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Insiders Say Oilers Have Identified Their Top Trade Deadline Target

The Edmonton Oilers have identified Jake Guentzel as their top trade deadline target. They just need to wait for the Penguins to be sellers.

Pierre LeBrun of TSN notes in the latest Insider Trading segment that Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins emerges as the primary target for the Edmonton Oilers. While uncertainties persist regarding Guentzel’s availability, he’s who they like. Meanwhile, “If Guentzel is available, my opinion is that’s (the Oilers) guy. That’s the guy they’d like to get,” Elliotte Friedman said on the most recent 32 Thoughts podcast. In other words, the Oilers looked around the market, identified what they needed, and determined Guentzel was their guy.

Guentzel is arguably the top winger available at this season’s NHL Trade Deadline, assuming the Penguins don’t sign him and elect to trade him.

Ken Holland Edmonton Oilers trade deadline

Edmonton is looking for a top-six winger to play on the team’s second line. The Oilers tried out a new combination on Friday night, placing Corey Perry with Evander Kane and Leon Draisaitl. The switch offered positive results. That said, Guentzel is on another level. He’s a legit top-line player that the Oilers wouldn’t have to worry about replacing. With 22 goals and 51 points in 49 games this season, he’s a legitimate threat to score. He knows how to play with star centers and his presence would give the Oilers the most dangerous top six in the NHL.

The Oilers Do Have Other Deadline Options

The team has been linked to other names, including Sean Walker and Scott Laughton of the Philadelphia Flyers. Edmonton’s name has come up in connection with Chris Tanev. They’ve been linked to a reunion with Jordan Eberle. It’s also believed Vladimir Tarasenko would consider waiving to join the Oilers. Frankly, they don’t mind him as a fit either.

None hold a candle to Guenztel, according to reports. He’s their guy and all other trade options will have to wait, especially if the asks from other teams include a first-round pick. The Oilers will need to hold onto that pick to ensure they have it as ammunition if Guentzel becomes available.

Guentzel Would be a Pure Rental for the Oilers

What’s intriguing about this is that Guentzel is going to be a rental player. He’s a pending UFA, and the rumored ask on his next deal is high. It might reach upwards of $10 million per season. Edmonton can’t afford that. A long-term deal is out the window, especially with looming contracts for Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Evan Bouchard, and others.

Jake Guentzel Pittsburgh Penguins trade talk

This is the kind of move where Edmonton has identified its perfect fit. They will wait until he becomes available — should the Penguins become sellers — and may give up their first-round pick to land the player. They’re willing to do all of this knowing it’s for a short-term playoff run.

Edmonton Wants a Game-Changer And Will Go All-In To Get Him

Friedman further suggested that the recent defeat of the Edmonton Oilers by the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t sit well with the team. It put an end to their impressive 16-game winning streak and prevented them from securing a share of an NHL record. The NHL insider hints this has only ramped up the Oilers’ eagerness to pursue Guentzel, someone categorized as a game-changer.

Friedman said, “Watching that game the other night, I think the Oilers look at it like ‘If we’re going to beat these guys in a 7-game series we have to be a four-line team.'” Guentzel in the top six moves everyone else down a notch and creates real depth for the Oilers.

Next: Oilers Eye 3 Deadline Wingers, But Won’t Trade 2 Key Pieces


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