Refining the Oil – Top 4 RD Trade Targets


So far we’ve taken a look at RW scoring options and PP specialists. There is still one obvious area of need to consider: a top 4 right shot defender.

In all of the Kris Russell hubbub this season, it can set people off on both sides to say too much either way. I’ll say this – I like Russell, especially his mobility and puck moving skills. It’s possible to say that and still concede that an upgrade in his slot (2RD) would be hugely beneficial to the Oilers. In my mind, that’s where we stand.

I’ve put together another list of trade options, consisting of players I believe could become available and would be a significant upgrade to the depth chart on the right side. All of these players are playing in a top 4 role and are all right-hand shots, with one lone exception. The higher scoring options would also likely fill the oft-discussed void on the backend of the PP.

Agree with the list? Whom else would you include? Let us know in the comments!


Dustin Byfuglien

Career Statistics: 712 GP, 156 G – 262 A – 418 pts, CF% 53.5

Contract: Year #1 of 5 years X $7.6M, NMC, NTC

Oilers fans know Big Buff well; it seems he’s either scored on the Oil or injured an Oiler in every matchup since the Thrashers’ move to Winnipeg. Byfuglien would immediately become the Oilers’ best defenceman, and 2nd best player behind McDavid. His availability is suspect, but with Winnipeg struggling this season, you never know what might happen. The 32 year-old has a NMC and seems to like his life and role in Manitoba, and the Oilers would likely be better served looking for younger help.


Erik Johnson

Career Statistics: 552 GP, 60 G – 171 A – 231 pts, CF% 49.5

Contract: Year #1 of 7 years X $6M, NMC, NTC

What a bizarre career path Johnson has had. Wild injuries, high expectations, and unexpected trades have made for a strange NHL career. Johnson is an elite athlete, but has failed to become the dominant defender many saw hope for in his time with the Blues. Nevertheless, he’s developed into a solid top 4 option, capable of delivering offense, and physical defending. The Avalanche are dreadful this year (worse than the ‘Nucks!), and may abandon their current roster structure. Johnson has the right to provide them with a 19 team no trade list (CapFriendly), but if the 28 year-old is willing, he’d be a nice fit with the Oil. Not perfect, but nice.


Tyson Barrie

Career Statistics: 294 GP, 42 G – 124 A – 166 pts, CF% 47.7

Contract: Year #1 of 4 years X $5.5M, no trade restrictions

We already took a look at Tyson Barrie when considering PP specialists – like Byfuglien, he’d fill two needs in one fell swoop. What isn’t talked about often enough is Barrie’s overall game. He’s not a one trick pony and is a key part of Colorado’s transition game. His skating is elite, his puck skills are excellent; if there’s one concern with Barrie, it’s his consistency, game to game. I haven’t seen him enough to disagree, but I believe Barrie is the real deal and would be a phenomenal pickup. The mind boggles at the prospect of him and McDavid on the ice together. Also, he’s only 25.


Dougie Hamilton

Career Statistics: 293 GP, 40 G – 103 A – 143 pts, CF% 53.8

Contract: Year #2 of 6 years X $5.75M, Modified NTC in years #5 and #6

On the other hand, if you want to trade 20 first round picks, Dougie Hamilton might be your guy. All kidding aside, the Flames have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want to trade him, are not shopping him, and would need an absolutely insane bargain for them to part ways with Hamilton. This seems at odds, however, with Glen Gulutzan’s deployment of the defender; Gulutzan is keeping Hamilton under 20 mins/game, perhaps fueling the continuing belief amongst NHL insiders that the defender is, in fact, available. The 23 year-old is indisputably talented, but seems to come with his fair share of baggage. He’s good, and he’ll likely become excellent, but he’s not as much a sure thing as other players on the list. We know the Oilers have had interest in the past, but would Calgary really deal a player of Hamilton’s potential to their provincial rivals?


Hampus Lindholm

Career Statistics: 255 GP, 24 G – 72 A – 96 pts, CF% 53.1

Contract: Year #1 of 6 years X $5.205M (inflated cap ($5.7m) this year because he signed late)

Time for a break from all those right-handed shots. Lindholm is a lefty, but he’s so good it might not matter. I kid – the whole lefty-righty thing is very important – but at the same time, Lindholm is phenomenal. Was Anaheim’s apparent reluctance to commit to him long-term an indication that he might be available? I don’t know, but if he shakes loose the Oilers need to be on that. He’d instantly be their best defender. If he can produce more points, he will be a future Norris winner. Yes, I said that.


