Edmonton Oilers: Little Nicky

The moves keep on coming. Yesterday afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers traded a third-round pick and defenseman prospect Michael Kesselring to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Nick Bjugstad and defenseman prospect Cam Dineem. After getting himself an experienced top 4 two-way defenseman in Mattias Ekholm, Ken Holland is having another good trade day by adding a two-way right-handed centreman. The 30-year-old 11-year veteran was a bright spot in the desert, putting up 23 points in 59 games and being +7 on the 28th-place team in the league. He’s an excellent addition to a bottom six that has already improved over time in Edmonton.

His highest points total was 49 during the 2017-18 season with the Panthers. While I’ve always preferred having Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the third line, slotting Bjugstad, there will give RNH more freedom to stay in the top six and add to his career season in points (as well as maybe fight some more guys, who knows). Bjugstad was making $900k this season, and the Yotes are retaining 50% of his cap hit in this deal. So the Oilers are paying him $450k. All Oilers fans are happy with acquiring Bjugstad, while some aren’t too happy that it cost them Kesselring. A 23-year-old right-handed defenseman drafted 164th overall in 2018. In 49 games for the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL this season, he put up 22 points. It’s true that an RHD is hard to come by, so you can never have too many on the farm. However, it would be hard for Kesselring to make this team in the next few seasons. When you have a window to win, sacrifices like that need to happen in deals; even to bring in decent players, especially with Vincent Desharnais filling the #7 spot. Dineem fills the prospect spot left open. He is also a defenseman but shoots left. He was drafted 68th overall in 2016 by Arizona. And put up 35 points in 50 games for the Tuscan Roadrunners in the AHL this season. Not sure if the Oilers will make news again today. Getting another cheap player would require moving out a big enough contract. I would have to believe Holland is done for the Trade Deadline this year, but you never know.

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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