Edmonton Oilers: Potential Future Trade Options

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 09: A scrum ensues in front of goaltender Cam Talbot. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 09: A scrum ensues in front of goaltender Cam Talbot. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

The Edmonton Oilers, who are desperate for more scoring on the wing, could possibly have to explore the trade market.

With Leon Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula drawing back in the lineup against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, Edmonton got two significant forwards back on the forecheck. However, Edmonton’s right-wing depth remains a concern, largely because Draisaitl is their only proven offensive threat.

If we know anything about GM Peter Chiarelli, it’s that he likes to make in-season moves to improve his team’s chances of a lengthy playoff run, and he never likes to leave a dollar unspent.

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

Per Cap Friendly, the Oilers currently have a little over $8 million in cap space, not including bonuses. This gives them plenty of room to bring in a marquee player on an expiring contract. Last year, Chiarelli made only one modest addition in David Desharnais.

Many Oilers fans are upset that Chiarelli did not beef up the team more in the off-season by bringing in a veteran scorer like Jaromir Jagr or Jarome Iginla. Instead, he bet on guys like Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev taking a step forward. It’s understandable that Chiarelli wants to see what he had for at least 20 games before deciding whether or not to bring in another player, but the Oilers have to be concerned about the early 2-5-1 hole they have dug themselves.

Here are a few players the Oilers should have interest in acquiring:

Max Pacioretty

Imagine Pacioretty, a five-time 30-goal scorer, playing on the Oilers top line with Connor McDavid and Draisaitl. That would instantly make them the most dangerous trio in the NHL, in my opinion. The Montreal Canadiens are the only team scoring fewer goals than the Oilers so far this season, so trading away their top offensive player might not make sense to a lot of hockey observers.

However, if the Canadiens continue to trend in the wrong direction, does the 28-year-old Pacioretty really want to sign there long-term when his contract is up in 2019? It’s too early to tell, but he would be at the top of my list for the Oilers if the Canadiens are willing to bite on a deal.

James Neal

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights have outplayed the Oilers in the early stages of the season, though it’s reasonable to believe they swap spots in the standing in the next 20 games or so. While there are rumours that Neal wants to stay in Vegas, he represents another great potential trade chip for the Oilers.

Like Pacioretty, Neal has a deadly shot and could be the natural goal scorer the Oilers have been looking for to play with McDavid. The 30-year-old Neal if off to a hot start with six goals in his first seven games, and has been to the second round of the playoffs or further four times in his career. That time of veteran experience can only help a young team like the Oilers who are looking to build off last year’s playoff run.

Michael Grabner

Bringing in Grabner will surely not get Oilers fans as excited as the idea of trading for Pacioretty or Neal would, but he has good if not impressive offensive skills and would be the easiest of three players to acquire.

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Grabner scored 27 goals last season, the second-highest total of his career and should be good for at least 20 markers this year. The 30-year-old Grabner also carries a cheap $1.65 million cap hit, so if he performs as expected, he would replace Jordan Eberle’s production at a fraction of the cost.