There’s been a ton of chatter surrounding the idea that the Edmonton Oilers might be the favorites to land both forward Phil Kessel and defenseman P.K. Subban in free agency. There’s been no confirmation from the organization that they are interested in either player, but the idea does make some sense considering Edmonton is a bit light at right wing and the team could potentially use another experienced defenseman in a depth role.
While my colleague Mark Scheig is convinced these two players would put the Oilers over the top in terms of being a Stanley Cup contender, if Ken Holland is looking at either player — and seriously considering either as a free agent pickup — a few things need to happen first.
Figure Out Which Current Oilers To Trade
One thing fans need to be keenly aware of is that neither player can be added to this roster unless another move (maybe more) is made first. That means a trade or two to send money off of the roster and it’s not as simple as dumping $750K or burying a player in the minors. Even if Kessel and Subban sign for the league minimum, the Oilers are currently over the salary cap and placing Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith on LTIR doesn’t solve all of their problems when factoring in a pending extension for Ryan McLeod.
That means adding Kessel and/or Subban comes at the expense of either Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyson Barrie, or Warren Foegele. All are productive and in a perfect world, the Oilers probably don’t want to lose any of them. But, if it’s determined a trade needs to be made, Holland will need to find a taker for one or more of these players, get a decent deal and then fill holes left by their departures if Subban or Kessel coming in doesn’t adequately fill them.