Despite a near record-breaking 16-game winning streak, the last three contests -- including Saturday night's 4-0 shutout by the Kings -- have reinforced the need to do something ahead of the Mar. 8 trade deadline. The question is, what?
We're shared some of the speculation doing the rounds, including connecting the Oilers to Sean Walker, Jake Allen, Jake Guentzel and Jordan Eberle. Each have varying degrees of feasibility, but regardless, the team does need to improve for a hopeful/likely playoff qualification and run at the elusive Stanley Cup.
Along with Eberle, another former Oilers player being potentially linked to the team is David Perron. According to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, general manager Ken Holland has long liked the Detroit Red Wings' winger.
Interestingly, one of the reasons Matheson believes the Oilers need to consider Perron, is due to Corey Perry. He speculates that even though the recent controversial pickup has been playing well alongside Leon Draisaitl, he might not be a long-term fix.
Salary cap implications
Further, Matheson must mean not a long-term fix almost literally, because Perron is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Which leads to another aspect of the former Oiler's contract.
More specifically, that Perron's cap hit for this season is $4.75 million. As per Cap Friendly, this doesn't bode well for a team currently projected to have just $2,373,102 cap space available at the trade deadline.
Along these lines, Matheson does suggest the Red Wings' would have to eat half of the 35-year-old's salary. However, as much as their projected deadline cap space of $12,608,229 puts them in position to do just this, would they actually do it?
Teams looking for a common ground
It really comes down to how eager the Red Wings are, to get something in return for their pending free agent. Further, if they even actually want to part with him, given they are currently in a playoff position and Perron's experience will improve invaluable, with him knowing what it takes to go all the way. (Not that we're suggesting or predicting the Red Wings are a genuine contender for the Stanley Cup.)
If nothing else, we do know the Oilers have some enticing assets to offer in exchange, particularly a first round draft pick and prospect Philip Broberg. At the same time, no matter how much the team is in a win-now mode, do they really want to give up a valuable rental for a player who is effectively a rental?
If a trade for Perron helps the Oilers win the Stanley Cup, then giving up a high draft pick, Broberg or whoever is more than worth it. But of course, such a scenario isn't even remotely guaranteed.
There's no denying the 2020 All-Star has been a quality, offensive depth player during an NHL career which is now in its 17th season. However, it is also fair to say he's not the same player he used to be.
In this respect, Perron is on course for his fewest points in a season since back in 2015-16 and his lowest +/- rating since 2014/15. All the experience in the world only helps so much, if you have a declining productivity.
Ultimately, it's tough to justify the Oilers making a trade for Perron, especially with better and younger options out there. It will be interesting to see if Holland still likes the 2007 26th overall draft pick enough, to make a move for him.