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Edmonton Oilers Linked to Hurricanes’ Defenseman In Trade Talks Again

The Oilers might be exploring the possibility of acquiring a more defensive-minded defenseman to help their goaltenders.

As unlikely as it seems given the salary cap restrictions and roster complications that would come with such a move, recent discussions in The Hockey News and The Athletic have raised the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers pursuing a trade for defenseman Brett Pesce from the Carolina Hurricanes. Speculation surrounding Pesce’s availability stems from contract uncertainties and the Hurricanes’ potential interest in acquiring Erik Karlsson. The Athletic notes, “Carolina probably doesn’t want to lose Brett Pesce. But it would hate to lose him for nothing.”

If the Oilers can take advantage of the Hurricanes’ possible need to move the blueliner, is there an opportunity there, as tricky as the trade might be?

Insiders continue to closely monitor the situation, as the Hurricanes might still consider offloading Pesce. Talks have quieted down since his name first surfaced in the rumor mill and the Hurricanes don’t appear to be as likely a frontrunner for Karlsson as the Pittsburgh Penguins do, but a trade that was to see the Canes land Tony DeAngelo never materialized, the speculation being they are saving that spot in their lineup for Karlsson. If Karlsson is acquired, someone has to go, and that someone is likely Pesce.

As Shayna Goldman — who listed the Oilers as one of five teams that make sense to acquire Pesce — of The Athletic notes, the primary challenge the Oilers face is their limited salary cap space. Then again, of all the teams she linked to the defenseman, only the Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators have a lot of room with which to work. For the Oilers, they are still trying to sign Evan Bouchard, who is expected to receive a substantial raise this summer. Can they find a way to create the necessary cap space for Pesce in the upcoming season? He’d essentially be a one-year rental and the two sides would revisit negotiations in the summer.

Pesce Would Certainly Be An Upgrade Where the Oilers Need One

For the Oilers, acquiring Pesce would bolster their defensive lineup. Goldman points out, with the recent addition of forward Connor Brown, the Oilers’ forward group appears strong and outside of potentially finding a fourth-line center and signing Ryan McLeod ahead of his arbitration hearing, that group is probably set.

She mentions there are concerns in goal and because it doesn’t appear the Oilers will be changing out either of Jack Campbell or Stuart Skinner reinforcing their blue line with sound defensive players is the right move. Pesce would fit the bill in that regard.

Acquiring Pesce could be a short-term solution that provides immediate assistance in the upcoming season, with the potential for further benefits depending on the team’s progress and cap adjustments. It’s a matter of finding a way to make it work on the cap and that would mean likely trading a player like Cody Ceci or Brett Kulak.

** Author’s Note:

This seems like wishful thinking and it should certainly be something the Oilers should explore if Pesce is available, but it’s not likely. The Hurricanes likely won’t want a defenseman back in a trade, therefore the Oilers would need to pull off two separate transactions. One would be to send a defenseman to another team. The second would be line up the pieces Carolina would want to depart with a blueliner who will garner a pretty decent return.

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