Oilers Need Both Kessel & Subban to Be Serious Cup Contenders

The Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of something special. Led by their dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers are ready to take the next step in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

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However the Oilers are still missing something. Championship teams have the perfect combination of superstars and depth pieces that fit their team. Although the Oilers already have a lot going for them, they still need to solidify a couple of key areas of their team.

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Luckily for the Oilers, they have good options available in free agency to fill those holes. Even with the cap being an issue, there is still a path for them to make these signings happen.

Setting the Scene

Both Phil Kessel and P.K. Subban find themselves without a team with a little more than a month until training camps opening around the NHL. Each still has something to offer to teams.

Kessel turns 35 at the beginning of October while Subban is 33. It is clear that their best days are behind them. It is also clear that they won’t get near the contract they’re each coming off of. At the right price, each player could become a bargain on the right team.

Phil Kessel Arizona Coyotes
Phil Kessel on the right team still has a lot to offer. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

If the Oilers want to seriously show the NHL that they’re ready to win the Stanley Cup, they need to sign both Kessel and Subban. The cap will be a challenge but options are available to make this happen.

Why Kessel & Subban?

When you think of the Oilers, you think of their top offensive stars. While they each can do damage, what happens when they’re not on the ice? Their depth has to play an important role in their success.

Bringing Kessel on board would allow the Oilers to send out three strong lines instead of two. They become a matchup nightmare when you have McDavid and Draisaitl on separate lines and then you can send someone like Kessel out against weaker competition.

Related: Making Sense of the Phil Kessel to Edmonton Rumors

In addition, adding a player like Kessel to the power play only makes them that much stronger. Kessel can still fill the net when given the opportunity. The Arizona Coyotes was a tough situation for him in the midst of their rebuild.

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Kessel also brings championship experience with him. He helped Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins win two Stanley Cups in consecutive years. He knows what it takes to win and can help the Oilers get to the next level.

As for Subban, while the defensive part of his game has slipped, he still has a lot to offer offensively and moving the puck. He can play on the power play and would fill in a gap down the lineup on their blue line. He also has playoff experience. His presence on the Oilers would improve them especially if they can find a bargain contract.

Why Kessel & Subban to Oilers Could Happen

Speaking of bargain contracts, there is a belief out there that the Oilers could land both Kessel and Subban. If they did, it would have to be on friendly contracts. That is not out of the question. Why is that?

That’s because the Oilers present a golden opportunity to win a Stanley Cup. At this point in their careers, it’s fair to wonder what the driving force would be on selecting a team to sign with. You would suspect that winning the Stanley Cup would be at the top of their list, especially for Subban.

Kessel could help McDavid the same way he helped Crosby. And Subban could finally reach the pinnacle while helping Canada break their Stanley Cup curse.

P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils
P.K. Subban wants to go somewhere to win now. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As it turns out, some sportsbooks agree. According to Bodog, the Oilers are the betting favorites to land both Kessel and Subban. Here are their odds as of Tuesday.

Kessel

  • Oilers -200
  • Coyotes +220
  • Wild/Flames +700
  • Jets +950
  • Blackhawks +1100

Subban

  • Oilers -160
  • Predators +255
  • Devils +350
  • Canadiens +650
  • Sabres/Stars +1200

These odds suggest that the Oilers are heavy favorites to land one if not both players. The duo of Kessel and Subban would help address scoring depth while adding a puck-moving defenseman to their group. The Oilers are a good team without them. They’d become a great team with them.

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It will take some creativity to make this work. But given the use of LTIR and another move or two, the Oilers have the means to make Kessel and Subban happen.

If the Oilers are serious about being a true Stanley Cup contender, they’ll make both of these signings happen sooner rather than later. There’s no better time to land these talents than now given their circumstances and their desire to win.

It makes too much sense.