Way Too Early Trade Deadline Options
1 month ago
Some of you may have rolled your eyes at the title of this, but don’t kid yourself, you’re dying to know who the Oilers could be looking to acquire at the 2024 NHL trade deadline.
Outside of adding Connor Brown, the Oilers had a relatively quiet offseason and I think that’s in part because Ken Holland is saving his bullets for the trade deadline.
Over the last month, I’ve said a few times that I like the strategy of holding onto the first-round pick this summer and waiting until the deadline to see what’s out there.
First off, the team as currently constructed is without a doubt good enough to be a playoff team, so Holland can afford to be a little patient. Secondly, waiting until the deadline allows you to get a better read on what the team’s needs will be heading into the playoffs.
What if a key player gets hurt? What if players like Dylan Holloway or Philip Broberg take massive steps forward? That could wildly change their deadline plans.
An NHL GM has a finite amount of first-round picks to spend, so holding onto some valuable assets with the idea of using them at the deadline is a solid play in my mind.
Also, you never know who could be available at the deadline. I’ve said this line before, but 12 months ago nobody would have thought that Mattias Ekholm would be traded in the first year of his four-year extension with the Preds.
If a team gets off to a disappointing start, there could be players on the block that right now don’t seem realistic at all.
Tom Wilson was one of the players that I was looking at as a potential trade deadline option for the Oilers next season. He’s been a 20-goal scorer in the past, he plays with an edge, and he shoots right. He would have been a good fit with the Oilers.
He’s off the market thought after signing a seven-year extension with the Capitals that carries a $6.5 million AAV.
When I talked about Wilson being a potential trade option for the Oilers earlier this summer, one of my concerns was what his next contract would look like and I feared that if he came to Edmonton and had one good season, that the team would sign him to a massive deal that they would quickly regret.
The Washington Capitals just signed him to that contract.
Wilson is a very good player, but he’s a complimentary piece and for him to get a significantly higher AAV than players like Evander Kane, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Zach Hyman is crazy. The deal will keep him under contract until his age 37 season. It will not age well.
Back to the point, this takes Wilson out of the conversation as a potential deadline add for the Oilers. Here are some groups of players that I’m looking at though.
PLAYERS ON BAD TEAMS
Travis Konecny is the first name that comes to mind here. He has two more years left on his deal, so he wouldn’t be a pure rental and the Flyers have no interest in competing this season. He’s got 30+ goal potential and he’s signed to a very reasonable contract with a cap hit of just $5.5m. He’s a perfect fit and I expect to hear him connected to the Oilers a lot next season.
Nino Niederreitter is another player I think the Oilers could take a look at. He doesn’t have as much upside as Konecny and he’s a pending UFA, so the cost should be lower, but you can pretty much lock him in for 20-goals every season. He shoots left but he plays the right side. The Jets firesale could very well continue into next season, so he’s a name to watch.
Although if the Jets are selling everything, Nikolaj Ehlers? Dare to dream.
There will be a couple of bad teams within the Pacific Division as well. The Anaheim Ducks will likely be selling at the deadline once again and that means Adam Henrique could be on the market. He’s in the final year of a deal that carries a cap hit of $5.825m but if the Oilers could make the money work, he would give them an excellent defensive option to slot behind McDavid and Draisaitl on the depth chart.
IF THE TEAM STUMBLES…
Dec 1, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) protects the puck from Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon (46) during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The Minnesota Wild will likely be a very good team next season… but what if they’re not?
Jared Spurgeon could be this year’s Mattias Ekholm. With two years left on his deal, Spurgeon would immediately become the Oilers most reliable right-shot defenseman and with him being an Edmonton product on top of that, it’s hard to not absolutely love the idea of him becoming an Oiler. It’s highly unlikely though, because the Wild should be good. But hey, the Preds were supposed to be good last year too.
Here’s another fun one: if the Seattle Kraken stumble next year, would the Oilers be interested in a reunion with Jordan Eberle? If they could make the money work, it would be pretty cool from a vibes perspective. He’s also still a damn good player and he’s a right-winger.
Vlad Tarasenko just signed in Ottawa but if they have another poor season and sell at the deadline, he would be an enticing add as well.
It is way too early to be looking at this stuff, but hey, it’s August.
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