In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, Connor McDavid has reached 50 points, there’s more talk about goaltender Elvis Merzlikins being a fit for the Oilers and general manager Ken Holland has reached out to the Nugent-Hopkins camp again and relayed where his head is with a possible extension. Finally, what interesting category is Tyson Barrie leading this NHL season?
McDavid First Player This Season to Reach 50
Suggesting the race for MVP this season isn’t going to be all that close, McDavid is separating himself from the pack of NHL scorers. He now sits atop the standings with 51 points after 29 games. He’s the first player this year to reach 50 and he’s 11 points ahead of the next-closest player that isn’t on his own team.
If he continues this pace, he’ll be extremely close to 100 points and something suggests that if he’s anywhere close with 10 games remaining, he’ll find a way. Perhaps even more amazing, he’s done this with five games during the 2020-21 season where he’s not registered a point.
Not to be forgotten, Leon Draisaitl is on pace for 84 points. Not too bad.
Jones and Koskinen for Elvis Merzlikins?
In The Athletic’s latest Trade Board Update by Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek, an interesting trade scenario is presented by the pair when it relates to the Oilers. They write:
“… if you’re a team such as the Edmonton Oilers, seeking a long-term goaltending solution, you could imagine a scenario under which they would surrender one of their multiple, young defensive prospects in order to bring the talented Elvis Merzlikins to town. How about Caleb Jones, which would give him a chance to play with his brother Seth in Columbus? It’d be even better if Columbus were to take back Mikko Koskinen in a larger version of the deal.”source – ‘NHL Trade Deadline Big Board: Rickard Rakell, Elvis Merzlikins and 27 others who could be dealt’ – Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek – The Athletic – 03/12/2021
This is the second time someone has made a connection between the Oilers and Merzlikins. He is in the middle of a two-year contract with the Blue Jackets that has a cap hit of $4 million a year and Jones is an interesting potential target for Columbus.
Jones is a budding young defenseman that could get a bit lost in the shuffle of Edmonton’s fairly deep blue line and the Blue Jackets have Seth Jones, which means they might be more prone to overvaluing Caleb than another team. If Koskinen is worked in, the Oilers would likely have to add another promising prospect. In return, the Oilers would get Merzlikins and some cap relief.
Holland Drawing Line in Sand for Nugent-Hopkins Camp?
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug noted that Oilers GM Ken Holland said he spoke to the Nugent-Hopkins camp recently and relayed his thoughts on where the team is at. Holland reiterated that the Oilers would like to keep the center/winger but pointed to the flat salary cap for the next few years and that Nuge and his people will have to take into account the new marketplace for free agents.
It sounds like Holland is willing to let Nugent-Hopkins explore the market if his reps don’t come to where the Oilers are comfortable and that Holland is betting they won’t get the offers they are looking for. If they do, it will be from lesser teams who don’t have the players Edmonton does and the chances to win that Edmonton might.
Barrie Leads the Way In An Interesting Category
Defenseman Tyson Barrie now leads the NHL for points among players who have joined new teams this season. With 24 points, he’s got one more than Tyler Toffoli (Montreal), Patric Hornqvist (Florida) and Mike Hoffman (St. Louis). Clearly, Barrie has found his rhythm in Edmonton.
What will be interesting to see if the talk tends to favor the idea that Barrie will use these stats and better production to earn himself a bigger contract elsewhere, or if he’ll decide he really loves it in Edmonton and try to come to terms with the Oilers over the long haul.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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