What could the Oilers do next?
8 months ago
It really feels like the trade deadline has already happened, hey?
In the last 72 hours, most of the big names on the market have been moved and most of the major contenders have crossed the big items off their shopping list. For reference, Frank Seravalli dropped a new trade targets list on Monday and since then, six of the top ten have been dealt.
The names left are Kevin Hayes, James Van Riemsdyk, Adam Henrique, and Carson Soucy.
The only one that I view as a potential fit for Ken Holland and the Edmonton Oilers is Adam Henrique. He’s a solid two-way centreman who’s put up very respectable numbers on a Ducks team that’s junk. He carries a $5.825 million cap hit for one more season, so he wouldn’t be a pure rental. He’s injured right now and that likely takes him off the trade market but if he was healthy, I’d like him as a target for the Oilers.
Originally, I liked Carson Soucy as a fit but now that they have Mattias Ekholm, I don’t think they’ll move another first-round pick for a defenseman, which is what it would cost to get Soucy out of Seattle.
So what could Ken Holland get up to in the next 24 hours? Well, it’s worth noting that he does actually have some money to spend. The Oilers have around $1.3 million in cap space that they could spend because whoever they bring in could take Devin Shore’s roster spot. They could even spend a little bit more if they wanted to run with a 20-man roster for the rest of the season, but I don’t think that’s a great idea.
If Kailer Yamamoto is once again injured and out long-term, then his $3.1 million cap hit could go on LTIR and suddenly, Holland could really start shopping hard for some bigger names. Maybe that would bring a guy like James Van Riemsdyk into the mix. You’d have to be certain that Yamamoto will miss the rest of the regular season though.
I do think the Oilers will at least add one more forward to the mix before 1 pm mountain time and ideally, it would be someone who can play right wing and give them a little bit of depth there. They moved out Jesse Puljujarvi and with the uncertainty surrounding Yamamoto’s health, an extra piece on that side of the ice is probably needed.
The problem for me is that a lot of the players I see as fits are left-shots. I really like Max Domi and he could be used as centre depth, but he’s a left shot. I don’t think the Oilers should just flat-out not consider him because of that, because I think he’d be a great piece to add to this lineup, but because he’s not a right-shot, I don’t view him as a perfect fit.
I really like Jakob Vrana because when he’s in the lineup all the guy does is score goals but again, he’s a left shot. He also has a $5.25 million cap. Things have not gone well for him in Detroit and apparently, a buyout could be coming this summer. If the Red Wings are willing to go the buyout route with Vrana then they would probably be willing to retain 50% of his cap hit so that there’s just one year of dead money and not two. At $2.65 million, Vrana would provide excellent value. This is one of those scenarios where if Yamamoto could go on LTIR, Vrana would make a lot of sense.
Outside of those two, there aren’t any other wingers on Seravalli’s board that I think are great fits. Maybe someone like Noah Gregor is San Jose, but that’s a smaller add.
There are other wingers apparently available like Connor Sheary, Jordan Greenway, and Andreas Athanasiou but I don’t really like any of those options for the Oilers. Again, they’re all left-wingers.
Holland could be tempted to dip into the market for a depth centreman. Again, Domi is a good option and makes a lot of sense. At 50% retained, he would only carry a $1.5m cap hit.
Nick Bonino is a good veteran who only has a $2 million cap hit. He’s played in over 100 playoff games in his career and would help them win faceoffs.
There’s also a lot of talk about Nick Bjugstad being a player of interest for Ken Holland. I like his size, I like his cap hit, and I believe his analytics are actually solid. But he also has the reputation of being a soft player. Could playing meaningful hockey bring the best out of him? Potentially, but he’s not better than Derek Ryan so I’m not sure if he’s worth spending more than a very late-round pick on. He is a right-shot, so keep that in mind.
I don’t get the sense that they’re going to try to add another defenseman, but you never know. Things are changing quickly and there could be players that we aren’t even talking about that are made available in the next day. It certainly feels like Ken Holland isn’t done though.
THE DAILY FACEOFF TRADE DEADLINE SHOW
Join us on March 3rd for the Daily Faceoff Live: Trade Deadline edition as Frank Seravalli and the panel break down all of the latest rumours, news, and rumblings from around the NHL. The show will be live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter from 10 AM – 2 PM MT to keep you up to date on all things trade deadline no matter where you’re watching from.
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