So the Edmonton media is something else. That much is canon at this point. Tales of their water carrying is the stuff of legend, however, when they say stuff it’s often because someone in the organization is pushing it. There’s no real risk of them coming up with stuff on their own, that’s why when they say stuff like this it’s worth paying attention to…
Holland might not make any big deals at draft but groundwork’s been laid to trade for Leafs’ winger Connor Brown by Keith Gretzky in February. Third-line possibility. If dollars-in, dollars-out deal, might be D Matt Benning, but Benning very under-appreciated here IM0
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) June 19, 2019
That’s absolutely the deal that Edmonton wanted to do at the deadline, but the Leafs were unwilling to get it done, wanting more than Benning. It’s certainly something that is bound to be revisited, even with the regime change in Edmonton. It doesn’t change the fact that the Oilers need cheap NHL wingers for their top nine and there is a good chance they still believe Brown is a good option.
Now let’s add in some more expertly carried water…
Couple of Oiler quick hitters as we touch down in Van –
-Broberg a very good possibility at 8
-If Puljujarvi deal can land a 3line F, they do it, if not they may stand pat
-Benning likely in play – create space for young D
-Connolly should be a prime UFA target for them.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) June 19, 2019
Well, there’s Benning’s name again, neat, but wait…, what’s that above that?
Puljujarvi is available for a 3rd line forward? You know who is pretty much a third line forward? Connor Brown.
Now, that’s a bit of a stretch as Connor Brown also spent a lot of time on the 4th line last season, but his average ice time of 13:48, and career average of 15:00 reflect a player seeing ice time more inline with a 3rd line winger. There’s also Brown’s consistent 30 point output which mirrors a 3rd line winger more than a fourth liner, of course that story changes if you look at his points per sixty, but the Oilers not having an analytics department gives me hope they’ll overlook that.
Brown is also a former teammate of Connor McDavid from their time with the Erie Otters, that may not mean anything at all, but perhaps the Oilers feel they owe it to their star to bring in someone he likes rather than players who have previously broken his clavicle. Who knows? Hockey Managers are strange beasts.
Anyhow, all of this is interesting because Jesse Puljujarvi has a lot of upside for whatever team can successful wash the Oilers stank off of him. If he’s put in a position to succeed he might find the game that had some people considering him a potential second overall pick behind Auston Matthews in 2016. Heck, even if he finds enough of a game that puts him in the top nine forwards on the Leafs in the short term he’d likely make moving other Leafs wingers a possibility and improve the salary cap situation.
Additionally, if the deal is still focused around Matt Benning, it’s worth noting that Benning isn’t a bad player either. I get that the Leafs want to maximize the return on Brown, and might not view Benning as a fit for their defensive group though, and that might prevent that from happening.
No matter what, Connor Brown being linked to the Oilers doesn’t seem to be going away, and is a story worth paying close attention to this week.