According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, he believes the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks have the pieces worked out and a trade in the chamber that would see the Oilers land Patrick Kane in a blockbuster deal. Spector writes in a recent column, “I believe neither Erik Karlsson nor Jakob Chychrun are possibilities in Edmonton.” He adds, “A home run, on this roster at this moment, is a Top 6 forward. And at the top of that list is Patrick Kane.”
Spector then goes on to write, “My sources tell me the Blackhawks would retain half of Kane’s $10.5 million salary, take Warren Foegele and Jesse Puljujarvi to make the money work, and require a first-round pick and a prospect — not Holloway or Broberg — in return.”
What Is the Delay for Both Sides?
Before we get too deep into this, it’s important to point out that Spector put this under the “things we think we know” category. That means it’s not a done deal. In fact, he already has another insider who is reporting that talks between the Oilers and San Jose Sharks are not officially off when it comes to Karlsson. Chris Johnston is reporting that the two sides have reengaged in trade discussions. That said, Johnston also acknowledges there are huge hurdles to overcome in that regard, thus a Kane deal seems more likely of the two potential scenarios.
With that being said, if the Blackhawks and Oilers have actually laid the groundwork for a potential deal, this is huge news. That begs the question, why isn’t the trade done yet? There are a couple of reasons.
First, Spector writes that Kane’s “wonky hip” is a real concern for teams, including Edmonton. The New York Rangers moved on to Vladimir Tarasenko, in part, because Kane’s lingering injury issue has people worried he wouldn’t last four playoff rounds when the physicality level increases. Because Kane is a rental, his ability to stay in the lineup for the next few months is a major factor.
Second, Kane has yet to officially tell the Blackhawks he’s ready to move on. Yes, he did express his disappointment that the Rangers added Tarasenko — which likely ruled him out of their plans and hints that he’s mentally preparing for his exit from Chicago — but it’s not yet known if Kane is willing to leave the Blackhawks for the Oilers.
Would This Be a Good Deal for Edmonton?
Again, if this report is accurate, this isn’t a terrible cost for the Oilers. They do lose two useful pieces in Foegele and Puljujarvi, but the Oilers are likely to lose Puljujarvi anyway, either to waivers or a demotion to make the salary cap work. Meanwhile, Foegele is a player that has been shopped because of his contract and the term left on it. There’s a chance the Oilers would prefer to replace him in the offseason for a cheaper asset and it that’s the case, moving him now makes sense.
The real cost here is the first-round pick and the prospect. If the Blackhawks have agreed to stay away from Dylan Holloway and Philip Broberg, there aren’t many prospects the Oilers should feel too married to. Plus, if all goes well, that first-rounder is a late pick, potentially between number 28-32 in the draft.
In exchange, the Oilers get to ice arguably the most dangerous top six in the NHL. On any given night (should everyone be healthy) the Oilers can send out Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as their No. 1 and No.2 centers, Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the left wing, and Patrick Kane and Zach Hyman on the right wing. That is just scary good and it would be hard to envision anyone shutting down both lines repeatedly.
What About Kailer Yamamoto?
With this proposed deal, the Oilers would be adding Kane to the lineup at a cost of $5.25 million. They’d be moving $5.75 million off the books. There’s still the issue of Kailer Yamamoto and how the Oilers will fit him onto the roster, all while being salary cap compliant. That’s an issue general manager Ken Holland would have to address.
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One potential solution becomes waiving two players. Devin Shore and a player with a salary of $1.125 million get it done. That could be Derek Ryan or Mattias Janmark. Holland will be hesitant to lose either, but it might be worth it if you can slot Yamamoto a bit lower and add Kane to this lineup.
There’s one other wrinkle in all of this and that’s the status of Klim Kostin. Word on his injury coming out of the game against Ottawa hasn’t been revealed, but it didn’t look good. If he’s out for any significant amount of time, the Oilers not only have to consider their depth needs at wing, but it changes their salary structure a bit if he goes on LTIR. Kostin is only a $750K player, so might not change much in terms of required salary moves, but it could change Holland’s priorities when it comes to forwards.