Should Anyone Actually Expect Oilers Deadline Moves?

With only four days until the NHL Trade Deadline, Darren Dreger said on TSN, he doesn’t believe the Oilers have the “assets to do a whole heck of a lot.” Is that true? Are the Oilers are team not worth watching heading into what is expected to be a very busy deadline day?

Interest in Alex Chiasson…But

Dreger started by saying the Edmonton Oilers are taking calls on Alex Chiasson. “Chiasson is a player of interest based on the unbelievable year that he’s had,” said Dreger. That may be true and the speculated asking price by the Oilers is second-round draft pick.

Edmonton Oilers Alex Chiasson Connor McDavid
Edmonton Oilers right wing Alex Chiasson and Connor McDavid (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

There is also speculation the Oilers are looking to re-sign Chiasson and the team is worried about moving any forwards at the deadline considering they are down a few players. Until earlier Thursday, Connor McDavid was down with the flu, Jesse Puljujarvi left a practice with a mysterious injury and the Oilers are publicly stating they don’t believe they are officially out of it yet.

If the team thinks it has any hope of making a playoff run over the last 20 games, they’ll need Chiasson, but they’ll also need him to start producing since he’s been essentially invisible on the score sheet since mid-December.

Related: Oilers’ Plan One Week From NHL Trade Deadline

Zack Kassian Garnering Interest

“Teams going into the playoff like to have a little extra bite,” says Dreger. He added that calls are coming in and despite Kassian picking up his game over the past few, the Oilers are still losing and Kassian has another season after this one with $1.95 million on the books. One of the mandates for the Oilers is to move salary and moving Kassian, if there is a taker, certainly helps in that regard.

Zack Kassian
Edmonton Oilers’ Zack Kassian celebrates a goal with the bench. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Again, if the Oilers believe they have a shot at the postseason, Kassian is a player they might want. He’s been getting time on that top line with McDavid and it’s hard to know if that is because the team is showcasing him or if they actually feel he can contribute. His salary is high but not so high that he’s viewed as one of the trouble contracts going into next season. If he were a fourth-liner that would be different but he’s not been over the past dozen games.

Related: NHL Rumor Shootdown: Hall to Oilers Not Happening

Darnell Nurse Isn’t Going Anywhere

Dreger added that the Oilers are receiving regular calls on Darnell Nurse but the team has no interest in moving him. “The Oilers will not take away from their four or five guys who they know are their decent players.” Nurse has 28 points in 58 games for the Oilers this season and he’s been one of the bright spots for the team despite their losing record.

Jesse Puljujarvi Injured

Dreger said Puljujarvi’s injury is actually more of a long-term thing and that means the likelihood of a trade is small at best. The Oilers want to move him down to Bakersfield as soon as that injury clears up and to be honest, the team has not thrown in the towel on the young Finn even though there are reports he’s unhappy with his role on the team.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Can the Oilers Get Creative?

Bob McKenzie was asked if there was any way the Oilers could move one of Milan Lucic, Andrej Sekera or Kris Russell to get their huge contracts off the books. After a little chuckle, McKenzie suggested that perhaps the Senators look at adding salary if they move Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and others.

Citing the fact the Sens will need to get to the salary cap floor, they might take on some deals where they bring in money. But, should the Senators do that, they’ll look to take advantage of doing the Oilers a favor and ask for Puljujarvi and something else to do it. Not knowing how Edmonton would feel, McKenzie did suggest that perhaps a new GM would think that’s a worthwhile deal.

When all is said and done, it doesn’t sound like the Oilers will be a very busy team over the next four days.

Listen to The Latest Edition of the Hockey Writers Podcast

With only four days left, we cover the big stories in the trade deadline this week.