It could be a quiet trade deadline for the Edmonton Oilers. That said, if there’s a team out there that might be a potential fit for Ken Holland to try and swing a deal with, it’s the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers have a player the Oilers could use, Edmonton would have a receptive team retooling their roster listing on the other end of the phone, and the two teams aren’t opposed to doing business with the other. The pieces are there, the willingness to make a trade just needs to be.
For the Oilers, their desire to improve their blue line likely got a bit of a boost on Tuesday. After getting off to an early 3-0 lead, Edmonton squeaked out a win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Oilers let Detroit take over the game when the Red Wings made a goalie change and it took scoring seven goals to ultimately put a team well below them in standings away. It was a gusty win by Edmonton but it was also a game that proved the defense isn’t quite where it needs to be.
Oilers Targeting Justin Braun?
There’s been chatter of late that Justin Braun might be on Edmonton’s radar. The pending UFA and 35-year-old would be a rental for the Oilers but he’s got a lot of the elements GM Ken Holland is looking for. He shoots right, kills penalties, and is known more as a stay-at-home defenseman than a wild, often out-of-position blue looking for offense. He’s played 100 NHL playoff games and his $1.8-million salary is affordable for the Oilers who are tight against the salary cap.
Braun played on a Jay Woodcroft team when Woodcroft was an assistant in San Jose. The transition would be simple and the two have a history.
Holland wouldn’t have to move around money to make this deal work and that’s good news for the Flyers who would likely be open to moving Braun in a deal where their primary aim is to pick up a prospect or a draft pick instead of losing Braun for nothing. The issue for the Oilers is that they need to convince the Flyers to part with Braun for less than what Philadelphia is likely asking.
Related: Oilers Insider Talks Multiple Moves Holland Looking at Ahead of Deadline
Holland has said he’s not looking to move a high-end or middle-tier draft pick. A fourth-rounder is likely what Holland can afford to pay. Braun will probably cost more than that.
Can Oilers Sweeten the Deal?
If the ask from Philadelphia is a second- or third-round pick simply because of what other teams might be willing to pay in a deadline deal, could the Oilers entice the Flyers in another way? One of the first things Edmonton could do is focus on a 2023 pick, not a 2022 selection. There’s a lot of chatter that teams are placing a priority on 2023 picks anyway and that could help the Oilers.
What if Edmonton adds a player to the deal? Could someone like Josh Archibald — who isn’t going to be terribly helpful for half of the Oilers games down the stretch — be someone the Flyers might have an interest in? He certainly plays the kind of style the Flyers like.
The Oilers also have prospects like Tyler Benson, Dmitri Samorukov, or a player like Slater Koekkoek who could get thrown into the trade as the Flyers try and add useful pieces versus take on a draft pick that may or may not play for them down the road. Some are more useful than others; it’s just a matter of what the Flyers find interesting.
A Bigger Trade Between the Two Teams?
While the Oilers would probably prefer to make this deal a simple swap for a rental defenseman they could use, there is potential any trade between the two teams gets a lot larger. Martin Jones was a player the Oilers looked at earlier in the season as Holland tried to manage a lousy goaltending situation. There’s always a chance Jones is still a Plan B or Plan C for the Oilers’ GM.
And, if we’re really thinking grandiose, Carter Hart’s name is interesting. For some reason, there was buzz out of Philadelphia earlier this season that Hart might be someone the Flyers aren’t sure about. To his credit, he’s rebounded with a much better season than last year’s disastrous one, so the chances Philly would move him are slim to none, but if there’s any inkling at all Philadelphia would be open to talking about a Carter Hart move, Edmonton should be all over that.
A 23-year-old netminder from Sherwood Park, AB who is going to be a star and locked into a contract at under $4 million per season is exactly what the Oilers need.