Oilers ‘took a long look’ at trading for now-Avalanche defenceman Sean Walker, but ‘decided not to do it’

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
3 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers got a first-hand taste of Sean Walker on Saturday night, watching him zip around the Rogers Place ice, scoring two goals.
While some in the fanbase clamoured for him as a potential trade deadline upgrade on the right side of the Oilers’ blueline, one that would replace Cody Ceci, the team themselves were also enamoured by the possibility.
Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman said so on Monday’s 32 Thoughts podcast, adding they ultimately decided to pass.
“Edmonton took a long look at Walker, and ultimately, decided not to do it, and Colorado got him,” he said.
The trade that sent Walker, along with a 5th-round pick, to Colorado saw the Avs send back centre Ryan Johansen and a 1st-round draft pick. Johansen was a cap dump in the deal, with Colorado able to move the entirety of his $4-million salary — that has one year left after this — to the Flyers. He hasn’t appeared in a game with them yet, reportedly dealing with some kind of hip issue.
The Oilers’ offer was presumably similar, and the team would’ve likely needed to include one of Brett Kulak or, even more likely, Cody Ceci. In the case of the latter, Ken Holland and co. offered Ceci and the first-round pick to the Calgary Flames for defenceman Chris Tanev, but they chose to deal him to the Dallas Stars for a lesser package.
Walker’s ability to play with pace has made him a great fit with the Avs. He has two goals and an assist, as well as 11 shots on goal and seven blocked shots in just four games. The first-hand look at Walker has left some wondering what could’ve been, as one issue that has plagued the Oilers blueline for years is difficulty moving the puck up the ice.
That’s something Walker excels at, whether it’s through moving by pass or transitioning the puck through the neutral zone himself. His ability to jump up offensively was on full display Saturday night, jumping up in the rush for a two-on-one in the first period he chose to shoot himself, scoring his first goal. On his second, the Avalanche had cycled the puck in the Oilers’ zone when Walker flew down from the point to the high-slot, wiring the game-tying goal home.
The Oilers have taken a big risk in not adding a true top-four defenceman, instead opting for a fine depth defender in Troy Stecher, who will draw into the lineup tonight as Vincent Desharnais navigates a broken finger.

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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