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Why Oilers Should Look to Add Veteran Player amid P.K. Subban, Phil Kessel NHL Rumors

Jake RillAugust 9, 2022

AP Photo/Adam Hunger

The Edmonton Oilers were one of the best teams in the NHL during the 2021-22 season. However, they couldn't get past the Western Conference Final, where they got swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

Heading into the 2022-23 campaign, the Oilers remain strong. They have two of the best offensive players in the league in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and they have plenty of other talented standouts on their team.

But Edmonton's roster isn't set. And even though the team is currently over the salary cap (per CapFriendly), it could still make moves, potentially even ones to clear a bit of space so it can make a late free-agent signing or two.

If the Oilers do that, they should target experienced players who can help them reach the next level and make a Stanley Cup run. At least two players who fit that bill still remain on the free-agent market as well: defenseman P.K. Subban and right wing Phil Kessel.

According to Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal, the Oilers "continue to be linked to" both Subban and Kessel. And although both have landed large paydays in the past, Leavins noted that both are likely to want to join a team that can win now, which describes Edmonton.

Subban has played 13 NHL seasons, but he's never won a Stanley Cup. The 33-year-old spent seven years with the Montreal Canadiens and three with the Nashville Predators before playing the past three seasons for the New Jersey Devils.

Considering the Devils have been in rebuild mode (and continue to be), Subban may have interest in signing with a contender ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Kessel has also been with a rebuilding team, having spent the past three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. However, the 34-year-old, who is a 16-year NHL veteran, is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, as he won back-to-back titles with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Both of these veterans can still contribute to a team, too. Subban had five goals and 17 assists while playing 77 games for the Devils last season. Kessel is coming off a year in which he had eight goals and 44 assists while playing all 82 games for the Coyotes.

The Oilers should be looking to add a player like Subban or Kessel, and maybe even both. They have plenty of young stars, plus a lot of their core is entering their prime. So they're currently in a clear window of Cup contention.

Edmonton needs to capitalize and build the best possible roster for next season. Adding Subban and/or Kessel would provide the leadership and experience necessary to make a championship run.

Of course, it all comes down to the finances. If either Subban or Kessel are seeking too large of a salary, the Oilers shouldn't be willing to pay any amount to land them (and they won't be able to, either). But that seems a bit unlikely, so perhaps one (or both) of these veterans will soon end up in Edmonton.

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