February 9, 2018 | 1:48pm ET
OILERS WILLING TO LISTEN ON KLEFBOM
Oscar Klefbom, defenceman
It’s no secret Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli wants to find a speedy, goal-scoring winger to play full-time alongside, and keep up with, captain Connor McDavid.
The 2017-18 campaign is already one to forget for the Oilers, and management is focusing on retooling for next season.
Forwards Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu, both of whom are pending unrestricted free agents, are expected to be dealt by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Outside of moving them, presumably for draft picks, the Oilers are exploring the market for long-term assets.
Acquiring a top winger to play with McDavid is a priority for Chiarelli and his staff, and while the team can explore the free agent market this summer, they are more likely to go the trade route to find what they’re looking for.
Centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, out of the lineup with an upper-body injury and is expected to return later this month, has been the subject of trade speculation for the last two seasons, and while the Oilers could move him this off-season for a scoring winger, management may be first inclined to go in a different direction.
Reversing the mindset that came into play when the Oilers traded left wing Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for sturdy defenceman Adam Larsson on June 29, 2016, TFP has learned the Oilers are willing to move blueliner Oscar Klefbom if it meant acquiring a top-line winger.
Klefbom, though not actively being shopped by the Oilers, has been the topic of some trade discussions lately, according to rival team sources. A deal is not imminent, and such a move may be better suited for the off-season, if one is to be completed at all, but the Oilers are prepared to listen.
The 24-year-old native of Karlstad, Sweden, is in the second-year of a seven-year, $29.169 million contract. The Oilers have been disappointed with his performance this season, and while they are comfortable keeping him, Klefbom could be swapped out in order to fill a glaring hole up front if the right trade presented itself.
The Oilers have been playing Leon Draisaitl with McDavid and Mike Cammalleri on the club’s top line recently, but the sense is the Oilers prefer to keep Draisaitl at the centre position, creating a void on the top line – and having Cammalleri on the left side isn’t ideal, either.
If the Oilers were to part with Klefbom for a scorer, that would not necessarily mean they hold on to Nugent-Hopkins, who has a $6 million salary cap hit.
Completing trades of this magnitude – involving either Klefbom or Nugent-Hopkins –during the season is a difficult task. Trade talks may begin to percolate this month and carry out into the spring until finally being agreed upon closer to the NHL Draft in late-June.
Klefbom and Nugent-Hopkins have been recently added to TFP's Top 30 Available Players List.
TFP Sr. Writer Dennis Bernstein and Editor-in-Chief David Pagnotta contributed to this report.