Okay maybe not shopped but this list comes from SN's top 20 and it is as good as any to look at. (http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/top-20-nhl-trade-deadline-candidates-dealt/)
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Oilers are in a great spot right now. They really did little so far to improve the team outside the draft. In fact they went out of their way to trade their previous best player for a second pairing defenceman and signed another one to a 5.5 mil NMC contract which pooched their blue line long term. Besides their sometimes doing good in the first round of the draft they haven't even drafted well. Besides that, they are having a great season and could be dangerous in the playoffs.
Long term they do need to address some issues and they could also be in a much better place this year with a couple low risk rentals.
Long term they will need to address their backup goalie situation. Ideally grabbing one either as a rental or a medium term solution at the trade deadline would make sense and there seems to be many options at all talent levels.
The obvious is the need to address their defense which is in bad need of at least one top tier defender. This is made more difficult by the expansion draft where the Oilers can only protect 3 defenders. Obviously Larsson, Klefbom and Sekeras are the first three that come to mind. Sekeras is currently the Oilers best defender this season and has to be protected due to a NMC but he might be the one the Oilers would want to part with most. Not to due with talent but the contract itself. Sekeras is a great player but the Oilers need to get a top line defender with more talent than him if they are going to be a cup contender and his 5.5 mil contract makes that tough. Not to mention there is a good chance that Klefbom might surpass him in talent and if he doesn't he is a cheaper option as a second pairing player and can play those minutes. People see NMC/NTC and think this means the player gets to choose but we have all seen that the player can be pressured. It is not the right thing to do but much like when a player asks to be traded, when a team asks if you will go, they often do without a fuss. There are a couple problems with this. Would someone take on Sekeras's large contract with years left? or if he waives it in the expansion allowing the Oilers to pick up a defender at the deadline and protect them, would Vegas even take Sekeras? I am pretty sure Vegas would pass on Sekeras just due to the length of his contract but I do think the Oilers could trade him. It might mean taking a bad contract back or retaining some of his salary. In the end though, I can only see the Oilers doing it if it is to take a high paid forward back, I don't see them grabbing a defender and retaining salary, Sekeras is not bad, its his contract that sucks. He is a solid second pairing player.
Lets take the obvious off Sportsnet's list and point out that he is an idiot. Shattenkirk. Exactly what the Oilers need. I think at his age there is a great chance that he could finish his career with a team of young stars that are going to do amazing things over the next two decades of hockey. He could be the number one guy on the point for them during this time. One of the best Power play defenders in the game playing special teams and 3 man OT's with Leon and Connor, its crazy to turn that down. If you look on youtube there are clips of players going back 6-7 years back to when Connor was 15 saying they wanted to play with him. Even Lucic of all people. Now I know that Shattenkirk has to think of his family before his career which pays him millions of dollars to play hockey as a job for half the year. I know it would be tough to live as a millionaire in Edmonton when you could in St.Louis or Pittsburg or one of the other glamorous cities you don't spend time in because you summer some place else anyways. He says he wants to play in the US in the East Coast.
So we got Washington, which would be good and he could do well there. Might work. NYI. They could use him but I think he might want out before the ink on the contract dries. NYR where few All Stars survive the distractions of the city that never sleeps. Give me millions in New York and I might miss a few practices. Just saying. Pittsburg, Chicago and Philly are options. Chicago would be tough. Pens could use him but not sure what they could give for him. Still that would be a good situation I would be open to if I was him. The team apparently chasing him that might work is Boston. Could work. Not sure how that looks cap wise but there are suitors for him. Not sure anyone out east that wants him as much as some of the Canadian teams like Edmonton and Toronto are rumored to be. For now lets put him in the Heatley Category and let him go where he wants and let him hope that is whats best for his career.
Lets keep on the wish list but not going to happen for a second. How amazing would it be to see Duchene in an Oiler's Jersey. We all remember what Eberle, Hall and Duchene did on the World stage. Granted they are one down but at 26 he is just an amazing center. Grabbing him and or Langskog would be amazing for the Oilers. The price would be expensive but if I were GM I would be kicking those tires. See if they are dumb enough to take Lucic, Pouliot, Kassian, Pulj, Nuge... Picks for the two (not all these but some combination). Grab those two and Eberle and that is a second line you can count on.
Now for real rentals that I would be looking at.
