Did anybody see the deal that the Maple Leafs made last night? It was a doozy.
We have acquired Ryan O’Reilly & Noel Acciari in a three-team trade with St. Louis & Minnesota.— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 18, 2023
STL receives Mikhail Abramov & Adam Gaudette, TOR's 1st round pick in '23, OTT's 3rd round pick in '23 & TOR's 2nd round pick in '24. MIN receives TOR's 4th round pick in '25. pic.twitter.com/QAOUZvUZfH
Ryan O’Reilly goes to the Leafs along with Noel Acciari. A wad of picks for a pure rental player in O’Reilly, but the 2019 Conn Smythe winner is a good bet at helping put some pucks into opposing nets for the Leafs. The Leafs were strung to the cap ceiling before this deal was made, they had to have some help from a couple clubs holding some cap space this year. The Leafs have a good chance to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in nineteen years, even if O’Reilly is Toronto-bound for what’s only likely to be a few months. Toronto got creative, even if it cost a bit more than what they might have wanted to spend. They’re in win-now mode, and it didn’t cost one of their A list prospects. Or, a B list prospect. Didn’t cost them any prospects, whatsoever.
MEANWHILE IN EDMONTON
The Oilers lost a 5-4 matchup in the most frustrating fashion imaginable last night. Up 4-1 after 20 minutes, Edmonton yielded a shorthanded goal to Chris Kreider, an early goal in the third to Alexis Lafrenière and a power play goal to Mika Zibanejad with under seven minutes remaining in the third. The Oilers couldn’t seal the deal in overtime while on the power play, and they’d eventually lose in a shootout. The Oilers put up a paltry two shots in the third period. The Oilers put up a four spot against the Rangers, it should have been enough to prevent New York from their seventh win in a row. Instead, the Oilers have sort of teetered to a 2-1-3 break from All-Star weekend. They’re averaging nearly four goals against in the month of February, they sit fourth in the Pacific behind Vegas, Seattle and Los Angeles.
The Oilers have to make a move to upgrade their defence if they’re to be taken seriously this postseason. Should he waive his NMC to come to Edmonton, San Jose’s Erik Karlsson appears to be available. He’s pricey (11.5 x 4 after this season) but Karlsson immediately takes Cody Ceci off the pair. Karlsson is putting up an absolute yacht’s worth of points in San Jose, but let’s not forget that he’d easily be the best defenceman on the Oilers.
in case anyone is wondering why the edmonton oilers should be doing anything and everything to bring in erik karlsson, this is the latest breakout of the defensive zone by their top pairing. pic.twitter.com/CIFvBP4Fsu— zach (@zjlaing) February 18, 2023
Ken Holland would need to make it work. He’d have to get the Sharks to hold a significant amount of that 11.5 million in cap, plus he’d have to send about eight million in cap space to California to help make it work. There’d be picks, there’d be roster players, it’d be a haul. Consider this: where would the Oilers pick in the first round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. 22? 25? Would three first round picks in the mid-to-late 20s be a dealbreaker to acquire a franchise defenceman in Erik Karlsson? It’s a tall ask for sure. But Erik Karlsson isn’t exactly available near every trade deadline.
THIS IS AN OFFSEASON MOVE?
It shouldn’t be an offseason move. Erik Karlsson is available. You’re the GM. Send them picks and players, have them eat some cap space in the process. Yes, it’s going to be expensive. Yes, you’re going to send picks for the next few years. We’re in year eight of Connor McDavid. Cody Ceci isn’t a top pairing defenceman. Let’s go win this thing.
A trade involving multiple first round picks would help San Jose drive deep into their rebuild. For the Oilers, four years of Erik Karlsson could help push them over the hump.
Your move, Ken.