The trade winds in Montreal have reached such levels that even my thin follicles can feel their gusts. I can’t remember a time when so many highly productive players could switch teams off-season.
Johnny Gaudreau (115 points), JT Miller (99), Nazem Kadri (87), Filip Forsberg (84), Vladimir Tarasenko (82), Alex DeBrincat (78) points, Evander Kane (22 goals and 39 points in 43 games) can all be in a new city next season. Kevin Fiala (85 points) was already moving.
That would be eight of the league’s top 35 points getter or goalscorers. It would be unannounced. Gaudreau, Kane, Forsberg, and Kadri are awaiting UFAs, so it’s no big surprise at this point that they’re moving teams a week before the free agency starts, but Miller, Tarasenko, and DeBrincat along with some other prolific players could be in motion according to Frank Seravalli. from Daily Faceoff† Also throw Evgeni Malkin (pending UFA) and Blake Wheeler.
And then there are D-men like Kris Letang, Torey Krug, Jakob Chychrun, Jeff Petry, Tony DeAngelo and more. The list of names mentioned is long and could lead to a very interesting week leading up to the launch of free agency on July 13th.
Jesse Puljujarvi’s name is still there and I’ve heard more rumblings. He’s not just traded for draft picks. Multiple sources have told me that and Ken Holland has officially said so. It would be a backward step for the organization to trade him in for a 2022 draft pick that won’t help the Oilers for at least three years.
The Netherlands is looking for a player with comparable ability. Not the same type of player, but one that still has room to grow. Three teams that I’ve heard show interest are Carolina, Detroit and Nashville. I’ve heard there are more but haven’t been able to confirm so I won’t guess.
A quick scan of the Hurricanes roster and no similar names jump out. Martin Necas is an RFA but at this point Edmonton would need to add more to make that deal happen I think. In the past two seasons, Puljujarvi has 61 points in 120 games and Necas 81 in 131 games. He’s been more productive, not playing with Connor McDavid. Not sure if there is a eligibility for an exchange. And Necas could charge $3.5 million in arbitration, maybe higher.
Detroit is an organization that the Netherlands knows well. Would Michael Rasmussen make sense for Edmonton? He was the ninth pick in 2017 and has taken some time to find his game. Last season he scored 15 goals and 27 points. He was not as productive as Puljujarvi on points, but he has room to grow and can play centrally or on the wing. He’s also huge at 6’6″ and 210 pounds. The Oilers need some skilled mates. Rasmussen’s basic analysis isn’t great, but that’s partly due to his zone starts and who he played against.
He had 135 Ozone starts, 250 in the neutral zone and 199 in the D zone. Thanks to PuckIQ.com, he also played slightly more minutes against elite players than mid-six or fourth-line players.
Rasmussen was very dominant in the WHL with Tri-Cities. He didn’t produce huge point totals, but as a 17- and 18-year-old he had 63 goals and 114 points in 97 games. I see him as an ideal ‘late bloomer’. He has a cap hit of $1.8 million for the next two seasons.
Yakov Trenin scored 17 goals and 24 points on Nashville’s third line. He may be a low-end second-line player, but he’s a solid third-line player who also averaged 1:40/game on the PK. He’s big and tough and a year older than Puljujarvi – a different style of play, as he has more of a physical element to his game. However, I feel like the Preds are very high on him.
Looking at their roster, the only other player I see would be Luke Kunin. He was the 15th pick in the 2016 draft of Puljujarvi. To date, he has similar career numbers to Puljujarvi. Kunin has 46-47-93 in 251 games, while Puljujarvi has 46-52-98 in 259 games. Very similar but in Puljuarvi’s last two seasons, Puljujarvi has surpassed him by 61 points to 41 and both have played 120 games. Kunin had no good year in terms of ownershipso that’s a bit of a concern.
I doubt Carolina will trade Necas for Puljujarvi, and I don’t think Edmonton would make the Kunin deal, but I see the merit in Rasmussen for Puljujarvi. Two high-draft picks who have had 15 target seasons are big bodies, with room for improvement.
The Netherlands won’t take Puljujarvi straight to the draft so there shouldn’t be a deal by the end of round seven, but with each passing day it seems more inevitable that he’ll be traded this summer. There is a risk of trading him as he just turned 24 and has shown signs that he could be a solid complementary winger in the top six. There are some concerns about his puck skills and his balance/edge work, but most players have pros and cons to their game.
The Netherlands must get a solid player in return. Pulujarvi has had more of a positive than a negative impact in games. Holland is aware of this and that is why he does not want to give it away. I only looked at possible forward returns. Of course he can be moved for a defender, but I feel Edmonton wants an attacker. They can also lose Evander Kane in free agency, so getting an attacker for Puljujarvi makes the most sense from an organizational point of view.
As mentioned I’m not sure about other teams that have had talks with the Netherlands so there will be other offers, but looking at the rosters those are some of the names I saw as the type of player Edmonton would like to have.