With the imminent return of defenseman Oscar Klefbom to the Edmonton Oilers' roster, general manager Peter Chiarelli might be focusing on boosting his offensive crew than anything else ahead of the Feb. 25 trade deadline. And he might be able to pull it off sooner than later as a deal could take place with the Nee York Rangers.
According to Elliotte Friedman, the Oilers are believed to have contacted the Rangers about forward Mats Zuccarello, who's been on fire in the recent days. And we now know what it might take to pry him out of the Big Apple.
"Here’s my read on Edmonton: With their horse, Oscar Klefbom, getting closer to a return, the Oilers are looking everywhere for forward help. They would prefer to avoid giving up a major young piece for a rental. Sounds like they’ve checked into the recently resurgent Mats Zuccarello, who had three assists in the Rangers’ 6-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday. Last season, the Rangers dealt Michael Grabner for a prospect and a second-rounder; that’s probably where they’d like to go with Norway’s Finest."
Larry Brooks of The New York Post recently suggested that Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton could jump at the first legitimate trade offer. He added that the upcoming break, as the Rangers' bye week that leads into the All-Star break later this month, would serve as an ideal time for the Blue Shirts to trade the veteran winger.
Zuccarello has tallied seven goals and 21 points in 33 games this season with a minus-18 rating. He has a $4.5 million cap hit in the last year of the four-year deal he signed with the Rangers back in 2015.
“I’m a human being, so obviously it has been on my mind and I’ve allowed it to get into my head, probably too much,” Zuccarello said last week. “When it affects my game the way it has been, that’s on me; I shouldn’t have let it get to that point.
“I mean, I’m a professional and have a responsibility to the team and my teammates. It’s been hard. I let it get to me. I need to let go of it and get back to being the Zukey everyone knows. I thought actually that it was a little bit better that way in this game for me, but obviously not close to being enough.”
The Oilers might also be one of four teams exploring the possibility of acquiring Micheal Ferland of the Carolina Hurricanes. The tough guy is quite coveted on the trade market and could end up with a contender in the coming weeks.
"The list is longer, but Boston, Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Vancouver are among those interested in Micheal Ferland," Friedman included in his latest 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet.
The Oilers could be looking at different options as Friedman reports their first-round pick is "definitely in play". A lot to keep an eye on in Edmonton in the next few days...