If you were to trade one of them, I’d be willing to bet that Ceci would net the Oilers at least a second round pick, while Kulak would likely be at least a third round selection. Trading either would give the Oilers some much-needed cap space and make them cap compliant for next season, plus replenish a draft pick – never a bad thing.
In this respect, the Oilers are missing their third round pick (went to Arizona in the Zack Kassian trade), their fourth round pick (went to Nashville in the Ekholm trade), and their seventh round pick (went to Montreal in the Kulak trade) in 2024. They already have two sixth round picks for next season (again Nashville’s from the Ekholm trade), so why not accumulate an extra second round pick or grab a third round pick again?
Personally I’d be against trading Broberg, as I believe at this point in time the Oilers would be giving up on him too soon. Why not trade at least one of the veterans and if Gleason continues to hold up to the end of training camp, keep him on the roster to platoon and push Broberg for that bottom pairing spot?
After all, let’s not forget Broberg was a first round pick of the Oilers in 2019, and a high one at that at eighth overall. If I’m a NHL GM, I think long and hard before walking away from that. Not only are you selling low on a player and wouldn’t get nearly as much back in trade – never a good idea – but he has a higher ceiling and wouldn’t save the Oilers much in cap space.
While Kulak or Ceci would save the Oilers millions in cap space, Broberg would net a mere $472,541 ($863,333 minus the cap overage of the Oilers right now of $390,792). Although you’d be on the right side of the ledger, it’s still not much better than the situation right now.
At the trade deadline you could get a pro-rated bottom six forward or bottom pairing D for that cap space. Or if you have the cap savings from Kulak and/or Ceci, you could trade for a much higher quality player, or get both types of depth players for the cap space the Oilers would have available.
In the end of course, Woodcroft will sort it out how he wants to and likely recommend to Holland who the odd man out is. We’ll see how it all unfolds before the start of the season on October 11.