The Edmonton Oilers have been on the hunt for defensive help for the better part of this season. GM Ken Holland was able to put that need to rest yesterday by swinging a trade for Mattias Ekholm. Despite the upgrade, it appears that Holland is not done.
Darren Dreger reported last night on TSN’s Insider Trading that Edmonton is still looking to add a forward and have shown interest in Tyler Bertuzzi as well as Nick Bjugstad.
Bertuzzi would be a tough add for Edmonton as his $4.75MM cap hit could prove problematic given the Oilers cap situation, but Bjugstad’s cap hit is just $900K. Both Bertuzzi and Bjugstad are pending unrestricted free agents playing on teams that appear likely to miss the playoffs.
Bertuzzi has had a down year this season with the Detroit Red Wings. He has just four goals in 29 games after scoring 30 goals last season in 68 games. He has missed considerable time this year and also missed most of the pandemic shortened 2020-21 season. Given his recent history, injury risk could be a concern to any team interested in Bertuzzi’s services. Cost could also be a concern as Detroit is reportedly asking for a first round pick.
Bjugstad on the other hand has dealt with injuries his entire career, but he has remained relatively healthy this season. He has had somewhat of a resurgence with the Arizona Coyotes scoring 13 goals, his first time breaking the 10-goal mark since 2017-18. The former first round pick appeared to be a budding star with the Florida Panthers back in 2014-15 when he scored 24 goals, but since that time he has yet to crack the 20-goal mark.
Any Oilers addition will likely need to be a dollar for dollar move at this point, or require a team or two to retain salary. The Oilers have just $450K of deadline cap space to make a move as they are still dealing with dead cap hits from the buyouts of James Neal and Andrej Sekera, as well as the retained salary from the Milan Lucic trade with the Calgary Flames. Lucic and Sekera come off the books at the end of this season, which should open the door for Holland to add to the Oilers this summer.