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Does a Puljujarvi-for-Duclair Trade Work for Oilers & Panthers?

One NHL insider has asked if it would make sense for the Oilers and Panthers to make a trade that includes Puljujarvi and Duclair.

After running through a ton of names that have been linked to the Oilers ahead of this season’s NHL Trade Deadline, in a recent article for Daily Faceoff, Frank Seravalli wrote, “And just for fun, if all else fails, would swapping Jesse Puljujarvi to Florida in exchange for Anthony Duclair make sense for both sides? They both have the same cap hit. Just sayin.”

The idea here is that the Oilers would upgrade their offense with Duclair, who has been known over his NHL career to have more finish than Puljujarvi. Duclair has multiple 20-plus goal seasons on his resume, with 31 goals for the Panthers in 2021-22. He’s got one additional season remaining on his current contract with the Panthers, but he’s out injured right now, having not played a single game in 2022-23.

Puljujarvi Duclair trade talk
Jesse Puljujarvi for Anthony Duclair trade deadline talk

Meanwhile, Puljujarvi is said to have a ton of potential that he’s never quite reached. He’s playing well with Edmonton right now, but he’s having to do so by leading the team in hits and finding a role with the organization on the bottom six. He’ll sometimes get a bump to the top line, but it’s never sustained and he’s not capitalizing on his chances to score as he’s got only four goals in 48 games. There’s been talk of trading him to get cap space, but the Oilers have been apparently trying all season and as early as this past offseason with no takers.

Could the Oilers and Panthers see this as an opportunity to give each player a change of scenery?

While Seravalli called it a “fun” idea, the answer is probably no.

Why This Doesn’t Make Sense For Either Team

First, the Oilers need to move money. If they’re trading Puljujarvi, bringing back Duclair adds some potential scoring punch but it doesn’t solve their cap problems. Once Kailer Yamamoto returns to the lineup, the Oilers will have to clear space on their cap and Puljujarvi has been said to be the most logical choice. Money can’t come back — at least not $3 million worth.

So too, the Oilers might be interested to see how Puljujarvi fares in his new role before shipping him out. He’s not shown up on the scoreboard, but he’s getting heavy praise for the way he’s played of late and if he’s embracing this new role of being physical and leading the charge with the likes of Klim Kostin, Vincent Desharnais, and others, getting in the faces of the opposition, it’s helpful for Edmonton who lacks that physical edge.

For the Panthers, this could make more sense if they believe a shakeup is in order, but they too have cap issues. Whether it’s Duclair that comes back or Puljujarvi slots in after a trade, it requires the organization to do more than just a one-for-one swap.

Both of these players may ultimately be moved ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, but it’s more likely they are moved to different teams. The Flames are said to be among the suitors for Duclair and Seravalli himself noted that a few teams have shown interest in Puljujarvi.

Next: Flames Looking Primarily at Rentals Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline

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