Two Trade Deadline Targets For The Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers Brendan Perlini, #42, battles with Florida Panthers Radko Gudas,#7 Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers Brendan Perlini, #42, battles with Florida Panthers Radko Gudas,#7 Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Edmonton Oilers are in dire need of defensive help. While the team recently called up Vincent Desharnais, and have been giving both Philip Broberg and Markus Niemelainen equal opportunities on the bottom pairing, it still hasn’t looked like the team has improved on the back end, quite the opposite if anything actually. Today, this article will discuss two potential targets for the Oilers at the trade deadline that will bolster the blue line and final fill out the 3rd D pairing.

Oilers Go Physical, Bring In Radko Gudas

Radko Gudas is in the final season of his three year contract with the Florida Panthers that holds a $2.5M AAV value. Through 31 games this season, Gudas has two goals and four assists for six points while being a huge physical presence and playing big minutes on the back end. At 6-foot, 208 pounds, the 32 year old Gudas is my favourite choice for the Oilers as a rental option. Gudas plays a fantastic shutdown defensive game, while being one of the scariest hitters in the NHL. Playing alongside Evan Bouchard would finally stabilize the bottom pairing and would likely help Bouchard gain some confidence.

Bouchard has been awful in his own end this season and hasn’t been able to beat out Tyson Barrie for the power play 1 spot. It’s clear his confidence is lacking as he almost never plays with the same D partner for two games in a row, and the partners he gets are young and still getting used to the NHL. Bouchard has always been a offensive minded defender which isn’t a bad thing, but bringing in a guy like Gudas would allow Bouchard to jump up in the play more, and would likely allow less 2-on-0 opportunities that we’ve seen the bottom pairing constantly give up all season.

Team Goes Cheap Acquisition, Goes For Mike Reilly

Mike Reilly is in the second season of his three year contract he signed with the Boston Bruins that is worth $3M AAV. Although slightly more expensive than Radko Gudas and currently playing a majority of his games in the AHL, Reilly has skill that could really be utilized on the third pairing. Reilly is a clear shut down defenseman that would be a cheap pickup from the Bruins. I can almost see the B’s taking on Jesse Puljujarvi for Mike Reilly one for one. At 6-foot-1, 196 pounds, the 29 year old Reilly brings some decent size and a mild physical presence. Putting him alongside Evan Bouchard would have the same positive impact I can see Radko Gudas bringing, and it would likely cost less to acquire.

With only ten games played this season, Reilly has one assist. Similar to Gudas though, Reilly can play some big minutes when called upon, which is exactly what the Oilers are looking for. At $3M, all they would expect out of Reilly is to stabilize the bottom pairing and play some penalty kill minutes. Oilers fans would love both of these guys, and I doubt either one would cost much. Gudas might cost a third round pick while Reilly would likely cost a fifth or sixth round pick. When you consider cheap options, these two are the most ideal.

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