Photo credit:© Perry Nelson - USA Today
Meet the Buyers: The Oilers need Chris Tanev, but they may not have the assets to get it done
17 days ago
Despite a 16-game win streak, today’s team still needs help to push for a deep playoff run.
This is Meet the Buyers, where we look at teams that are contenders for the Stanley Cup, and what they need to improve their chances. The Calgary Flames have two players – Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin – set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Moreover, the Flames could flip Andrei Kuzmenko or Yegor Sharangovich for a maximum return at this season’s deadline.
In this edition, we’ll look at the Flames’ provincial rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, along with their needs, their assets, and the cap situation of both teams.
The needs of the Edmonton Oilers
According to Frank Seravalli’s Daily Faceoff article where he looks at the needs of Western Conference teams, the Oilers need either a third-line centre or a second-line right wing. Now, things have changed since this article came out, such as the Oilers signing Corey Perry and Warren Foegele finding chemistry on Leon Draisaitl’s right wing.
Still, the Oilers could use a winger, either the left or right side, but a bigger need is a right-shot defenceman to replace Cody Ceci. Thankfully, the Flames have Chris Tanev for the Oilers’ needs.
Ceci, who’d likely be involved in a hypothetical trade with the Flames, isn’t a bad defenceman by any stretch. This season, the 30-year-old defenceman has no goals but 13 points in 46 points. His career-best season came in 2021-22 with the Oilers, where he scored five goals and 28 points, with the latter being his best-scoring season.
Tanev has similar numbers, scoring one goal and nine points in 47 games this season with the Flames. Like Ceci, Tanev’s career-best season point wise was in 2021-22 where he scored six goals and 28 points.
The difference between the two players is their defensive prowess. For example, Ceci has played 236.2 minutes against elite competition, or 31.3% of his time on ice. Moreover, the Oilers have 10 goals for and nine against when Ceci is on the ice against elites, according to Woodmoney. Again, it’s not bad, but it’s not Tanev.
Tanev, on the other hand, has played 317.5 minutes against elite competition, which is 41.6% of his ice time. On top of that, the Flames have 16 goals for and seven against with Tanev on the ice against elite competition, according to Woodmoney.
Hanifin would also make sense, but it’d be an odd fit as the Oilers have Mattias Ekholm, Darnell Nurse, and former Flame Brett Kulak locking down the left-side of their defence. Of course, Hanifin can play on his off-hand and would be a more ideal partner for Nurse, but that’d cost the Oilers more than Tanev, and they’re already pretty light on assets to give the Flames.
What assets do the Edmonton Oilers have to offer
Speaking of assets, Edmonton’s prospect pool ranks as Scott Wheeler’s 25th-best in the league according to a recent The Athletic article. Dylan Holloway ranks as their best prospect, with Xavier Bourgault, Philip Broberg, Beau Akey, and netminder Olivier Rodrigue rounding out the top five. The Hockey Writers had them 29th coming into the season, but included Matvei Petrov, Maxim Beryozkin, and Shane LaChance instead of Rodrigue, Broberg, and Holloway.
Holloway likely wouldn’t be traded, as the 22-year-old is a main roster player who can play in the middle-six for the Oilers. This season, he has two goals and three points in 19 games, and had three goals and nine points in 51 games last season.
Bourgault is probably the Oilers best movable prospect, as the 21-year-old forward was selected with the 22nd-overall pick in 2021. This season in the American Hockey League, Bourgault has six goals and 16 points in 38 games, off the pace of his 13 goals and 34 points in 62 games last season.
Broberg was selected with the eighth-overall pick in the 2019 draft, but hasn’t found his game at the National Hockey League level. The left-shot defenceman has scored just two goals and 11 points in 79 games, and has 10 playoff games under his belt. In the AHL this season, he has a goal and 18 points, but the Oilers are so thin in defensive depth that trading Broberg isn’t much of a possibility.
Akey was selected with the 56th-overall pick in the 2023 draft and plays for the Barrie Colts. This season, he has four goals and nine points in 14 games,, but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that has kept him out of the lineup since mid-November. He’s a puck moving, right-shot defenceman that quarterbacks power plays.
Rodrigue is Edmonton’s big breakout prospect for the 2023-24 season. Selected in the second-round of the 2018 draft, the 23-year-old netminder has a .920 save percentage and 2.60 goals-against average in 18 games in the AHL this season, and a .912 save percentage and 2.77 goals-against average in 29 games last season in the AHL.
Petrov was selected in the sixth-round of the 2021 draft and put up impressive numbers in junior hockey, scoring 67 goals and 183 points in 128 games with the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League. The winger hasn’t quite found that level in professional hockey, scoring just five goals and eight points in 29 games this season.
Beryozkin is another late-round pick, as the Oilers selected the 22-year-old Russian forward in the fifth-round of the 2020 draft. This season with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv in the Kontinental Hockey League, he has seven goals and 26 points in 57 games. That was the exact same total he had in 2022-23, but he only played 52 games that season.
LaChance was selected in the sixth-round of the 2021 draft and plays at Boston University with Macklin Celebrini. The 20-year-old left-winger has nine goals and 16 points as a freshman, after scoring 33 goals and 54 points in the United States Hockey League in 2022-23.
As for their draft picks, Edmonton has their first and second-round picks for the 2024 draft, their 2025 first-round pick (but missing their second-round pick), and all their picks for the 2026 and 2027 drafts, according to Puckpedia
The cap situation of both teams
The cap situation with the Oilers is simple, money in means money out, hence why Ceci will likely be moved if they look to upgrade their defence. According to Puckpedia, the Oilers have a current cap space of $1,404,344 as of Feb. 8, with no players on the long-term injured list. If you’re wondering, Cody Ceci has a cap hit of $3.25 million until the end of the 2024-25 season, so a trade for Ceci would give the Oilers cap relief for next season.
On the other hand, the Flames have all three of their retention spots, and it’d cost the Oilers even more if they want the Flames to retain 50% of Tanev’s salary. For context, Tanev has a cap hit of $4.5 million, which would be $2.25 million at 50% retention. With Ceci heading back the other way, the Oilers would actually have more cap space to play with at this season’s deadline.
If the Oilers and Flames were to link up on a trade, you’d have to imagine that the Flames asking price of a “second-round pick and another asset” for Tanev would be increased for their provincial rival. When you include Ceci coming back and the cost of trading inside the division to hated rivals, the Flames would likely get a serious haul from the Oilers.
At the end of the day, if the Oilers want to get better defensively, Tanev is the best option available. Will they match the cost? That’s to be determined.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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