The Edmonton Oilers are not getting much offense from their other lines and desperately need help. Almost all of the team’s offense has come from their top line of Connor McDavid (22-41-63), Leon Draisaitl (22-39-61) and Zack Kassian (13-13-26). James Neal has chipped in 16 goals, but after that, the Oilers just don’t have the top-six players they need. However, the team is trying to rectify that by the trade deadline as Edmonton has shown interest in Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad, according to Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins.
The Oilers and Blackhawks might be a good match as Chicago is looking for defensive prospects, something that Edmonton is loaded with. The Oilers’ top two prospects are blueliners in Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg, although neither are likely to be included in a trade for Saad. However, the team has a number of secondary prospects that could interest Chicago, including William Lagesson, Caleb Jones and Dmitri Samorukov to name a few. Saad might make a good fit as well for Edmonton as he would slot onto the team’s second line and could shift Neal back to the right side, where he has been more successful. The only problems for Edmonton is Saad’s salary, which is at $6MM for the next two years. While the Oilers might be able to make Saad’s salary work for this year, next year’s salary could prove more challenging for the team.
Chicago, meanwhile, has $72.5MM invested in just 15 players next season with several significant free agents, including goaltenders Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford as well as forward Dylan Strome and defenseman Erik Gustafsson. The team might be willing to unload Saad in a cost-cutting effort for next season. Saad is currently out for three weeks due to an ankle injury, but should have been back on the ice for a month by the time the trade deadline rolls around.
Edmonton hopes that prospects might be enough to persuade Chicago to trade Saad as Edmonton general manager Ken Holland has shown an unwillingness to move draft picks, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“I’ve been told the Oilers internally feel that they have given up way too many draft picks,” Friedman said on 630 CHED radio in Edmonton on Friday. “And as you look back in (their) last five drafts, in four of them, (they’ve) had holes in how many players they could take. So, I think two picks for (Taylor) Hall, that was one of the reasons why (they) didn’t want to do it.”
Friedman also suggests that the Oilers have expressed interest in Tyler Toffoli of the Kings, but Los Angeles would be looking for picks, which could be a stumbling block for the Oilers.