It is officially trade deadline week in the NHL. Throughout the season, the Edmonton Oilers have been rumoured to be interested in, well, basically everyone on the market. From wanting to acquire a legit number-one defender in Erik Karlsson to adding another high-calibre offensive threat in Patrick Kane and everything in between.
Generally speaking, the Oilers have been gelling quite well lately and are tied for fifth in the league standings since January 1. But, that doesn’t mean there are no holes or weaknesses that might be wise to shore up while making a playoff run.
In order to do that, the Oilers would obviously have to part ways with some of their own assets. And, since armchair GMs will naturally put together mock trades of how to improve the team, most fans have an idea of what they’d be willing to part with to do that.
Which begs the question, which assets that the Oilers possess are fans most willing to include in a trade?
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Draft picks? Most voters think ‘who needs ‘em’
Capturing over three-quarters of the ballot, a vast majority of voters are more than happy to part ways with draft picks.
It’s basically an assumption that a team looking for a high-quality deadline rental will be giving up their first-round pick in return. The reported asking price for any of the top players on the market, such as Karlsson, Kane, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Dmitry Orlov are examples of players whose asking price included a first.
This makes sense given the situation the Oilers are in. When a team starts to hit its competitive window, they need help to win now. Draft picks, even the first-round picks that are likely late-round anyways, will not be able to help the team accomplish anything for three or more seasons.
The tricky part when trading draft picks is trying to not diminish the team’s ability to sustain its competitive window. The excitement and impatience of trying to win now appears to supersede those concerns for these voters, however.
Fans have an affinity for talent developed in the organization
Finishing third in the Sunday Census poll with 8.4% of votes is prospects. It makes sense, comparing draft picks and prospects, that fans would be more inclined to send the picks out rather than the prospects. Once a player gets drafted and is in the organization, the fanbase starts cheering for the player and projecting where they fit into the lineup when they develop. They can’t do that with a pick. Not many people can find a way to cheer for a second-round draft pick.
Additionally, it’s wise to keep the prospects the Oilers already have. Some, like Dylan Holloway and Philip Broberg, are regulars in the lineup this season and others are within a season or two of making an NHL debut. Much closer than an unselected draft pick looking at a debut three to five years out.
Let’s try to not shake up the core, voters say
Although it was the second most chosen poll option, trading away a roster player was the preferred choice of only 10.4% of voters.
It is hard to part with a roster player, after all, everyone on the team is going to be someone’s favourite player. Each player has their role in the lineup and behind the scenes in the locker room, so it is always hard to part ways with someone that the fans have spent time watching and cheering for over the years.
However, as one Twitter user wisely pointed out, the Oilers are going to need to send out a player or two in any hypothetical trade as they do not have the cap space to just add.
There are a handful of players commonly included in trade discussions, such as Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyson Barrie, and Warren Foegele. Some combination of those players will likely have to head the other way to make a trade work.
Whatever happens, voters do not want the team to sit on their hands
In fourth place on the poll with 5% of votes is to not part with any assets. Although there are some arguments to be made against making certain types of trades, voters think it is clear that the team should make a move of some kind. There are too many small holes or depth concerns that the Oilers should address before the trade deadline.
This small group of voters who would not want to give up any assets are suggesting Edmonton is good enough exactly as it is. And as they heat up through the 2023 calendar year, it could be the case that the Oilers already have the right roster composition to be a Stanley Cup contender.
Based on the team’s overall performance and points percentage the past two months, they may be on to something.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this week’s poll! Follow The Oil Rig on Twitter and stay tuned for next week’s question!
In the meantime, drop a comment down below and let us know what you would be willing to give up at the Trade Deadline.
Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire