As part of his latest 31 Thoughts article Sportsnet analyst and hockey insider Elliotte Friedman noted he didn’t think the Edmonton Oilers were willing to move a whole lot when it comes to adding before the trade deadline. More specifically, he referred to the Oilers first-round pick or one of their top prospects for a rental.
The first time rumors were that Taylor Hall was available for trade, the Oilers were speculated to be interested but reports surfaced Edmonton wasn’t willing to move their first-rounder to acquire him. With rumors Hall might be available again, it’s likely that situation hasn’t changed, even if Hall is exactly what the Oilers could use right now.
So, as the Oilers potentially look to the trade market in other ways to improve their roster over the next 10-12 days, might they have eyes on a different rental? Even if they do, again, they won’t move their top pick in this summer’s draft. They may not even be willing to move a prospect everyone thinks the Oilers will eventually trade.
Friedman said, “I’m not convinced they’d want to move Jesse Puljujarvi for one.” Even with Connor McDavid out for the next couple of weeks, Friedman suggests the Oilers won’t move any of their top defense prospects, Puljujarvi or what they deem any important pieces to their future. Instead, Friedman notes, “The only way I’d see any of that changing is if a difference-maker with term or team control is in the picture.”
What Might that Piece Be?
Andreas Athanasiou is one option, but even then, his status as an RFA makes him a question mark. For the Oilers, they’d have to come to terms on the player and while they could venture a guess at what his future salary might be, it’s difficult to know for certain.
Pavel Buchnevich might be an option out of New York. The winger has 11 goals and 33 points in 55 games for the Rangers this season. He was recently added to TSN’s Trade Bait Board, ranking at No. 12 on the list.
And, of course, the Edmonton Oilers would be happy to talk with the Toronto Maple Leafs about any one of Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen and Alexander Kerfoot. Should the Maple Leafs be interested in that kind of deal, Edmonton could be open to it. The only issue is that the Maple Leafs are likely look for blue line help and clearly, Puljujarvi doesn’t help in that regard.
There are options out there, but the fit has to be just right and Holland doesn’t seem willing to mortgage what he believes to the well-being of Edmonton’s long-term plan to find short-term success.
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