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Oilers will add two forwards and one defenceman by the NHL Trade Deadline

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Jason Gregor
1 month ago
I expect the Edmonton Oilers to make three additions before next Friday’s trade deadline, and I believe those will be two forwards and a defencemen for their playoff push.
The Oilers currently have just over $2m in cap space, but keep in mind they are only carrying six defenceman, so theoretically it is less, as we know they will add a defender. They have room to acquire one player, who doesn’t have a high cap hit, without having to send out any money. But to land three players, which I sense they will try, the Oilers will be sending out a player currently on the roster.
In his first four trade deadlines as Oilers general manager Ken Holland has acquired at least two players leading up to the trade deadline — except during the shortened 2021 season, when the Oilers were in the Canadian-only division and trades were more difficult.
2020:
He added Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner for Sam Gagner and two 2nd round picks. Gagner was added in to make the salary work.
He acquired Mike Green in exchange for Kyle Brodziak and a fourth round pick. Brodziak was on LTIR.
Traded for Tyler Ennis for a fifth round selection.
2021:
He acquired Dmitri Kulikov for a fourth round pick.
2022:
Acquired Brett Kulak for a second, a seventth and William Lagesson. Lagesson was added for cap reasons.
Added Derick Brassard for a fourth.
2023:
Acquired Mattias Ekholm and a sixth round pick for Tyson Barrie, Reid Schaefer, a first and a fourth. Preds retained 4% of Ekholm’s salary.
Acquired Nick Bjugstad and Cam Dineen for Michael Kesselring and a second round pick. Coyotes retained 50% of Bjugstad’s salary.
He also traded Jesse Puljujarvi to Carolina for Patrik Puistola. This was a move to clear Puljujarvi’s $3m in cap space, which allowed Holland to add Ekholm. Shrewd move.
Holland has proven he is willing to make deals and the deadline, and I don’t expect any different this coming week.

THREE ADDITIONS THIS WEEK…

I sense Edmonton will make three additions. Without question they will add a defender. They had interest in Chris Tanev, as most teams did, but was Calgary ownership really going to move him to Edmonton? I doubt it was ever anything more than a discussion. Holland wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t inquire about Tanev, but I don’t think people in the Oilers organization ever believed the Flames would ultimately trade him to them. With Tanev off the market now, I sense they add more of a depth veteran than a big name. But I can’t completely rule out Holland trying to swing big like he did last year with Ekholm. Will a team decide to move a guy with three years? Would the Capitals consider moving Nick Jensen? If so, I could see the Oilers having interest. However, adding a veteran like Zach Bogosian or Joel Edmundson is more realistic and will cost much less. Edmonton will want eight D-men for the playoffs in case of injuries. I include Philip Broberg as one along with their current six.
Holland would also like to improve his forward group. I haven’t had any indication Jake Guentzel is a real option. If they add him, even if he is double retained, they don’t have much cap space. Doesn’t mean he won’t be, but I wouldn’t have him the top of the list of probable additions for the Oilers. Who they add could depend on what happens in the next few days for Philadelphia, Washington, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and the Islanders. They are all fighting for third place in the Metro division and trying to catch Tampa Bay for the final wildcard spot. I’d still bet on Tampa to hold them off.
A few weeks ago, Flyers head coach John Tortorella said the Flyers would move some guys regardless of the standings. Will they stick with that philosophy, and if they do, does that make New Jersey want to keep Tyler Toffoli? Because they feel they can catch the Flyers if they move out some players. If Washington defeats Philly tonight and then Arizona and Pittsburgh before next Friday’s deadline, do they stand pat and try to make the playoffs with Alex Ovechkin on the roster? The Capitals and Penguins are aging, but I could see both teams still trying to get in.
If the Devils consider moving Toffoli, Edmonton will have lots of interest. So would Los Angeles. Nic Dowd, Beck Malenstyn, Mantha and Edmundson are players the Capitals could move. Mantha is having a great bounce-back season. Holland knows him well from their time in Detroit. He has lots of skill, but there are concerns his motor doesn’t rev high often enough. This season it has, but his cap hit makes it challenging to add him, unless Edmonton moves out a player with a cap hit of $2m or more.
The biggest hurdle for Edmonton is if they add any top-six forward they likely need two other teams involved so Edmonton would only have 25% of the total cap. Dallas had to give New Jersey a fourth rounder to take on 25% of Tanev’s $4.5m salary. Guentzel has a $6m cap hit, while Anthony Mantha has $5.75, Jordan Eberle ($5.5m) and Tyler Toffoli ($4.25m). Toffoli would cost a fourth to chop, but will the others cost a third then? Likely.
Edmonton needs more skilled size in its bottom six. They had Bjugstad and Klim Kostin last year, but their replacements this season are much lighter, and less productive thus far. I’ll be shocked if the Oilers don’t add some size to their bottom six, specifically the fourth line.
Adding a D-man is a guarantee. The question will be if they can add one or two forwards. If it is two, then they are likely bottom-six players. And strengthening their bottom-six will make them better. Don’t underestimate the importance of those role players in the playoffs.
All of Vegas’ top-12 forwards had at least two goals and five points at 5×5 last year in their Cup run. Michael Amadio played the 11th-most minutes 5-on-5 and chipped in with five goals. He had as many goals as Mark Stone 5×5 and two more than Jack Eichel. You need contributions from your bottom-six in the playoffs, and the Oilers need to add some guys who can chip in like Bjugstad and Kostin did last year.
By this time next week I suspect the Oilers will have three players who aren’t in the organization today, and then we will wonder if it is enough to put them over the top come playoff time.

THE BRUNCH FOR BEN

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