It’s crunch time. The stove has been turned on. It is now hot and ready to cook. After the Vancouver Canucks traded Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders, the trade market is open for business.
The Edmonton Oilers have been very prominently featured in rumours for, well, nearly everyone at this point. They are openly wanting to be major players in the trade market. And for good reason, this is a season they entered the year expected to be contenders by fans and media but have disappointed as holes in the roster keep causing issues.
They have a few good trade pieces and most of their upcoming draft picks (including their second round picks the next two seasons, which is weird considering Ken Holland passes those out like candy on Halloween). But, they have little to no cap space, creating major difficulties in actually making a trade.
That being said, there are a few options of players who could be added to trades as a cap dump that would free up the space needed. From there, the team might actually be able to add a worthwhile player to the team.
Here are four Edmonton Oilers who are most likely to be traded at the deadline.
Whatever is going on behind the scenes with Jesse Puljujarvi and the Edmonton Oilers, it is clear that the team does not have a spot for him. He continually ends up playing roles that do not match his skill set. Even though he is doing what is asked of him, such as leading the team in hits playing in a checking line role averaging 12 and a half minutes of ice time per game, that is not the ideal place in the lineup for him.
In the past, Puljujarvi spent time playing with the Oilers’ superstars and was an effective player even if he wasn’t scoring. But this season, his ice time and role are limited and although he is putting up a reasonable performance in advanced stat categories, it is not nearly as impressive as it was in the past.
Puljujarvi’s $3 million AAV is a prime candidate for a cap dump to a team that might have a better spot in the lineup for the struggling winger in need of a change of scenery.
Tyson Barrie is currently the Oilers’ leading scorer among defenders with 34 points in 50 games. He runs the powerplay but is usually slotted in on the third pairing at even strength as he isn’t the best at defense. His $4.5 million cap hit might be better suited on another team, especially since the Oilers are looking to acquire another defender who might be better defensively.
It seems a bit counter-intuitive to trade away the best offensive defender the team has in the leadup to a playoff push, but this type of risk may have to be made to improve the team overall. Even though Evan Bouchard has struggled this season, he is next in line to take over the powerplay after Barrie, so now may be the time.
Kailer Yamamoto has had a rough season. He is not performing as well as expected, with just four goals and 12 points in 31 games. Though that may be largely linked to his injury troubles that have led to him missing 19 games thus far.
Nevertheless, Yamamoto’s $3.1 million AAV over the next two seasons may also be better spent elsewhere, acquiring a specific piece to fill a roster hole on defense. The Oilers have been finding success running with 11 forwards and seven defenders, so trading away a forward may not cause as much of a disruption as it might in a regular lineup composition
The only player on this list who is not struggling and/or viewed as a cap dump is Philip Broberg. The 21-year-old defender is likely the Oilers’ most valuable trade chip (of players available for a trade). And would almost certainly be the focal point of any trade bringing back a high-end defender.
In 24 games this season, Broberg only has four points. But that is not where he is shining. Though he is getting limited and sheltered minutes, he is quietly one of the more reliable defenders on the roster right now. In fact, there were talks that the Oilers might not have to trade for a second pairing left defender because they want to try him in that spot and fill the hole internally.
Broberg’s advanced stats are incredible in his partial season, leading the team in corsi for, fenwick for, and expected goals for percentages. His performance in his limited role thus far would be appealing to a lot of teams looking to trade away their veterans to start a rebuild. A high-end defensive prospect already a few years into his development makes him an attractive trade target the Oilers may have to begrudgingly part with at the deadline.
Those are four current Edmonton Oilers who are the most likely to be traded at the upcoming trade deadline. A major focus of any move the Oilers make is finding a way to free up the cap space required to bring in a better player. But they still have to give up something of value to entice a team to take on extra salary. Who would you add to this list? Drop a comment down below!
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