Check out the ongoing Edmonton Oilers trade speculation.
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector believes it’s only a matter of time until the Edmonton Oilers swing a major trade, most likely during the 2016 NHL Draft. He believes GM Peter Chiarelli will pursue a N0. 2 or 3 defenseman (Spector doesn’t expect he’ll find a No.1 blueliner), pointing out he was unafraid to make a big trade when he was GM of the Bruins.
Consensus among some GMs and coaches Spector spoke with indicates left wing Taylor Hall would fetch the biggest return, though Hall is the Oilers’ most productive player and is improving his defenseman game. A more likely trade candidate is center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, as he would fetch more than winger Jordan Eberle. Neither defenseman Justin Schultz or winger Nail Yakupov would fetch returns that would significantly improve the Oilers, as they’re best seen as complimentary pieces.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (a childhood friend of Oscar Klefbom) would be an obvious trade target if the Oilers want to improve their defense. He feels the Wild need a center instead of a winger in return.
Jonathan Willis believes the Oilers should seriously consider dealing Justin Schultz at the trade deadline in hopes of getting the best possible return. A restricted free agent next summer, Willis feels Schultz could be considered a playoff rental player, allowing the team that acquires him to simply not bother re-upping him if they’re unhappy with the blueliner’s performance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also believe Chiarelli will make a major move during next June’s draft to boost his defense. I also wouldn’t rule out his pursuit of a goaltender as well.
Hall would certainly fetch the best return but I don’t believe Chiarelli wants to move the guy who will likely become the Oilers’ captain next season. If he’s comfortable with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as his top-two centers, Nugent-Hopkins becomes the obvious trade candidate. If they shop him to the Wild, however, they might have to pick up part of RNH’s $6 million annual cap hit to make the dollars work for the Wild, or the latter will have to shed salary in a separate deal.
Schultz and Yakupov don’t have much value now. Rather than ship out either guy on their own, perhaps packaging one of them with RNH is an option.