February 19, 2019 | 10:54pm ET
OILERS CLEARANCE SALE
Milan Lucic, left wing
It’s no secret the Edmonton Oilers have found themselves in a less than ideal situation for while now. As the trade deadline creeps closer and closer, what is going to be the best plan of attack for a team that needs to rebuild?
Sportsnet’s Mark Spector and Gene Principe reported that Oilers GM Keith Gretzky told them over the weekend, “The key priority here is to get rid of money.”
Spector went on to say, “They’re capped out, they’re obviously not a contending team. They need to get rid of cap so that they can build a contending team.”
The Oilers have already dealt goaltender Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers for netminder Anthony Stolarz in order to do just that, but this team, similar to the Anaheim Ducks, have to be offering a clearance sale to the rest of the League.
If there’s an offer out there for defenceman Kris Russell that makes sense, that he would comply with as he has a no-movement clause, the Oilers should most definitely jump on it.
Spector and Principe discussed Zack Kassian as another name that could clear up some space if he were dealt and would be serviceable to a contending team’s fourth line; Edmonton needs to be stock piling picks and prospects to once again rebuild this team.
Veteran winger Milan Lucic, who asked to be traded last season but changed his tune at the start of this season, is also a player the Oilers are exploring the market on, TFP has learned, but his $6 million salary cap hit remains a significant price for another team to take on – though some creativity along the way could move the needle.
Jesse Puljujarvi’s name is generating a bunch of traction, but according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Edmonton is standing firm on not accepting any “lowball offers.”
It’s believed the Oilers’ preference is to package Puljujarvi for a top-tier impact player who can step into the team’s first or second line.
The trade deadline is less than a week away and as fans clutch their phones awaiting trade notifications, Gretzky will be actively making and taking calls to see what can be done to get start his team along the right path.