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NHL Notebook: Edmonton Oilers defencemen among RFA’s to watch and digging into Daily Faceoff’s trade targets list

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Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
11 months ago
It’s news to nobody the success Evan Bouchard has had since the Edmonton Oilers traded Tyson Barrie away at the deadline.
Bouchard has slid up to the Oilers’ top powerplay unit and helped lead the charge on a five percent uptick to its success rate. Set to be an RFA at the end of the season, there’s already been talk of the Oilers signing Bouchard to a bridge-style contract, but that could change due to his strong playoffs, suggests Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin.
After Bouchard’s breakout 2021-22 campaign, his game didn’t pop early this season, or he took a backseat to fellow right-shock puck mover Tyson Barrie, or a bit of both. But Bouchard has been on a mission ever since Edmonton sent Barrie to Nashville in the Mattias Ekholm trade Feb. 28. Bouchard closed out his regular season with 19 points in 19 games and has been a force for the Oilers so far in the playoffs, piling up eight points through five games against the Los Angeles Kings. Shortly before the playoffs, our own Frank Seravalli indicated that the Oilers would prefer to go the bridge deal route given their salary cap constraints. Even a bridge-tier AAV in the $5 million range would constitute a significant raise over Bouchard’s entry-level dollar figure. But if the Oilers end up going on a deep playoff run and Bouchard is a crucial component of it, will he price himself into a long-term deal? That would be difficult for the Oilers to execute under the cap. They’ve already committed more than $76 million for next season.

Digging into the trade targets…

As I wrote about yesterday morning, Frank Seravalli released his first trade targets list ahead of the offseason, and it featured Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto on the list coming in at number 16. This was, in part, due to the potential of the Oilers signing Bouchard to a long-term deal.
There were a number of interesting names, including that of Erik Karlsson, who was linked to the Oilers at length ahead of the trade deadline last year.
Here’s what Seravalli wrote about Karlsson, and a few other interesting names:
1. Erik Karlsson
Right Defense, San Jose Sharks
Age: 32
Stats: 82 GP, 25 G, 76 A, 101 Pts
Contract: 4 more seasons, $11.5 million AAV
Scoop: Only once in NHL history has a reigning Norris Trophy winner been traded in the same summer he’s taken home the award for top defenseman: Doug Harvey (1961) going from Montreal to New York. That goes to show you how rare of a transaction this might be. It’s also incredibly complicated. Karlsson put together one of the best offensive seasons of any defenseman ever, yet his contract makes him difficult to move. Sharks GM Mike Grier acknowledged at locker cleanout day he’s ready to listen again on a Karlsson deal. He’ll have to adjust his asking price and be willing to retain salary. If one is to materialize, this trade always felt like an offseason deal. It may also be now or never, because Karlsson’s value to the Sharks is never going to be higher than it is at this exact moment in time, as the first 100-point defenseman since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.
4. Elias Lindholm
Center, Calgary Flames
Age: 28
Stats: 80 GP, 22 G, 42 A, 64 Pts
Contract: 1 more season, $4.85 million AAV
Scoop: This was always going to be a big summer of Lindholm in determining his future in Cowtown. He sprinkled a little spicy seasoning on that as the Flames packed up, hesitating in a big way when asked whether he would be interested in re-signing. It’s believed Lindholm is one of at least a handful of players who does not see eye-to-eye with coach Darryl Sutter. There is still a lot to be determined: Is Sutter officially returning as Flames coach? Who will be Calgary’s next GM? And if he isn’t willing to re-sign, is Calgary willing to enter the season without an extension? There would be huge interest in Lindholm, an uber-talented Selke Trophy candidate on a bargain contract for one more year.
10. Taylor Hall
Left Wing, Boston Bruins
Age: 31
Stats: 61 GP, 16 G, 20 A, 36 Pts
Contract: 2 more seasons, $6 million AAV
Scoop: Hall has been magnificent for the Bruins in the first-round series against the Panthers, so it’s easy to understand why this feels like a reach. However, CapFriendly would indicate Hall’s cap hit is a luxury the Bruins cannot afford. The complicating factor for Boston is a $4.5 million salary cap overage that will be placed on next year’s books by virtue of the Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci earned performance bonuses. So whatever next year’s cap ends up being, take $4.5 million off the top. Then factor in that they’ll need to sign nearly half of their roster – and might try to keep a trade acquisition like Tyler Bertuzzi – and the dollars get stretched thin in a hurry. Hall has been a playoff beast, but his production at that cap hit is less than ideal. He has a 10-team “no-trade” list.
15. Alec Martinez
Left Defense, Vegas Golden Knights
Age: 35
Stats: 77 GP, 3 G, 11 A, 14 Pts
Contract: 1 more season, $5.25 million AAV
Scoop: From jump street, there was always the likelihood that the third year of Martinez’s extension was going to be painful for the Golden Knights. That Martinez was upright and playing this season was a big step in the right direction. There’s no doubt Martinez has veteran savvy and hockey intelligence in spades, but his game has slowed in a significant way that will force Vegas to ask some tough questions this summer. His “no-trade” list drops down to eight teams this summer.
19. Logan Stanley
Left Defense, Winnipeg Jets
Age: 24
Stats: 19 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 Pts
Contract: Pending RFA, $900,000 AAV
Scoop: It’s hard to envision a path back to Winnipeg for Stanley, the hulking 6-foot-6 blueliner who played sparingly during the regular season and only entered the lineup in the playoffs once Josh Morrissey went out. Some scouts have wondered if Stanley could be the next Jamie Oleksiak as a late-bloomer, but it’s hard to say with any real degree of certainty because of his lack of ice time. The Jets want value in return for Stanley and don’t have interest in giving him away.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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