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Rumour Roundup: Oilers reportedly looking at Adam Boqvist, Chris Tanev as a possible blueline upgrade, and more
1 month ago
We’re just under two months away from the trade deadline and rumours surrounding the Edmonton Oilers are starting to heat up.
When looking at the Oilers, this team is in full gear as they’ve won their last eight games and are 19-6-0 over their last 25 games. Still, the team could always get better, and Edmonton could do so by acquiring a top-six forward, a shutdown right-handed defenceman, and a backup netminder.
Let’s take a look at some rumours that are swirling around Oil Country.
Edmonton is looking at Blue Jackets defender Adam Boqvist:
Why? The 23-year-old right-handed defenceman was picked two picks ahead of Evan Bouchard and plays a similar style to Edmonton’s defenceman. However, Boqvist does it far worse, assisting on just five goals in 15 games, with a career-high 11 goals and 22 points set in 2021-22.
For the first time in his career, Boqvist has a goal share above 50%, as it comes in at 53.85%. However, his expected goal share of 40.23% is the lowest in his career. Moreover, he’s only played 15 games, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if he eventually regresses to his expected goal share, as he’s had around a 41-45% goal share throughout his career.
It’s assumed that Boqvist would be a cheaper replacement for Cody Ceci on the right side of the blueline, who’d likely be going the other way to even out the 23-year-old’s $2.6 million cap hit and give Edmonton some savings for another deal. Ceci, for all his flaws, kills penalties and is somewhat successful in a shutdown role, while Boqvist has only been on the penalty kill for about a minute this season.
Do the Oilers need another top-six forward?
During the second intermission of Tuesday’s game, Bob Stauffer mentioned that he thinks the Oilers need another top-six forward.
He isn’t necessarily wrong. Evander Kane has just three goals and four points over his last 15 games and has moved to the third line with Connor Brown and now Derek Ryan. On the second line, the Oilers are running Ryan McLeod and Warren Foegele with Leon Draisaitl, a line that has shown chemistry, but it’s hard to consider either of Draisaitl’s wingers as a top-six forward.
Stauffer also named two teams, Philadelphia and Ottawa. The former is in a playoff spot, while the latter is in the midst of a never-ending rebuild akin to Edmonton’s decade of darkness. For the Flyers, Stauffer was likely alluding to Travis Konecny, who has 21 goals and 36 points in 40 games. The 26-year-old right-wing is on pace for 43 goals, which would pass his 31 goals in 60 games last season. Konecny makes $5.5 million a season and will be a free agent after the 2024-25 season is finished.
As for Ottawa, the only top-six forward who they may be willing to trade is Vladimir Tarasenko, as he signed a one-year, $5 million deal. The 32-year-old right-winger is far from the 30+ goal scorer he once was, as he has eight goals and 25 points in 34 games this season, only on pace for 18 goals for the second straight season. Still, he’s good for about 50 points a season (on pace for 58) and has a Stanley Cup to his name.
Could Chris Tanev be the upgrade on Cody Ceci?
This is by no means saying that Ceci is a bad player. The 30-year-old has nine points in 36 goals and has 52 points in his two-and-a-half seasons with the Oilers. He kills penalties and has a respectable 54.39% goal share and a 53.43% expected goal share at even strength.
But if the Oilers were going to upgrade their defence, either he or left-shot defenceman Brett Kulak would need to be moved, especially for salary cap reasons. Enter Chris Tanev, who is the Calgary Flames’ shutdown right-shot defenceman. The Oilers were listed as one of seven teams for his landing spot at the deadline from Daily Faceoff. Now, the two Albertan teams don’t trade often, but it has happened.
In 2019, the Oilers traded Milan Lucic to the Flames for James Neal, who scored four goals in a game early in the 2019-2020 season. Prior to that, there was a trade in early March of 2010 when the Oilers moved Steve Staios to the Flames for Aaron Johnson and a third-round pick.
Tanev to the Oilers would be a major move, with the 34-year-old likely getting a first-round pick without being traded to a provincial rival. Tanev has a modified no-trade clause (10-team no-trade list) and has a cap hit of $4.5 million, and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
This begs the question, is Tanev even an upgrade on Ceci? In terms of points, he has a goal and seven points in 38 games this year. This season, he has a similar goal share (54.10%) and expected goal share (54.51%) to Ceci, while also playing significant minutes on the penalty kill. Tanev may have more of a track record in this regard, but he’s older and has a higher cap hit, albeit Ceci has an extra year.
Daily Faceoff’s newest Trade Target board:
On Tuesday, Daily Faceoff released its updated Trade Target board, which features some interesting names who might be moved in the coming weeks or months. Topping the list is Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames, a player whom the Oilers have no chance of obtaining at the trade deadline. However, Montreal’s Sean Monahan, in the final year of a $1.985 million deal, could be a guy the Oilers look to add.
Tanev ranks third on the list, but as mentioned previously, the Oilers could look elsewhere to find Ceci’s replacement. Trevor Zegras made it to the list at fourth after it was leaked that the Ducks were listening to offers for him, but he’s well off the pace for another 60-point season.
Adam Henrique is an interesting name for the Oilers, as the 33-year-old can play both centre and wing and has 10 goals and 21 points in 39 games this season on an awful Ducks team. He’s in the final year of his deal with a $5.825 cap hit.
Right-shot defenceman Sean Walker is an interesting name on the Flyers. The 29-year-old has four goals and 13 points in 40 games and has a solid goal share and expected goal share at even strength. He’s also cheaper and younger than Ceci.
In terms of the goaltending market, Petr Mrázek is the highest-ranked goalie at 11th. The 31-year-old is having a strong bounce-back season, posting a .902 save percentage and a 3.21 goals-against average on a Chicago Blackhawks team that is essentially an American Hockey League team. He has a cap hit of $3.8 million and is in the final season of his deal.
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