Although the Oilers were active on the trade front yesterday, it doesn’t appear that GM Peter Chiarelli is done just yet. Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reports that Edmonton is shopping for help on the right wing and has made center Ryan Spooner available. He noted on Twitter that Chiarelli tried to include Spooner in one of the trades from Sunday but was unsuccessful.
Spooner was acquired from the Rangers in mid-November in a swap of a pair of players who looked as if they could benefit from a change of scenery with Ryan Strome going the other way. The deal hasn’t exactly worked out well to this point for Edmonton as the 26-year-old has just three points in 17 games while his ice time has been slashed to just 9:40 per night. (Strome has fared slightly better with six points in 18 contests but remains a role player as well.)
He’s in the first season of a two-year, $8MM contract that the Rangers gave him to avoid salary arbitration over the summer. New York is paying down $900K in each year which means that an acquiring team would be on the hook for the remaining $3.1MM. While 2018-19 hasn’t gone well for him, he did put up 41 points in just 59 games last season so there may still be a team that thinks he’s worth taking a flyer on. The Oilers have all three of their salary retention slots remaining if they need to hold back money to help facilitate a deal.
Edmonton’s right wing situation has long been a position of need. While youngsters Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto have shown some promise, they haven’t been able to hold down a spot on Edmonton’s top line. Ty Rattie looked like he could contend for that spot in training camp but his regular season hasn’t been particularly strong. Offseason signing Tobias Rieder has played both wings in the past but he too has not fared well this season. All in all, those four have combined for just six goals on the season, hardly close to top-line production.
However, as is always the case when looking at trades involving the Oilers, a lack of salary cap flexibility will make things tricky here. They’ll need to free up some space in order to bring Andrej Sekera off LTIR in the coming weeks so taking on any more salary will be difficult. Looking to next season, they’ve already committed a little over $68.5MM to just 13 players per CapFriendly (and have both of their goalies set to become unrestricted free agents which will take up a big chunk of their remaining room). With that in mind, Chiarelli will likely need to find a way to include Spooner in any trade if he wants to add another roster player in the weeks to come.