Oilers & Panthers Linked as Potential Trading Partners

With the 2022-23 season now past the midway point, we are beginning to get a clearer picture as to who will be buyers, and who will be sellers come the trade deadline. For the Edmonton Oilers and Ken Holland, their stance as a buyer has been known since the beginning of the season, as they were considered a Stanley Cup contender over the summer. There have been some rocky times since, but they seem to have straightened those out as of late, and will certainly be looking to make some moves in the coming weeks.

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One of those moves could involve the Florida Panthers, a team who, just one season separated of winning the Presidents’ Trophy, sit on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture. By no means does that indicate they will be sellers, as they sit just three points shy of a wild card position. However, in an attempt to gain more consistency down the stretch of the season, they may be looking to shake things up with a trade.

Duclair a Player to Keep An Eye On

Despite having not yet played a game this season due to an Achilles injury suffered over the summer, Anthony Duclair has been subject to plenty of trade rumors in recent months. Though he has been an inconsistent player throughout his 470-game career, he is coming off of the best season in his career in which he scored 31 goals and 58 points, and is in the second of a three-year deal that carries a cap hit of just $3 million. Safe to say, many teams would be more than willing to bring him on board.

Anthony Duclair Florida Panthers
Anthony Duclair, Florida Panthers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

One of those teams is the Oilers, who could really use one more forward to round out their top six, especially with the recent injury sustained by Kailer Yamamoto. That said, in order to bring in Duclair, it would have to be a money-in, money-out situation. That, in large part, is why Frank Seravalli discussed the possibility of a trade between the two sides that would see Jesse Puljujarvi heading the other way.

“And just for fun, if all else fails, would swapping Jesse Puljujarvi to Florida in exchange for Anthony Duclair make sense for both sides? They both have the same cap hit,” Seravalli wrote. “Just sayin.”

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While Seravalli does appear to be having a little bit of fun here, he wouldn’t have mentioned it if it didn’t make some sense. Unless they have been living under a rock over the past six months, fans are well aware that Puljujarvi has been mentioned in trade talks almost every day, and, as mentioned, Duclair has had his name pop up on plenty of occasions recently as well.

At this point in time, it seems to be a matter of when, not if, it comes to Puljujarvi being moved. The 24-year-old has really struggled this season with four goals and 10 points in 49 games, and it is becoming increasingly clear that a change in scenery is needed. While some Oilers fans, specifically the analytics community, would be sad to see him go, landing Duclair as the return should certainly help cheer them up.

Jesse Puljujarvi Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Given Duclair’s stat line from a season ago, of course, the Oilers would have to add to this deal in order to make it work. The question becomes, how much? By all accounts, Puljujarvi is a player who could still very well turn into a valuable NHLer in short time, and he has shown glimpses of that during his time in Edmonton. Perhaps his potential, paired with a draft pick or mid-level prospect, may be enough to get the Panthers’ attention. One big plus he does have over Duclair is his defensive play, and the Panthers have plenty of other offensive guns on their roster, which may result in them being willing to make this deal happen.

Whether this type of deal will actually come to fruition remains to be seen, as it was pure speculation on Seravalli’s behalf rather than a tidbit he had been given. That said, there is a true possibility it could prove beneficial for both clubs if it were to happen. From the Oilers’ perspective in particular, they are getting an offensive winger who has the speed to play with their big guns, and would be back for the 2023-24 season on the same inexpensive contract. For Holland, this is a slam-dunk trade if the opportunity is indeed there.

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