Ryan McLeod a genuine candidate to be traded by the Oilers

The Oilers are in need of some moves to get back on the positive side of the 2024-25 salary cap, and this could mean the end of Ryan McLeod's time in Edmonton.
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Two
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Two / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

It's been a hectic but hugely successful free agency so far for the Edmonton Oilers. Despite having a plethora of pending free agents and little cap space to contend with, Jeff Jackson and company have worked wonders.

As a result, the Oilers roster is now even stronger than the one which just went all the way to game seven of the Stanley Cup Final, before falling agonisingly short. However, there does still remain some issues with the salary cap for next season.

As per Cap Friendly, at the time of writing the Oilers' projected cap space for the 2024-25 campaign is -$2,454,167. And there's still the two qualifying offers for Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway to account for, with the organisation understandably hoping both will accept.

As a result, the Oilers need to move some salary in order to help with the situation. The question is, who?

One option is Evander Kane and his $5.125 million cap hit, which is in place for each of the next two seasons. According to Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman, the team has asked the polarising winger to waive his no-movement clause, although as yet this has not been agreed.

Another candidate is Codi Ceci, who has one season and $3.25 million remaining on his current deal. In truth Ceci has been bandied around as a trade possibility for a number of months, and earlier this week Oil on Whyte's Almar Reyes offered three potential landing spots for the 30-year-old.

McLeod also on the list of candidates

However, there is also one other player who the Oilers will likely give serious consideration to moving. Giving credit where it's due to the Edmonton Journal's David Staples, he referenced TSN's Darren Dreger, who mentioned Ryan McLeod as a trade candidate.

As with Ceci, McLeod has one season remaining on his current contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. It's not as much at $2.1 million, but it would still clearly help the Oilers towards balancing their books.

It would understandably be tough to have to trade the 2018 second round draft pick, after his best season yet in the NHL with a whole host of career-highs across the board. He arguably wasn't as good during the playoffs, although he sure did step up in the Stanley Cup Final with three goals versus the Florida Panthers.

McLeod has plenty of enticing attributes, including speed and skating, being able to contribute on special teams and just all around being a solid two-way player. He should have a long NHL career ahead of him as a valuble member of the bottom-six.

The questions is, where will this be? The same things which make the 24-year-old so valuable to the Oilers both now and in the future, are what also make him a tantalising trade option, which could persuade other teams to offer a decent draft pick or two.

Next. Jeff Skinner picking the Oilers over the Leafs speaks volumes. Jeff Skinner picking the Oilers over the Leafs speaks volumes. dark

Overall, the Oilers would clearly prefer to keep McLeod, as well as Kane and -- to a lesser extent -- Ceci in an ideal world. However, this is not the ideal world, meaning one or two have to be traded although -- if nothing else -- as least the organisation has some good options to offer to other teams.

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