Latest on the Oilers and Sharks – January 8, 2018
Could there be moves afoot soon for the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks? Read on to find out in your NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis recently suggested that if the Edmonton Oilers want to sell high on center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, now’s the time while he’s playing well. Willis examines the pros and cons of making this move. He concludes trading Nugent-Hopkins now “is a better idea than trading him a year from now. But that doesn’t mean it’s smarter than just keeping him.”
Willis also recently wondered if Oilers right wing Ryan Strome might become a dark horse trade deadline candidate. “His scoring has picked up markedly after a difficult October and he’s a right-shot centre/wing, all of which make him valuable.” Willis noted Strome, a restricted free agent at season’s end, needs to be qualified at his $3 million base salary this summer, which could prove difficult to peddle him to clubs with salary-cap concerns.
Allan Mitchell weighs in on what the Oilers might do with their free agents. He expects left wing Patrick Maroon, an unrestricted free agent in July, to be dealt. He wonders if the asking price is a younger player who’s already in pro hockey. He suggests the Boston Bruins could be a good fit.
Center Mark Letestu is another UFA who could go. Mitchell noted he has experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets, suggesting he could return to one of those clubs via trade for the right offer.
Veteran Mike Cammalleri might appeal to teams seeking scoring depth but the 35-year-old won’t fetch much of a return. As for Strome, Mitchell suspects he could be an offseason move given what the Oilers gave up to get him last summer. Anton Slephshev, Brandon Davidson and Matt Benning could also attract some interest in the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers become sellers, I expect a couple of their pending UFAs, such as Maroon, Cammalleri and Letestu, could hit the trade block in the coming weeks. Given the club’s current trajectory, I think that decision’s coming very soon. Strome could also be moved by the deadline.
Over the past two seasons, Nugent-Hopkins has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill. They could move him to get shed his $6 million annual cap hit but that’s not a certainty. I’ll be very surprised if he’s peddled at the deadline. I believe the Oilers want to keep him but it’ll depend upon how things shake out at the trade deadline, their salary-cap space this summer and what plans the club beyond this season. A change in management could see RNH hit the trade block this summer.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White wonders if the San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators might become trade partners. With the Senators in danger of missing the playoffs, winger Mike Hoffman is among the players believed to be available, which should interest the low-scoring Sharks.
Landing Hoffman, however, could prove difficult. He’s got a 10-team no-trade list, while the Sharks lack picks in the second and third rounds of the 2018 draft. They’re also unwilling to part with young forwards Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier, and Joakim Ryan ” and they don’t have an exceptional prospect pool.”
THE ATHLETIC: In a Jan. 2 mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz addressed a question regarding the possibility of the Sharks trading veteran defenseman Paul Martin, who’s missed most of this season to an ankle injury and is now the odd man out on the San Jose blueline. Kurz said we can only speculate over Martin’s future with the club but doesn’t believe we should assume he’s on the trade block just yet.
Regarding the possibility of the Sharks pursuing a high-talent playoff rental such as Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane, Kurz doubts they have the prospect depth available to make that move. He also notes their lack of picks in the second and third rounds of this year’s draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve suggested San Jose as a potential destination for Hoffman or Kane, but I must admit their unwillingness to part with their younger roster players and lack of available prospects and draft picks makes that unlikely now. They could add an affordable depth forward by the deadline but it now seems unlikely they’ll pursue bigger fish.
Martin, who turns 37 in March, isn’t likely to draw much interest. He’s on the downside of his career.