Monday is the NHL trade deadline, and the Oilers are right in the thick of the playoff race. They currently sit 2nd in the Pacific Division, 3 points behind the Golden Knights with 2 games in hand.
There are tons of rumours out there, and speculation is running rampant as per usual at this time of year. Here’s my two cents on what I think the Oilers will be able to do on Monday.
Here is where the Oilers sit currently based on all players on the roster and all injured players on IR, AND the late-night announcement of the Mike Green trade:
Gagner ($3.15M) McDavid ($12.5M) Chiasson ($2.15M)
Nuge ($6M) Draisaitl ($8.5M) Yamamoto ($894,166)
Benson ($808,333) Sheahan ($900k) Archibald ($1M)
Khaira ($1.2M) Haas ($925k) Russell ($700k)
Nurse ($3.2M) Bear ($720k)
Jones ($720k) Larsson ($4,166,666)
Lagesson ($741,666) Benning ($1.9M)
Total Cap Hit: $76,155,331
Buried: Manning ($1,175,000), Granlund ($225,000)
Buyouts: Sekera ($2.5M), Pouliot ($1,333,333), Gryba ($300,000)
Retained: Lucic ($750,000)
Cap Space: -$938,664
In case you missed it, the trade is Mike Green for Kyle Brodziak and a conditional 4th round pick in 2020, which would become a 3rd round pick in 2021 if the Oilers were to make the Conference Finals this season. Holland got Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings to retain 50% of Green’s salary, but they are still over the cap after making this deal… GASP! (Credit to Mark Spector for the details on the trade).
They have until the 1 pm MT deadline to get themselves back under the cap.
The active roster is currently at 22 men, but there are 4 players on IR. Kris Russell is the only one that is even close to returning. His return would mean that William Lagesson would be sent back down to Bakersfield. That would leave the Oilers $196,998 OVER the cap.
The depth on defence has been addressed. Holland still likely wants to do something with the forwards. I believe that Ottawa is a very likely trade partner for the Oilers because they have a lot of what they are looking for.
Let’s pretend that the Oilers will add a forward without giving up a roster player. They have room on the active roster for one more guy, but the money wouldn’t be where it needs to be. That would mean having to send one forward to the AHL.
The options would be Benson, Haas, P. Russell, or Gagner. Remember, the net result of the transaction would have to save the Oilers $196,998 on the cap. The most that could be saved by sending one of these players down would be Gagner’s $1,075,000 cap savings. That would mean the most expensive player that the Oilers could bring in would be $878,002… the only guy being rumoured to come here in that range would be Tyler Ennis ($800,000).
Ennis to Edmonton for a pick and then Gagner and Lagesson being sent to Bakerfield on Monday is a very likely scenario.
The other scenario that could happen would be Edmonton moving a forward out in order to bring in another one.
Jujhar Khaira’s name has been mentioned a lot lately as a name that could be moved out. His $1.2 million coming off of the books would mean that the Oilers could add a player with a cap hit of $1,003,002. Ennis fits the bill here once again.
Sam Gagner is another possibility in this type of move. Moving his $3.15 million would allow Holland to add a player with a cap hit as high as $2,953,002. Think Chris Tierney ($2,937,500). A potential deal there could be Gagner and a pick/prospect or two for Tierney.
Vladislav Namestnikov is a player that has been rumoured to be available. He would be a decent fit because he has shown he can play in a top 6 role, and he can play all 3 forward positions. His cap hit is $3,250,000 though. It would take Gagner and another player on the roster to make it work, even after sending Lagesson down.
Since there are only 12 healthy forwards able to play currently, the other roster piece going in a Namestnikov trade would have to be a defenceman.
The Oilers just picked up Mike Green, a right-handed defenceman. The Oilers currently have Larsson, Bear, and Benning on the right side. The Oilers have Evan Bouchard chomping at the bit for an NHL spot for next season, so the Oilers could move one of the righties now to make room for him next year. That would be a bottom pairing spot, and the guy to move would be Matt Benning.
Benning is a young enough piece that the Senators might be willing to take him on. He has been a rock for the Oilers on the 3rd pairing this season, but he is ultimately expendable now that Green is here.
Benning, Gagner, and a pick for Namestnikov could be the framework for a deal that works nicely for both sides.
As always, there is a lot of room for surprises on trade deadline day. I could be totally wrong with my analysis here, but it’s all for fun anyway! I can confidently predict that Lagesson will be sent to Bakersfield tomorrow no matter what though. Stay tuned for a wrap-up of Monday’s trade action!