Ottawa Senators Should Target Edmonton Oilers In A Trade


Well, what do you know? The Edmonton Oilers will pick first overall in the upcoming draft for the fourth time in six years. That is the most by any team in the history of the NHL in a six-year span, and of course fans around the league think it is totally unfair. For me, I just didn’t want to see Connor McDavid in the Atlantic Division or the Eastern Conference, so I just think it is hilarious that the dysfunctional Oilers will end up with him.

But right now, I’m not thinking about McDavid on the Oilers. I’m thinking about the implications it has on their team, specifically for a trade or two. The Oilers have been bad for what seems like forever now, and they will have to “go for it” at some point. The arrival of McDavid seems like a good starting point. I’d be surprised if they didn’t go out and acquire a starting goalie and a few defenseman who are actually capable of playing.

To be quite honest, missing the playoffs next year would be an even bigger embarrassment considering there are some people who think McDavid could already be one of the best players in the league next year at 18 years old. So how will they become contenders for next season? Well, the Ottawa Senators match up quite well with them.

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Ottawa currently has three goalies with Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner under contract for next season, and Andrew Hammond will most likely receive a one-way NHL deal as well. Furthermore, there’s a chance that Boston University goalie Matt O’Connor signs with the Senators, creating a bit of a logjam. O’Connor won’t be NHL ready next year, but that’s beyond the point. If the Oilers want to get better, they will need a goalie and Anderson and Lehner are good targets.

Lehner represents a risk in terms of having him as your number one goalie, but I still have lots of faith in him, like I’ve said before. He would be a good investment for the Oilers. They could also target Anderson, but considering his age (turning 34), I doubt Edmonton would want to go with him knowing that he may only be starter-worthy for a few more years.

That’s why Lehner is the more likely target, and the rumour is that the Oilers have discussed trades on him before. Even right after the Draft Lottery tonight, there were Sens fans on Twitter immediately talking about getting in a trade with Edmonton.

Let’s consider what Edmonton has: very little defense, but tons of young forwards in the top six. Of course Ottawa needs defenseman, but the Oilers won’t give up someone like Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom because that defeats the purpose. They have enough young talent up front, so in return Ottawa could receive someone like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle or Nail Yakupov. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a solid top six centreman, so he will definitely stay, Leon Draisaitl was just drafted, and of course McDavid is going nowhere.

Out of those three listed, Hall is the biggest fish for sure. There have been rumours about him linked in trades with Lehner before, and I wonder how willing the Oilers are to move him. He is a fantastic first line player, and for some reason gets criticized unfairly but it seems like he could use a change of scenery. The Senators have liked Eberle in the past as well, and it may not take as much to acquire him.

Yakupov is interesting, because the last two seasons he has not played well, but he might be worth the risk. Having said that, I honestly would not take him for Lehner straight up. There’s way too much risk with him, but if there was another piece in the deal then things could get interesting.

Out of those three, the best to target is Hall. In the past, the Oilers have liked Jared Cowen (for some reason), although I’m not sure how much they love him now. This was the rumoured deal back in the beginning of 2015, with an additional first round pick going to Edmonton. Of course this is all just fantasy talk, as it would certainly take a lot for the Oilers to move a franchise player. But perhaps they get desperate and need a goalie.

"Hall is a franchise point a game player, and even though Ottawa doesn’t necessarily need him, he would make the team much better"

In a trade for Hall, I would not be willing to move Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone, Marc Methot and that’s about it to be honest. Mike Hoffman would be replaced by Hall if he were traded, so it wouldn’t be bad, although that package would be too much. So would a package including Bobby Ryan, but if the end result is upgrading from Ryan to Hall that’s not a bad deal. The two goalies have to be considered of course, because that’s the whole point of this deal.

All of the other players on the roster will not be as good as Hall, so trading them wouldn’t be too hard to stomach. But at the same time, if you end up pairing say Hoffman with Lehner and a 1st overall, I would not do that. Simply because losing two big pieces like that is doing more harm than good.

Still though, if the Oilers are even slightly interested in Cowen and especially Lehner (or Anderson), then I would push a trade like this hard on the Oilers. Hall is a franchise point a game player, and even though Ottawa doesn’t necessarily need him, he would make the team much better. And as a result, Ottawa might not have to suffer that much in terms of quality given up.

Perhaps we are all underestimating the Oilers front office, but with a track record like they have, it’s hard not to dream. I’m sure a similar deal has been discussed, and the Oilers quickly shot it down. Still though, it’s worth investigating and if they really are desperate on Lehner perhaps there is a deal to be made.

In the end, I would push Anderson hard on them. I would rather see Ottawa keep Lehner because he has a high ceiling and is still young, and Anderson could still have some value left in him. On the other hand, if Lehner is the only piece that makes a deal happen, I won’t totally be against it if Ottawa also has Hammond and O’Connor as the two backups. If Lehner is gone though I’ll be nervous about the goalie situation, but it could be a worthy gamble.

If a trade like this is possible, would you do it?

Next: Who Should Start Game Three, Hammond Or Anderson?