Insider Says Oilers Should Target Senators in Last-Minute Deadline Deal

While the Edmonton Oilers probably don’t need to focus on adding another forward before Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline, it doesn’t mean general manager Ken Holland should avoid looking for good deals when good deals present themselves. One such option might be available out of Ottawa as the Senators are having trouble coming to terms on an extension with forward Nick Paul.

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There’s a good chance the pending UFA could be moved over the next few days and the Oilers will want to keep tabs on this situation.

Why Would the Senators Trade Paul?

The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta says the Senators will likely trade Paul at this year’s deadline. It’s not clear why the two sides can’t come to an agreement but speculation is that it’s over money and that Paul is asking for $3 million per season. The team has made offers, but the buzz is that they haven’t put a legit offer on the table he would consider.

Nick Paul Ottawa Senators
Nick Paul. Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Senators are widely viewed as a team that is tight with their dollars and cents and they simply don’t want to pay the potential market value for a depth forward who isn’t considered a scorer. Paul’s ask isn’t outrageous and it’s not clear why the Senators don’t want to go there, especially considering they’ve gone there with lesser players in the past.

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Four years times $3 million would get the deal done says Frank Seravalli. He also adds that the team doesn’t have any cap issues, they don’t need picks and they’ll have to go out and find another Nick Paul type of player if Paul leaves. Seravalli says the Senators have been playing the loyalty card and are irked that he’s not playing ball.

How Nick Paul Would Help Oilers

With that in mind, Ryan Rishaug of TSN — who has some pretty extensive knowledge of what the team might be thinking — writes that this is something the Oilers might want to examine a little more closely. He writes, “Have the think Nick Paul is a player the Oilers would at least kick tires on if he’s not signing. Big forward with some skill. UFA but that style could be a longer-term fit, depending on the number.”

Paul is a shutdown winger that plays a strong two-way game. His offense isn’t anything tremendous, but he does have 11 goals and 18 points in 59 games, which isn’t bad for the minutes he plays and the role he’s been assigned. More than that, he would provide the team with a great option in their bottom-six and if he’s willing to sign an extension in the offseason at a reasonable number, the Oilers could do worse.

What Might a Trade Look Like?

If the Oilers are looking to free up cap space, one move the team might consider is sending Zack Kassian to Ottawa — Bob Stauffer mentioned the Senators like Kassian — for Paul. It would save the Oilers $1.85 million which would then give the Oilers some room to make a deal for a defenseman. It’s not clear if Ottawa would do that deal one-for-one, but if Paul isn’t sticking around and could walk as a pending UFA, and the Senators get a player they like who is locked in for two additional seasons, it’s not that far fetched a deal.

If there are the beginnings of a trade going on between these two teams, it’s worth noting that the Senators also have Anton Forsberg available ahead of Monday’s deadline and the Oilers. Edmonton has already shown they like the player as they tried to acquire him during the COVID taxi squad season and things just didn’t pan out.

Could the Oilers move Kassian and a prospect/pick and land Paul and Forsberg in one larger trade with the Senators? There’s no reason to suggest they couldn’t, but Forsberg will be a popular player since the goaltending market is not strong and there are multiple teams looking to upgrade at that position.