The Stanley Cup Finals will begin either in a couple days or a couple days after that. The Dallas Stars will represent the Western Conference while one of the Tampa Bay Lightning or New York Islanders will come out of the East.
While the Islanders and Lightning battle to see who gets to face off against Tampa Bay, other teams are conducting business as usual. The Sabres and Wild made a swap yesterday. The Canadiens picked up a defenceman from Carolina a little bit before that. 28 teams are free to make moves, and the Oilers ought to consider striking while the iron is hot.
There are a few items on the wish list for the Oilers. One of them is a goaltender, and a few names have been popping up recently.
One of them is current Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper, and the Oilers might be in on Kuemper if GM Ken Holland plays his cards right.
More concerning financial news for Arizona Coyotes: Team still has an outstanding balance that has yet to be paid with ASM Global, which operates and manages Gila River Arena. Balance for 2019-20 season, due on June 30, has yet to be paid.— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) September 17, 2020
It’s not an NHL season until you read some stories about some varied financial woe coming out of Arizona. AZCentral suggests that the Coyotes owe just over 6 million combined to ASM Global, (the company that runs Gila River Arena) and the city of Glendale.
Are the Coyotes up for another year of shoestring budgeting? Perhaps. It should be noted that the Coyotes appear to be actively shopping netminder Darcy Kuemper after re-signing 24 year-old Adin Hill for 800K.
I don’t necessarily subscribe to the theory that the Oilers need a “platoon” goalie to come into Edmonton. Mikko Koskinen did fine this past season, should the club be able to get another year of .917SV% out of Koskinen, I think it’d be just fine to grab a backup goaltender via the free agent wire or by making a trade.
Darcy Kuemper is not a backup goaltender. He’d be a 1 or a 1A alongside Mikko Koskinen, and that may be a good enough reason to pursue him if the price is right. His last two seasons have been very very good at .925 in 2018-19 and .928 this past season.
The problem? Kuemper’s got two more years at 4.5MM AAV, which would all but prohibit his acquisition unless the Oilers were able to move some cap between now the new season. Could the Oilers swing a deal that would send a bigger cap hit to Arizona with a lower actual cost? Do the Oilers have any of those?
Well, just Kris Russell. He’s got a modified NTC, so maybe the desert isn’t on that list. He’s got one year left on his four year deal that will see him paid 1.5MM with a 4MM cap hit, though I’m thinking the Coyotes will hold on for a bit more.
If the Coyotes move on from Oliver Ekman-Larsson (as has been discussed), they can take a little bit more in return. But would they? (It would also free up a spot for Cowboy, who can play on both the left and the right side, don’t ya know)
"They're looking for a 1st round draft choice (for Kuemper). I'm told they got one; I'm not sure they got one in the mid-teens." - Stauffer on Oilers Now— SHoKTee (@akaRCN) September 15, 2020
I’m quite a bit less wild about this idea.
If the Oilers can make the cap work, they should ring up the Coyotes and see if they can get Kuemper on the cheap. The Coyotes don’t select until the fourth round this season after surrendering their first rounder in the Taylor Hall trade, plus the forfeiture of their second and third rounders due to a combine violation. I like Kuemper, but there’s got to be cap space going out if the Oilers are to absorb a 4.5MM player coming in.
Can the Oilers put together a realistic package to make it happen?