Pacific Division Roundup: Oilers, Kings, and Golden Knights load up for stretch drive
25 days ago
The trade deadline has passed, and this Pacific Division roundup will focus mainly on who added who.
As you know, the Oilers made the biggest splash in years since they traded for Jerred Smithson back at the 2012-13 trade deadline. They also added a depth forward but was it enough to improve the team? What about the other moves Pacific Division teams have made?
The Edmonton Oilers week:
There were two trades were made by the Oilers on February 28th. The first one was a cap-clearing move that saw them move Jesse Puljujärvi to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a prospect named Patrik Puistola. A fellow Finn, Puistola, who is 22 years old, has 16 goals and 40 points in 57 SM-Liiga games. He has yet to sign his ELC.
This trade gave the Oilers much-needed cap space to trade for Mattias Ekholm (with 4% of his cap retained) on the same day. The Oilers also received a 2024 sixth-round pick, while they gave up Tyson Barrie, prospect Reid Schaeffer, a 2023 first-rounder, and a 2024 fourth-rounder. Ekholm may not be a top defenceman in the league like he once was in the late 2010s, but man this is a good trade.
The Oilers made a small trade on March 2nd, moving defence prospect Michael Kesselring and a 2023 third-rounder for bottom-six forward Nick Bjugstad and defence prospect Cam Dineen. The former scored in his first game on Saturday, while the former had four goals and 35 points in 50 games with Arizona’s American Hockey League team.
So how did the Oilers do this past week? They lost 3-2 to the Boston Bruins, smashed the Toronto Maples Leafs 5-2, but realistically it should have finished 7-1, decimated Winnipeg Jet in the first game of a back-to-back 6-3, before being beaten 7-5 in the second game on Saturday. Poor goaltending let them down in the last game, as Campbell has struggled since the all-star break.
The Oilers will be on an Eastern Conference road trip this week, facing the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, the Bruins on Thursday, and the Leafs on Saturday. A tough schedule, and obtaining 3 points would be ideal.
The Vegas Golden Knights’ week:
While the Knights aren’t running away with the division, they do stand six points ahead of the Oilers with a game in hand.
Their biggest move at the trade deadline for the Knights was trading Michael Hutchinson and a seventh-round pick in 2025 for Jonathan Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets (more on that in the next section). Their other move was moving prospect Peter Diliberatore and a 2024 third-rounder for Teddy Blueger, who has 11 points in 2022-23. Moreover, William Carrier is out of the lineup indefinitely with a lower-body injury, according to their Twitter account.
They were close to having a flawless week, but lost their first game 3-0 to the Colorado Avalanche. They then beat the Carolina Hurricanes, the New Jersey Devils, and the Montreal Canadiens.
This upcoming week they have an Eastern Conference road trip, playing the Florida Panthers, Tampa Lightning, the Hurricanes, and the St. Louis Blues.
The Los Angeles Kings week:
The big move from the Kings was moving long-time goaltender Jonathan Quick, a 2023 first-rounder, and a 2024 third-rounder for goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, and defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov.
It was a good trade in the sense that they got money off the books, but Korpisalo is not a great goaltender, and Gavrikov is a third-pairing defenceman on an expiring contract. Pretty sad turnaround when you consider they thought they were going to get Jakob Chychrun a few weeks ago.
Their other big move was trading Brendan Lemieux and a 2024 fifth-round pick for tough guy Zack MacEwen, who the Oilers were apparently interested in.
The Kings had a flawless week, beating the Jets 6-5 in a shootout, beating the Canadiens 3-2, and beating the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Next week, they’ll play the Washington Capitals at home, the Avalanche away, and the Nashville Predators at home.
The Seattle Kraken’s week:
Unlike every team we’ve discussed so far, the Kraken stood pat at the deadline.
Like the Kings, the Kraken also had a flawless week, beating the Blues 5-3, the Detroit Red Wings 5-4, the Blue Jackets 4-2, and the Avalanche 3-2. As always, we’ll look at how the three former Oilers performed for the Kraken this past week.
Jordan Eberle: 4 games played, 1 goal, 2 assists, +1 (leads the team with 50 points)
Justin Schultz: 4 games played, 0 goals, 2 assists, 0
Adam Larsson: 4 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, -4
This upcoming week, they have a home stand, playing the Anaheim Ducks, the Ottawa Senators, and the Dallas Stars.
The Calgary Flames’ week:
Each week, it seems like the gap between the last wildcard team and the Calgary Flames keeps expanding.
Sure, they made moves at the deadline. The biggest one was moving Brett Ritchie and Connor Mackey to the Arizona Coyotes for Nick Ritchie (yes, they are brothers) and Troy Stecher. However, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the Flames will make the playoffs this season. It really looks like the Oilers broke them.
They lost all three of their games this past week, a 4-3 loss in overtime to the Bruins, a 2-1 loss to the Leafs, and a 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild. This coming week, they’ll play the Stars away on Monday, the Wild away on Tuesday, the Ducks at home on Friday, and the Senators at home on Sunday.
The Vancouver Canucks week:
The Canucks made some moves, but no Brock Boeser. They traded with the Red Wings for Filip Hronek, taking on his full $4.4M salary until the end of next season and giving up the Islanders’ first round-pick. Not a good trade for them.
Moreover, they moved Luke Schenn to the Leafs for a third-rounder, as well as Curtis Lazar for a fourth-rounder. Nothing major, but they have yet to signal a rebuild, which is an issue for fans.
With all that being said, the Canucks actually had a surprisingly good week. They beat the Stars 5-4 in overtime, lost 2-1 to the Wild, before smashing the Leafs 4-1, which is always a good thing.
They sit 27th in the league in points, which gives them a 7.5% chance of winning the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. Enjoy mediocrity, Vancouver!
The bad teams of the Pacific:
San Jose Sharks: The Sharks made a few moves at the deadline. First, they traded for Vladislav Namestnikov, before flipping him to the Winnipeg Jets for a fourth-rounder. They also moved Nick Bonino and a 27-year-old Swedish League player Tony Sund for Arvid Henrikson, a seventh-rounder in 2023, and a 2024 fifth-rounder in 2024. You do you I guess.
Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks were a little more active at this year’s deadline. They moved former Oiler Dmitry Kulikov (50% retention) for Brock McGinn and a 2024 third-rounder. They also moved John Klingberg (50% retained) to the Wild for Andrej Sustr, and Nikita Nesterenko (who’s from Brooklyn, New York.) There were a few smaller moves, but all in all, they had a much better deadline than the Sharks.
As it stands:
Here are the Wild-Card Standings as of Monday, March 6th…
The Oilers still have a chance at winning the division, but they need to start playing better, and more consistently. For starters, Jack Campbell has to be much better if he wants to get a sniff of the playoffs. They also have to be better at protecting leads. While they didn’t blow any leads this week, it’s something that has plagued their season.
As for their deadline moves, trading for Ekholm is genuinely the most exciting acquisition since drafting Connor McDavid and could be the most exciting trade since Chris Pronger. Personally, I don’t believe it’s enough as their right side of the wing and defence is still rather weak, but hopefully, Ekholm and Bjugstad get the job done.
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