Oilers’ Warren Foegele Becoming Top Trade Candidate

The more games the Edmonton Oilers play and the less Warren Foegele contributes, it becomes increasingly clear that he should be traded. Not only has he provided little offence, but he is also becoming a liability.

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The Oilers have $13,000 in cap space, and Foegele’s $2.75 million AAV would provide them with some much-needed flexibility. It’s not just that he’s playing poorly but others are contributing more and playing better, which should force Foegele down the lineup or right out of it. He is signed for one more season after this one for too much money. Given the team’s talent, with more on the way, he seems the most obvious trade candidate.

Foegele’s Lack of Production

Foegele is the Oilers’ top trade candidate because he has recorded one assist through 12 games, and his biggest mistake of the season came against the Washington Capitals on Monday when he was the last man back, and instead of getting the puck out or moving it up the ice, he was stripped of it and cost the team a goal against.

Warren Foegele Edmonton Oilers
Warren Foegele, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Though Foegele was part of a strong forechecking third line alongside Ryan McLeod and Jesse Puljujarvi, he was the least effective of the three. He was promoted from the fourth line due to Dylan Holloway’s injury for a few games, and the lines have shuffled often during the past few losses.

The expectation when Foegele was traded from the Carolina Hurricanes was that he would be on the third line . Last season, other than a small stretch of games when he produced, he was primarily used in a checking role on the fourth line and produced little offensively. The second half of the season and playoffs were a big indicator of his struggles. The hope was that it wouldn’t carry over, but it has.

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For $2.75 million, the Oilers have a player taking up a spot in the lineup despite the cheaper options available that would surely be more beneficial to the team, like Tyler Benson or Mattias Janmark.

Oilers Depth Players Outperforming Foegele

Unfortunately, the Oilers’ depth has been abysmal. Their offensive production is carried by five to six forwards, and although Foegele holds a spot on the third line, he’s played the ninth-most minutes among forwards but should play less than that.

The three players averaging fewer minutes per game than Foegele are Dylan Holloway, Derek Ryan, and Devin Shore. All of them have proven why they have earned a bit more ice time over the past few games. Holloway has started to help out offensively, recording his first two career assists in the past five games. A slower start is expected from a rookie, but he is already growing more comfortable and looks better and more effective than Foegele (from “Lowetide: How will the Oilers make room for Dylan Holloway?”, The Athletic, Nov. 2, 2022).

Shore’s best game of the season was against the Capitals. He handled the puck and looked comfortable with it on his stick. He also created chances and helps his line keep the opponents pinned in. That’s all you can ask from the fourth line; keep the puck in the offensive zone and get chances, if possible. Shore logged the most ice time of the season in that game, and if he continues to play a solid game, he should take ice time away from Foegele.

Ryan has also been ramping up his production. Even though he isn’t a force offensively, he and McLeod are the two most productive bottom-six players on the Oilers. He has been rightfully promoted to the third line and does much more than produce offensively. He is a strong two-way player, can play the wing or centre, and kills penalties. Foegele does none of those things.

Derek Ryan Edmonton Oilers
Derek Ryan, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The longer the Oilers wait to trade him, the less they will likely get for him. He could be included in a deadline deal that helps them acquire a player while freeing up cap space, but there’s no logical reason why Foegele would still be with the team at the beginning of next season. Ideally, they can move him and try out other players instead. Even if it costs management a low-round draft pick to move him, without Foegele, the Oilers can carry a full roster and have three healthy scratches per game instead of one.

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