If the Edmonton Oilers go shopping this season, there are a few things the team has realized it might need. An organization that battled through a tough start, went on a tear (11-2), then lost three straight, the Oilers are now looking to set up another winning streak after beating the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
The start of the season brought hope that the team had filled a hole at the third line center position. Poor play by Kyle Turris means they have not. There have been some chemistry issues in the top six, and the defense has a number of options, so things are probably ok there, but what about a starting goalie? Does Edmonton still need one?
The Oilers Needs
The hope was that Dominik Kahun could be the right player to work alongside Leon Draisaitl this season. It would have freed up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to play with Connor McDavid, but wouldn’t drop the production of the Oilers’ second line too much, if at all.
At times, Kahun appears to fit. More often than not, however, he’s not producing. That has hurt Kailer Yamamoto’s production as well. The Oilers have reunited Draisaitl, Nuge and Yamamoto at times, while at others have just pulled out the McDavid and Draisaitl card. Edmonton could use a winger than meshes well so that the Oilers have two really strong options.
Fans will also debate whether or not the Oilers should grab a goaltender. The tandem of Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith have been doing the job the last two seasons, but does Edmonton need more?
LW/RW Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks
It’s not clear what’s going to happen in Anaheim, but from most accounts, the team is selling and Rakell’s name is an interesting one. He’s got skill and as a player on a decent contract with one more season after this one, he’s not exactly a rental — one year left at a $3.789 million cap hit.
If the Oilers want to find a solution that is more than just this season, he could be a nice fit. He can play either wing and can move up and down the lineup. He’s a legitimate top six player and he’s got a well-rounded 200-foot game.
He won’t be a cheap get and the Ducks will want something good in return, but the Oilers have assets. They could move their 2021 first-round selection or a player like Caleb Jones, William Lagesson.
One thing to consider is the implications of this deal on the Oilers expansion draft plans.
CR Luke Glendening, Detroit Red Wings
Glendening could be to the Oilers this season what Riley Sheahan was to the Oilers last season. A depth center who is older but has a ton of useful tools, he wouldn’t cost a lot of acquire but he could help on faceoffs and on the penalty kill.
His career faceoff percentage of 54.9, along with some decent offensive numbers (two goals and seven points in 22 games), he is an ideal rental and the Detroit Red Wings are certainly willing to move him.
There’s an argument that maybe he takes away from a player like Jujhar Khaira or Gaetann Haas but the faceoff stats give him an extra advantage those other players don’t have. He would make head coach Dave Tippett feel a lot more comfortable in tight situations.
G Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes
If you believe the Oilers still have major questions in the net, then goaltender Darcy Kuemper is likely the right fit for this team.
He’s going to be expensive, so the Oilers will have to give to get but he would be a big step up and offer the Oilers a more proven option in net. I think the Dwayne Roloson addition in 2006 when I think of a player like Kuemper being added to this lineup.
The Oilers would have to move a netminder back to Arizona as part of the deal and if it wasn’t Mikko Koskinen going back the other way, GM Ken Holland might need to find another way to move him.
The bonus here is that Kuemper is signed for one more season and give Edmonton the inside track on signing him when it comes time to ultimately answer the question about who the Oilers future starter is.
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