The market for defencemen is starting to heat up and the Edmonton Oilers are in the middle of the conversations.
According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Oilers have been working the phones. They’ve talked with the Arizona Coyotes about Jakob Chychrun. They’ve talked with the Montreal Canadiens about Joel Edmundson and interestingly enough, the Minnesota Wild about Matt Dumba.
Here’s what LeBrun has to say about all of the above:
The Oilers are scouring the market, looking at defense options. That was always the expectation, of course, but the point here is that veteran GM Ken Holland has been active of late making those calls and trying to get a realistic view of what’s available. So yes, I believe they’ve talked to Arizona about Jakob Chychrun, to Montreal about Joel Edmundson, and well, to about every selling team you can think of with a defenseman potentially up for grabs.The Oilers want to get a full understanding of what’s out there. The problem is the prices, in most cases, are sky-high this far out from March 3.We’ve talked before about the high price for Chychrun and will have more on that below. Edmundson won’t be cheap for the simple reason that the Habs don’t necessarily want to move him (he’s signed through next season so not a rental). Most notable defensemen on the market are going to be priced at at least a first-round pick right now because it’s January and, well, because Montreal got that last year for Ben Chiarot and Columbus got it two years ago for David Savard. Selling teams are using that as a jumping-off point.I don’t think Holland wants to make a panic move just because the team is struggling to find its footing. But I do think he’ll trade for a D eventually. The other thing is this: One trade won’t be a cure-all. The Oilers need improvement from within from a lot of players, especially defensively. That’s going to have a bigger impact than one trade alone.…My colleague from TSN, Darren Dreger, reported during our Insider Trading segment Tuesday evening that the Senators and Oilers have shown some interest in pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Matt Dumba. I think that’s another example of the Oil checking in on what’s out there.The Athletic’s Michael Russo has noted a few times that while the Wild aren’t shopping Dumba because they’re in a playoff spot, he could see the blueliner dealt as part of a hockey deal that helps the team this season.…The Coyotes remain patient on the Chychrun trade front, because well, they don’t actually have to move him before March 3. He’s signed for another two years after this season. But the desire is still there to move him for the right price.Speaking of which, while the price generally remains two first-round picks plus a prospect in exchange for Chychrun, I’m told the Coyotes are willing to be flexible depending on the quality of the prospect, for example. So there appears to be another avenue to make a deal happen, but the assets offered would have to equal the original asking price in the eyes of Arizona.
From the top: a first-round pick is too rich for Edmundson. If we look at both Chiarot and Savard, neither found any modem of success with the Panthers and Canadiens, respectively. I think Edmunson could be a fine third pairing defenceman, but a first-round pick for that is far too rich.
When it comes to Dumba, that’s an interesting name to pop out there. It doesn’t sound like there’s a deal to be had there and Dumba’s game has dropped off in the last year or two. He’s not a player I would be hard-up for.
Chychrun, however, is absolutely the belle-of-the-ball and the defenceman the Oilers should be ponying up for. His numbers are strong on a poor Arizona club, and it sounds like the price has come down a little bit. If the level of prospect needed is lowering, then the Oilers should absolutely pounce on this deal.
Could the Leafs trade for a goalie?
According to Daily Faceoff’s Mike McKenna, that’s exactly what they should do. His concern lies in the crease for the Leafs, feeling like the drop-off in play from Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov is of concern.
Here’s some of what he wrote:
At first glance, things are fine with the goaltending in Toronto. Newcomers Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray both sport .916 save percentages and have combined for 22 wins on the season.But a deeper dive reveals a worrisome trend in the Maple Leafs’ crease. In the past month of NHL action, Murray has posted an .886 save percentage. And Samsonov’s .890 isn’t much better.I don’t think the Leafs have been very tight in front of their netminders. But old habits are creeping into Samsonov’s game and opposing teams have figured out Murray’s weak spots.Toronto is absolutely stacked offensively. The Maple Leafs have cruised along to a 25-9-7 record with their current goaltending. But will Samsonov and Murray be good enough in the postseason?Maybe. But there’s also the added worry of each goaltender staying healthy. Samsonov and Murray have missed significant time already this year.Erik Kallgren isn’t the answer and Joseph Woll is still developing in the AHL after yet another injury sidelined him at the start of the season.If I’m Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, I’m adding a depth goaltender with NHL experience at the trade deadline. I think Reimer and Greiss could work. But Reimer does have some trade protection and previous ugly playoff history in Toronto. Who knows if the Leafs are a team he would rather not play for? And with Greiss, St. Louis may be in the Stanley Cup playoff hunt until the very end. So I’m not sure he’d be an option.
Brodie placed on IR
He missed 12 games earlier in this season with an oblique injury, but returned in December. He missed Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers and has eight points in 28 games this season.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Colton Davies wrote about Brodie:
The Leafs’ blueline has dealt with significant injuries between Muzzin, Rielly, and Brodie throughout this year. Brodie is currently in year three of a four-year $20,000,000 million contract he signed with the Leafs in 2020. The contract carries an average annual value (AAV) of $5,000,000.Furthermore, the Leafs called up Wainwright, Alberta native Bobby McMann from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL). McMann recently won the AHL Player of the Week after registering three goals and six points in three games. He has 15 points (8G, 7A) in 17 games this season. Last season, he registered 35 points (24G, 11A) in 61 games. He has not played an NHL game.The undrafted 26-year-old stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 207 pounds; he is an all-around big-bodied forward that possesses good offensive instincts. The former Alberta Junior Hockey League Most Valuable Player spent four years at Colgate University in the NCAA and in 145 career games he tallied 92 points (37G, 55A) to go along with 122 penalty minutes.
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 [email protected]