The changing NHL trade market

Photo credit:Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Yaremchuk
9 months ago
It was a crazy weekend around the NHL both on and off the ice. The playoff races are getting tighter and tighter with the Oilers slowly falling back to the pack in the Western Conference. I guess consistently picking up just one point will do that. The trade market has also changed over the last few days. 
Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari are both off the board after being moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs and both of those are players that I thought the Oilers should have had an interest in. We’ve seen them struggle to win big faceoffs recently and one of those players would have helped in that department.
They’re no longer options. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas stepped up and made a big splash, which I applaud him for. He paid a lot to get this deal done, but that team desperately needs to have some playoff success this season. He had to make a move like that. You could also say that Oilers GM Ken Holland is in a similar spot, but what can he do?
The other name that I thought the Oilers might have an interest in is Jonathan Toews, but that is no longer an option.
With Toews no longer on the block, the market for quality centremen has quickly dried up. If Holland wants to add some depth down the middle, he’s now likely looking at players like Nick Bonino or Nick Bjugstad. It’s quite the drop-off. I still like both those players as potential adds, but neither comes with any sort of top-six potential.
There is one name that’s not getting talked about a lot that I really like as a potential fit and that’s Adam Henrique of the Anaheim Ducks.
This guy has been really productive on a putrid Ducks team and his 5v5 numbers are rather impressive. He can win faceoffs and is solid in his own end. I think he would slide in perfectly to the Oilers top-nine. One problem would obviously be his $5.825 million cap hit, but what if you could get the Ducks to retain 50% of it?
We know they’ve had interest in Jesse Puljujarvi throughout the season so is there a package that involves Puljujarvi and the Oilers first-round pick in exchange for a year and a half of Adam Henrique at $2.9 million? I’d be interested in that.
On the blueline, the number of options that make sense for the Oilers is dropping. I’ve talked plenty of times about how I’m not sold on Erik Karlsson being a realistic option in the next eleven days. That seems like more of a summer move and something that will be easier to get done if the cap jumps up $3-4 million. It could happen, but I’m not holding my breath.
It doesn’t seem like Holland wants to splurge on a guy like Vladislav Gavrikov, which I actually agree with. Jake McCabe likely wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to come to Edmonton and the Oilers interest in Jakob Chychrun has reportedly cooled off, although he’s been sitting out for a while and you never know how things can change.
So who are some other blueliners the Oilers could look at?
There are rumblings that local product Colton Parayko could be available in St. Louis but I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if he’s a great fit for the Oilers. He hasn’t been his usual self this season and at age 29, you wonder if maybe his best hockey is already behind him. He’s still a quality NHL defenseman, don’t get me wrong, but he’s in the first year of an eight-year extension that comes with a cap hit $6.5 million. The Blues won’t retain any of that deal, which means you’d have to find a way to get $6.5 million off your books just to fit him in this year. The deal also runs until he’s 37, so I don’t think it’d be wise for the Oilers to hitch themselves to that.
One name I really like though is Matthias Ekholm. Yes, he’s three years older than Parayko, but he’s having a solid season and the Predators are reportedly open to the possibility of moving him. His cap hit comes in at $6.25 million and his current deal runs for three more seasons but I don’t think it’s totally out of the question that Preds GM David Poille keeps some money in order to maximize the return. 
What could a package deal of Ekholm and hard-nosed forward Tanner Jeannot look like? I know Bob Stauffer wondered about this idea over the weekend and I have to say, I’d be a big fan of doing something like this. Would that kind of package be worth parting with two first-round picks for? Ekholm would be a strong piece of this blueline for the next number of years and Jeannott is a pending RFA, so the Oilers would still control his rights this summer.
If the Preds kept $1.52 million of Ekholm’s deal, then the Oilers could make the money work by sending out Warren Foegele and Jesse Puljujarvi (potentially in separate deals).
Of course, Frank Seravalli is still wondering if Patrick Kane could be a fit in Edmonton as well. That’s something to keep an eye on.
The market has changed over the last 72 hours and it will continue to do so as we roll up to the trade deadline on March 3rd. I talked more about these potential trade options today on Oilersnation Everyday, our websites daily live show. If you want to check it out, head over to our YouTube channel.

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