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Examining the Realities of a Campbell-for-Merzlikins Trade

Could a trade between the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets be a real possibility. Merzlikins for Campbell might not be so easy.

Could a trade between the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets be a real possibility? Aaron Portzline, hockey writer for The Athletic, recently reported that Blue Jackets’ goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is seemingly headed for a new chapter in his career. Merzlikins clarified that he hasn’t formally requested a trade, but he and the Blue Jackets organization have agreed to explore a “new scenario.” This could open the door for the Oilers to talk trade, moving their own goalie problem in Jack Campbell in the process.

Expressing his love for Columbus and its team, Merzlikins emphasized his desire not to be a backup goaltender, asserting his belief in being a No. 1 goaltender. In Edmonton, he would compete for the top spot with Stuart Skinner. No job would be guaranteed to Merzlinkins, but he wouldn’t be a third-stringer and could potentially work his way up to a 1B option.

Elvis Merzlinkins Jack Campbell trade rumors

While Merzlikins’ potential move has sparked speculation, several factors complicate the scenario.

A Trade Between Edmonton and Columbus Makes Sense… Kind Of

With three years remaining on his contract at $5.4 million per year, moving Merzlikins poses challenges due to his cap hit and past performance inconsistencies. Furthermore, he holds a 10-team no-trade list, potentially influencing potential destinations. He might not have the Oilers on his radar.

At the same time, the Oilers might not be interested in Merzlikins without the Blue Jackets retaining salary. With term left on the goaltender’s contract, getting them to eat half the deal would be costly. How much do the Oilers like Merzlikins? Is paying that price really worth it? Edmonton can’t and won’t do the deal straight up. Merzlinkins actually comes in at a higher cap hit than Campbell.

There are other teams capable of absorbing the Merzlikins’ contract without sending back a similar cap hit. If that’s true, then it must be true those same teams could be open to dealing for Campbell. It would serve the Oilers well to explore those options, if they haven’t already. Potential destinations include Chicago, Buffalo, Anaheim, and Nashville.

What If This Is Just the Oilers and Blue Jackets Swapping Problem for Problem?

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where both teams agree to simply give each other their problem netminders. There would a) have to be some kind of salary compensation to even things out a b) one team tends to want a sweetener, even if small. That said, the central idea of a trade could be to give each goalie a new environment in which to see if they can excel.

Merzlikins clearly isn’t happy where he is. Campbell isn’t doing much of anything right now. Both goalies have fallen out of favor with their current teams and a fresh start might help.

This trade is still a long-shot. The idea on paper has merit, but deals are rarely that simple.

Next: Canadiens: 4 Trade Candidates as GM Will Be Busy Ahead of Deadline

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