After what most would call a disappointing season, the Edmonton Oilers have shifted to offseason mode which has caused fans to ponder what went wrong and what roster changes need to be made, if any. Some have laid blame directly on rookie goalie Stuart Skinner, others on Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci, as well as Kailer Yamamoto and even Head Coach Jay Woodcroft is taking some heat.
I recently had a chat with our very own Greg Babinski at our online headquarters here at The Oil Rig and the Winnipeg Jets came up as an interesting team to watch this offseason—the genesis of this article. Excuse me while I pat my own back ala golden age wrestler Barry Horowitz. It’s not everyday I get to use the word genesis when writing hockey articles.
Hellebuyck for Campbell?
The Jets are an interesting team in that there is a good chance they may decide to blow things up this summer and begin a rebuild. This would make some eye opening players become available, most notably for me Connor Hellebuyck. It is always difficult to project any future trades but let’s have some fun anyway.
My original suggestion was to trade Jack Campbell for Hellebuyck. Obviously there would have to be picks thrown in, possibly other players (I’m looking at you Cody Ceci), and maybe some retention from Winnipeg depending how things shook out. The problem with a Campbell trade is that he has a modified 10 team no-trade that could kibosh the whole deal.
The Jets have some more trade options
Defenceman Dylan Demelo ($3M) is also another interesting Jet that Oilers fans have been commenting on as well. Fellow writer Babinski isn’t convinced that he would be an upgrade on Ceci ($3.25M) while others believe he would be a calming influence if paired with Nurse, like he was with Josh Morrissey. Demelo only has one year left on his contract with a slightly lower cap hit while Ceci is signed for two more years.
I replied to a Bob Stauffer tweet in the hopes that he would respond but someone else did and mentioned another big ticket name on the Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers. The Danish forward has two more years left at a $6M cap hit and is also only 27 years old.
Ehlers is also who Babinski would prefer the Oilers to focus on if Winnipeg opens up for business. My preference would be Hellebuyck but the cost to acquire the goalie would be high; would he sign an extension, and for how much? A Hellebuyck-Skinner tandem for the next few years could disguise some of the poor defensive play the Oilers are known for. While Ehlers would be an amazing addition to the team and I would welcome with open arms, the problem for the Oilers this year was not scoring but rather keeping the puck out of their own net.
Maybe there’s a deal to be made with Campbell, Ceci and Yamamoto, plus picks and a prospect to Winnipeg for Hellebuyck, Ehlers, and Demelo, with retention from the Jets. There’s a good chance that would be the blockbuster of the summer if it did happen. Don’t get me wrong I believe that is a long shot at best. Perhaps there is a smaller deal to be made?
Trades may not fix the Oilers’ defence issue
Once we stopped dreaming up potential blockbusters I mentioned an idea I saw on Twitter from a fan that suggested a Nurse and Philip Broberg pairing next year. This move would also include Ceci being demoted to the third pair/seventh dman with Brett Kulak and Vincent Desharnais. This is a move maybe Coach Woodcroft could’ve/should’ve tried at some point during the season? I honestly think Ceci would benefit from the reduced ice time and lesser quality of opponents.
Babinski mentioned that Broberg would provide a better puck moving option than Ceci. Broberg also has the ability to skate his way out of danger as well. He will be 22 years old next year and it’s not uncommon for dmen to take on bigger roles at that age. Demoting Ceci and promoting Broberg could be a solution that’s best for both worlds. I am probably one of 25’s biggest fans and if he is unable to take a young defenceman with Broberg’s skill set under his wing, then his contract would be beyond ridiculous.
There does seem to be this idea among some fans that the Oilers need to repeatedly make trades to improve. That idea has cost the Oilers some quality players who were run of town only to end up finding success elsewhere which has set the Oilers back a few times. The Oilers also have this uncanny ability to be patient with the wrong players and send out talent for pennies on the dollar. Every NHL team should be in the business of developing players and getting more in return if their time with the team has come to end for whatever reason.
Is now the time for a blockbuster or does a smaller move involving Ceci and/or Yamamoto make more sense? Maybe being patient and making roster adjustments is the way to go? Either way it is impossible to please all Oiler fans and Ken Holland has some big decisions to make this summer in what could be his final year with the team.
Leave a comment and let us know what your preference would be!