Suddenly the Edmonton Oilers have a plethora of defenseman and there aren’t enough spots for them all after the club signed Denis Grebeshkov to a one-year deal Thursday. While he isn’t the high profile blue liner that the Oilers continue to lack, he does shore up the back end of the third defense pairing but it also makes the blue line rather crowded in Edmonton. Does this mean that a trade is brewing surrounding the Oilers?
The chances are good that a deal could be made and many fans believe Corey Potter will be the odd man out in Edmonton. Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal tweeted that he believes one of the defenseman will be moved for a winger but hang on Oilers’ fans, he doesn’t think it’ll be Kyle Clifford of the LA Kings.
Clifford’s name has been mentioned a lot in the past couple of days surrounding a potential trade to the Oilers. The Kings are tight against the salary cap and the two sides are said to be far apart on a new contract, making a trade the natural solution involving the restricted free agent. Edmonton could use his size and grit but the rumors have turned out to be just that….rumors; at least to this point.
Ales Hemsky is still an Oiler despite plenty of chatter that he could be traded in what feels like any day now. The market doesn’t necessarily fit his salary of $5 million owed to him next season so if Craig MacTavish plans on moving the slick puck handling winger, Edmonton may have to absorb some of the salary. But a package of Hemsky and Potter with the Oilers retaining say $2 million of Hemsky’s contract should be enough to entice a club that could use number 83′s offensive abilities. Throw in a number six d-man into the deal and maybe a third line winger could be had for the Oilers in return.
Would the Oilers look at moving Nick Schultz in a deal to solidify their top nine forwards? Anything is possible especially when you consider Schultz is entering the final year of his contract that carries a cap hit of $3.5 million next season.
A solid blue liner for the Oilers, Schultz could be made expendable if rookies Oscar Klefbom and Anton Belov can live up to the hype that surrounds them this summer. Both are expected to compete for a roster spot out of camp and if they can elevate their game to contribute at the NHL level then moving Schultz and his salary could allow MacTavish to fill holes elsewhere on his roster. But that may be a deal that is better made in the fall once the season is well under way and the young d-men have proved worthy of staying in the big leagues.
For now, it’s about potentially moving a player like Potter and/or Hemsky to help free up some room on the blue line as well as creating a spot on the Oilers third line. Hopefully for what will be Kyle Clifford, but for now one can only dare to dream.
There are a handful of teams that will need to shed salary or walk away from their restricted free-agents between now and the time training camp opens. The Oilers are in an enviable position to possibly add value players but in order to do so they’ll need to make room on their own roster. Hence the idea of a trade.
Based on the signing of Grebeshkov, you can’t help but think that a deal is coming. Let’s hope it’s that bold move that MacTavish has talked about.