Oilers have reportedly been in contact with Flyers regarding Sean Walker

Despite the Oilers' recent defensive improvements, they are apparently still considering ways to upgrade their blue line, with Sean Walker as one option.
Dallas Stars v Philadelphia Flyers
Dallas Stars v Philadelphia Flyers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

With the Mar. 8 trade deadline now just five weeks away, there are plenty of questions regarding what the Edmonton Oilers plan to do? More specifically, who they are interested in making a play for.

Apparently one such target is the Philadelphia Flyers' Sean Walker, at least according to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta. During an appearance on the NHL Network, he said the Oilers were one of multiple teams interested in him.

In fact, Pagnotta reported the Oilers had already spoken to the Flyers about Walker's availability, with his current price tag being a first round draft pick. Apparently contract extension talks have broken down between the two sides, hence why he is now available and will be moved if possible before the trade deadline.

Oilers no longer desperate

In terms of the asking price of a first round draft pick specifically, it is important to factor in that the Oilers are no longer as desperate to upgrade their blue line. This is a different team to the one from earlier in the season, which was playing horrific defensive hockey.

However, since Kris Knoblauch replaced Jay Woodcroft as coach, the Oilers have improved significantly at their own end of the ice. After at one point having allowed the second-most goals in the NHL, they enter the All-Star break ranked eighth-best for average goals conceded per game.

In this respect, it's clear Knoblauch has got the team playing more confidently after working on the defensive scheme. Yes, Stuart Skinner is one of the main reasons for the improvement, but so is the blue line and the players' commitment and hard work as a whole.

At the same time, general manager Ken Holland wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't continuing looking at ways to strengthen the team. Along these lines, this is why they are considering their options, including Walker.

Pros and cons of trading for Walker

The 29-year-old is enjoying a fine season in Philadelphia, which includes being on course for career bests of a +6 rating and 19:36 average ice time. Interestingly he's also having one of his best offensive seasons to date, with him projected to finish the 2023-24 campaign with a new career high in points.

In terms of the financial commitment, Walker is reasonably priced with a cap hit of $2.65 million for this season. As per Cap Friendly, the Oilers are currently set to have $4,024,887 of cap space available at the deadline, although it should be noted they only have 20 of 23 roster places filled at the time of posting.

However, while the Keswick, Ontario native would be a fine addition, there are at least a couple of cons to making such a move. These include his issues with remaining healthy and being in the last year of his contract.

Considering the asking price

Taking these aspects into account, a first round draft pick seems to be too much to give up for Walker. And with the likes of the Leafs, Devils and Lightning also reportedly interested, the last thing the Oilers want to do is get into a bidding war which makes the asking price even higher.

With the Oilers at least open to moving Philip Broberg, there is some suggestion that he could be offered to the Flyers in exchange for Walker. However, as much as Broberg has not lived up to expectations yet, he is younger and has more upside that his fellow defenceman in Philadelphia.

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We're not suggesting the Oilers should disregard Walker altogether, but if anything the return package should be lower, for Holland and company to agree a trade. Especially when factoring in that he will become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

From our perspective, the Oilers would be better served pursuing Jakob Chychrun. As much as the 2016 first round draft pick has slammed rumors about potentially being traded, Holland owes it to the team and their fans, to test the Ottawa Senators' resolve.

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