With the Edmonton Oilers mired in a five-game losing skid in late-December that threatened to derail their playoff hopes, general manager Peter Chiarelli wasted little time swinging deals following the lifting of the holiday trade freeze on Dec. 28.
On Dec. 30, Chiarelli shipped defenseman Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round pick to the Florida Panthers for blueliner Alex Petrovic. He subsequently traded winger Drake Caggiula and rearguard Jason Garrison to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Brandon Manning and minor-leaguer Robin Norrell.
Chiarelli defended the moves as necessary to provide some depth to his injury-ravaged defense corps. However, it’s apparent his roster needs more than a pair of third-pairing blueliners.
Since making those deals, the Oilers dropped two of their next four games, including a listless 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. As of today, the Oilers were two points out of a playoff berth but only seven points from the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
Chiarelli might not be done dealing. Reports suggest the Oilers GM could be in the market for a top-four defenseman and a scoring winger.
While Chiarelli doesn’t have a lot of trade chips, perhaps he could dangle a young forward such as Jesse Puljujarvi, prospect Kailer Yamamoto, or his first- or second-round pick in this year’s draft, to add a player to help his club now and for the foreseeable future. Given his limited salary-cap space, Chiarelli must also find a way to free up sufficient room to take on additional talent.
Here’s a look at several potential options that might be worth targeting.
Andre Burakovsky – Washington Capitals
On Dec. 15, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Burakovsky, a frequent healthy scratch, could become a trade candidate. Despite his inconsistency, the 23-year-old winger is a fast skater with considerable offensive potential. A change of scenery and the opportunity to skate alongside Connor McDavid might do him a world of good.
Charlie Coyle – Minnesota Wild
Coyle has frequently surfaced in trade speculation since last season. With the Wild going through another lengthy swoon, first-year GM Paul Fenton could shake things up if they tumble further out of playoff contention. Recent rumors linked the 26-year-old forward to the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, and Ottawa Senators. If Fenton seeks younger talent, maybe there’s a fit with the Oilers.
Brayden Schenn – St. Louis Blues
Recent reports out of Boston claim the Bruins are talking to the Blues about Schenn. If the 27-year-old forward is available, he could also be a fit with the Oilers. He can play center or wing, has two-way abilities, and is on pace to exceed 50 points for the fourth straight season. The downside is he carries a $5.125-million cap hit through 2019-20.
Dougie Hamilton – Carolina Hurricanes
On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Hurricanes might be willing to consider moving Hamilton for a scorer. Youngsters like Puljujarvi and Yamamoto have yet to reach their potential as offensive wingers, but maybe the Hurricanes might take a chance on one of those kids in a package deal. Hamilton, 25, is a right-shot d-man with four 40-plus point seasons on his resume. However, his annual average value of $5.75 million through 2020-21 would be a sticking point.
Jake Muzzin – Los Angeles Kings
Muzzin‘s solid two-way performance is among the few bright spots in an otherwise awful season for the floundering Kings. A skilled all-around defenseman, the 29-year-old would bring considerable experience and leadership to the Oilers’ blueline. On Jan. 1, The Athletic‘s Pierre LeBrun wondered if Chiarelli could tempt the Kings in parting with Muzzin for a package of draft picks and prospects.