We are one week away from the first round of the NHL Draft and while things are fairly quiet right now, it will not stay that way for long. Things will get wild and I fully expect that once one big move happens, there will be an avalanche of news that follows.
For the Oilers, there are a few things that we can expect to hear about relatively soon. There were reports a few weeks ago that the Oilers wanted to hear a decision from both Mike Smith and Duncan Keith regarding their futures by July 1st. Well, that day is coming and we should hear some solid reporting in the next 24 hours.
My best guess: Keith returns and Mike Smith goes on LTIR for the whole season.
Jason Gregor sent out a very interesting idea surrounding Duncan Keith though and I think it’s actually pretty realistic.
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The Keith contract would be VERY intriguing for Arizona, which has been open about acquiring cap space for assets. If they acquired Keith and bought him out, they would have a $4.5 million cap hit on their books next season but would only have to pay $500k in real dollars. They would also get an additional year with a $500k cap hit and another $500k in real dollars. The Oilers would also likely give them a mid-round pick or a mid-tier prospect.
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For the Oilers, they would get $5.5 million off their books and could re-sign Keith as a free agent for $1 million. That means Keith would make an additional $1 million in salary on top of his buyout payout, the Coyotes would get closer to the salary floor without spending a lot of real dollars, and Edmonton can use that leftover money to improve their team elsewhere. This is the kind of move that Ken Holland should aggressively pursue.
I also don’t hate the idea of making this a bigger move. Would the 29th overall pick get you both Lawson Crouse and be enough for the Coyotes to do you a solid and buyout Keith? It’s a steep price, but honestly, it might be worth it.
The other thing that we could expect to hear about soon is a potential Zack Kassian buyout. The window opens on Friday. The team could also wait and try to include Kassian in a trade and then hope that a second-buyout window gets opened up for them later in the summer through a player electing to go through arbitration. That is another option.
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That’s about all for the Oilers, let’s check in on a few things around the league.

THE NEXT DOMINO

Welcome to the Pacific Division, Kevin Fiala! The Kings moved a first-round pick (#19 overall) and a prospect to the Minnesota wild in order to acquire Fiala. The Kings also promptly signed the forward to a seven-year extension with a cap hit just under $8 million. That’s a big ticket but Fiala is coming off a year where he popped home 33 goals and 85 points. It’s a deserved pay day for him.
It’s the first real big domino to fall this offseason and it could really kick start the trade market.
I would imagine that things will heat up on the Alex DeBrincat front soon and honestly, I think whichever two teams miss out on Fiala will be looking hard at DeBrincat. The interesting thing with him is that his cap hit for next season is just over $6 million so if the Blackhawks decide to keep 50% of his deal for next year, the list of suitors could really expand. Basically, every contender would be calling for a shot at acquiring a 40-goal scorer with a cap hit of around $3 million.
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This also makes me wonder how aggressive the Devils could be when it comes to moving the second overall pick. There are legit reports out there saying that they’re open to it. The Devils want to get better now and moving that pick could really accelerate their rebuild. It’s risky but if there was ever a draft class where I could see a team moving out of the top three, it’s this one.

LATEST ON GAUDREAU

Frank Seravalli said earlier this week on The Daily Faceoff Show that the Flames are still talking with Gaudreau but progress isn’t really being made. He also added that if Gaudreau gets to the open market, the most likely outcome is that he signs elsewhere. 
The Flames of course can offer Gaudreau an eighth year on a contract and that makes it really hard for another team to outbid them. That leads me to believe that if it was all about money, Gaudreau would have signed already. It’s clearly about more than that.
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If they miss on Gaudreau, I wonder how aggressive they’d be on the free agent market. They still have to sign Matt Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane and neither will be cheap. I think they may have to go the trade route to replace Gaudreau’s production.

QUICK HITS

  • Frank Seravalli says that the Canadiens have been getting offers from multiple teams for forward @Josh Anderson. He added that it will take a sizable offer to get Anderson from the Canadiens. There are reports that the Islanders would consider moving the 13th overall pick for him. That’s insane to me.
  • Seravalli also said that he does not expect James Van Riemsdyk to be moved this summer. Instead, he sees JVR as more of a trade deadline move.
  • Sounds like there is a real chance that the Avalanche find a way to keep Nazem Kadri. Valeri Nichuskin may have priced himself out of the Avs range though. I wonder if the Oilers will be interested in him. The contract ask would worry me though.
  • Seravalli and others are reporting that David Quinn is the clubhouse leader to be the next Head Coach of the Boston Bruins.
  • Jack Campbell to Detroit? Friedman wondered about that earlier this week. Seravalli thinks the Devils are really into Campbell as well.
  • Is James Reimer on the trade market? Sounds like it. I would expect the Oilers to make a call. There was talk that they could be interested in him back at the deadline. I’ll have more on that tomorrow!