The Oilers should still be looking to add ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline

Tyler Yaremchuk
4 months ago
So Ken Holland has made a big splash for a second straight deadline. Last year, he got an impact player with term in Mattias Ekholm and this time around, he got a little bolder, moving on from their first round for a pure rental in Adam Henrique.
It’s very refreshing to see the Oilers push some significant chips into the middle of the table, and after solidifying their forward depth with the addition of not just Henrique but Sam Carrick as well, the focus now shifts to what else Ken Holland could get up to between now and the trade deadline.
The most obvious move is on the blue line, where Ken Holland has said he will look to add a veteran to give the club some extra insurance leading into the playoffs. There are three decent candidates on the market.
Joel Edmunson (pending UFA, $1.75m cap hit): Edmunson is far from the defender he was back with the St. Louis Blues but he’s still averaging north of 16 minutes per game this year with the Washington Capitals and with a little retention, the Oilers could fit him in. He’d be a solid seventh defenseman who you could throw into a playoff game and not be too worried about as long as the workload is relatively light.
Jon Merrill (one year remaining, $1.2m cap hit): Again, the cap hit is easy enough to squeeze in, but I’m not too sure if the Oilers should be in the market for a seventh defenseman with term. I also don’t love that he shoots left. I think the Oilers need a right-shot defenseman here. They have Broberg as insurance on the left side. I do like his size, though.
Chad Ruhwedel (pending UFA, $800k cap hit): My pal Liam Horrobin brought up this name and it’s one that I really like. He doesn’t bring a lot of size, but he’s a right-shot, he’s dirt cheap, and he has some experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 25 career games over three playoff runs with the Penguins. This year, he’s only averaging 12:29 per game but that’s really all the Oilers would ever need from him. The Penguins would probably move him for a low-end draft pick, which is basically all the Oilers have to offer here. He might be my favourite pick of the group.
Adding a veteran defenseman feels like a lock, but will it be all that the Oilers do?
I think standing pat would be a mistake. There is an arms race going on in the Western Conference right now and the Oilers should be trying to keep pace.
Not only has Vegas already added both Anthony Mantha and Noah Hanifin, but they’ve been keeping their 2025 first-round pick open and the talk is that they’re still in the mix for another forward.
The Colorado Avalanche added Sean Walker and Casey Mittlestadt but like Vegas, they still have a first-round pick that they could move.
I think the Oilers should be willing to part with their 2025 first-round pick at this year’s deadline. It’s win-now mode.
Frank Seravalli disagreed with me on this during the most recent episode of The DFO Rundown saying “I don’t think Ken Holland will respond to that pressure”.
Jason Gregor had a chance to ask Holland about this the other day on his show and the Oilers GM basically said that you can’t worry about what other teams are getting up to.
I think it would be a mistake to not at least be looking at what else is out there when it comes to the forward market. 
Now, the dream would be for the team to go out and acquire a player with term if they’re going to sacrifice another first-rounder, and that is always easier said than done, but even with the addition of Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick.
I actually think that the fact that the Oilers added a solid layer of depth in their deal with the Ducks makes it easier to potentially part with someone like Warren Foegele.
I really like what Foegele has been doing this year, but the general consensus is that the Oilers will not be able to re-sign him this summer. If you’re Ken Holland and in order to squeeze in a piece like Pavel Buchnevich, you need to include Warren Foegele in the deal for cap purposes, then I think you need to do it.
Of course, the Blues don’t need to move Buchnevich at this year’s deadline because he has one more year on his contract. The price will probably be crazy high but I think the Oilers should be seriously considering pushing their chips into the middle for a quality impact forward with term on his deal.
Frank Seravalli also mentioned that it feels like things are shifting towards more of a buyers’ market, which would imply that prices could be dropping. That’s good news for the Oilers.
As much as I think a player with term would be crucial, I also think the Oilers should be considering going after a player like Tyler Toffoli. If he was retained twice, they could squeeze him in. Imagine this forward group going onto the ice:
Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Hyman
Foegele – Draisaitl – Toffoli
McLeod – Henrique – Kane
Holloway – Carrick – Perry
That would be very hard for a team to deal with over the course of a seven-game series. 
It would require moving at least the 2025 first-rounder, but the Oilers should be all-in this year and adding another impact forward would certainly be an impact move.
Right now, another addition to the forward group seems like a long shot but this is silly season after all. You never know what could happen in the chaotic final few hours before the NHL Trade Deadline.


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