Oilers Linked to Canadiens Defenseman, But Trade Price Is Steep

According to a few sources, the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens might be linked in a deal that would see the Oilers target defenseman Joel Edmundson. At this point, any trade speculation is nothing more than a rumor, but a few members of the NHL media on both the Edmonton and Montreal side have picked up on the story and are discussing the merits of it.

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On the surface, it’s a deal that makes some sense for both sides. If the Canadiens are not a playoff team, Edmundson is a player the club might try to move. He’s got another season on his deal after this one, but at a reasonable number and the Oilers could certainly use another left-side defenseman, especially one with grit and truculence.

What Are the Media Saying?

Brian Wilde, who is a Canadiens’ beat reporter writes on Twitter, “I know of three strong reporters in Edmonton saying Joel Edmundson could be a target for their blue line. Working on talking to a fourth who is quite reliable on these matters. No clue what he fetches but it’s a realistic scenario. They need some grit back there. He has term.” He did follow up by saying that his fourth source said to put some water on the fire because the Oilers want to get a good look at Philip Broberg first before making any major trades.

Latest News & Highlights

Meanwhile, Arpon Basu of The Athletic noted that the Canadiens are in an interesting situation and one that has forced management to look at their desire to add another first-round draft pick this season for the upcoming draft. Edmundson might have been a player who could fetch that. If not a first, the asking price for Edmundson would likely be a 2nd or 3rd, Xavier Bourgault and Jesse Puljarvvi. Mark Spector thought that the asking price was steep and Dennis King noted that you’d hear worse trade proposals coming out of Toronto for one of their own players, but neither shot down the idea that Edmundson would be a good fit in Edmonton.

What Edmundson Would Bring

The defenseman is big, gritty, and sometimes mean. Just see his cross-check to the face of Zach Hyman in the game versus Edmonton on Saturday where Edmundson got ejected. He also offers a strong locker room presence and leadership. This is the kind of player the Oilers are missing and even if Darnell Nurse were willing to engage physically, he’s not the guy you want taking liberties and potentially getting tossed for crossing over the line; not at the minutes he plays. Meanwhile, Edmundson isn’t just a brute.

Joel Edmundson
Joel Edmundson, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He doesn’t offer much offensively, but he does play nearly 20 minutes per night and he’s a proven playoff performer, ready to grind out games and show up in the postseason, a place the Oilers intend to be. He’s not a rental, as he’s got one more season on his deal, and the 6’2″, 225 lbs blueliner is only 29. He could have a couple more seasons in him at a reasonable number if pans out for the Oilers.

Is Edmundson Worth the Asking Price?

Basu did not confirm that the Canadiens have asked for a first-rounder, nor did he say the Oilers have even reached out regarding the player. What he did note was that the Canadiens don’t see themselves as out of the playoff mix and that if they were to stay in it, they might want to keep Edmundson around. He also noted that the team knows what it got for Ben Chiarot and what it would be giving to the Oilers. He said to Ryan Rishaug of The Got Yer’ Back Podcast, “For all the reasons the Oilers would want him, the Canadiens might want to keep him.”

This explains why Basu’s got the price on Edmundson so high, but it doesn’t mean the Oilers would even fathom going there and offering a first-rounder. Even a mid-to-high draft pick, an NHL player, and a prospect are a lot. Edmundson offers something the Oilers are missing, but that’s not a price most Oilers’ fans would get excited about.

Spector suggests the draft picks wouldn’t be needed and that one player and a prospect would be enough. One thing that is clear, it’s that the Oilers would have to include some salary going back. Both teams are working in LTIR and salary cap space is not easy to come by these days.