The First Domino?

The Edmonton Oilers have been in trade rumor ‘news’ quite a bit this past week. It started on Saturday night with the HNIC report from Elliotte Friedman that Sam Gagner was out there, and that report was built on last night by TSN’s insiders. It kept going with the sight of Scott Howson at the Kings/Canucks game on Saturday, and still went on with reports from places like the Fourth Period that Edmonton is very active.

The Oilers, as we know, are a major disappointment this season. I’m not sure what kind of changes are going to happen, but changes will happen. Craig MacTavish has already admitted that his team needs a different mix (something we have talked about), and I’m thinking a few familiar faces could be on the move.

Scouting The Field:

The Oilers have been actively scouting some teams recently, leading to speculation that something may be coming down the pipe. The Fourth Period reported this past weekend that the Oilers have been scouting the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings recently. As I mentioned above, Scott Howson was sighted in LA Saturday night taking in the Kings game.

Edmonton needs defensive help and needs different kinds of forwards. Both Toronto and LA have those kinds of players and could be a good match in a trade. Interesting to note Edmonton has an eye on these two clubs.

The LA Angle:

The Kings are no doubt in the market for more scoring, and speculation has it that they might be interested in Ales Hemsky. There is a history here too remember. Many people thought it would be Hemsky, not Dustin Penner, going to LA at the 2011 NHL trade deadline. With Hemsky becoming a UFA at years end, this seems like the logical time to deal him.

For the record, I wouldn’t trade Hemsky, I’d re-sign him, but all signs point to a break-up coming soon. The Kings are dangling forwards Kyle Clifford, Matt Frattin and Trevor Lewis along with defender Alec Martinez according to the report.

The three mentioned forwards bring sandpaper, grit and physical play along with size, while Martinez provides a legit NHL defender. Maybe not a top four, but an NHL’er none the less. I’d imagine the return for Hemsky is something along the lines of one of the players above and a smaller second asset.

Would an Alec Martinez and a mid-round pick for Ales Hemsky deal fly around here? I’m not a fan of it, but I could be a reality.

The Toronto Angle:

This is simple. The Leafs have liked Sam Gagner before, anyone who has paid any attention knows this. He’s a good Canadian boy with some offensive flash and struggles defensively, seems like a perfect fit in Toronto. The Oilers and Leafs seemingly have been scouting each other for a year now, and have had numerous talks and rumors pop up between them. Usually when there’s smoke for this long….well you know what they say.

Rumors are flying that the Leafs are listening to offers on Nazem Kadri, and it’s no secret the Oilers like defender Jake Gardiner. Gardiner was Justin Schultz’s college partner, and Jake has become a pretty good NHL defender himself. Add to that, Eakins is very familiar and comfortable with Kadri and Gardiner, and all of a sudden things become kind of clear.

This is just me connecting the dots here, but could a Gardiner and Kadri for Gagner, Marincin and a prospect deal work? You’d have to think about it, no?

The Leafs are looking for center help and have been connected to Gagner before, with the Oilers scouting them it’s only right we take a look at this angle.

The Price Is Right?:

Darren Dreger followed up on the Gagner report from Saturday night with the following from last night regarding the asking price for Sam, credit to TSN’s insider trading for the following quote:

We will also continue to watch the speculation around the Edmonton Oilers and Sam Gagner, there is no question the Oilers would consider moving him. The expected rate of return would be a top-six forward, a top-four defenceman or a starting goalie. (You can read the whole thing here: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=440646)

This makes sense. The Oilers can’t afford to move players like Gagner for futures, and MacT is only willing to move him if it makes sense. A Gagner for Kadri or Gagner for Gardiner or package deal makes a ton of sense and fills the need. The Oilers have to get something for Sam, and filling one of the holes mentioned by Dreger would be a wise move.

With everything leaking out, I think we’re seeing the end of #89.

What About The Other Schultz:

I think we all agree, barring a major trade, that Justin Schultz will be part of the Oilers moving forward. He’s looked really good the last few games, and is starting to handle a hefty amount of minutes. He’s not the only Schultz on the roster however, veteran Nick Schultz is still around too.

He’s struggled this season, and arguably has been Edmonton’s worst defender most of the season. He’s in a contract year, and certainly will not be re-signed come July. What about a trade? Would someone be willing to take Schultz as a rental for a playoff push? I wouldn’t be surprised, and some other people are talking about it.

In Boston, the Bruins recently lost defender Dennis Seidenberg for the season with a torn ACL, and will need to go out and get a replacement. Do they go get a guy like Christian Ehrhoff, a big ticket, or do they go for a rental? Knowing the Bruins, they’ll probably go the rental route, and Schultz’s name has already been tossed around by CSN’s Joe Haggerty.

The return would be s mall, a mid-round pick or a low level prospect, but it would still be worth it to move him. I don’t know how likely it is he ends up in Boston (There are plenty of other, better fits there) but I could easily see him end up on the east coast for a playoff push.


The Oilers are active right now. They’ve been scouting teams and have some interesting names on the trade block. If the rumors are any indication, both Hemsky and Gagner could be moving on in short order. We talked in October about having to change the mix, and this certainly would do that.

Craig MacTavish has his core in place (Which we’ll discuss this week), and now is building his roster around it. Should be an interesting few months transaction wise.

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