Trading Cody Ceci - The Central Division
Welp, we have a week to kill before getting the chance to witness the Oilers attempting to tie the NHL record for consecutive wins against the Vegas Golden Knights.
This Oilers team has been absolutely rolling, to the point where it's difficult to point out many faults with the roster. By my eye there are two potential spots to upgrade. The first is the addition of one more top six forward, or top nine forward with the ability to compliment skill players like Warren Foegele has become.
The second is our conversation for today; a right shot defenceman to play in the top four. The Oilers already have an excellent top pairing right shot defender in Bouchard but there is a good argument for looking for an upgrade on Cody Ceci. Ceci is more of a shutdown defender but there are holes to his game and his numbers against elite competition aren't spectacular. Ceci is signed for the remainder of this season and next at a cap hit of 3.25 million.
The best case scenario would be another "Ekholm trade," trading away a player plus additional assets for an upgrade on that player.
Over the next week, I'll be looking at some of the other divisions in hockey, looking at the teams that may be selling come trade deadline, and if there are any top four right shot defensemen that the Oilers should be interested in.
COLTON PARAYKO - ST. LOUIS BLUES
I bring this name up for the sole purpose of squashing any thoughts of adding the player. Several years ago, Parayko was a dream add for the Oilers; a 6'6 228lb defender who was a local kid. For years there were hundreds of trade proposals for him (I'm sure I made a few myself).
Now however, Parayko is 30 years old and while he has recovered a bit from a horrendous 22/23 season, there is just too much risk in taking on a 6.5 million AAV that doesn't expire until the end of the 29/30 season. I also don't love adding a player who is prone to make some defensive zone mistakes next to Darnell Nurse... another player who is sometimes prone to those type of mistakes.
SEAN DURZI - ARIZONA COYOTES
The Coyotes are slowly building a team capable of being competitive and I don't imagine they are looking to trade a player that they just acquired for a 2nd round pick but if they could be convinced than Durzi would be an intriguing option. While not a big man or overly physical, Durzi is an impact defender through his vision, skating, and passing ability. He is now in his third NHL season and is averaging over 22 minutes a game with the Coyotes, spending most his time against mid range to elite competition.
Durzi is a fantastic young player and I see him only continuing to improve but like Parayko, I would have some concerns with pairing him and Nurse together. As an off-season add where the two could have a whole season to build chemistry I would say go for it but there would be considerable more risk at this stage of the season.
Kesselring would have been a great player to add. Too bad he wasn't drafted and developed by the Oilers....
DANTE FABBRO - NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Oilers fans should be praying for the Preds to drop out of contention because there are some intriguing names on their blueline for the Oilers. Fabbro, set to be an RFA this summer is a 25 year old right shot defender who plays a simple but effective game. He isn't a brilliant skater or have a dominant shot but he has strong vision and defensive awareness and uses his stick well to keep opponents to the outside or to block shooting lanes.
While Fabbro's most common linemate is Roman Josi, he doesn't play nearly the same level of minutes and is averaging just over 16 minutes a game. That may be a tougher assignment to suddenly expect him playing 20+ minutes a game alongside Nurse.
ALEXANDRE CARRIER - NASHVILLE PREDATORS
This is your Ceci replacement.
Carrier is a highly effective shutdown defender. He plays most of his minutes against elite competition while outscoring them, and is also a highly effective penalty killer. He is not a flashy player by any stretch but is calm in any situation you throw at him. Most of his starts are in the defensive end and on many occasions this season he has played at least 20 minutes a game.
Carrier is also a UFA at the end of this season and makes 2.5 million against the cap. Trading Ceci to the Preds gives them a reliable option for next season and if Edmonton sweetened the deal and had Nashville retain, the Oilers would still have space left over to make another add. Really like this option for the Oil.
ZACH BOGOSIAN - MINNESOTA WILD
If Holland wanted to add a veteran defenseman as a #7 I would have some interest in Bogosian but that is about it. Doesn't have the wheels to play in a top 4 role and certainly cannot be the shutdown option that the Oilers need.
From this list Carrier is the best fit stylistically for the Oilers while Durzi would be the most skilled and talented but not necessarily the best fit. The other names I just don't see being a true upgrade on Cody Ceci.
Next time we will look a bit closer at the Pacific Division and see if there are any strong fits.
Thanks for reading.