Edmonton Oilers Rumors: Defenseman Becoming Trade Candidate

The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly facing a difficult decision regarding defenseman Evan Bouchard's next contract.

While Bouchard has been a productive player for the Oilers, the team's limited salary-cap space may force them to consider trading him if he refuses to sign a bridge contract, according to NHL insider Frank Seravalli.

Bouchard, who has reached the 40-point plateau for a second consecutive season, is expected to seek a raise after completing his entry-level contract.

However, the Oilers may not be able to offer him a long-term deal at this time and may instead opt for a shorter bridge contract with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million or $4.5 million. The hope is that a successful bridge contract would eventually lead to a more lucrative long-term deal in the future.

If Bouchard is unwilling to accept a bridge contract, the Oilers may consider trading him during the summer since he lacks arbitration rights.

Rival clubs could also attempt to offer Bouchard an offer sheet, but such deals are quite uncommon and have been matched in all but two rare instances since the salary cap was introduced in 2005.

This past season, the 23-year-old recorded eight goals and 40 assists while playing all 82 games for the Oilers. He was especially hot near the end of the season, racking up 19 points in the team's final 19 games.

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