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Seller’s Remorse: 3 Oilers Who Could Be Traded w/ Instant Regret

The Edmonton Oilers do have pieces they could trade this summer, but if they did, there’s a chance they would immediately regret it.

If the Edmonton Oilers are to do anything else significant this off-season, it will require a trade. With next to no cap space beyond the little they have available to sign Evan Bouchard and Ryan McLeod to bridge deals, this lineup is essentially set. The Oilers would like to add a depth center on the cheap, but bigger moves that might include names like Travis Konecny, Erik Karlsson, or others just aren’t possible without a significant piece coming out of the lineup and shipped to another team.

That would mean moving names like Cody Ceci, Jack Campbell, Brett Kulak, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or another player with a decent or sizeable cap hit and that could be an immediate mistake. Let’s take a look at a few players more closely.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Is Straight Value

An argument can be made that Nugent-Hopkins will never have the same kind of year he had last year. With 104 points and 37 goals, a gambler should probably take the money line that his production will drop. That said, his value at a cap hit of $5.125 million is outstanding. Even if Nugent-Hopkins were to see his point production drop by 30%, he’s still a 72-point player good for more than 25 goals a season and that’s on top of the penalty-killing time he gets and the team’s reliance on him as a power play specialist.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Oilers NHL rumors

You don’t trade players like him, arguably, regardless of the return. The Oilers would have to see a team come to them with an offer so good that any sane GM would have to consider it. Even then, GM Ken Holland would have to consider the intangibles he brings to the team, including his position as the longest-serving Oiler and his leadership.

Cody Ceci Should Bounce Back

Ceci’s name is a popular one in the rumor mill because an injury put him behind the 8-ball last year. He didn’t perform as well as he did in his inaugural season with the Oilers and that makes him a player fans talk about as possible trade bait. It’s key to remember here that he’s likely to bounce back and his first year with the team saw him wildly exceed expectations.

At $3.25 million, he’s good value for a top-four defenseman and the Oilers aren’t exactly deep on the right side. The only reason trading him makes any sense is because the Oilers either a) want to extend Evan Bouchard to a long-term deal now and get him in at the best possible cap hit for many years or b) have an upgrade available in trade at a salary equal to lower than Ceci (see Brett Pesce out of Carolina).

Ceci may never be a star, but he’s steady and (for the most part) reliable when he’s healthy.

Brett Kulak Is a Solid Depth Piece

He might not be ideal for your top four, but Brett Kulak can play there for a while and if injuries strike, he’s a better call-up to an elevated role than almost anyone else the Oilers have on their blue line. He’s good value at $2.75 million and he seems to be getting more and more comfortable every year he spends with the team.

This is the kind of player who, on the surface, makes sense to deal if you need the money that’s freed up by trading him, but the second you do, you can bet injury will strike and the Oilers will be kicking themselves for dumping a reliable player with some offensive upside.

The Trade Deadline Is Edmonton’s Window

The Oilers have pieces they can move. The question is whether they should. Perhaps the team is best served to start the year with the group assembled, get themselves into a playoff spot, watch LTIR for opportunities and make plans around the NHL Trade Deadline.

There will be a lot more flexibility at that time and options that aren’t available now might be available then.



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