According to Oilers Now host and color commentator for the Oilers Bob Stauffer, the Edmonton Oilers aren’t done making moves. They’ve had a busy offseason with the additions of Jack Campbell and Mattias Janmark, plus extensions for Evander Kane and Brett Kulak, but there’s more to do. Noting that they weren’t done regardless of what the Calgary Flames did with their roster, that the Flames have put together an arguably better team by adding Nazem Kadri, Mackenzie Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau, — despite losing Johnny Gaudreau, Mathew Tkachuk, Erik Gudbranson and Sean Monahan — the Oilers now see they’ve got some competition in the Pacific Division this coming season. The Battle of Alberta is back on and one has to wonder what else can the Oilers do to improve their team and take a run at the Stanley Cup?
With rumors that the Chicago Blackhawks might be willing to move the player, Patrick Kane seems to be the primary target.
Why Patrick Kane in Edmonton?
While talking to Stauffer on Oilers Now, Sportsnet analyst Gene Principe said he thinks Patrick Kane should be Plan A for the Oilers and gets giddy over the idea of Kane playing with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and other forwards on this team. He notes that players love the idea of playing with those guys and competitive NHL’ers want to win. In Edmonton, Kane would have that chance.
Noting Kane is from Buffalo, which is a similar blue-collar city to Edmonton, Principe says, “I have no doubt, in my mind, unless there are some extenuating circumstances that we don’t know about, that Patrick Kane would come to Edmonton for sure and I would take Phil Kessel as Plan B.” Noting that Kessel could eat all the hot dogs he wants and still score 30 goals along those Oilers forwards, Stauffer agreed that he’d like to see one of those two guys on the Oilers roster and added, “Why wait until the trade deadline, do it now!”
Kessel would be much cheaper an option, but Kane is the ideal fit.
Why Kane Is the Right Fit for the Oilers
If there’s one thing the Oilers need heading into this season, and an addition that could put them over the top, it’s a little more depth at right wing. Kane doesn’t just provide depth, he’s arguably the best right-winger in the NHL. His cap hit would be manageable too, assuming Kane is willing to come, the Oilers can get a third team involved (both the Blackhawks and that team retaining salary) in the deal, and Edmonton can move a couple of pieces around.
The expectation is that a rebuilding Blackhawks organization will eventually trade Kane before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Really, they’ve traded almost everyone else and Kane is a pending UFA at the end of the season. They want prospects and draft picks. The Oilers have that to give. Meanwhile, if the Oilers are as competitive a team as many insiders believe they will be, this could be the season GM Ken Holland goes all in.
Willing to Trade a First?
Holland has held onto his first-round picks throughout his entire tenure as the Oilers’ GM. Unlike other teams who have mortgaged their future to be competitive now, Holland has left a number of his high-end prospects in the system and Edmonton looks like they’ll be a competitive group for years to come. This could be the season he finally moves a first if the right player is there for the taking.
It would be hard to imagine a better player for the Oilers as a rental than Kane. He’s dynamic, he’s ideal for a playoff run and he’ll be motivated playing alongside players of his skill level and better. That’s a rare situation for a player of his caliber to be in and it would be hard to argue against trading a first if the opportunity to do something is there.
Keep in mind, the Oilers will still have a number of high-end prospects on the roster, even if they have to put together an attractive package to appease the Blackhawks. The money isn’t an issue if the two teams are there and willing to make a deal work.