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Oilers Trading Barrie, Puljujarvi to Add Kessel, Subban a Bad Idea

If the Edmonton Oilers are serious contenders for P.K. Subban and Phil Kessel, they’d like have to trade Tyson Barrie and Jesse Puljujarvi.

Don’t believe all the hype when it comes to oddsmakers saying the Edmonton Oilers are the favorites to land both Phil Kessel and P.K. Subban in free agency deals before the 2022-23 NHL season begins. As exciting as it might be for some Oilers fans to think about what adding two top-end players (they were and aren’t any longer) to their roster might be, the Oilers don’t have the money to make that move right now. Not only that, but in order to create the money to sign those two players, the Oilers would actually worsen their hockey team.

Realistically, in order to land Subban and Kessel — moves that could cost the Oilers anywhere between $2 million and $4 million — GM Ken Holland needs to move out more than that in terms of current salary. That means Jesse Puljujarvi, Warren Foegele and/or Tyson Barrie would have to go. And, no matter how you look at things, two of those players out for Kessel and Subban in is not an upgrade for the Oilers. Kessel has slowed down and Subban is not the player he once was. Puljujarvi hasn’t always impressed, but his best years are in front of him and Barrie is still an effective player that offers a lot of the Oilers, especially in the event of an injury on the right side.

Phil Kessel, P.K. Subban, Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyson Barrie

On the off chance that making this move also gives the Oilers a chance to add another player and the move becomes a 3-for-2 series of transactions, this becomes the only way the Oilers come out ahead. The Oilers get some cap space flexibility and three players who can potentially help, not just two. Even still, there’s no telling what Subban and Kessel could bring, and the potential that it is very little is very real.

Holland has time to figure out what he wants to do here and the longer he waits, the better options he might have. Subban and Kessel going unsigned this summer put the leverage in the Oilers camp and that’s not a bad thing for Edmonton, who only wins here if they know one or both players has to come to Edmonton on a deal that is almost a can’t lose situation. Anything else for the Oilers probably isn’t worth the gamble.

Next: Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits: Nylander Trade, Bunting & Gardiner

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