It might seem far off, but the February 25th NHL trade deadline is only about a month away. We’ve already seem some teams start to make moves, and it seems to be like the smoke is thicker this year. It’s a buyers market right now, meaning we could see a plethora of moves over the next little while.
The Edmonton Oilers are a bubble team, a disappointing reality in year four of Connor McDavid’s career. The organization is getting a ton of heat both locally and nationally, and they are absolutely feeling it. The ‘full court press‘ is on as the Oil go all in for scoring help ahead of the deadline, in search of not just one but potentially two forwards to add to the group.
We’ve heard a lot of things, with the Oilers prominently featured on The Fourth Period’s ‘Trade Watch List‘ as recently as Friday afternoon. Peter Chiarelli is on the hunt right now, there is no doubt about it. He’s not just trying to save the club’s season, he’s also fighting to save his career.
Chiarelli’s Wish List:
What is Peter Chiarelli looking for? I think it’s pretty simple, he’s looking for forward help. The top priority, especially with Oscar Klefbom close to a return, is to add a winger to the top-six forward group. Preferably, the Oilers want a player with speed and goal scoring ability and that could fit with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl.
The club is also in the market for a third line center. Colby Cave was plucked off waivers during the week, but he’s not seen as a long-term option for that spot. The Oilers were hoping Ryan Spooner could fill that role, but that hasn’t worked out at all. Indications are they have checked in on Pittsburgh’s Derick Brassard to potentially fill the spot.
Outside of those two areas, I don’t think the Oilers would say no to a top-four defender that could help on the powerplay. That kind of trade doesn’t normally happen during the season, however, so I don’t think that is the top priority at this time.
If you are an Oiler fan, you should be keeping an eye on forwards this deadline season. Chiarelli wants at least one, with the organizational goal being to acquire two prior to the deadline.
Buckle up friends.
Between now and the deadline, I’ll be rolling out pieces matching the Oilers with each of the sellers that makes sense to deal with. Not all of the sellers have what Edmonton is looking for, while some of the teams probably aren’t a good match for other reasons.
Here is a list of the teams Edmonton could be dealing with in the next little while.
New York Rangers: The Oiler/Ranger pipeline is alive and well, with the sides hooking up on the Ryan Strome-for-Ryan Spooner trade earlier this season. The Rangers have a few forward pieces (Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello) that could make sense as rental options for Edmonton, while Chris Kreider is of interest for the Oil and has a year left on his deal. There are a few forwards that makes sense here that will certainly be dealt in the next few weeks.
Ottawa Senators: You want sexy? Mark Stone and Matt Duchene could be on the move from Ottawa. Both of those players would move the needle and give Edmonton a second scoring line. You want secondary scoring? Ryan Dzingel is going to be traded and he’s also going to score 20 goals this season. JG Pageau could be an ideal third line center for Edmonton, and he’s likely to be dealt between now and the deadline as well. There’s a lot to work with here, especially if Edmonton is willing to move their first round pick.
Detroit Red Wings: At least two top-six forwards (Thomas Vanek, Gustav Nyquist) are likely on the move from Detroit, while Jimmy Howard and Mike Green could be options too. There are some fits for Edmonton in Detroit and they will certainly be selling.
St. Louis Blues: I’m not sure it matters that the Blues are in the race with Edmonton. Doug Armstrong likes to get bold, and he has a number of veteran pieces that are familiar to Ken Hitchcock. A Patrick Maroon reunion could be cheap and effective if the Oil go bargain bin shopping. It looks like Maroon will be moved.
Los Angeles Kings: Will they trade within the division? Remains to be seen, but the Kings have some intriguing veteran options that could help Edmonton in the stretch drive. Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter really stick out to me.
Other teams that could be a fit: Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina and Philadelphia fall into the unique category of both buyer and seller as we approach this deadline.