The Edmonton Oilers will likely be sellers in just under three weeks when the NHL’s annual trade deadline comes around. The team has been a massive disappointment this season and at this point the playoff dream is no longer alive. At this point, Edmonton’s best bet is to simply build towards next season, preparing to contend in year four of the Connor McDavid era.
Among the players that could go at the deadline are forwards Mike Cammalleri, Mark Letestu and Patrick Maroon. Cammalleri is likely being showcased on the McDavid line as we speak, Letestu is a depth piece that will probably have a limited market, while Maroon is the big wild card in this group.
Maroon has a great relationship with Connor McDavid, enjoys playing for the Oilers and likes the city of Edmonton. On top of that, he’s an actual top-six forward at the NHL level and has proven chemistry with the game’s best player. You may think that’s easy, but as we have seen it hasn’t been a given for many guys.
Maroon is a really nice fit on a number of levels, and the Oilers are once more taking a shot at bringing him back for next season. I don’t know where the contract talks between these two will go, but for argument’s sake we will say they can’t get a contract done between now and February 26th. If that is the case, Maroon will likely be moving.
The Boston Bruins have expressed interest in the veteran power forward, and they are a very interesting match.
A Quick Look To Beantown:
The Bruins are the biggest surprise no one is talking about in the NHL this season. After barely sneaking into the dance a year ago, the B’s have erupted and become one of the east’s elite teams seemingly overnight. A young core led by David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy has just demolished the Atlantic Division this season and has Boston looking at a first round date with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Bruins won’t blow their brains out at the deadline, they have a ton of young pieces they want to build with and won’t go crazy, but they are in the market for a left-shot defender and a top-six winger. Maroon, along with Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman, have been names floated around in connection to Boston.
The Bruins love their power forwards, but currently lack that dynamic. The club signed Matt Beleskey in 2015, but he’s struggled mightily and is currently in the AHL with Providence. The Bruins would ideally like to replace him.
If the Oilers are going to trade Maroon, I think the price is going to be higher than many think. Look around the NHL, players like Rick Nash have an asking price of three pieces including a first round pick. Is Maroon at that level? No, he isn’t, but Nash is a shadow of his former self and overpriced at this point.
The Oilers will likely follow suit and ask for a nice return on Maroon, who is on pace for his second straight 20 goal season. I’d argue a second round pick and a mid-level prospect or a close to NHL ready prospect would be the asking price from Edmonton.
The Bruins, meanwhile, wouldn’t be willing to trade any major roster pieces at this point. I can also assure you they won’t be willing to trade their top prospects either. You can forget about Anders Bjork, Urho Vaakanainen, Trent Frederic, Danton Heinen or Jake DeBrusk. They aren’t moving.
Who could the Oilers get their hands on? Here are a few candidates.
C Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson: JFK is a former second round pick of the Bruins who plays a more two-way game than anything. The 6’1”, 184 pound center is currently a rookie pro with AHL Providence and has posted 13-15-28 in 46 games. He’s not playing on the top-line, but he is producing offense at a decent clip and playing a two-way game. The right-shot center is just 21 years of age and should be close to NHL ready.
F Austin Czarnik: It’s the proverbial bleep or get off the pot moment for Czarnik. At 25, he really isn’t a prospect anymore but still can’t crack the Boston lineup on a full-time basis. He’s an impact AHL’er, however, posting 13-29-42 in 38 games with the P-Bruins this season. This comes after he scored 6-17-23 in 26 tilts a year ago. Czarnik has three points, all assists, in eight NHL games this season. At this point, he’s likely nothing more than a depth scorer but is certainly worthy of an NHL look.
F Zach Senyshyn: A reach at 15th overall in 2015, Senyshyn hasn’t exactly taken off in his rookie pro season. With just 17 points (6-11-17) in 41 games, he’s been a bit of a disappointment for the Bruins. I’ve been told he still shows some serious flashes and improved as the year has gone on, but there is real concern this pick will turn out to be a miss. Perhaps a change of scenery could help the youngster?
F Peter Cehlarik: Arguably the best Bruin prospect you haven’t heard of, the 22 year-old Slovakian forward is ready for an NHL look. After going 20-18-28 in 49 regular season games last year in the AHL, Cehlarik has emerged as one of Providence’s best players in a small sample this year. He’s got 6-7-13 in 19 games, and has even cracked the Boston lineup on occasion (6 GP, 1-1-2). He’s got good size, skill, speed and has some upside. He’d be a fine risk.