The Edmonton Oilers have found their bottom-six forward. Elliotte Friedman reported that the Oiler acquired Nick Bjugstad from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for the third-round pick in 2023 and prospect Michael Kesselring. The Coyotes have retained 50% of his $900,000 cap hit, bringing it down to $450,000.
The Oilers only had $450,000 in available cap space, which is why the retention from the Coyotes happened. It has been reported that Edmonton was looking to acquire another depth forward. Bjugstad, who has had a good season to this point with Arizona, could find himself playing an important role for the club down the stretch.
Oilers add Depth
Bjugstad, 30, has 23 points in 59 this season. In the last handful of games leading up to this trade, he was sitting out for trade related-reasons. Now that this deal has happened, he will report to Edmonton and help the team secure a spot in the postseason. He played a significant role with the Coyotes this season, and that was what started the trade rumours. It is no secret that the Coyotes are selling off all their assets, and with the Oilers trying to take over the west, which is wide open, this trade makes perfect sense for them.
Bjugstad has been in the NHL for 11 seasons, split between five teams (including the Oilers). He has spent time with the Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, and of course, the Coyotes. On all of those teams, there is one commonality. He provides secondary scoring. At 6-foot-6, 209 pounds, he also forechecks well, he uses his size to get in on the forecheck and win puck battles. That is an asset on its own, especially for a team like the Oilers, who tend to lack that kill in their bottom six. Bjugstad will most likely be the third-line center for the club. The Oilers may use Bjugstad with Klim Kostin, who can both use their size and cause havoc on the opponent.
Related: 2023 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker
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The Oilers also get Cam Dineen in the trade. The 24-year-old, left-shot defenseman is expected to report to the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League (AHL). The Condors are Edmonton’s AHL affiliate. Although he is a minor piece to the deal, he still provides the Oilers with depth in the positions. The former third-round pick has 35 points this season with the Tuscan Roadrunners, which is the Coyotes’ American league affiliate.
Arizona Continues to Sell
It seems like the only household name that is going to be left on the Coyotes is Clayton Keller. The team has already traded Jakob Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators, as well as Shayne Gostisbehere to the Carolina Hurricanes. This leaves, Keller, Lawson Crouse, and Karel Vejmelka left. There are reports that both Crouse and Vejmelka are generating interest, but no reason to believe that either will be traded. This was the plan of Coyotes general manager (GM) Bill Armstrong though. He wanted to completely rebuild the team, especially through the draft. That is evident with the returns he has been asking for on all of Chyrchrun, Gostisbehere, and now, Bjugstad.
The Coyotes did receive the Oilers’ third-round pick in the upcoming draft. This pick adds to their extensive collection. The team owns the rights to 37 selections in the next three seasons. This includes four in the 2023 third round, which will be spread throughout based on the teams that they got them from. As for the prospect; Kesselring. He is a 23-year-old forward, who was drafted by the Oilers in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Since he has been a part of Edmonton’s AHL affiliate; the Condors. He has spent three seasons with the Condors and has recorded 38 points over that span. He will now report to the Roadrunners of the AHL.
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Overall, this trade is exactly what the Oilers needed. They were in the market for a bottom-six forward, and that’s what they got. The cost to acquire Bjugstad was fairly low for the team that is hoping to go all the way and win the Stanley Cup. It also makes sense for the Coyotes, they want to rebuild through the draft, as previously mentioned. This gives them yet, another pick to do so. The intriguing part of this trade will be if Bjugstad signs an extension with the Oilers down the line. It could depend on how the fit is for him, however, it wouldn’t be surprising if Edmonton’s GM, Ken Holland tries to re-sign as soon as possible.