The Detroit Red Wings are one of a few teams around the NHL that are having issues getting their team payroll under the new salary cap ceiling. The Edmonton Oilers are one of the lucky clubs that can still afford to add salary, making these two teams potential trading partners as mentioned by Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal.
The Red Wings were the culprits of making the loudest splash this summer when they surprisingly signed veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson, all but stealing him from the Ottawa Senators. They then followed that up by inking Stephen Weiss, a star player in his own right who was allowed to walk from the Florida Panthers due to his high salary demands.
As it stands now the Red Wings are tight against the cap and have expressed their desire to re-sign unrestricted free agent Daniel Cleary. Ken Holland, the Wings GM openly admitted that in order to do so they would have to move one, maybe two players to create cap room. Enter the Edmonton Oilers.
With a lot of chatter surrounding the Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings about a deal that would send Kyle Clifford to Edmonton, Detroit could be an alternative to addressing the lack of size the copper and blue have on their roster.
Willis mentions the aging veterans Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson as options that Detroit could part ways with but neither truly excite the passions of this Oilers fans. Especially Bertuzzi, who’s best years are behind him despite bringing a physical presence down low and on the cycle.
Jordin Tootoo‘s name is mentioned and despite his lack in stature, he does play a great fourth line role and can recharge the arena with a thunderous hit or exciting fight.
But the true value comes in the names that Willis goes on to explore in greater depth. Guys like Patrick Eaves, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson. All are young, NHL ready players who would immediately improve the Oilers roster with Willis zeroing in on Andersson and Justin Abdelkader (who would be a long shot to be moved from Detroit) as the best fits in Edmonton.
The older veterans like Bertuzzi, Samuelsson and Tootoo could likely be had for little in return with the younger players garnering a substantial package in the form of prospects and draft picks.
Willis is accurate in his post about Detroit potentially dealing one or more of their roster players and while Edmonton could benefit from such a deal, the cost may be too great to overcome. If a trade that saw Ales Hemsky being sent out of town were to go down then suddenly that opens up the right wing on the third line and a phone call to Ken Holland could be in order.
One area of concern is that the blue line continues to be left out in all this trade chatter including this one where Willis mentions all forwards. Yes Edmonton could add some size and grit up front but the back end could also use a top-four defenseman. Detroit suddenly becomes suspect in whether or not they are a great fit for the Oilers to be dealing with. Truth be told, not many clubs outside of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a couple others have a plethora of NHL ready defenseman that they would be willing to part ways with; let alone a top-four blue liner that are so difficult to come by.
Craig MacTavish is in an ideal situation here. The Wings are one a few clubs that will need to shed payroll in order to re-sign some of their key restricted free agents and in some cases, just get under the salary cap before the start of the season. There are deals to be made as evidenced by Willis’ piece, it’s now up to Mac-T to continue his assault on the Oilers roster and make this club instantly better by another trade or two.