WHO WILL BE THE NEXT GM OF THE OILERS?
WYATT ZIEGER: Not going to lie it feels really nice to answer this question after 3.5 years of putting up with terrible deals.
IAN SHEPPARD: STEVE YZERMAN! A fan can dream, can’t they? Ok so I know there’s no chance whatsoever this will happen, so you probably want a more realistic answer? Keith Gretzky is currently serving as the interim GM while having help on decisions when it comes to trades etc. I could see them leaving him in the permanent role come the summer, which doesn’t entirely bother me. If they’re going to promote from within then this is the guy to do it with.
Gretzky’s known to have a good scouting prowess and that added to Bob Nicholson stating in his press conference that the team needs to do better at leaving players in the AHL to develop longer gives me some hope. Two realistic options outside of the team right now for me are Ron Francis and Sean Burke. Both have done great work for Hockey Canada and I believe Francis especially had something good in Carolina before being let go for reasons that weren’t actually hockey related.
TYLER YAREMCHUK: I have a general idea of who some good candidates are, but remember, they need a new GM and a POHO. In my opinion, they need to go find a good, experienced hockey mind to be their President of Hockey Operations and then pair him with an up-and-coming GM.
Let’s say Ken Holland as the POHO and then pair him with someone like Lawrence Gillman, Sean Burke, or Kelly McCrimmon,
A MONTH FROM THE TRADE DEADLINE… WHO WILL BE THE BIGGEST BUYERS?
WYATT ZIEGER: I’m not sure there is going to be any of the huge buyers in the past who make 2-3 big deals to round out the roster but there are a couple teams I could see making 1 big deal ahead of the deadline.
IAN SHEPPARD: Here’s one you might not expect! The New York Islanders! The Isle are currently in first place in the Metro and second in the East, a spot no one really thought they’d be in. They have a decent amount of cap space, probably the most out of the majority of competing teams and adding that extra piece or two is what could take them from being a playoff team to a playoff contender.
TYLER YAREMCHUK: I think both the Islanders and Canadiens will be sneaky buyers at the deadline. The Isles have put themselves in a really nice spot and they have the cap space to make a big splash. The Habs could use a defenseman and could reach into their pool of prospects to pull out someone like Jake Muzzin or Alec Martinez from LA. They have Carey Price, who can almost single-handedly win them a playoff series, so why wouldn’t they try to load up?
WHO WILL BE THE BIGGEST SELLERS?
WYATT ZIEGER: Biggest seller is also a bit of crapshoot right now.
IAN SHEPPARD: The Ottawa Senators. A month ago I would have said the Blues and while I still think they could fall into this spot they’re suddenly only three points out of a playoff spot. Ottawa has dropped below Detroit for worst in the league and when you look at the amount of trade bait on the roster it’s apparent they’ll be moving some pieces.
Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel are all UFA’s at the end of the season and all have been rumoured to be shopped despite Duchene’s apparent contract negotiations. I also think that at 37 years of age and one year left on his deal Craig Anderson’s name could also be floated. In an offseason after moving Erik Karlsson, this team needs to rebuild and do it right. Adding more picks and prospects is in their best plans.
TYLER YAREMCHUK: The Senators have some really nice assets, but I’m not sure how many end up getting moved. Instead, I’ll say the New York Rangers. They’ll likely move Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello. Keep an eye on Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, and Vlad Namestnikov as well. They’re in a full on rebuild and aren’t going to hide it at the deadline.