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Potential one-stop shops for the Oilers ahead of the trade deadline

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Tyler Yaremchuk
1 month ago
Even though we are inching closer and closer to the NHL trade deadline, we still don’t quite have a clear picture when it comes to what the Edmonton Oilers will be doing. 
At this time last year, the team had already acquired Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators, and it was well known that their other priority was to add a solid bottom-six centreman.
This time, it feels like they could go any number of ways. 
They need to add a quality forward or two, and at the very least, they need to add a veteran seventh defenceman, but in all honesty, they really need to upgrade Cody Ceci’s spot in the lineup, and they could very well look to get involved in the goalie market., 
The only problem is, with limited assets and just over $2 million in projected deadline cap space, they will have to pick and choose which areas they want to address.
That’s why I’ve always pushed back against going out and adding a goaltender. I really do believe this team is married to Stuart Skinner, and while I am well aware that he was not good in the playoffs last year, he still got them to within two wins of the Conference Final, and he’s only 25 years old. I’m willing to bet on Skinner improving in his second go around in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Would it be nice to feel slightly more confident in the Oilers goaltending? Absolutely. But they aren’t going to be able to go out and get a piece like Juuse Saros, mainly because Nashville is unlikely to move him, and the other names on the market aren’t particularly attractive. 
I think they’re better off going out and using their limited resources on some pieces that will be in the lineup every game. They need to add at least three skaters between now and next Friday. 
That will be very tough to do, but I think there’s a chance that the Oilers could fill two holes with one trade, and there are actually more than a couple of candidates around the league for them to consider doing that with. Let’s take a look at a couple of options…

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Mar 30, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Nic Dowd (26) in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start with my favourite option on this board. The Capitals are sliding further and further out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot, and with that, it looks more and more like they’ll be sellers ahead of next Friday’s deadline.
Up front, they have three players I really like. Nic Dowd would be a perfect addition to the bottom six as a centreman who brings some size, can win faceoffs, and handle tough matchups. 
Anthony Mantha is also on the block, and while he’s overpaid with a $5.7m cap hit, if you got a third-party team involved, you might be able to squeeze him in, and it might only cost you a couple of mid-round picks. If you’re a team that is trying to add size and 5v5 scoring, which the Oilers are, Mantha is an excellent option. 
I also need to mention Beck Malenstyn in this conversation. Gregor has brought his name up a bunch of times and he sounds like he’d be a solid addition to the bottom six. 
On the blueline, the Capitals have Joel Edmunson. He’s a pending UFA with a $1.75m cap hit. Edmunson is not the player he was even just two seasons ago, but at 50% retained, he would be a strong seventh/eighth defenseman for the Oilers to add ahead of a hopefully long playoff run.
Another name on the Capitals roster that might be worth keeping an eye on is Charlie Lindgren. The 30-year-old netminder is having a great season on an underwhelming Capitals team, and with an extra year on his deal and a cap hit of just $1.1 million, he would be an interesting target as a 1B option to ride next to Stuart Skinner.
The Capitals are reportedly asking for a first-round pick for Nic Dowd, who also has one more year left on his deal. That price seems high, but if the Oilers were to offer the Capitals a first-round pick for Dowd, maybe they could convince the Capitals to send them one of those other pieces for a discounted price.
Adding Dowd and Mantha in one deal would be my preference, as it would give the Oilers a layer of depth they’ve never really had in the Connor McDavid era, but I wouldn’t scoff at any of the names mentioned above.
If you’re going to part with your first-round pick, you may as well try to get as much value as possible out of the deal, and if the Capitals are hell-bent on adding early-round picks, they might be willing to cut the Oilers a deal on a second player.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Jan 27, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique (14) skates with the puck as Minnesota Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson (32) defends his net during the second period at Xcel Energy Center.

My Oilersnation Everyday Co-Host, Liam Horrobin, was the one who initially pitched this next idea to me.
There has been some chatter the Oilers are interested in veteran centreman Adam Henrique, who has been playing in the Ducks’ top-six for the majority of this season but could slide in really well as the Oilers’ third-line centre.
The team has also been connected to 32-year-old right-shot centreman Sam Carrick.
Of course, if the Oilers were going to bring in Henrique and his $5.825m cap hit, they would need Anaheim to keep 50% of it, and they’d have to get a third-party broker involved in the deal to keep more of the cp space, but it might be worth it.
Henrique would give the Oilers a lot of roster flexibility as he can play centre or the wing, and he’s a bit of a jack of all trades. He can chip in some offence, and he’s pretty solid in the defensive zone, even though he plays on a terrible hockey team.
Adding Carrick to this deal would give the Oilers even more depth down the middle and would allow them to move both Ryan McLeod and Derek Ryan to the wing, where they’ve each scored more this season.
Imagine running McDavid, Draisaitl, Henrique, and Carrick as your four centres for a playoff series. That would be good.
Henrique might also be able to give you some top-six minutes, which might give Kris Knoblauch the flexibility to play McDavid and Draisaitl on the same line more often without totally killing the team’s depth.
I also really like Frank Vatrano, who’s got one more year on his deal and a cap hit of $3.650m, but it doesn’t sound like the Ducks are too keen on moving him. Unfortunately, The Ducks don’t have any defensemen I’d view as good fits for the Oilers. I don’t hate Ilya Lybushkin, who is a pending UFA, but even at 50% retained, his cap hit would be hard to justify in a seventh defenseman role.
Still, the Ducks are an intriguing spot to grab two players for the Oilers bottom-six in one trade.

IN CONCLUSION…

I debated putting the St. Louis Blues in the conversation here as well. I really like Pavel Buchnevich and Oskar Sundqvist would be a decent secondary add. I think the cost to acquire Buchnevich will end up being too rich for the Oiler’s liking, and as much as I love the fact that he has term, his $5.8m cap hit will be very hard to fit in this season.
I also really like the idea of going to Nashville and adding both Alexandre Carrier and Tomas Novak in one move. That would give the Oilers an upgrade on Cody Ceci and a strong bottom-six centre who knows how to score. I’m just not sure if Nashville will be all that interested in taking Ceci back in the deal.
There are options out there for Ken Holland is my point.
Sometimes, the best deadline additions aren’t the ones that make big headlines, and the Oilers are in a position where they need help in multiple areas. I think they’d be wise to look at teams like Anaheim and Washington to try and address multiple needs in one deal.

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