It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for me to dig around the NHL rumour mill and give you the goods! We’re less than a month away from the NHL trade deadline and we are slowly starting to see more and more names find their way into trade talks.
There’s no doubt that the Edmonton Oilers will be buyers but the market will probably determine just how much of a buyer they are. Earlier this week, Pierre LeBrun shared a quote from an NHL executive that leads me to believe that the market might favour buyers. The quote said that a lot of teams seem unwilling to part with first-round picks for rentals. In particular, it was in regard to Senators centre JG Pageau, but it rings true with the rest of the league.
If other teams are unwilling to pay high-prices for the big names like Pageau or even Kings winger Tyler Toffoli, then it will bring down the price of other names on the market. That’s a big benefit for the Oilers. I’m sure they’d love to add a name like Pageau, but I could also see the Oilers going to the ‘second-tier’ of available forwards.
There was an interesting piece that came out this week and it was done by Craig Custance (The Athletic). He fielded trade proposals from fans and then ran them past an NHL executive to see ‘who says no’. There were three interesting proposals that involved the Oilers.
One saw the Oilers trading Jesse Puljujarvi and a 3rd round pick to Ottawa for Jean Gabriel-Pageau. Shockingly, the executive said that the Oilers would probably say no since Pageau isn’t under team control. That surprised me because, for the most part, Oilers fans don’t feel Puljujarvi has a lot of value yet this executive seemed to think that Ken Holland wouldn’t part with him for a player that might fetch a first-rounder at the deadline. Maybe Puljujarvi has more value than we think?
Another trade saw the Oilers sending Adam Larsson and a 2021 third-round pick to Toronto for Andreas Johnsson and Jeremy Bracco. The executive didn’t love the deal for either side, but he didn’t dismiss it either saying that the core players, Larsson and Johnsson, would be of interest to the teams involved. I doubt anything like that happens at the trade deadline, but the fact this executive thought it made sense makes me think we could see a deal like this in the summer.
The Leafs no doubt have a lot of teams interested in their young forwards and I don’t think they will struggle to acquire a good defenseman if they want to trade someone like Kasperi Kapanen. Elliotte Friedman even linked them to Minnesota Wild d-man Matt Dumba, who seems like he would be a great fit in Toronto. My point: the Oilers are far from the only team interested in one of the Leafs young forwards and that’s going to drive the price up, and likely out of the Oilers range.
The third proposal saw the Oilers sending Darnell Nurse to Winnipeg for Nik Ehlers. The executive said that the Jets would pass on that deal and I get the sense the Oilers would as well. I think they really like Nurse and will focus on signing him to a long-term deal before they ever consider moving him.
There was another note in this piece that caught my eye. The executive said that the Red Wings could get a first-round pick for Andreas Athanasiou, who is a player I believe the Oilers have interest in. Based on how high the executive regards both Athanasiou and Puljujarvi, I wonder if a one-for-one deal between Edmonton and Detroit would make sense. Just spitballing though.
- LeBrun went on record to say that Sabres GM Jason Botterill is ‘open for business’ and that he is open to dealing defensemen Zack Bogosian and Rasmus Ristolainen. From an Oilers perspective, I don’t really see anyone on the Sabres roster that would be interesting. Their forwards aren’t much better than the Oilers. Apart from Evan Rodrigues, who still wouldn’t be a significant upgrade in the Oilers bottom six, there really isn’t anyone I’d like to see the Oilers go after.
- The Winnipeg Jets are reportedly hungry for a defenseman. Could the Oilers dangle one of Kris Russel or Matt Benning to land a forward? They wouldn’t get someone like Nik Ehlers, but the Jets have some nice complimentary pieces up front. Maybe a package for Jack Roslovic?
- Aaron Portzline from The Athletic in Columbus said that it’s more likely that the Blue Jackets trade Josh Anderson than extend the 25-year-old. The Oilers should be calling on Anderson, who I think would be a perfect fit in their top-six. One thing to remember is that Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen famously passed on Jesse Puljujarvi at the 2016 NHL Draft so I would doubt that he’d be interested in trading for him now. Any package likely wouldn’t involve the former fourth overall pick.