The Edmonton Oilers are sitting in a position that they are far to familiar with this season. Forty-six games in and the Oilers are dead last in the Western Conference with a record of 14-27-5. New General Manager Craig MacTavish envisioned something different for this team. The Oilers are loaded with high offensive talent but poor goaltending and bad defensive play are holding this team back. It was only a matter of time before players names would start to appear in the NHL trade rumors.
A name that has jumped into the rumor mill is Sam Gagner. Elliiot Friedman of CBC recently reported that:
He (Gagner) was not eligible for a no-trade clause when he signed his three-year extension last summer (It kicks-in next season). Craig MacTavish graciously promised to honour it this season, but as Edmonton searches for answers, it sounds like both sides believe it is time for a change, not that anyone is commenting. Should a deal happen, no doubt MacTavish will try to make it a soft landing
It was about a year ago that Gagner broke out and went on a tear. It looked like he had finally found his way in the NHL and would live up to the role he was drafted for. This season has not gone the way the Oilers, or even Gagner, would have ever thought. Gagner missed the first part of the season due to a broken jaw. On the year he only has 5 goals and 12 assists.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN :
The expected rate of return would be a top-six forward, a top-four defenseman or a starting goalie
Whether or not Gagner does get traded is yet to be known, but what is known, is that MacTavish needs to do something to change what is going on in Edmonton. Gagner is still only 24 which should still make him attractive to other teams. MacTavish needs to sure up the backend of the Oilers and Gagner maybe able to land a piece that could aid in that process.
Another new name that has popped up around the hockey rumor mill is defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
Despite being tied in the team lead for points at 34 and leading in assists with 24, Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun suggests that Byfuglien’s high-risk and inconsistent defensive game is hurting the team. Friesen goes on to say:
If GM Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t trying to trade No. 33, he’s not trying to make the Jets better.
Teams that may be interested in trading for the big defenseman would have to deteremine how much of a defensive liability Byfuglien actually is and also, could they live with his mistakes.