Over the last few days, we've been talking about potential replacements for the now departed Zach Parise. John talked about maligned free agent Alexander Semin being Parise's replacement last Friday. Yesterday, Tom brought up Kyle Wellwood, a free agent who hasn't garnered a lot of attention despite a solid year with the Jets.
Another option for acquiring a forward could be via trade. Of course, some of the bigger name forwards will likely cost a lot more- the Blue Jackets are asking for a Kings Ransom for Rick Nash, while Bobby Ryan might cost quite a pretty penny (most likely both Adam Henrique and Jon Merrill).
When considering a trade, you have to look at what both sides have to offer. The Devils have a surplus of defensemen- both at the NHL level and regards to prospects. The Devils need forwards (they're missing a top 6 forward and a bottom 6 forward, lack of elite forward prospects). One team with a surplus of forwards would be the Edmonton Oilers- they already have three young star forwards in Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. They also recently drafted Nail Yakupov, who is expected to be a top line winger. They also have several other offensive prospects in their system. However, they're slightly lacking in terms of defense. Steve Tambellini realizes this, and it looks like he wants to improve the Oilers defense.
With all that being said, the Oilers and Devils have similar problems. One team has too many forwards, one team has too many defensemen. Could the Devils and Oilers work out a trade that helps both teams out?
The Big Fish
With the Oilers drafting Nail Yakupov 1st overall this year, they add another potential stud forward to their forward corps. This also means that they have four 1st line forwards- Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov. Ryanbatty over at Copper and Blue thinks that one of the four could be moved for a young, proven defenseman. If I had to choose between Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins (I doubt Yakupov would be on the table this early), I'd take Taylor Hall.
|2011 - Taylor Hall||61||27||26||53||-3||36||13||0||7||207|
Amongst all Oilers forwards who played a minimum of 30 games last season, Hall had the best Relative corsi and On Ice corsi. Despite his good possession numbers for the Oilers, he's done most of his damage on the power play (13 Power play goals and 5.95 5v4 points/60 in 2011-12). He's not nearly as good a scorer at evens as Jordan Eberle, but if he can stay healthy he could be a very good Zach Parise replacement.
As for the "young, proven defenseman" the Oilers would be looking for, that guy would be Mark Fayne. He's not elite talent, but he's held his own against tough competition for two years. However, Fayne alone wouldn't be able to pry Hall (or one of the "big fish") from the Oilers- it would likely cost more. The other option would be trading Adam Larsson (who is probably worth one of them straight up), but trading Larsson isn't exactly something the Devils should be doing. I don't like the idea parting with Fayne, but if it means that the Devils can acquire a young, somewhat proven top 6 forward like Hall, I'd be okay with it.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal suggests that Ales Hemsky might be on the trade block. While he recently re-signed with the Oilers, the presence of Nail Yakupov might mean Hemsky will be the 3rd line RW behind Jordan Eberle and Yakupov.
|2011 - Ales Hemsky||69||10||26||36||-13||43||1||0||1||137|
Hemsky had a bad season due to a 7.3 shooting %, 4 percent lower than his career average of 11.3%. Assuming he stays healthy, he should have a decent bounce-back season. His underlying stats aren't that bad either. The term and cap hit is also pretty manageable- 2 years and $10 million ($5 Mil AAV). The asking price might be abit lower for Hemsky mainly because of the contract and his injury problems, which might mean the Devils could acquire Hemsky for a veteran defenseman (preferrably Tallinder or Volchenkov).
As for Sam Gagner, if he was available, I'd like to see the Devils trade for him- he might not be an elite scorer, but he's been consistent. However, the asking price might be a bit too high for him.
Rolling the Dice
I mentioned Linus Omark as a potential replacement for Alexei Ponikarovsky. Another name that has come up recently is Magnus Paajarvi, the former 10th overall pick in the 2009 entry draft. He took a step back this season due to a pretty low shooting percentage (2 goals on 79 shots for a 2.53 shooting %). However, in terms of puck possession metrics, he doesn't look that bad. He's a positive puck possession player, albeit against weak competition. Even if he doesn't pan out as a top 6 forward, he could be a good 3rd liner because of his defensive ability. He'd also be considerably cheaper than most of the other options- as in the Devils probably wouldn't have to give up Fayne or Larsson for him.
What Do You Think?
With all that being said, do you think that a trade between the Devils and Oilers would be possible? Which Oilers forward piques your interest? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading.