Would you trade Raphael Lavoie for Vladimir Tarasenko if you were the Oilers?

Photo credit:Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
One of the hockey world’s worst-kept secrets this time of year is that the Edmonton Oilers are looking to upgrade their forward group.
They’ve been linked to the biggest forward name available in Jake Guentzel, another top option in Jordan Eberle, and there’s been some potential connection to Vladimir Tarasenko. You could think of those three each being from different tiers in terms of cost, too.
Guentzel would require the largest return package, likely consisting of at least a first-round pick and a high-end prospect. Eberle, meanwhile, is likely in the range of a first-round pick and a lower-end prospect. Lastly, Tarasenko might be the most affordable option, a check down, some may say, as a pending UFA looking to cash in on his next contract.
And on Wednesday, The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek opined about five potential trades ahead of this years deadline, one of which had the Ottawa Senators trading Tarasenko to the Edmonton Oilers for prospect Raphael Lavoie.
There are many right wingers the Oilers could bid on to flesh out their top six — Tarasenko, Jake Guentzel from Pittsburgh, Jordan Eberle from Seattle, Pavel Buchnevich from St. Louis, Anthony Duclair from San Jose. In season, the Oilers have added veteran depth on the wing twice, first by bringing in Sam Gagner, then Corey Perry. Both will be useful depth players in what they hope is a long Stanley Cup run. But long term, neither is particularly suited to play top-six minutes, whereas Tarasenko can.
Remember, the Senators’ current general manager, Staios, worked in Edmonton’s front office, alongside Ken Holland, before leaving to join Ottawa. No one is more familiar with Edmonton’s prospect pool than Staios. And if Seattle falls out of the playoff race, Edmonton could also bid on Eberle and bring the former Oiler home. If the Oilers target Tarasenko or Eberle, that presupposes the Senators or Kraken believe there’s genuine value in Lavoie who, at 23, is an AHL All-Star but still a work in progress at the NHL level. On the plus side, 6-foot-4, 215-pound wingers sometimes take time to find their stride and if Lavoie ever finds his, that’s a quality both the Senators or the Kraken can use down the road.

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The trade as proposed would work, so long as the Senators would retain 50 percent of Tarasenko’s $5-million cap hit. Thanks to the Oilers’ accumulated cap space, they would be able to fit him in under the guise of one player being removed from the club’s active roster.
However, the Oilers would likely need to add more to entice the Senators to retain the needed salary. Would a third, or fourth-round pick work?
Tarasenko would check boxes for the Oilers. He’s a strong offensive player, who has played, by in large, on the Senators’ third line this year where he’s scored 11 goals and 25 points at 5v5, a 2.29 points per hour rate that would rank sixth on the Oilers behind Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman, Corey Perry, Leon Draisaitl, and Warren Foegele. According to hockeyviz.com, Tarasenko provides even-strength offence at a seven percent rate above league average, and defence at a 12 percent rate below league average, with overall impacts around a third-line rate.
He would be a great fit on Edmonton’s third line alongside Foegele and Ryan McLeod, helping add some offence to a duo that has struggled to produce together in that spot. Those two have been excellent defensive players for the Oilers and would surely be able to help cover up any of Tarasenko’s own-zone deficiencies.
While many point to the Oilers needing to add a top-six winger, the truth of the matter is scoring from that group hasn’t been an issue. It’s when McDavid and Draisaitl are off the ice that Edmonton struggles to produce, scoring just 1.77 points per hour at 5v5. That rate is below the 2.42 goals for per hour they scored in 2022-23, and the 2.09 rate from 2021-22.
Nonetheless, the clock is ticking with the NHL’s March 8th trade deadline 15 days away.

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@thenationnetwork.com.

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