Edmonton Oilers Speculation: Trade Proposal With The Arizona Coyotes

EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 5: Darnell Nurse
EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 5: Darnell Nurse /

What if the Edmonton Oilers and the Arizona Coyotes made some trades that would be beneficial for both teams? Could it work in the long run?

It’s been a hectic week writing about potential moves that the Edmonton Oilers could make but that hasn’t stopped my mind from coming up with more. It’s been more than a decade since the Oilers were a consistently good team and thus this exercise is one that has taken place every off-season more or less.

The rumor de jour is Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse for Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Oscar Klefbom and the #10 OV in this year’s draft for Rasmus Ristolainen is a much better trade for the Oilers than that one because it would offer the Oilers defense some balance and the team has more than enough left-handed defensemen to cover.

Also financially and statistically, Ristolainen would be better, but some folks lean more to the statistics that argue the first proposal for OEL would be a fair trade.

I do not.

Could it work?

That being said though, I think the deal that Oliver Ekman-Larsson ends up signing with Arizona will be akin to what Leon Draisaitl makes right now. And a trade like that would loosen up the strings cap-wise by about $2.5M to $4M depending on what kind of deal you think Darnell Nurse is going to receive this summer.

If you were to add that to the $10M or so that they have before re-signing Ryan Strome and Drake Caggiula, there’d be enough to add some veteran scoring wingers.

Unfortunately, it would compound what was a bit of a problem last season, the lack of secondary scoring and the strength down the middle of the forward group would decrease sharply. Unless you feel like the Oilers would have a good chance at securing the services of Joe Thornton for a season or two…

I feel that the defense wouldn’t be as massively affected by the loss of Nurse or Klefbom given the return would be a player of equal or better value be it Ekman-Larsson or Ristolainen.

The end result

A championship caliber team must be built through the middle starting with a pure no.1 goaltender; then a Great Wall-like defense must be procured, after that the team requires two outstanding centres to guide the top two lines.  Wingers can be added as you go and are a lot easier than defensemen and centres to pick up.

As soon as the Oilers trade away a centre like Leon Draisaitl, the team is going to be looking for the next one and to add to that point; they don’t have a prospect in the system that could be considered one to take over at second line centre one day.

Even if they drafted Jesperi Kotkaniemi or Jospeh Veleno at the draft next month, those players wouldn’t be ready (or impactful) for at least three to five seasons.

In the long run

The Oilers are at a point where it behooves them to do very little. Any significant move would be robbing Peter to pay Paul, right? Trade Klefbom for scoring on the wing, then you have to trade Puljujarvi or Nugent-Hopkins for help on D… Which is something TSN’s Scott Cullen has done in his latest off-season game plan for the Oilers.

The one thing I do like about Cullen’s OSGP is that he added players like Brandon Pirri and Austin Czarnik for depth on the wing. These two players can skate and shoot, and that’s precisely the kind of thing the Oilers could use. It’d also allow the team to keep top prospect Kailer Yamamoto in the minors a bit longer, although I think he’ll be on the big club sooner than later.

I’m with Gene Principe on this one; last year was indeed an anomaly, the Oilers are going to bounce back better than ever next season. The roster is too good, and the young players are a bit older, a bit stronger, and a bit wiser.

There are no real “old” players on the roster that are in mad decline either, and all of the goalies are on expiring contracts which history tells us usually is a good thing. It means that they are playing for their next deal and more often than not, stats get better!

Let’s hope Peter Chiarelli does the right thing this summer. Less is More in 2018!