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Recent Oiler Moves “Opens Up Door” to Trade Jack Campbell

Getting two depth pieces without giving up assets has given the Edmonton Oilers the option to move Jack Campbell. Let’s explain.

While he’s picking up his game in Bakersfield, Jack Campbell‘s stint with the Edmonton Oilers has been far from smooth. Signing as a free agent a couple of seasons ago, there were high hopes for Campbell to be the starter the Oilers needed. Unfortunately, he’s proved himself to be anything but. And, for the past number of months, the Oilers have been trying to part ways with him, while also seeing if they can’t help him salvage his game. According to one NHL insider, a couple of recent developments may have made that possible.

A challenging start to the season in Edmonton got Campbell demoted to the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors. There, he started out poorly, his first three games being nothing shy of a disaster. It became clear rather quickly that moving him and his five-year, $25 million deal was going to be a challenge.

Sporting a 4-6-0 record with a 3.46 goals against average and .888 save percentage, he’s since turned things around. It’s likely not enough to warrant trading him on the merits of his play, but there are signs that his game has not completely left him. More than that, the Oilers made a couple of moves this week that might provide flexibility when it comes to using a sweetener with Campbell to facilitate a trade.

Oilers Using a First-Round Pick to Move Campbell?

NHL Insider Frank Seravalli, in a recent appearance on The DFO Rundown podcast, suggested that the acquisition of veteran forward Corey Perry may create an opportunity for the Oilers to offload Campbell’s contract. The addition of Perry, along with the return of Dylan Holloway was essentially the Oilers acquiring two new depth pieces without giving up any assets. Filling two potential trade deadline holes means the need to use a first-round pick in 2024 to make a deal for an incoming asset has decreased. That same pick could now be used to dump Campbell’s contract.

He notes:

Getting those two pieces for free, signing Perry, Holloway coming back from injury, it changes the outlook of their trade deadline. They have so much added flexibility. Plus, with less assets out the door, I think it opens up the door for them to move Jack Campbell.

To take things one step further, Seravalli noted that the Oilers could use both of their first-round picks (one in 2024 and then in 2025) to really make a splash. Suggesting the team could add a big-name player and move the Campbell contract, it would likely take both first-rounders to get everything done.

Jack Campbell Oilers pulled
Jack Campbell Oilers pulled

Seravalli explains:

If you were to say, ‘look, the Campbell signing, obviously a mistake, whether it’s now or later, we’re going to have to pay a price to get out of his contract.’ Maybe this is the year you move a 2025 first-round pick plus whatever else you need to get rid of Campbell, and then you’ve got your 2024 pick on the table to add a big defenceman or an elite winger.”

Will The Oilers Go Big With Trades at the Deadline?

The Oilers know the Campbell signing was a mistake. The question is, how much are they prepared to pay to fix it? Holland can be a patient while Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard play well. Perhaps he can wait for Campbell to really explode in the AHL and then revisit the cost to move that asset to another team.

But, will they trade two firsts this season to make as big a push as they possibly can? That’s really mortgaging the future to move a contract and free up money to land a big fish. All this, when potentially the Oilers don’t need to go nuts.

Next: Perry Details Decision to Join Oilers, Holland Talks Deadline Plans



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