Montreal Canadiens defenceman Joel Edmundson is a popular commodity, with a handful of suitors that could make a play for him when the NHL Trade Deadline draws closer.
The 29-year-old defenceman is in the 3rd year of his four-year, $14M deal with the Canadiens and has quickly become a talking point leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline.
The Canadiens have taken calls on their veteran defenceman in the past, but have held off on any serious conversations, but that could quickly change, as his name is starting to pop up more and more in trade banter.
A former Cup-winner with the St-Louis Blues, Joel Edmundson was also part of the top-four defensive group that powered the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup Final just two years ago; making him a popular option if the Canadiens do intend on taking calls on him.
Here are some of the potential suitors on the NHL trade market that have a need for a top-4 left-shot defenceman and have the assets to acquire one:
There’s been speculation as of late that the fit would be perfect between Edmundson and the Edmonton Oilers, given their need for more defensive structure, rather than more offence from the back end.
The issue with the Oilers’ defence is their structure and lack of experience in winning tight, physical games against teams with relentless forechecks, like the Boston Bruins or Dallas Stars.
Edmundson’s physical, punishing style coupled with his 48 playoff games in the last five years, make him a prime candidate to come in and balance a team’s defensive corps, and there is likely no defensive unit more in need of stabilizing than that of the Edmonton Oilers.
The fact that Montreal could also be in a position to retain on Edmundson’s salary makes him an even more attractive asset for the Oilers, as they would be able to count on Darnell Nurse, Edmundson and Brett Kulak on the left side without breaking bank.
The Washington Capitals only have one defenceman signed past this season in John Carlsson, with the rest of their defensive brigade expected to hit free agency.
With the Capitals declaring that they will not initiate a rebuild as long as Alexander Ovechkin is playing for them, they would be inclined to shore up their defensive brigade in advance of what will likely be a busy summer for them in 2023.
The Capitals are currently running Erik Gustafsson and Dimitry Orlov on the left side and could further cement their defensive corps going into the playoffs, and for next season, by adding a veteran like Joel Edmundson, who fits their window and brings the necessary experience this roster needs.
The Capitals and Canadiens had engaged in talks earlier this season and could resume them as the Canadiens’ cap flexibility could allow them to help Washington in more ways than one.
Los Angeles Kings
The L.A. Kings are loaded with right-shooting defencemen, but are excessively thin on left-shooting defenders.
The Montreal Canadiens and L.A. Kings make for logical trade partners, as the two teams were engaged in trade talks last year regarding the potential move; with the Canadiens spending a lot of time scouting the King’s AHL affiliate Ontario Reign.
Edmundson could come and even out the lineup pretty nicely for the Kings, and the Canadiens could take on some salary to make the deal work, be it the contract of of Matt Roy or Sean Walker.
Doing so could allow Sean Durzi to slide back to the right side, while freeing up a spot to call up Jordan Spence from the AHL.
With Marc Bergevin in an official advisory role to GM Rob Blake, and Edmundson’s extra year on his deal, the link between the Canadiens and Kings is an easy one to make.
The Winnipeg Jets are proving a lot of people wrong as of late with their inspiring performances.
Their forward line remains extremely deep, and the emergence of Cole Perfetti has added even further depth, allowing them to grab one of the top spots in the Central Division.
That being said, there seems to be a need on the left side of their defence, as the pickings get slim after Josh Morrissey in terms of established defenders capable of going deep in the playoffs.
With the core that the Jets have at the moment and the Vezina-level performances of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, it may be prime time for the Jets to load up for the next two seasons, prior to the expiry of Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler’s current deals.
Having someone like Edmundson to come and stabilize the back end and play alongside Neal Pionk could give the Jets two potent pairs capable of playing 22+ minutes a night against the top teams in the West.