When the Edmonton Oilers put Kyle Turris on waivers today, speculation immediately sparked up that the team was preparing to go after one of the bigger names available at the trade deadline. The Oilers can bury part of Turris’ cap hit by moving him to the taxi squad and with Oscar Klefbom on long-term injured reserve, they have a bit of flexibility. Immediately, the thought of Taylor Hall returning to Edmonton popped into many minds, but if the Buffalo Sabres are holding out for a first-round pick, the struggling forward won’t be coming to the Oilers.
I’m not going to trade a first for a rental. Maybe if the player had some term, I’d be open to it.
By a first, Holland is referring to a first-round draft pick, something he isn’t willing to move for a player on an expiring contract. That would include Hall, who signed a one-year $8MM deal with the Sabres in a unique offseason. According to previous reports, Buffalo GM Kevyn Adams has been looking for a first in any discussions on the enigmatic winger, but that is certainly not guaranteed at this point.
The New Jersey Devils did recently secure a first-round pick in trade, but that was for both Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. They had to retain salary on both players as well, making them cost a combined $5.2MM against the cap for the New York Islanders. Even if the Sabres were to retain half of Hall’s deal, he’d still come in at $4MM for the Oilers or whoever acquires him before Monday’s deadline.
There are other rentals potentially out there as well, but it’s not clear exactly how many of them would fetch a first in a normal year, let alone this one that seems to have a heavy buyers’ market. Mike Hoffman, Nick Foligno and Scott Laughton are all good players, but it would be hard to justify handing over a first-round pick—especially when they would have to quarantine for at least a week before joining the Oilers north of the border.
The interesting thought is whether Holland—who also said the art of the deadline is just like poker—is speaking truthfully or attempting to bluff his way into a lower asking price in some negotiation. Giving that information publicly wasn’t needed and should draw even more eyeballs to the Oilers as a team to watch over the next 72 hours.