“Reasons Are Valid”: 2 Reasons Edmonton Oilers Won McLeod-for-Savoie Trade

“Reasons Are Valid”: 2 Reasons Edmonton Oilers Won McLeod-for-Savoie Trade

The Edmonton Oilers have pulled the trigger on a massive trade this offseason, moving forwards Ryan McLeod and Tyler Tullio to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for prospect forward Matthew Savoie. While the Oilers have been rumoured to have been looking to shed some contracts in hopes of increasing their cap space heading into the 2024-25 season, this deal gives the Oilers some extra flexibility all while being one of the biggest fleeces in Oilers trade history. While McLeod is a proven NHL player, and Tullio could become a depth player in the big leagues one day, it’s rather surprising that the Sabres chose to part with someone they selected in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft with the 9th overall selection. The Oilers won this deal for two main reasons, so let’s touch on them.

Oilers Clear Cap Space Without Needing Sweetener

The Oilers are a competing team that would like to have some money to spend before the trade deadline. The Detroit Red Wings’ trade of Jake Walman to the San Jose Sharks resulted in a loss of a second-round draft pick, despite Walman’s strong defensive abilities. Despite the Red Wings’ expensive price to free cap space, the Oilers were able to clear more than $2 million without giving up a significant asset. Tullio is a promising potential, but the Oilers are unlikely to use him in the future.

You could argue that Tullio was the sweetener in the agreement with the Sabres. However, the Oilers won the deal, taking in an outstanding prospect in Savoie. It appears to be a rather perplexing move for the Sabres, who are bringing in a top-six American Hockey League (AHL) forward with no guarantee of making it to the NHL, as well as a solid bottom-six forward, in exchange for a prospect who could be in the NHL full-time as early as next season and has the potential to play a top-six forward role within the next two seasons.

Last season, Savoie played one game with the Sabres, six games with the Rochester Americans of the AHL, where he had five points, and 11 games with the Wenatchee Wild of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he had 24 points before being traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors, where he had 47 points in 23 games. McLeod had 30 points in 81 games with the Oilers previous season, but struggled in the postseason. He stood out as a player who lacked consistency in his physical game and struggled to produce offensively, scoring only four goals in 24 appearances. McLeod’s deal should come as no surprise, but it’s wonderful to be regarded huge winners in a trade.

Savoie Bolsters Oilers Weak Prospect Pool

Prior to this transaction, the Oilers had one of, if not the poorest prospect pools in the NHL. Adding Savoie does not place the Oilers among the NHL’s elite prospect pools, but it does elevate them from the bottom. Savoie has the potential to play full-time in the NHL as early as next season, but he may benefit from one more season in the AHL before making the move. However, the Oilers did not have this type of prospect prior to this transaction, so it’s excellent to add some forward depth internally at a reasonable cost relative to cap space.

The Oilers are looking to return to the Stanley Cup Final next season and win their first championship since 1990. The addition of Savoie may not push the needle this season, but freeing up the money by moving McLeod allows the Oilers to re-sign both Dylan Holloway and Philip Broberg, who will help move the needle if they can continue to develop as well as they have been over the last couple of seasons. At the end of the day, this trade could go down as one of the most one-sided deals in NHL history, and it favours the Oilers.

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