Could this be true?! Will the Edmonton Oilers go from utter disaster in the 2017-18 season back to a true Cup contender next spring, having loaded up on great players in the summer?
Let's take a breath and get ready for this. NHL insider Darren Dreger believes there is a chance the Oilers and general manager Peter Chiareilli could pull a blockbuster - call it, almost impossible yet grandiose - move during this summer's offseason.
“Well look, put me on that list at the start of the year,” started off Dreger during a Thursday morning appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690, as per FanRag Sports. “I thought that they were poised to make a huge step forward. I thought they’d contend for the Western Conference title. So things went completely sideways pretty much out of the gate. There were some injury factors, poor goaltending obviously, they just didn’t seem to have the same type of pizazz or speed aside from Connor McDavid up front. So there are a lot of factors that have contributed to a woeful season.”
But then, the shocker, the news every Oilers fan wants to hear as Edmonton might be ready to pull a huge trade or signing.
“As far as I know, Edmonton is not on Erik Karlsson’s list,” explained Dreger. “Could that change? Of course that can change. I’m not predicting it will, but this is the stuff that we’re going to continue to talk about – not specific to Ottawa and Edmonton – but Erik Karlsson, just given his status with the Ottawa Senators moving again to the summer.
“Such a list of things that Peter Chiarelli needs to address. And I touched on a couple of them. Yeah, they need a mobile puck-moving defenseman. No question about that. I suspect – we’ve spent a ton of time, media in the East, talking about Erik Karlsson. The Oliver Ekman-Larsson rumors, speculation, all of that are going to become more of a storyline, I would think.
"I mean again, all very speculative, but I think that’s what Edmonton is hoping for. So as much as Vegas and maybe Tampa Bay were in on Erik Karlsson, I look at the Oilers kind of targeting OEL if there’s even potential opportunity to do that. So if they can land that piece – I’m not sure how they do it – but if they could, that’d be a huge step in the right direction."
Ekman-Larsson has this season and next remaining on his six-year contract, which comes with a $5.5 million cap hit. His deal does include a no trade protection clause.
Coyotes general manager John Chayka has been denying any OEL trade speculation, and that for the last several months, but might hit a wall in July when trying to re-sign his best defenseman. OEL could choose to walk, and the Oilers and captain Connor McDavid might be able to convince him to come to Edmonton and hit many playoff runs in the future. Something Ekman-Larsson has not experienced...
The Oilers could also focus on finding a backup goalie who will put some pressure on starter Cam Talbot. A lot of moves could be in the works and we cannot wait to see it.