Oilers Now Linked to Over a Dozen NHL Trade Deadline Names

In a hockey-mad market like Edmonton, there will always be talk about trades. When the team is in the hunt for a playoff spot and many believe a couple of pieces could make the Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup contenders, the rumors will definitely swirl. That said, the organization has now been linked to more than a dozen different names. Let’s take a look at all of them and determine whether they’re realistic options or just talk.

Erik Karlsson Is Too Expensive

When Erik Karlsson’s name popped up out of San Jose, it was because the Sharks were deemed sellers and the Oilers were connected because they are a team that likes its veteran defensemen who can mentor young players. Karlsson is having an incredible bounce-back season and there’s talk he might be willing to move to a contender if the right fit comes along.

Erik Karlsson
San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Realistically, Karlsson has a virtually untradeable contract. With multiple years remaining on a deal that pays him $11.5 million per season, he’s not in Edmonton’s budget. He’s 33 years old, has no-trade protection in his deal, and isn’t seriously on the Oilers’ radar.

Joel Edmundson Injury Concerns

At one time, Joel Edmundson might have been exactly what the Oilers needed — a physical defensive blueliner who wasn’t afraid to mix it up and has championship experience on his resume. That time has passed and his injury history is well documented. The Oilers aren’t going to bring in a player with chronic back issues who has slowed down and can barely stay in the lineup, especially when he’s got term on his contract and he’d bump out of one Philip Broberg or Brett Kulak. The price is too high for this player considering the risk involved.

Vladislav Gavrikov Is In Heavy Demand

There is a real possibility the Oilers are looking at this player. Edmonton was scouting the Canucks vs Blue Jackets game this weekend and GM Ken Holland saw Gavrikov up close in a recent Oilers’ overtime loss to Columbus. Daniel Nugent-Bowman wrote earlier this week that the player had even heard talk the Oilers were checking in on him. The issue here is the acquisition price.

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Columbus wants at least a first and a third-round pick for the player and as many as 10 teams are said to be kicking tires here. Is Edmonton willing to overpay? The contract is right and Gavrikov is affordable if the Blue Jackets are willing to retain salary or take another player back. For example, if Columbus takes Warren Foegele at full price, plus a first-rounder and another pick for a 50% retained Gavrikov, do the Blue Jackets bite?

Bo Horvat Might Be Too Pricey

If the Oilers want to swing big and think the priority should be a center, the Bo Horvat rumors make some sense. Edmonton can move Leon Draisaitl to the wing with Connor McDavid permanently and put Horvat in the No. 2 spot. It’s going to cost the Oilers a big haul here, but the good news is that the Canucks are looking to make a “hockey trade” and get back players who can help now and into the future. Does that mean Jesse Puljujarvi would be a centerpiece along with the Oilers’ first-round pick this summer?

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And, are the Oilers looking at Horvat merely as a rental? Many teams will want to talk to Horvat about an extension and the Canucks are said to have not allowed those conversations to take place. That could work in the Oilers’ favor as they may not be thinking extension.

Jonathan Toews A Good Depth Piece

There’s no guarantee that Jonathan Toews is willing to waive his no-move clause to help the Chicago Blackhawks facilitate a trade, but the speculation is that it will eventually happen. If it does, the Oilers have been linked to Toews as a depth center (potentially No. 2 or No. 3) for a playoff run. He’s got experience and leadership and could win faceoffs and play on the team’s penalty kill.

Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The issue is his contract. As Nugent-Bowman writes:

The Oilers would have to get Chicago to halve Toews’s $10.5 million cap hit. Ideally, they’d even get it quartered by including a third team. Toews, who has a full no-movement clause, has 13 goals and 27 points in 42 games on a terrible Chicago team. He’d be less likely than Horvat to supplant RNH as the No. 2 centre, and more likely to take on heavier defensive lifting.

source – ‘Bo Horvat? Jonathan Toews? What I’m hearing on Oilers’ trade deadline plans’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 01/21/2023

Will a third team do that? Will the Oilers go for sending different assets to two different teams to make it work?

Anthony Duclair a Contract Wash

Recently, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff suggested the “fun” idea of Edmonton flipping Jesse Puljujarvi to Florida for Anthony Duclair. Duclair is currently out with an injury, but a healthy Duclair is more likely to add goals to the Oilers’ lineup than Puljujarvi. The issue here is money. Both have the same salary and Florida isn’t likely to retain money on Duclair to make this work. The Oilers need deals that help them with their cap situation, not trades that are a straight wash.

John Klingberg Struggling

As far back as this past offseason, the Oilers were linked to defenseman John Klingberg. There was even a rumor that Montreal might sign Klingberg and then flip him to Edmonton in a deal. Klingberg has acknowledged that his agent spoke with Edmonton over the summer, but he ultimately chose to sign in Anaheim. The Ducks are struggling as is Klingberg, so there’s doubt he could fetch a first-round pick ahead of the deadline, which is what Anaheim wants.

Related: Holland Under Pressure to Improve Oilers at the Trade Deadline

This isn’t a deal that makes much sense for the Oilers. They need a left-side, shut-down d-man, neither of which Klingberg is.

Jake McCabe Replaces Someone

The Blackhawks are selling and while Jake McCabe is not a rental, he is a player that could be catching some interest from teams looking for a defenseman who could do more than give a team something beyond this season. In Edmonton, it’s not clear if that’s positive or negative because bringing in someone with term means moving out a current roster player.

Jake McCabe Chicago Blackhawks
Jake McCabe, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

McCabe joining the Oilers would suggest the team doesn’t see Brett Kulak as able to pull his weight on the second pair or the team has elected to move on from Broberg.

Teddy Blueger For Depth

As a fellow THW contributor noted in a recent column about a possible fit between Edmonton and Pittsburgh, Frank Seravalli linked the Oilers and Penguins in a possible trade that would help Edmonton address their forward depth. Seravalli sees the Oilers looking to add a penalty killer and Penguins center Teddy Blueger being the potential trade chip involved.

Mattias Ekholm A Veteran With Term

If the Oilers are looking for a veteran defender with term on his deal, rumors surrounding Mattias Ekholm make some sense. Ekholm could be paired with Tyson Barrie and his style of play would open things up offensively for Barrie who has done an adequate job this season of playing a more well-rounded game. Ekholm is a solid shutdown guy with the ability to kill penalties. The big issue is his age and contract. He’s 32 years old and has three more seasons on his deal at a cost of $6.25 million per season.

Jakob Chychrun Will Cost Multiple First-Rounders

Jakob Chychrun has been connected to any team looking for a solid defender that can join a team’s blue-line corps and stabilize their back end. The Oilers are no different and he’s been mentioned in connection to the team. Having said that, most insiders have ruled the Oilers out or said they’ve moved on from any idea of him as an option because the Oilers wouldn’t be willing to pay the asking price.

Chychrun, if moved, is going to cost a team at least two first-rounders, plus. In Edmonton, that equates to this year’s first-round pick, Philip Broberg, and another prospect like Reid Schaffer or Xavier Borgeault.

Matt Dumba On The Outs In Minnesota

The Minnesota Wild are likely looking to dump Matt Dumba. He’s been a healthy scratch, his production is down, he’s a pending UFA and the Wild have very public cap issues moving forward. If there is no plan to re-sign the player, can he be picked up for dirt cheap and his salary retained by the Wild? Possibly.

The question Edmonton would have to ask is if he helps and can rebound in another city. Would a change of scenery do him good?