It’s no secret that the Edmonton Oilers’ 2017-18 season was a huge disappointment. Chosen by many to be a Stanley Cup contender at the start of the season, the Oilers missed the playoffs by an astounding 17 points this past season, thanks in large part to the team’s lack of depth and some mediocre goaltending.
However, we’re now roughly halfway through the offseason and Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has still not addressed his team’s shortcomings. If the Oilers are going to get back into the postseason conversation in 2018-19, Chiarelli will need to address his team’s depth through trade or free agency. Specifically, Chiarelli will need to determine how and where he envisions his top three centermen playing. Obviously Connor McDavid will man the top unit, but what about Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Do they play down the middle, or does one of the two move onto McDavid’s wing? Something that has proven to be an effective strategy for both players.
NBC Sports’ Joey Alfieri sees Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty as a potential solution on McDavid’s wing, going so far as to say that the Oilers should shed some salary in an attempt to land Pacioretty via trade.
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The Oilers have been looking for a winger to play with Connor McDavid. Instead of using a center like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in that role, why not go after a speedy player with scoring ability like Pacioretty?
Edmonton has $4.97 million in cap space, but they still have to re-sign restricted free agent Darnell Nurse, so they’ll likely have to shed salary if they’re going to make an impact trade. If Pacioretty scored 30-plus while playing with a guy like David Desharnais (no offense, David), imagine what he could do playing next to the best player in the game.
If the Oilers want to get back to where they were two seasons ago, getting McDavid a legit scoring winger would only help them in that regard. Can they find enough quality pieces to make a trade work? That’s a different story. Would Pacioretty be willing to sign a lucrative extension to stay in Edmonton long-term? That’s another potential road block, but you’d have to think that playing with McDavid would help convince him to stick around.
What do you think? Would the addition of Pacioretty turn the Oilers from pretenders back into contenders? Would the Oilers be willing to give up a top prospect like Jesse Puljujarvi in exchange for the 29 year old Pacioretty?