Prior to beginning the dreadful 2017-18 season that the Edmonton Oilers find themselves in the middle in, if you asked an Oilers fan whether or not the team would be buyers or sellers come the trade deadline, the answer would be obvious. Buyers, of course! The Oilers are Stanley Cup contenders, right? Right… ? Well… half that equation is true. The Oilers certainly don’t look like contenders this season, but that may not prevent GM Peter Chiarelli from going on a shopping spree come the February 26th trade deadline.
It’s no secret that the Oilers have desperately missed scoring wingers Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle this season, in fact the Oilers have the worst offensive production from their wingers of any team in the NHL. But a report out of the Ottawa Sun from Ottawa Senators insider Bruce Garrioch reveals that the Oilers may be ready to pull the trigger on a deal that would provide them with some offensive punch moving forward.
In his daily column, Garrioch connects all the dots on the latest trade rumours surrounding Sens forwards Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Zack Smith, naming the Oilers as a potential suitor.
Hoffman’s name has been linked mostly to the St Louis Blues in trade speculation, but they aren’t the only NHL team in pursuit of a forward, with the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres also sniffing around.
Sniffing around? Chiarelli should be doing more than sniffing around on a skilled sniper like Hoffman. The speedy 28-year-old has 12 goals and 30 points in 46 games for an underperforming Sens squad, but there’s little doubt that he’d put up even bigger numbers in Edmonton. Hoffman has hit nearly 30 goals the past three seasons and would be a huge upgrade on Patrick Maroon, Milan Lucic, Jujhar Khaira and Anton Slepyshev on the Oiler’s left-side.
But, what’s the asking price? Sens GM Pierre Dorion is likely not interested in rental pieces like Maroon or center Mark Letestu, but Chiarelli does have some assets at his disposal. Ryan Strome, for better or worse, still has some value on the trade market, as does forward Drake Caggiula. The Sens would likely relish the chance to land a top prospect like Kailer Yamamoto or Tyler Benson as part of a package for Hoffman, but it remains to be seen if Chiarelli can stomach such a move.
For the time being at least, it looks as if the answer to the Oilers’ offensive problems will have to come from within their current group. Maroon, Lucic, Slepyshev, Caggiula, Zack Kassian and rookie Jesse Puljujarvi all have more to give, but who will step up in the season’s second half?