Vanek. 33. Once signed to an offer sheet by the Oilers so the theory is that he might want a long term deal with Edmonton if things work out. He didn't do amazing with the Wild but he is with Detroit while the wings are not having a great year. He is a UFA and still has years left on him. As a pending UFA, as long as he only cost the Oilers a third rounder and maybe a career AHL player he is a no risk guy and great to bring in. He has a huge upside and worst case scenario he adds offense to the third line and they let him go in the off season. Best case scenario, he keeps playing as he has in Detroit and they sign him a couple more years at a low cap hit and he plays top 9 minutes. I am under the impression he can play both wings as well which is a plus.
Iggy. Well this would really just be charity. He has seen more playoff games than most of the Oilers which really doesn't say anything. He is an Edmonton native and I really think the guy will not retire without giving this his all. He is a competitor and he is can play 4th line minutes if needed. But if there is an injury he is a good guy to have if needed to be moved to line 3. His cap hit is the problem but that's Katz's problem so I say go for it.
Hanzal, as many have discussed might be the real gem in the rental market. He is hot right now and a 30 year old pending UFA. At 6'6 he is just the type of guy the Oilers have been looking at. Forget the fact that the price is high and they have 3 good centers in Leon, Nuge and McDavid, I can see Chiarelli still trying to make this work. Truth is he has been having a career year in a contract year. Odds are he will be good for whomever signs him long term but why gamble with what might only be a rental when rumor is the asking price is above average.
Vrbata I will touch on quickly. Cheap, veteran, plays wing and is doing well. If he is got for a 4th round pick I say no gamble. Oilers haven't done anything with their 3-5 round picks in the last decade anyways.
Stone I like but 4 million cap hit for a guy the Oilers can't protect in the expansion is silly.
Patrick Sharp would be a great pickup as a rental. He is dropping in performance but he is a great two way player that can play PK and provide offense. He plays wing and center. He has tons of playoff experience and he wouldn't come at a huge cost. I am thinking small chance you resign him in the offseason but as a rental he would be a no brainer if the price is reasonable.
I am ignoring the goalies. Oilers need a backup but I am not too concerned about who they get. Someone cheap. There are just a ton of options. I might give Philly a call and see if they will part with one of their two future UFA's for a cheap price.
Berglund is good but the need for center is high and Hanzal seems the better option at a cheaper price. Unless he comes bundled with a Shattenkirk who has signed a 10 year extension, I say, PASS.
Doan and Seidenberg are just not what the Oilers need. They would fit but there are other options that fit better.
Pending RFA Strome? Maybe if he is cheap. Hard to want to protect a guy in the expansion that might be a bust.
I skipped the big one on purpose. Fowler. Last offseason ANA tried to trade Fowler like a race horse with no legs. They even tried "Value added" (TSN quote) to the trade by offering up picks to get people to take this guy and no one wanted him. Then Fowler reminded everyone why he gets paid what he does and by December Anaheim brass said that there was no way he was going anywhere. Well now trade deadline comes and rumor is he is being shopped again. Not sure who Anaheim really wants to trade (other than Bieksa who is staying put) but I do know that one or two of Fowler, Vatenan or Lindholm is going. The team can't protect them all and their self imposed salary cap makes holding this much money on the blue line hurt their chances of improving their offense.
Fowler is a LHD with amazing numbers. I think after this year he has proven that he is a 1-2 pairing guy. Right now Oilers have Sekeras in that spot with Klef behind him. Fowler is better than both by a long shot and as much as I like Klef he will most likely never be as good as Fowler. Oilers really can't bump Klefs 4 million cap hit to the third pairing which is what they clearly need to do. They could (and yes Oiler fans, this happens) move Klef to the other side on the second pairing. Bumping Benning is not the problem. Sekeras as not a top line guy getting 5.5 will eat at the budget. Plus Larsson isn't a top line guy either. They could trade one. No one would take Sekeras's contract but Klef is tradeable. They could trade for Vatenan or Lindholm. Personally I say both. That would be a much better 1-2 than Larsson and Benning. Anyone disagreeing hasn't seen these two play or is dating Larsson or Benning. Its an obvious huge step up. In fact I would trade them Larsson Benning Nurse and Chiarelli and call it a day.
Really the answer to any scenario, and sports fans your not going to like it but its the elephant in the room, buyout Sekeras. Again it is not that he is bad but the Oilers need better on that top pairing and Klef is a cheaper cap hit and can play second pair minutes. You can't bring in a top tier LHD and keep them both and I am not sure you can bring one in and keep Sekeras at 5.5 mil. Better a low cap hit for a few years than to wait till his contract runs out to improve the blue line. Still with this logic, his buyout will be around the difference between him and Klef's contract. So in theory you are out that money either way and you could get something for Klef and Sekeras is a good player. Four more years at 5.5 mil is going to hurt. I guess if they could trade Horcoff maybe someone will take Sekeras.
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