Trades are beginning to take place and talks are inevitably heating up around the NHL. Kasperi Kapanen and Jake Allen have already been moved, a myriad of other names have been rumored to be on the move and a few teams seem to be front and center in the discussions.
Among those teams are the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers have a few glaring needs they’ll need to address for next season. Near the top of the list of to-dos is solidify their goaltending tandem, find a top-six winger — preferably for someone to play with Connor McDavid –, land a third-line center and dump some salary.
With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to discsuss (and perhaps suggest) a few trade options for Edmonton. Some of these options are already out there in the rumor mill while, to us, some other trades could make sense.
Granted, we’re well aware that not all of these trades are likely, but more best-case-scenario situations considering the salary cap. Still, we tried to account for everything and to employ a little wishful thinking while doing so.
Solid Goaltending Tandem
Rumors are out there that Edmonton has kicked tires on goaltenders Matt Murray and Frederik Andersen, among others. That’s worth noting because both of those goalies aren’t necessarily back-ups.
If the Oilers are looking at a better goalie tandem or to perhaps replace Mikko Koskinen, it might make sense that Edmonton look towards the Arizona Coyotes.
The Coyotes are in a situation where they’re about to take a whole lot less than market value for some of their stronger players. With virtually no draft picks of note over the next two seasons, speculation is that Arizona (who doesn’t have a full-time GM) will be looking to recoup picks and Kuemper is a name that’s out there.
He could be a good option for Edmonton.
He’s got two more seasons on his current deal at $4.5 million, the Coyotes want picks and they might be willing to retain some salary in a deal (probably not much since, after all, this is Arizona we’re talking about here.)
Kuemper got a ton of unexpected time in this year’s playoffs and performed fairly well. A .913 save percentage in nine postseason games played and a .928 save percentage in the regular season, this is not far off his numbers from the previous year where he posted a .925 save percentage in 55 games for the Coyotes.
This is the kind of starter the Oilers might be looking for and if the price is right, a potential opportunity.
Help For McDavid
This is perhaps a pipe dream, but would it not be incredible to see a 30-40 goal scorer like Patrik Laine in an Oilers uniform playing alongside the best player in the world?
The Case For Laine
Sure, it’s more money than the Oilers are likely to have available, but there were rumors Edmonton had interest in Taylor Hall. Hall would be more expensive in free agency than Laine would be if we’re talking salary per season. Max Domi makes some sense, but he’s up and down and has said he’d prefer not to play the wing on a permanent basis. Toronto’s Andreas Johnsson is out there, but he may not be a top-line guy.
Laine is the type of player who would excel alongside a center like McDavid and he’d relish every second out there on the ice with him. He’s a lock for 30-plus goals if healthy and if the argument becomes that he’s too expensive when his contract expires… guess what? You can trade him when his value is high and after having potted 45-50 goals playing on Edmonton’s top line. Laine will still be an RFA at the end of this current contract.
In fact, if you believe in Laine’s potential as a top-line winger, he’s actually more affordable now than he’ll ever be again and because Winnipeg needs defensemen, Edmonton can move out salary in the deal. For example, if Edmonton moves Adam Larsson and pieces (no, I’m not suggesting that’s a fair trade) to Winnipeg as part of the deal, it’s only a matter of $2-$2.5 million extra in cap space Holland has to account for. It’s that type of maneuvering the Oilers should attempt to do and will drastically improve their lineup.
If Laine is just not on the Oilers radar and would prefer to go for a player like Nikolaj Ehlers, that’s not bad back-up plan either. At least he’s got term on his deal and is a more rounded player who can move up and down the lineup.
A Third-Line Center
This is a position that will be interesting to watch for the Oilers. They can either try to find someone extremely inexpensive and hope they play up to the role as Riley Sheahan did last season, or they can invest a little in getting a center that can play top-six minutes in a pinch.
How Badly Does Max Domi to Rebound?
It might be wise for the Oilers to make a phone call to the Montreal Canadiens. Domi’s potential salary being above $3.5 million is problematic for Edmonton but he’s not just a third-line center. And, if he’s looking at playing with a couple stars like McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he could be convinced to ask for little more than his qualifying offer on a bridge deal.
Domi has said his preferred spot is the middle but he can play wing and he’s played quite well there. He’s another guy, that if on his game can produce points with some talented players. Edmonton certainly has a few of those types.
The question will be what Montreal wants in return for him in trade. If the ask is too high, Edmonton may need to look at less costly options.
Stranger Things Have Happened
These trades aren’t perfect. Some of them would be extremely tricky to pull off given the Oilers cap issues and a tighter salary cap this season.
But, imagine the damage Edmonton could do if one or more of these players were all of a sudden in orange and blue?
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