Could struggling Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers come together on a trade?
The trade rumours have also come with suggestions that Kulikov might be about to jump to the KHL; the option there (if the Oilers are interested) would be to try and negotiate an extension before acquiring his rights (note: I’m not a lawyer but as I read the CBA, Kulikov can talk about an extension prior to January 1 because he’s currently on a two-year contract). Given the Oilers needs on defence and the number of Russians MacTavish has brought in, Edmonton might be an attractive option for the young rearguard.
Matthias is 6’4”, 220 pounds, can play both centre and left wing, can kill penalties and has been used a lot in a defensive role (with decent results) by the Panthers. He’s also under contract for one more season and at the age of 25 and with 285 games under his belt fits the ‘young veteran’ category of players that should be on the Oilers’ radar. He’s not a world-beater but as a third-line left wing on Boyd Gordon’s line he’s basically made to order for Edmonton (and given Ryan Smyth’s age, that’s a slot that needs filling). One negative is that he’s been a very middling faceoff guy to date in his career, which is one reason why a move to left wing (where he’d be a defensive line’s backup faceoff option) might be a nice idea. Besides, as the Oilers have found, it rarely hurts to have a spare centre kicking around on the wing.
Beyond those two players are a mix of others who might intrigue the Oilers if the money could be made to work; players like Tomas Kopecky (we’ve written about him before, too) or Tom Gilbert or better still Brian Campbell (though it would be a major surprise if the Panthers were willing to move the latter) all bring something to the table that under the right circumstances Edmonton could use.