-year, $5 million contract with the Ottawa Senators and with the team well out of the playoff picture, there is talk that the right-winger could be made available ahead of the deadline.
I’ve already mentioned players like Guentzal, Konecny, and Toffoli as players that I think would be good fits in the Oilers’ top-six, although they’d likely be very expensive to acquire. Tarasenko would be a check down from those players skill-wise, but I still think he would fit into the Oilers forward group pretty nicely.
His goal-scoring will always be his biggest attribute, even if he had a bit of a down year in 2022-23 with the Blues and Rangers. He is still just one year removed from a 34-goal season in St. Louis.
This year, he’s popped home 13 goals in 45 games and I think he would be a guy who could score at a 25+ goal pace alongside one of the Oilers’ two skilled centremen.
Would the Oilers be interested? “I could see it,” said Seravalli.
He did go on to add that it isn’t a lock that the Senators ultimately decide to move on from him.
“He’s been pretty good for the Sens this year and he’s actually been pretty impactful on their team. A bunch of their young guys have looked to him to be a guiding light. They’re still very likely to move him but it’s not a guarantee. They’ve been pretty happy with what he’s brought to the table so far”.
He’s not the player he once was, but he has plenty of experience in the playoffs, and the Oilers could use another legit top-nine winger. If Tarasenko is available and the cost is relatively low, he would be a pretty interesting check-down option for the Oilers.
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