Welcome to The Hockey Writers’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets series for the Minnesota Wild. During it, we will be looking at a handful of players from each NHL team who the Wild should consider pursuing this summer.
The second installment of this series will focus on the Edmonton Oilers. They finished second in the Pacific Division behind the Vegas Golden Knights and defeated the Los Angeles Kings in Round 1 of the Playoffs but fell to the Golden Knights in Round 2.
- Edmonton Oilers Projected 2023-24 Cap Space: $5,970,000
- Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA): 8
- Restricted Free Agents (RFA): 7
The Oilers need to move some money out in order to re-sign some players on expiring deals, including Klim Kostin, Derek Ryan, and RFA Evan Bouchard. A trade with the Wild could look like this:
Kailer Yamamoto scored the series-clinching goal against the Kings. Yamamoto plays with intensity, lots of energy, and isn’t afraid to throw the body, with 77 hits in 58 regular-season games this season. His 25 points were a dip compared to his 40 points last season, but he’s only 24, so there is room for growth.
Yamamoto is a solid middle-six winger with a 0.48 points per game average over his career. His style would really complement the Wild’s middle-six roster, and he could flourish in a new system and environment.
Interesting Fact/Stat: Yamamoto and his older brother Keanu learned how to skate from Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson’s Mom.
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Minnesota could trade a 2023 2nd-round pick for Yamamoto with some retained salary. If they prefer a hockey trade, maybe someone like Marcus Johansson or Ryan Hartman fits the forward depth the Oilers are looking for. However, Edmonton might have to include a pick in this deal to make up for Yamamoto’s lack of production.
Cody Ceci spent most of the season with Darnell Nurse, tallying 15 points in 80 games. Together they faced the highest quality of competition on defense, and Ceci had a 50.2 Corsi for percentage (CF%) and 48.67 goals for percentage (GF%) this season. He also averaged 20:08 of time on ice (TOI) per game.
Ceci is best utilized as a second-pairing defender who does not have the toughest matchups. Considering Matt Dumba and John Klingberg are both UFAs, Ceci could feasibly take Dumba’s position on the second pairing. If the projected top pairing of Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin take on the toughest matchups, Ceci could really flourish in the second pair role.
Interesting Fact/Stat: Ceci is the son of Parri Ceci, a former wide receiver for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
Would the Wild be willing to acquire Ceci for a prospect and a draft pick? The Oilers only have one 2nd-round, one 5th, one 6th, and one 7th-round pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, while the Wild have two 2nd-round picks, their own and the Golden Knights’. Would a 2023 2nd-round pick and a 2024 4th-round pick be enough for general manager Ken Holland to pull the trigger? If he had another deal in the queue to replace him, possibly.
Related: Wild’s 2023 Offseason Trade Targets: Toronto Maple Leafs
Ceci’s contract has a $3,250,000 cap hit, which is cheaper than both Dumba and Klingberg’s. I’d say a reasonable offer would be a 2023 2nd-round pick, a 2024 4th-round pick, and a conditional 2nd-round 2024 pick – the condition being that the Wild keep it if they don’t make it past the first round of the playoffs.
Philip Broberg was primarily used as a 6th-7th defenceman this season. Averaging only 12:36 TOI (down approximately one minute from the previous year) in the regular season, it’s clear that the coaching staff doesn’t quite trust Broberg yet.
However, he is ready for at least 15+ minutes per game and could slot into the Wild’s third pairing. He has good size, is a great skater, and can make plays with the puck. Pairing him with a more experienced defender would allow him to make offensive plays and not just shut down opponents.
Interesting Fact/Stat: Played 336 minutes with Evan Bouchard in the 2022-23 season with a 57.3 CF%
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Exchanging top prospects would be a fair deal in this scenario. I think Jesper Wallstedt is off-limits, but there is a little seed of doubt in my mind that Marco Rossi is still in the Wild’s long-term plans. Maybe a fresh start is what both players need to get the playing time they deserve. A package of Calen Addison and a 2023 2nd round for Broberg is another possibility that could make more sense if the Wild want to give Rossi another year before potentially moving on.
Related: Red Wings’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets: Montreal Canadiens
Both teams have little cap space to work with, so these trade options could make the Wild and Oilers better in different ways. We will see if anything transpires between the two Western Conference teams this offseason.