What are the Edmonton Oilers getting in the newly acquired Nick Bjugstad?

Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
The Edmonton Oilers worked to further bolster their roster ahead of Friday’s NHL trade deadline acquiring forward Nick Bjugstad and defenceman Cam Dineen on Thursday afternoon.
The Coyotes have retained 50% of his contract taking his cap hit down to a measly $450,000, which fits perfectly in the Oilers’ tight cap crunch. In return, the Oilers have sent back a 2023 3rd round draft pick and defensive prospect Michael Kesselring.
I’ve been very high on Kesselring as an Oilers prospect, so I’m not exactly a fan of the Oilers moving him in this deal but there’s some logic in it. Dineen, 26, was drafted by the Coyotes in the third round of the 2016 draft and has appeared in 34 NHL games, all in the 2021-22 season, where he scored seven assists in 34 games. His pro experience, however, is found more with the AHL’s Tuscon Roadrunners where he’s scored 18 goals and 90 points in 207 games.
The big part of the deal here, however, is the acquisition of Bjugstad. Standing at 6’6, 209 lbs., he’s going to bring some size and grit to the Oilers’ bottom six. This season, he’s had a bit of an offensive explosion scoring 13 goals and 23 points in 59 games. He’s provided some offence to the bottom-six of the Coyotes this season and will look to be a strong two-way presence for the Oilers down the stretch. The 30-year-old has produced offence in bunchs in the past. In the 2017-18 season, his most productive in the NHL, he scored 19 goals and 49 points and had a solid year in 2014-15 scoring 24 goals and 43 points in 72 games. While he won’t produce that kind off offence here, it’s a good sign to know he has that element to his game.
According to hockeyviz.com, at even strength this year Bjugstad has contributed offence at a one percent rate above league average and defence at a seven percent rate above league average. He’s spent time on the penalty kill, but has been ineffective in providing value at a three percent rate below league average. The Oilers aren’t going to be looking for much in the way of offence, however. They need Bjugstad to be a solid defensive presence for the team on their fourth line and I think the should be able to do that just fine.
According to puckiq.com, Bjugstad has played a staggering 32.9 percent of his time aganist elite competition, the most he’s played against them since the 2018-19 season. This year against those elites, the Coyotes controlled 43.7 percent of the shot attempts and outscored the opposition 7-6. Coming to Edmonton, however, he won’t have to shoulder such a load and that’s going to be a boon to the Oilers’ bottom-six.
Even though I like the acquisition of Bjugstad, I’m really not a fan of the Oilers moving on from Michael Kesselring. I had a chance to see him back in early February in Calgary and was impressed with his play. While he’s still got a ways to go to becoming an NHL player, namely with work needed in the defensive zone, there has been a massive spike in offence this year from him and that was a great sign about his future prospects of making the next level.
Nonetheless, the Oilers are getting a bit better here and now by acquiring Bjugstad, but this isn’t a huge needle-mover of a trade.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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