What we know for sure. Chiarelli is shopping the first round pick and he has also said that improving the blue line is his main goal. Actually he claimed they needed "tweaking" but that was the only thing he mentioned other than the players need to play better. He is not wrong.
Oilers need Talbot, Klefbom, Larsson, Lucic and Sekeras to simply be better. I would say we need Russel to to be better but he is a AHL caliber defender so I don't expect much.
So how do you improve the blue line when you have about 22 million sunk into 4 of the players and that is not including Nurse who I think will be the Oilers best defender this year.
There is talk about the Oilers moving Lucic and there is some interest. Very little and the Oilers would have to take a bad contract back but there is a slim chance. Rumor has it that Edmonton is talking to Ottawa again. They were talking to Ottawa before the trade deadline as well.
Maybe coincidental but Bobby Ryan told Sportsnet that he and Karlsson were told they were traded before the deadline. That it was a done deal. Thing is that Bobby Ryan has a huge contract so he is being packaged in with Karlsson which will lower the price. What we also know is that Ottawa was fielding offers for their centers and there was apparently a lot of interest. I am thinking that the Oilers made an offer to take Karlsson and Ryan in return for Nuge, something of some value and one of their 3 bad contracts (Lucic, Russel or Sekeras). Obviously they didn't get it done.
Now I think the Oilers are kicking the tires about Hoffman. The return would most certainly be the first round pick plus someone. I know what he is worth but Chiarelli doesn't get value so I am not going to speculate. If they did this then Karlsson would almost certainly remain in Ottawa. If the Oilers are after a defender there are 3 good defenders on the market other than Karlsson.
First lets start with Dougie Hamilton. Flames aren't going to trade him to the Oilers and he isn't the answer. I mention him because there are a finite number of teams looking (of have the salary cap) to add a top defender and whoever gets him will be one less team the Oilers have to compete with.
Lets also talk about the two UFAs. Do I think Green or Carlson COULD sign with Edmonton? I think that there would have to be some interest being the number one defender playing with McDavid. However I like Green going back to Washington or at least staying out east. I think Carlson might be Toronto bound. There is a chance that Vegas could go after either but I don't think they are going to be big spenders this offseason as they will want to lock up some of their UFAs and RFAs.
Back to the three defenders being shopped. The least impressive is Ristonlian. He COULD be amazing and I don't like just looking at the stats on a team who is "okay with losing" (Ryan O'Reiley's press conference on why Buffalo was killing his love for the game). Rist is young and has a ton of natural skill. If the price isn't too high I think he would be the best RD on the Oilers.
The second best, and I know calling him that is going to shake some heads, is PK Subban. Nashville has huge depth on the blue line and they are rumored to be shopping their top defender to free up some cap space and improve their forwards. Nashville has had two great seasons and it goes without saying that they don't need to trade him. With that said, if this is the plan they have for the summer, they will get some great offers.
The best player on the market right now. Is Doughty. The 28 year old defender is one of the best in the game. LA hasn't done him any favor lately but this guy was one of the best players when Canada won their last Olympic gold. He can play both ends, gifted PP quarterback and plays a big game.
Rank them any way you want but Doughty, Carlson, Karlsson and Subban are four of the leagues top 15 defenders depending on what criteria you use. Having this much talent on the market has to make it easier for Chiarelli to get some trade done. Yes, he will over pay but what price is too much for these 4?
I know I am a dreamer and he will most likely get nothing of value back for his trades which will most likely deal Klef and Nuge. Still, the arm chair GM's, reading this have to agree that seeing one of the best defenders in the league in Oiler blue has never been more obtainable. It has been decades since the Oilers have had a legitimate top defender and it is overdue (yes, Pronger doesn't count as he is an idiot).