It’s no secret the Edmonton Oilers could use some help in their bottom-six. While the team sits near the top of the NHL standings and first in the Western Conference, the top-half of the roster is doing almost all of the heavy lifting and who knows where the Oilers would be had Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid not dominated the month of October?
Knowing that GM Ken Holland has to be keeping an eye open on the NHL marketplace, below are a few options for the Oilers as they try to remain a playoff-competitive team.
While his salary is an issue the Oilers can’t ignore should they be interested, Tyler Toffoli’s situation is an interesting story coming out of Los Angeles. A healthy scratch recently, there are rumors he could be on the way out.
Toffoli has one season left on his current deal that pays him $4.6 million this season. Dollar value versus production suggests Edmonton probably isn’t interested. That said, if the Kings are willing to retain salary and Edmonton could bring him in as a rental, would he fit?
It’s not as though he’s been completely unproductive. In 12 games he has five points and three goals. That’s a world away from the kind of production Edmonton is getting from players like Alex Chiasson, Jujhar Khaira or Sam Gagner. An expensive upgrade, he would be an upgrade and a change of scenery could help him explode offensively.
Another forward playing in a contract year but struggling is Andreas Athanasiou; talk about a player that could fit in well with what Edmonton is trying to build.
Elliotte Friedman noted in his latest 31 Thoughts article that he hasn’t confirmed Athanasious’ name is out there in trade rumors, but he wouldn’t be shocked to learn that Detroit might be ready to move on.
Athanasiou is ranked No. 8 on TSN’s latest Trade Bait Board and speculation is that while the Red Wings battle through a rebuild, they are trying to hold players accountable. It’s this reason the team waived Jonathan Ericsson. No one gets a free pass while Detroit thinks long-term, preaching patience.
Unlike Toffoli, Athanasiou is a more affordable option for the Oilers at a $3 million price-point. He’s quick, he’s skilled and he’s got something to prove in attempt to show he’s not the player he’s shown himself to be so far this season.
Holland saw how dangerous Athanasiou was when the Red Wings defeated the Oilers earlier this year and Athanasiou was able to bounce back last season after a slow start. Perhaps he can do so again.
As Allan Mitchell of The Athletic writes, the Calgary Flames aren’t a likely trade partner but the Oilers might have a name on their list that could come out of that organization. That name is Mark Jankowski.
Edmonton and Calgary have a history of making trades and Mitchell suggests the Flames are prone to making rash decisions they come to regret. Calgary needs cap room and Jankowski at $1.675 million is an affordable option for the Oilers. He would fit in well on Edmonton’s roster as a third-line center, he can win faceoffs and he could be good for double-digit goals, some he gets short-handed.
So far, in Calgary this season, he’s struggled. This could be an opportunity the Oilers take advantage of.
Perhaps this is cheating, but one of the more feasible options for the Oilers is a player they already have in-house… sort of.
Technically, Jesse Puljujarvi is part of the Oilers organization despite being in Finland and tearing it up. According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, Holland will travel to Helsinki, Finland for the Karjala Cup this week to check in on his forward. Spector suggests it’s best to keep Puljuarvi in Finland all season, but who knows, maybe there’s a future there?
It might take a lot to convince Puljujarvi to consider the past water under the bridge and it’s possible Holland isn’t even looking for him too. But, he hasn’t been traded yet and as the famous line from Dumb & Dumber suggests, “So you’re saying there’s a chance.”
If you don’t agree, consider,Brian Lawton was recently a guest on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer and said:
“He’s still part of the Edmonton Oilers, regardless of how he feels and there’s nothing to say that couldn’t be repaired in the future. He could come back and be a meaningful player for Edmonton.”
Lawton added there’s no animosity between Puljujarvi and Holland since they’ve never worked together. Their respective positions doesn’t mean he’ll be traded and if Puljujarvi feels like he could help the Oilers and the Oilers feel he could help them…
Odds are Puljujarvi stays put.