Are the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers talking trade with just under three weeks to go until the NHL Trade Deadline?
On Tuesday night, Sportsnet’s senior columnist Mark Spector, reported that Archie Henderson, the Director of Pro Scouting for the Oilers, was at the Canada Life Centre to take in the whacky but entertaining 8-4 loss for the Habs to the Jets that snapped the Canadiens’ win streak at five.
Oilers Director of Pro Scouting, Archie Henderson, in Winnipeg tonight scouting Habs-Jets.
— Mark Spector🇨🇦🇺🇦 (@SportsnetSpec) March 2, 2022
The Oilers, which initially were hesitant to get into the NHL trade deadline race, have had a significant turn of events since replacing Dave Tippett with Jay Woodcroft on Feb 11. Having won seven of their last 10 games since Woodcroft took over as head coach, the Oilers went from being outside the playoff picture to being a major player in the Wild Card race, currently holding the last Wild Card spot as we speak.
The Canadiens have some key veterans for sale leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 21, and the Oilers have quite a few holes to fill. It’s no secret that the Oilers have a huge hole on the left side of their defense, and Montreal happens to have the best trade deadline value at that position in Ben Chiarot. The fit between the two clubs has been documented all the way back in November, but last night, things took an unexpected turn.
The recent slide in the standings from the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators, as well as the wide-open Pacific Division playoff picture, presents the Oilers with an exceptional opportunity to strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of this momentum to improve the team. Having the top pro scout in the building to watch both the Habs and Jets, two teams with interesting pieces for the Oilers, seems to indicate that Oilers general manager Ken Holland is studying the possibility of making a move.
Ben Chiarot An Easy Target
The presence of Henderson sent NHL trade rumours into a frenzy, as the Oilers had a few upcoming unrestricted free agents they could be looking at, none more impactful than Chiarot. It has been widely reported that the Edmonton Oilers are looking for a top-4 left-shot defenseman that can help shore up the defensive play of this high-tempo offensive team down the stretch. Ben Chiarot fits this description perfectly, while also offered the Oilers a wealth of experience and leadership to help support supertars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in key moments.
It’s interesting to note that Chiarot’s versatility on the back-end, being able to play left and right sides, makes him even more of a valuable asset for the Oilers. They’d be able to plug him anywhere they wanted in any given situation to shut down the opposition and play the mean and physical game that has been lacking on the Oilers’ blueline for years. The known price tag for Chiarot starts with a 1st round pick, and the belief is that Holland might be more inclined to move that pick if he has assurances that his club is going to be making the playoffs.
With the way the Oilers have been playing lately, it wouldn’t be outlandish to see Holland make that type of move within the next few weeks as the Oilers continue to climb in the standings.