5 Players the Edmonton Oilers Should Target at the Trade Deadline
5 Players That Address A Need for the Edmonton Oilers
Like many teams, the Edmonton Oilers have their share of needs and holes they would like to fill in their lineup. On one hand, the Oilers are the envy of most teams in the league in terms of the young blue chip talent they have, especially in the forward ranks. Those players alone however, aren't enough to get the team over the hump and be a serious playoff contender. There are a few glaring needs that the Oilers will look to address over the next couple of years in hopes of making the roster one that will be a perennial playoff team.
There are three major needs that come to mind when looking at their lineup. First and foremost is a power forward to play in their top six — a player that can be imposing and make life difficult for opposing defensemen and goaltenders.
They also need to improve their goaltending situation. Someone that can either push Devan Dubnyk for the starters role and be a good one-two punch, or a bona fide top NHL netminder. The problem is that the latter usually comes with a huge price tag and aren't often available.
The same can be said of the third need, which is a top pairing defenseman, ideally one with a left-handed shot that can be paired with Justin Schultz. Nick Schultz has done an admirable job, but he simply is not a top pairing guy.
Of course, or at least one or two of these needs are shared by the majority of teams in the league, and all of them will be looking to acquire the same names at trade deadline time. Here are a few names the Oilers should target at this years deadline to try and address some of their needs.
5. Ben Bishop, Ottawa Senators
Part of a team that employs three legitimate NHL talented goaltenders, Ben Bishop may be the odd man out when Craig Anderson returns from injury. Bishop has shown he can play at the NHL level and is still young enough to improve. He could make a good one-two punch with Dubnyk and the Oilers wouldn't have to break the bank to get him.
4. Jay Bouwmeester, Calgary Flames
Let's forget for a minute that the fact the two teams involved in the deal are the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. With Calgary sitting near the bottom of the standings and a rebuild imminent, a number of their top players may come available. Bouwmeester has had his share of criticism, and he does indeed come with a hefty contract. He is, however, exactly what the Oilers are looking for. He's a left-handed defenseman who logs big time minutes and rarely gets injured. He's a flawless skater, good puck-mover and excellent defensively. Price tag or not, he could be a good fit alongside Justin Schultz in Edmonton.
3. Chris Stewart, St. Louis Blues
There have been numerous rumors swirling around Stewart, some suggesting that he is available and others saying that he is not. He is currently the Blues' leading scorer and having an extremely good year. Based on his production and the Blues playoff ambitions, it may be a long shot for the Blues to move him. Despite his numbers, his ice time sits well outside top-six numbers as well as the team's very deep forward group, so he may be pried away for the right deal. He is exactly what the Oilers could use in their top six — he's big, physical, can skate and plays with an edge.
2. Jonathan Bernier, Los Angeles Kings
Regarded for a number of years as one of the best goaltending prospects in hockey, Bernier is showing just how right people are with his play for the Kings. He has been outstanding this year, albeit in limited starts. With Jonathan Quick locked up long term as the goaltender of the present and future for the Kings, it may be time for the team to use Bernier as a trade chip. He would be a perfect fit with the Oilers as a young goaltender, and would complement the contingent of young stars the team already has and grow with them.
1. Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
With the recent long-term deals to Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan may be available given that the Ducks may not want to commit that much salary to three forwards. There are sure to be a great number of teams inquiring about Ryan's services, and the Oilers should be one of them. A 30-goal scorer four times already in his young career, he is the type of power forward the Oilers crave. He has a cap hit of $5.1 million, which is similar numbers to that of Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, one or both of which could potentially come off the books within the next year or so.