According to Sportsnet analyst and hockey insider Elliotte Friedman, the Edmonton Oilers have shifted the focus of their goaltending search and have a new target in mind.
While a guest on The Instigators podcast, Friedman noted that he’d heard many of the same reports regarding Edmonton’s interest in Matt Murray out of Pittsburgh. But, as sources have revealed the Oilers walked away from those talks because the asking price is too high, Friedman is adding that a new team and a new target might be in general manager Ken Holland’s sights.
Friedman believes Edmonton might be heavily in on talks involving Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper.
While the Coyotes season ended in disappointment and the team was badly outplayed in the final two games against a much stronger Colorado Avalanche team, Kuemper was a standout. He filled in for Antti Raanta and kept the Coyotes in a number of games they potentially didn’t deserve to be in. He also had a strong regular season, posting a .928 save percentage in just under 30 games.
Reports are that the Coyotes are making him available in trade this offseason.
Part of the decision being made in Arizona has to do with the team attempting to recoup draft picks after being dinged by the NHL for illegally testing players at the NHL Combine. The franchise was already shy of decent draft picks and without the ones taken by the NHL as penalties, the GM-less Coyotes are moving what they need to in an attempt to get those picks back.
Specifically, Kuemper is a player of note because will earn a lot of interest around the NHL and could fetch the team some of those missing picks. He is signed for two more years at $4.5 million per season and coming off a great year.
What Could the Oilers Give Back?
While Holland is unlikely to move his first-round pick this offseason, there might be a package that could include Jesse Puljujarvi and a later pick. Both assets would help the Coyotes.
And, if Edmonton could move off some salary in the deal, even better. The Oilers can’t necessarily afford to take on Kuemper’s $4.5 million for two more years, plus pay Mikko Koskinen $4.5 million for two more seasons without moving another player.
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