If last night’s 4-3 shootout victory proved anything, it is that the Edmonton Oilers very much still only go as far as Connor McDavid drags them. Outside of McDavid, only Kris Russell, Darnell Nurse and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins turned in strong nights, with Alex Chiasson playing an okay game.
The Oilers, however, are still in the thick of the playoff chase and have ample pressure to make the dance. With ticket and suite renewals coming up, the Oil simply cannot afford another spring without playoff hockey in Rogers Place. That means we can expect GM Peter Chiarelli to empty the tank over the next few weeks in an effort to not only save this season, but to save his career as well.
Unless the wheels fall off this thing, which is still possible, the Oil will be buying over the next few weeks in order to move the needle a bit. The main area of concern? The wing position, where the Oilers are getting nothing production wise. While many are hoping for one addition at that spot, the club is hoping for potentially two players between now and the deadline.
As a result of the expected activity, the Oilers were featured prominently in The Fourth Period’s 2019 Trade Watch List. Not just as a buyer either, no, the Oilers were also listed as a seller in some aspects.
A few Oilers are listed inside the top 30, but there are no surprises here. Potentially the best sign in this regard? Jesse Puljujarvi is no where to be found as of the most recent update.
18. Cam Talbot: This is Talbot’s last season in Edmonton. The Oilers tried trading him last season and in the summer, but held on to him, hoping he’d rebound for them. He’s fallen out of favor there and if a deal can be figured out, he’ll make the move.
Talbot moving on wouldn’t be a surprise. He’s been better than people have given him credit for this season, but overall he hasn’t been the goalie that the club was hoping he would be since 2016-17. Talbot appears to be getting a bit of a push right now, and one wonders if that is the Oilers showcasing him.
Islanders and Sharks are interested suitors according to TFP.
27. Milan Lucic: The Oilers will have to eat a decent portion of his salary, but Lucic is still very much in play. If Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli can find the right move, he’d gladly pull the trigger on a deal.
After requesting a trade last off-season, Lucic has been unable to find his game. He has just two goals this season and has been a liability more nights than not. I’m not sure, even though he is in play, how there would be a market for him. Chiarelli can, and should, try and move Lucic, but a buyout this summer seems far more likely if anything.
3. Kevin Hayes: The Rangers’ plan is long-term, and right now it appears as if trading Hayes makes the most sense for a club looking to bring in additional assets and draft picks. It will be interesting to see if teams will be granted permission to work out an extension before a deal is finalized, and that would affect the overall price, too.
Hayes is a very solid producer who has 33 points (10-23-33) in 39 games this season. He’s not a top-line threat, but Hayes could be a real nice option for the Oilers on the second line. A left-shot forward who can play both center and wing, Hayes could be a nice fit. The Oilers being interested shouldn’t be a surprise, but the price is likely to be a little too high.
4. Wayne Simmonds: The Flyers and Simmonds will continue to discuss the possibility of an extension, but until one is reached, there’s a chance the Flyers receive an offer too good to pass up for this power forward.
The Oilers have been after Simmonds for a long time, dating back to his days as an LA King. Simmonds would instantly be Edmonton’s top winger, and would bring offensive ability and the heavy game GM Peter Chiarelli loves. I think Simmonds will be Edmonton’s top target heading into the deadline. Simmonds has just 13-6-19 in 44 games.
6. Jimmy Howard: Howard’s in the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent in July. The Red Wings want a first-round draft pick as part of a package for him and you have to wonder if a team is willing to pay that price.
When you couple it with the Talbot bit, it is very interesting to see the Oil in on Howard. A first-round pick is far too high of a price to pay, but Howard could be a nice addition for the Oilers as they push for a playoff spot. Talbot hasn’t been able to run with the job, while Mikko Koskinen is still a very unproven option. Howard is 11-12-5 this season with a .916 save percentage.
7. Alec Martinez: With two more years left on his contract after this season, Martinez adds a little extra long-term thinking to a team’s short-term needs. He’s available for the right price, it’s just a matter of what LA can swindle in return.
Another top-four, veteran defender would be a nice fit for Edmonton. That said, Martinez is another left-shot D and has term left on his deal. I’m not sure he is the ideal fit, especially when you consider the Oil could run Oscar Klefbom, Nurse and Caleb Jones on the left side in a few weeks.
13. Duncan Keith: The expectation is trade talk surrounding Keith will get louder as the days inch closer to the Feb. 25 deadline. He has a full no-movement clause and a big salary the Hawks would need to eat a portion of, but would he waive for another shot at a Stanley Cup outside of Chicago?
If Chiarelli wants to make a blockbuster, this could be it. I still value Keith as a top-pairing defender in this league, but the left-shot D is 35 and starting his decline. It would be a risky move, and I’d argue it would need to see Lucic going to other way. Edmonton and Toronto are the listed suitors, and Toronto makes more sense in my mind.
23. Michael Ferland: If the Hurricanes can’t get Ferland inked to an extension, they’re going to try to move him by the deadline. Carolina’s already reportedly had calls about him and those discussions could escalate as the weeks progress.
A legit top-six forward with goal scoring ability and some serious jam, Ferland in Edmonton is a very interesting thought. The former Flame could be a terrific response to Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk. Ferland, like Simmonds, is a perfect Chiarelli player and would be Edmonton’s best winger upon arrival. He’d likely be strictly a rental, however, and might be a little too rich for Edmonton’s blood in terms of trade cost.