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Which forwards could the Oilers target ahead of the Trade Deadline?
25 days ago
We are still over a month away from the NHL trade deadline, and honestly, there aren’t that many intriguing names available.
Last week, I went through the defensemen that were available on Frank Seravalli’s Trade Targets board and talked about how there really wasn’t a slam-dunk fit out there. A lot of people really disagreed with my take on Sean Walker, but I stand by the fact that if the Oilers are going to spend assets and move on from Ceci, they need to go out and get a player who is a true top-pairing defenseman. It’s not worth disrupting the chemistry of this blueline for a marginal upgrade.
Of course, if Walker is viewed as more of a Vinny Desharnais upgrade, then I’m all for it. Upgrading the blueline should be something that the Oilers look to do ahead of the March 8th deadline, even if they can’t lock up a legit top-pairing partner for Darnell Nurse.
Giving themselves another layer of depth would be important.
I have a slightly different view of what they could do with the forward group. I’d love to see them make a big splash and add another top-six forward, but if that doesn’t happen, then I’d also be fine with a smaller addition to bolster the bottom-six.
With that being said, I’m not sure if any of the big names on Frank’s list are great fits for the Oilers. Here are the top ten forwards from the Trade Targets list.
1 – Elias Lindholm – This is similar to the Chris Tanev situation. Do I think the player would help the Oilers? Absolutely. I’d love to see it. I just don’t think that the Flames are going to send him to Edmonton for market value. The Oilers would have to overpay and I don’t think that will happen.
2 – Sean Monahan – I really like Monahan as a 3C option for the Oilers and considering his cap hit of $1.85m, he would be very easy to squeeze in ahead of the deadline. The only concern here is the price tag. Frank has speculated that the Habs could get a first-round pick for him and I don’t think the Oilers should pay that. He’d be a good add, but not at that price point.
3 – Adam Henrique – He’d be a similar add to Monahan, but actually might be a bit of a better fit for what the Oilers need in the 3C spot. His cap hit ($5.85m) might be tough to squeeze in, but if the Oilers could get a third party to step in and keep 25% and the Ducks keep 50%, the Oilers could make it work. It shouldn’t cost a first-round pick either.
4 – Nic Dowd – I like that Dowd has an extra year on his deal and it’s a pure rental, but I would personally like to see Ken Holland aim higher when it comes to adding a third or fourth-line centre. He doesn’t provide that much offense and while I like what he adds defensively and on the PK, I would like to see someone who can provide a little bit more scoring.
5 – Andrei Kuzmenko – I doubt the Canucks would be willing to retain any part of his $5.5m cap hit so that probably makes this one a non-starter. He can score, as he proved last season, but he’s been wildly inconsistent this season. The Oilers should look elsewhere.
6 – Anthony Mantha – He’s been inconsistent and I’m not sure if he makes the Oilers that much better. He would be pretty cheap to acquire but his cap hit of $5.7m probably takes the Oilers right out of this conversation.
7 – Kevin Hayes – He would be a really solid third-line centre for the Oilers and would allow them to put Ryan McLeod on the wing full-time. He has two more years on his deal, which carries a cap hit of $3.57 million. If the Blues retained 50%, he would be a bargain contract. He does have a NTC, so I wonder if he would even consider coming to Edmonton. I think Hayes would be a really good fit for the Avalanche.
8 – Arthur Kalyiev – Don’t think the Oilers would be all that interested in him and I don’t think that the Kings would really consider moving him to Edmonton. Not really a fit.
9 – Vladimir Tarasenko – If Ottawa is willing to keep 50% of his cap hit, then the Oilers should be interested. He’s had some really good playoff runs and when he’s on his game, he’s a legit 35+ goal scorer. He’d add a really good scoring punch to the Oilers’ top six.
10 – Morgan Frost – We already have Morgan Frost at home and his name is Ryan McLeod. I also think McLeod is better. No need to go get Frost.
OUTSIDE THE TOP TEN
There are two names who weren’t one of the top ten forwards in Frank’s list that I would be very interested in.
The first in Alex Texier in Columbus. He’s lower on Frank’s list and I think he’d be a great addition to the bottom six. He plays hard, is on pace for right around 15 goals this season, and he’s a good penalty killer. His $1.525 million cap hit makes him extremely manageable for this season and he’s a pending RFA, so he comes with some team control.
The other player I think would be a great fit is Tyler Toffoli. He’s not on Frank’s list, and there haven’t even been whispers about his availability, but considering how the season has been going for the Devils, it’s fair to think that they could eventually be convinced to sell off.
Toffoli could hit the 40-goal mark this season, is a proven playoff performer, and quite honestly would just be a perfect fit in this Oilers top six. He plays hard and his cap hit ($4m) would be very easy to squeeze in if the Devils kept 50% of it.
That’s my dream target, he just isn’t available yet. Dare to dream though. After all, that’s what deadline season is all about, right?
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