The San Jose Sharks have finally won a few games in the 2023-24 season. While it took them an unreasonable amount of time to rack up a win, they are not as close to the bottom of the standings as many would expect. In fact, they are two points away from tying the next closest team. However, while many would expect that the Sharks would be just behind a team projected to be struggling this year, this is far from the case. In fact, they are two points behind a team that was highly regarded as a potential Stanley Cup contender this season: the Edmonton Oilers.
By all accounts, the Oilers are in the midst of a disastrous season. Since they were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in the 2023 Playoffs, they have been on a massive slide. In 13 games, they are 3-9-1, which is far from the record expected of a championship-caliber team. However, this could present a wonderful opportunity for the Sharks to make a move with the Oilers in an attempt to gather some assets for their rebuild, and what better place to start than helping the Oilers fix their goaltending issues?
Blackwood Could Solve the Oilers’ Goaltending Issues
One of the main things that has been holding the Oilers back this season has been goaltending. Jack Campbell has struggled tremendously to keep the puck out of the net, which eventually led to a reassignment to the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League (AHL). Stuart Skinner hasn’t been much better, which has left the Oilers in a tough situation where they are being outscored despite having some of the best players in the world. However, the Sharks have a goalie who has been fantastic thus far who they might be willing to part ways with: Mackenzie Blackwood.
Blackwood’s change of scenery has done tremendous things for his confidence. Despite only having a .900 save percentage, he has been the only thing keeping the Sharks in games. It would be wonderful to see him stay long-term in San Jose, but that is one of the unfortunate aspects of a rebuild. A goaltender who has managed to play well despite playing on one of the worst teams in the NHL will absolutely grab some interest, especially from a team desperate to move back into the win column. It may not be a permanent fix for the Oilers, but they need any boost they can get at this point.
Sharks Could Get a Huge Return in a Trade
What makes the Oilers one of the most interesting potential trade partners at this point of the season is their desperation to get things moving in the right direction. Going back to missing the playoffs year after year is going to create a one-way ticket for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisatl to leave Edmonton at the end of their contracts. As a result, they will be willing to part with assets at an unreasonable degree. The Sharks could absolutely take advantage of this if they chose to send Blackwood to Edmonton.
While the Oilers may have reached a point where they would be unwilling to part with their first-round pick for this season, it would be unlikely that the Sharks would be able to get that much for Blackwood anyway. That being said, the Oilers have plenty of prospects that are worth taking a look at. Notably, someone like Philip Broberg or Xavier Bourgault could be interesting to look into. It may take some convincing, and more pieces would definitely be needed, but the Sharks could definitely make a big move to help push the rebuild in the right direction.
While Blackwood has not been a Shark for long, he has shown that he belongs in the NHL. Leaving the New Jersey Devils has given him the tools he needed to get his career back on track. If the Sharks decided to move him to Edmonton, they would absolutely be selling high. Regardless, it is good to see Blackwood doing great again. Hopefully, the Sharks will be able to follow his example and get on track sooner rather than later.