With trade deadline day a little more than a week away, the Oilers are in a position to s
ell everything that’s not nailed down to the floor make some additions to the roster prior to their playoff run. Unless there’s a big piece that’s going away (or another team is willing to retain some cap in a trade), the Oilers will have to operate on a shoestring budget because of their proximity to the cap ceiling.
The number one thing the Oilers need this trade deadline is a top six left wing. With an unlimited budget, they could go for the fences. With limited resources, they’ll be a little more shrewd with their pocketbooks.
I’ve been stumping hard for the Oilers to swing for the fences and make a play for Taylor Hall. Hall is languishing in Buffalo and is a certain to be moved out prior to the April 12th deadline. The problem with landing Taylor Hall is that his cap hit is almost a non-starter at 8MM. Even if Buffalo were to eat half of his deal, that leaves the Oilers needing to make space for a 4MM addition. Is there anything out there that’s a little bit more reasonable?
RYAN DZINGEL, OTTAWA SENATORS
Ryan Dzingel rejoined the Senators this year after the Hurricanes dealt him in mid-February. In twelve games with Ottawa, he’s got six points (5-1-6) for a total of 10 points in 23 games on the season (7-3-10). In his short time with the Senators, he’s spent most of his time with forwards Clark Bishop and Auston Watson. Dzingel can play all three forward positions, but he’d be tapped for a position on either McDavid’s left side or on the left side of Leon Draisaitl. Dzingel’s cap hit may be a sticking point at 3.375MM on an expiring deal, but a player out or some salary retention for a conditional pick in return might do the trick.
Dzingel can power play, too.
SCOTT LAUGHTON, PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Scott Laughton has spent his entire career with the Flyers. Philadelphia’s first round selection from 2012 is on the second of a two year deal that will see him become a UFA. He’s in a bit of a slump right now, which could help a prospective deal out. Laughton hasn’t scored a point in six games, his last goal was scored on eleven games ago against the Capitals. That doesn’t do much to sell the player, but he’s got 17 points in 32 games this season, to go with a reasonable cap hit of 2.3MM. That’s perfectly able to be off-set by a player in return like Alex Chiasson. Laughton’s most common linemates this year are Kevin Hayes and Nicolas Aube-Kubel. A gifted puck-handler, getting alongside Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl will likely help end that scoring draught of his.
What if these two don’t fit? Ken Holland could dig back into his old bag of tricks.
BOBBY RYAN, DETROIT RED WINGS
I’ve included Bobby Ryan on this short list for three reasons
- He’s on Detroit, and Ken Holland loves his Red Wings
- He’s got a one million dollar cap hit, which is right in Edmonton’s price wheelhouse
- The acquisition cost is probably not a whole lot.
Bobby Ryan is another player with an expiring contract. At 34 years of age, Bobby Ryan is in the autumn of his playing years, but the Oilers could probably acquire Ryan for a song, wind him up for the playoffs and see what happens. Ryan’s 2021 season sees him pulling 14 points in 33 games on a shaky Detroit club. Ryan’s spent most of his time with Robby Fabbri and Anthony Mantha this season. Like Dzingel, Ryan has spent time on the power play this season, though he’s got just three points to show for it so far.
Ryan would be further down my list of potential deadline acquisitions, but as mentioned earlier, his acquisition fee would likely be in the conditional pick range.
Edmonton might not have the cap space to go splashing around until free agency hits after the season, but smart money can see them tinker with their roster enough to bring in a contributor on the top six. It might not be one of these players, but they’re all manageable cap hits and the cost of acquisition is more reasonable than swinging for the fences.