Latest Oilers Rumors – March 12, 2018
Looking ahead to some possible offseason moves by the Edmonton Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples doesn’t see the Oilers moving center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, forward Leon Draisaitl or defenseman Oscar Klefbom. Instead, he thinks Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli could shop draft picks, including their 2018 first-round selection, which will be a lottery pick. He also doesn’t rule out the possibility of Chiarelli dealing away young winger Jesse Puljujarvi.
If Chiarelli targets a team with salary-cap trouble, Staples thinks the Oilers could get a good veteran player with their second-round selection in this year’s draft. If the Oilers target someone such as Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, their first-round pick (along with someone such as Klefbom) might make sense. However, if the Oilers win the draft lottery, Staples feels they’ll “almost certainly” retain that pick.
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell has some suggestions on how the Oilers can improve their roster this summer without breaking the bank. Among them could be pursuing players such as Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou, Calgary’s Sam Bennett or Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman via the trade market or Columbus winger Thomas Vanek via free agency. Some promising AHL players could include Pittsburgh’s Daniel Sprong, Winnipeg’s Brendan Lemieux, Calgary’s Andrew Mangiapane or Arizona’s Nick Merkley.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming Chiarelli remains the Oilers’ general manager, he’ll be expected to make at least one significant move to improve the roster for next season and beyond. I agree with Staples that Draisaitl and Klefbom aren’t going anywhere. While moving Nugent-Hopkins would clear his $6-million cap hit, they seem reluctant to go that route.
As for Puljujarvi, TSN’s Darren Dreger recently reported the Oilers denied speculation around the trade deadline suggesting they could move the 19-year-old winger. Of course, they could change their minds if they get a good offer this summer, but I don’t see them actively shopping Puljujarvi. I believe they want to be patient with him.
Their 2018 first-round pick could attract considerable attention if Chiarelli is wiling to move it. Indeed, if Edmonton wins the draft lottery again, that pick could garner them a significant return. The Oilers will likely retain that pick if it becomes first overall but it would certainly be worthwhile to at least listen to offers. I can see Chiarelli shopping his second-round pick as Mitchell suggested to clubs looking to shed some salary. That pick might help them land a young NHL player or one of those promising AHL players.
Athanasiou has faced some criticism over his performance. I don’t think the Wings are ready to part with him yet but it certainly could be worth looking into. The Flames could move Bennett this summer but probably not to their rival in Edmonton, as the last thing they’ll want is to risk seeing him blossom there.
Hoffman carries a modified no-trade clause and might be unwilling to to go to Edmonton. If he is, however, it’s a move that could be worth exploring. Vanek could be an affordable option but his age (34) could be a concern.