Jacob Trouba

Career Statistics: 230 GP, 24 G – 54 A – 78 pts, CF% 51.1

Contract: Year #1 of 2 years X $2.8M, (inflated cap ($3.3m) this year because he signed late)

Trouba is in the middle of an exhausting audition. He signed in Winnipeg, but left no question as to whether he still wanted a trade (he does). The Jets appear to be either showcasing him, or trying to convince him to stay, because he’s averaging over 23 mins/game right now. He’ll command a king’s ransom in a trade, but this season’s mediocre offensive output is playing into prospective buyers’ hands. Cheveldayoff has time, though, and Trouba is a big part of the Jets’ blueline in the meanwhile. When it comes to acquiring him, the primary fear for the Oilers would be his rumored reluctance to commit to a long-term future in Canada.


Jared Spurgeon

Career Statistics: 398 GP, 38 G – 103 A – 141 pts, CF% 49.3

Contract: Year #1 of 4 years X $5.187M, Modified NTC in years 2-4

Earlier this season, Spurgeon looked like a really good trade possibility for a struggling Minnesota team. Things have changed though; the Wild are on a fantastic little streak and, believe it or not, are legitimate contenders. Would Chuck Fletcher want to move as significant a piece as Spurgeon? Probably not, but if the Wild fall off the pace Spurgeon would become a very valuable trading chip. Somewhat surprisingly, Spurgeon has never scored even 30 pts in a season, so he might not be the offensive help the Oilers could use. Nevertheless, he’s good, and would fit with a transition team like the Blue and Orange.


Justin Faulk

Career Statistics: 354 GP, 54 G – 114 A – 168 pts, CF% 51.6

Contract: Year #3 of 6 years X $4.833M, no trade restrictions

Justin Faulk has an outstanding shot from the point and strong offensive instincts. He’s also seen a lot of success (especially on the PP) on relatively poor Carolina teams throughout his career. However, many have concerns over his ability to defend, a debate that calls into question just how vital he is to the future success of the Hurricanes. Is he available? He could be – the Hurricanes may already be out of the playoff race in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. Ron Francis could acquire a veritable plethora of pieces for the big name defender, as Faulk has an excellent contract, a history of offence, and is only 24 years old. He reminds this observer of Sheldon Souray, without the nasty.


Travis Hamonic

Career Statistics: 243 GP, 25 G – 117 A – 142 pts, CF% 48.9

Contract: Year #4 of 7 years X $3.857M, no trade restrictions

It was rumored for some time that Hamonic was coming to Edmonton in return for Taylor Hall, a move that never did come to fruition. Instead, Hall was sent to New Jersey for Adam Larsson, and the rest is history. The Islanders are toast, however, and whenever a team that was supposed to be good bombs like they have, roster makeup comes into question. They could hold off and hope for a Columbus-like rebound season next year, but what if moving Hamonic nabs you a good roster player, a solid defender, and a high draft pick? You’d think after what New Jersey got for Larsson, the Islanders will also be getting a massive overpay for Hamonic.


Chris Tanev

Career Statistics: 304 GP, 14 G – 53 A – 67 pts, CF% 51.4

Contract: Year #2 of 5 years X $4.45M, Modified NTC in years 3-5

The Canucks are terrible and directionless. They don’t seem to know whether they are “going for it” or rebuilding, whether their pain will be momentary or long-term. What they must know by now is that their team is horrendous. They are a long ways out of a playoff spot in the West and must be hoping against hope that the Sedins have one more Herculean effort in them, because nothing less is going to get the Dys into the post-season. Tanev is one of the legitimately excellent players they have, but is certainly of the less-than-flashy variety. It is unclear if the Canucks know what they have in him, and some of management’s previous moves make one wonder if they see Tanev as expendable. If they do trade him, there will be one very happy team, and one team going to very dark and scary places. I’ll let you decide which would be the Canucks.

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