As Monday comes and the NHL Trade Deadline is well underway, most of the action on deadline day does not surround the Edmonton Oilers. That doesn’t mean the Oilers won’t be involved.
While the team is certainly not a buyer, the Oilers aren’t opposed to making a “hockey trade” and while it’s uncertain as to whether or not they are officially sellers, with such a tight Western Conference race, Edmonton won’t be shy about moving some contracts that likely won’t help much in the event they make the postseason.
The Oilers have a game on Monday evening against the Nashville Predators but management chose to stay back in Edmonton and run trade deadline operations from their home base. That suggests, at the very least, the team is looking to do something.
Here are a few options:
Alex Chiasson on the Move?
The name brought up most often out of Edmonton is Alex Chiasson. A winger who was signed on a professional tryout in the offseason, he’s exceeded expectations. The problem for Chiasson is that he’s been ice cold since mid-December and it’s hard to know what he really is.
Edmonton will likely move him if they get anything better than a third-round draft pick in return, but moving him doesn’t solve their salary cap problems for next season. In fact, the Oilers have discussed the idea of an extension.
Zack Kassian is a Popular Guy
Kassian offers a lot of the attributes teams may look for at this time of the season. He’s a big body, he’ll willing to hit and fight, he’s got speed and good hands and he knows his role. He’s not a top-line guy, but he can provide a useful role for a team. For all those reasons, the Oilers have talked about keeping him and their preference might be to do so.
That said, if the offers come in for Kassian and there is a good return there, he’s just under $2 million in cap space off the books next season and he’s streaky. He’d be worth moving if the Oilers can accomplish some of the goals they set out to accomplish heading into Monday’s deadline day.
Matt Benning Could Help the Oilers Clear Space
Matt Benning serves as a useful third-pairing defenseman but he’s also making $1.9 million on the books next season. He’s a player that can be replaced in the lineup or less expensive defensemen can be found in the offseason to fill in his role if the Oilers can move him at this year’s deadline.
He’s not talked about much, but he’s got a dirty streak to his game that a lot of GM’s like. He also possesses a decent shot from the point. He may be the surprise move for the Oilers on Monday.
Fix the Alex Petrovic Mistake
Edmonton needs to rectify the move made by Peter Chiarelli when he sent Chris Wideman and Jason Garrison to the Florida Panthers. This is not to say that Edmonton should take back a contract, but if they can somehow grab a later-round draft pick for Petrovic, they should jump on the opportunity.
Milan Lucic the Big Surprise?
It would be crazy to think it would happen but there is talk out there that some teams might inquire about Milan Lucic. The reason is that teams like Ottawa have dumped so many pieces they need to get to the salary cap floor and a player like Lucic could help them do so.
The issue here is that Lucic has a no-move clause and it seems unlikely he would waive it to go to Ottawa. Moving what’s left on Lucic’s deal could go a long way to help Edmonton relieve some of its cap burdens over the next few seasons. If they can somehow pull off that trade, it would be a small miracle.
Other Oilers Options
- The Oilers should try to move Brandon Manning. There won’t be many if any takers.
- There were whispers the Oilers might move Kris Russell to shed his salary. I don’t believe that will be the case and Russell has been reliable, even though he’s often been the whipping boy in some respects.
- If the Oilers can move Tobias Rieder, they may try. He’s got 11 assists on the season and no goals.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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