Considering the Edmonton Oilers are bullish on names like Philip Broberg, Dylan Holloway, and Vincent Desharnais, and don’t want to try those three rookies ahead of this season’s NHL Trade Deadline, speculation is that the Oilers are making their first-round pick available, should GM Ken Holland feel the need over the next five weeks to go out and acquire a player.
The Oilers have won five straight and are working themselves back into a good playoff position after some questionable games where some fans were concerned the postseason might not even be a given. But, as Broberg starts to feel more comfortable and Desharnais proves the Oilers have found a keeper in the later rounds of the draft, Holland is getting the chance to assess his roster and there’s chatter that the focus has shifted to landing a center.
Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic writes: “Broberg and Holloway are considered all but off the table in trades. That leaves prospects like Xavier Bourgault and Reid Schaefer as possible trade chips. This year’s first-round pick is believed to be in play at this point.”
Nugent-Bowman notes that the play of Broberg has given the Oilers reason to believe he’s going to be reliable down the stretch. At the very least, he’s a player the Oilers want to leave room for this and next season. Adding a defenseman with term still on his deal only pops a hurdle in front of Broberg’s progression. Holland is not keen to do so. Instead, he’ll go for a blue-line rental, if he feels the need to add a defender — the most likely target being Vladislav Gavrikov of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Meanwhile, the Oilers have really liked Holloway’s game. It’s not clear how much he’ll be relied upon down the stretch here, but if Edmonton is forced to move a winger in a salary cap dump scenario, Holloway could be called upon to step up. They think he can do so.
Oilers Might Be Focused on a “Brand-Name” Center
Nugent-Bowman writes that if the Oilers don’t chase a defenseman, they could go after a bigger-name forward. Specifically, he’s writing there’s a link to both Bo Horvat out of Vancouver and Jonathan Toews out of Chicago.
This isn’t the first time Horvat has been mentioned in the same sentence as the Oilers. Jeff Marek said during a podcast not too long ago that one of his sources said Edmonton makes sense as long-term being a fit. He explained, “One, he is an excellent player. Two, he’d be amenable to going there. Three, who knows about the future of their two big dogs, specifically Leon Draisaitl who is a couple of years away from unrestricted free agency.”
First, the Oilers need to make room on their cap — something they are going to need to do anyways as Kailer Yamamoto returns from LTIR. Then, if the team has moved a player like Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele and has the option to land a big-ticket rental, it will require some salary-cap maneuvering, retained salary from the team they deal with, and weighing the cost of giving up the first-rounder in a very deep draft, one experts suggest is 60 quality players deep.
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