Ottawa is looking to trade away a goaltender and a defenceman, and the team wants a top-six forward in return. The Senators have too many contracts, creating the need to shed some salary in order to re-sign several restricted free agents.
Edmonton has a glut of young forwards and is looking to improve the team’s talent in net and on the blueline. The Oilers have cap room to take on new contracts making these two teams perfect trade partners in a blockbuster deal.
Ottawa’s trade bait
Robin Lehner: Ottawa has three NHL goalies and one needs to go. Lehner’s season ended early due to injury and he was not particularly strong throughout the year. However, he did win an AHL championship in 2011 at the age of 19, posting a .939 save percentage while being named MVP of the Calder Cup playoffs. His career NHL save percentage of .914 in 86 games is impressive when compared to other goaltenders at the same young age. Still just 23 years old, he could be Edmonton’s number one goaltender for the next decade.
Jared Cowen: Selected 9th overall in the 2009 draft, he had a very good rookie season in 2011-12, playing a full 82 games and contributing 17 points. At 6’ 5” and 228 lbs, he looked to be the next Zdeno Chara. He has subsequently struggled with injury and inconsistency, playing in only 130 games over the past three seasons. This Saskatoon native might benefit from a change of scenery to Alberta.
An RFA Forward: The Senators have five RFAs looking for new contracts this summer. Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad will be re-signed. However, one of the other three could be added to a multi-player trade. Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a fan favourite that would bring speed and reliability to Edmonton’s 3rd line. Mike Hoffman is a prolific scorer with tremendous speed. Alex Chiasson was acquired in the Jason Spezza trade but fell down the depth chart.
A Bad Contract: Ottawa is looking to get rid of the contracts of Colin Greening and David Legwand.
Ottawa could put together a package that includes some combination of Lehner, Cowen, an RFA forward, a bad contract and a high draft pick.
Edmonton’s trade bait
Leon Draisaitl: Drafted 3rd overall in 2014, he may now be expendable with the addition of Connor McDavid. He could replace Hoffman as the left winger on a line with Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan or he could replace Pageau as the team’s 3rd line centre.
16th Overall Pick: Edmonton is willing to trade this pick. GM Peter Chiarelli told 630 CHED radio in Edmonton, “I certainly would look at moving any of those picks for… something that would help us right now, but also that could grow with our organization, so relatively speaking a younger player.”
Nail Yakupov: It seems unlikely that Ottawa would have interest in acquiring a Kovalev-like enigma. Bryan Murray has avoided drafting Russian players and even traded away the 16th overall pick in 2010, allowing St. Louis to move up and draft Vladimir Tarasenko.
Salary Cap and Payroll Implications
As previously outlined, Ottawa needs to shed $13 million in order to get payroll down to a self-imposed salary budget, estimated to be $63 million. Edmonton’s salary cap hit for next year is currently $53 million, with Justin Schultz being the only significant free agent needing to be re-signed. Once Connor McDavid is added to the roster, the Oilers will have about $14 million of room under the estimated $71 million cap. Money is a big consideration in any deal and Edmonton can easily accept some contracts in a trade while returning future potential to Ottawa.
If you were Ottawa or Edmonton, what combination of players would you put together in a multi-player hockey trade?
- Lehner and Cowen for 16th overall pick?
- Lehner, Cowen and Hoffman for Draisaitl?
- Cowen and 18th overall pick for Yakupov?