Rumour Roundup: The Oilers are scouting the Red Wings, Tyler Bertuzzi is reportedly off the table

Photo credit:© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 year ago
We’re under two weeks away from the trade deadline for the 2022-23 NHL season. 
You may be asking yourself, what are the rumours currently circulating around the Oilers? Could they look to re-sign Jesse Puljujärvi, something that looked impossible just a week ago? What about trading for one of Detroit’s plethora of soon-to-be unrestricted free agents? Luckily, you’ve decided to click this article to figure out what the Oilers are up to as we head into the trade deadline…

Jesse Puljujärvi may re-sign with the Oilers:

Seriously, if you had told me this last week, my jaw would have hit the floor and I would be in awe of what you’d have just said. Last week, it seemed certain that Puljujärvi would be traded, if not waived to get his salary off the books.
However, Chris Johnston notes that the Oilers have explored the idea of re-signing Puljujärvi in recent days, which is rather surprising…
It’s not a hot take to say that Puljujärvi has underperformed this season, as the 24-year-old has scored only five goals and 12 points in 53 games. Even his 41.3% goal share in 2022-23 is a significant drop from his 64.6% goal share in 2021-22. His expected goal share sits at 53.4%, which means that he still has a lot to offer. However, his production hasn’t lived up to his $3 million contract.
But if Puljujärvi was making $1.5 million for two or three years, I’d say that his numbers justify his contract. If the Oilers are looking to re-sign him, it’s pretty apparent that they like the player, just not the cap hit.
With Puljujärvi, there’s a lot left to offer in the tank. Hopefully, he can figure it out. Whether that is with the Oilers, or another team… such as Detroit, is to be foreseen.

The Oilers are scouting Detroit:

If you read the last iteration of the rumour roundup, you’d know that I noted that the Oilers were looking at Tyler Bertuzzi. The rumour originated from Jeff Marek on the 32 Thoughts podcast, which is quite reliable. However, On Saturday, it was noted that Detroit isn’t looking to trade Bertuzzi, as Detroit is making a push for a playoff spot, this coming from Marek once again.
The Red Wings sit just four games out of a playoff spot, with plenty of games in hand, so it makes sense that they would not want to trade one of their top six forwards. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a litany of unrestricted free agents that could be moved.
The list of players that don’t have an expiring contract at the end of the season is quite longer than the list of players under term for the 2023-24 season. Captain Dylan Larkin is the best player who may not be a Red Wing at season’s end, but you also have Jakub Vrána, Pius Suter, Oskar Sundqvist, Jordan Oesterle (remember him?) Jake Walman, and Robert Hägg as unrestricted free agents.
Let’s dig into the two players in who the Oilers could have an interest…

Jakub Vrána:

The two Jake’s could intrigue the Oilers. Staring with Jakub Vrána, the 26-year-old left winger missed significant time this season due to being a part of the NHL’s substance abuse program. Thankfully, it seems he has overcome that part of his life, and even has had some success with the Grand Rapids Griffins, scoring six goals and 11 points in 17 games in his brief tenure in the American Hockey League. Vrána was recently called up but has yet to play a game with Detroit.
The Oilers don’t necessarily need a left winger but he’s a darn good player. His career high in points came in 2019-20 with the Washington Capitols, where he scored 25 goals and added 52 points in 69 games. He even had a solid 2021-22, where he scored 13 goals and 19 points in 26 games with the Red Wings. He could be a low-risk, high-reward winger that the Oilers could take a flyer on.
The 26-year-old left winger makes $5,250,000 for the next two seasons, which means that money would have to go back the other way. The Oilers are in luck, as Puljujärvi could be a good bounce-back candidate for the team from Michigan. The Oilers may need to add a prospect or a pick, but Vrána could definitely be a fit for Edmonton.

Jake Walman:

The other potential Jake that the Oilers could target is Jake Walman. The left-shot defenceman already has a career-high in goals (five) and points (ten) in just 36 games, which is also a career-high.
The 26-year-old may not be a flashy, puck-moving defenceman that the Oilers may be targeting, but he has a 63 goal share, and a 54 expected goal share in his 557:43 minutes on ice. Ironically, only Vrána has a higher goal share at 66.7%, but as we know, he just hasn’t seen the ice for the Wings. 
Walman is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and he’s only making $1,050,000. That means he’s cheaper than Shayne Gotisbehere ($4,500,000, UFA at the end of the season), and Vladislav Gavrikov ($2,800,000, UFA at the end of the season), two left-shot defencemen the Oilers have been linked to.
Walman as a third-pairing defenceman? Sign me up!

Other notes:

  • Ryan O’Reilly: The (former) St. Louis captain was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a rather mediocre package for the Blues. The Maple Leafs acquired O’Reilly, as well as Noel Acciari, who the Oilers had been linked to in recent weeks. The Leafs lost Mikhail Abramov, Adam Guadette, a first in 2023, a third in the same year, a second in 2024, and Toronto’s fourth in 2025, which went to the Minnesota Wild to eat a part of his salary. All this to lose in the first round for the eighth straight year.
  • Matt Dumba: Are the Wild out of the playoff race? Absolutely not, they actually sit in the second wildcard position (Pacific Division roundup coming on Monday). With that being said, Matthew Dumba has been in trade talks, as the left-shot defenceman has been in recent trade talks. The 28-year-old has just four goals and 13 points in 53 games this season for the Wild, which is a far cry from his 14 goals/50 points in his 2017-2018 season. However, if the Oilers could somehow take on his $6,000,000 deal (with a modified no-trade clause), he’d slot in quite nicely in Edmonton’s second pairing…There have been no recent rumours, but interesting to look into.


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