As the 2023 trade deadline inches closer, many teams, including the Edmonton Oilers, are hard at work scouting and seeing what players would make good additions. Ken Holland, Jay Woodcroft, and Bob Nicholson attended the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche game on January 20 to presumably do just that.
There is a small chance that Holland, Woodcroft and Nicholson will attend the game to scout players for the Avalanche as they are in similar positions and are not looking to sell players. Interest lies in the Canucks as many big changes are coming to the organization and personnel. It’s also unlikely that all three wanted to attend a game on the team’s off day as the Oilers were set to play the Canucks a day later. But what’s the fun in that?
Are any Canucks on Edmonton’s radar?
The Oilers are in a unique position compared to many other contenders or teams around the league because the Canucks don’t have a ton of players they can choose from. Two affordable players in Vancouver are Luke Shane and Andrei Kuzmenko That will reach about every contender, including the Oilers. But there’s also an interesting prospect that involves a lot to pull off, and that’s one Bo Harbhat trade
Many defensive names around the league have been linked to the Oilers this season due to poor play. That play has picked up significantly of late, and it calls into question whether the Oilers still need to make a defensive addition or preserve asset at the deadline. They are running with seven defensemen while Philippe Broberg and Vincent Desharnais were great in their rookie seasons. Broberg has played so well that he needs more playing time and could even move into a top-four role.
If the Oilers are set on defense, why would they need defense? There’s still time before the trade deadline and Holland still wants to see what’s out there. Anything can happen to any player on any given night. The other possibility is that Holland would still be interested in upgrading Shane to a very solid defensive defenseman with a hefty cap hit of $850,000. If that happens, the rookies will lose playing time this season but won’t hurt Shane’s development too much if he hits free agency after the season.
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He could be a much cheaper option if the Oilers are looking to free up cap space. Edmonton is already tougher, but this addition really will be Change the face of the team on defense
Any general manager of a team looking to make a postseason run wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t at least check in on Horvat. That being said, the Oilers could have long or short-term interest in acquiring the Canucks center. Horvat is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) with a cap hit of $5.5 million at the end of the season. Since the Canucks are looking for a hockey trade, which means sending money back, the Oilers will have the means to do so. They are already looking to move some money out One of three players And it will also help their cap situation for next season.
Horvat would be a huge addition if the Oilers can land him at the trade deadline. He is having a career year where he is scoring at a very high rate. Jeff Marek mentioned the Oilers with the Canucks on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast As he sees Horvat as a potential long-term fit if Leon Draicitol isn’t around. Draisaitl is friends with Connor McDavid, and the amount of money the Oilers must make available to sign him doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere. But given the Oilers’ cost-cutting, Marek said Horvat could be open to signing in Edmonton and the Oilers would save themselves $3 million-plus.
I wouldn’t take this trade as a long-term gamble as Horvat is shooting eight percent above his career shooting percentage and has a career-high 61 points over his nine-year career. Draisaitl has produced at least 70 points In each of the last seven seasons, including this one. This argument is against Horvat being a long-term solution in Edmonton. If they can get him for the rest of the season to add more depth to the forwards that have been great lately, that would put the team over the top.
The Oilers have gotten goals from 11 of their forwards during their six-game winning streak, and the scoring depth has really come around. The team is almost healthy and depth players are also fighting to stay in the lineup. The Oilers don’t have a ton of cap space to work with, but Kuzmenko is as cheap as he gets. Since this was his first year in North America, he had to sign an entry-level contract. His cap hit is $950,000 this season before becoming a UFA. Want the Canucks though Keep him around and re-sign himA big price tag will be attached.
As I mentioned, Kuzmenko will be highly sought after if he is made available due to his cap hit and 18 goals and 40 points in 44 games. Scoring too high is never a bad thing. This is a season that the Oilers should go to the Stanley Cup again. It may cost a first-round pick or the equivalent of outwitting other interested teams, but it could be worth it
Holland has made some great moves since becoming the Oilers’ general manager and has earned the trust of the organization and fans. Woodcroft’s opinion is also important given that he works with the players almost every day. He knew what qualities the Oilers lacked that even Holland lacked. Seeing the two in such close contact is a good sign for the Oilers to hit on any additions this season.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer primarily covering the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date NHL Stats News and trade negotiations.
You can find more of his work here here.