Could the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres be planning a major trade?
Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News claimed there was “talk” the two struggling teams were working on a deal that would send either Ryan Miller or Thomas Vanek “and possibly both” to Edmonton in exchange for sophomore winger Nail Yakupov and more.
This rumor emerged following a report by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos suggesting Sabres GM Darcy Regier was feeling the heat for the club’s poor start this season. Kypreos later qualified his remarks by saying nothing was imminent, while the Sabres denied Regier was in danger of losing his job.
Gleason believes Edmonton could be a good fit for Miller, noting they’re the only team in the West seeking a goalie, and a move there would allow him to be closer to his wife in Southern California. He feels the Oilers are a team on the rise who could be a goaltender away from getting back into contention.
Of course, the Oilers would want Miller to re-sign a new contract in order to make the deal happen, rather than parting with assets for a goalie who could depart via free agency in the summer.
The Oilers desperate need for an experienced starting goaltender makes their rumored interest in Miller plausible and it could take a promising, affordable young forward such as Yakupov to land him.
Still, the “Miller-to-Edmonton” speculation seems pointless, as the Oilers are reportedly on Miller’s eight-team no-trade list.
Given Miller’s age (33), it’s unlikely he’ll accept a trade from one rebuilding club to another.
As for Vanek, the Oilers are already deep on left wing with Taylor Hall and David Perron. There’s no need to add Vanek, who would do nothing to suitably address Edmonton’s defensive needs.
HOW ABOUT THOMAS VANEK IN PHILADELPHIA?
The Philadelphia Flyers, who managed only 11 goals during their 1-7 start to this season, could certainly benefit from Vanek’s offensive skills.
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggested Paul Holmgren’s future as Flyers GM hangs in the balance unless he makes a bold move to reverse their fortunes.
Carchidi believes Vanek could be just what the Flyers need to address their anaemic offense, suggesting he’d be right at home alongside fellow Austrian Michael Raffl, who was Vanek’s linemate at the 2013 World Championship. He feels the cost to acquire the 29-year-old winger would be prospects and/or draft picks.
Given the Flyers tight cap space and Vanek’s $7.1-million cap hit, Carchidi acknowledged the Flyers would have to shed some salary, “like including Andrej Meszaros ($4 million cap hit) in the deal.”
Meszaros’ injury history and his own free agent status next summer suggests the Sabres won’t be interested unless they were getting additional value in the return. The Sabres could also agree to retain part of Vanek’s salary if it would facilitate a deal.
It’s also widely assumed Vanek will sign next summer with the Minnesota Wild. Landing him without getting his signature on a new contract would be as risky an acquisition for the Flyers as Miller would be for the Oilers.