The Oilers were shut-out by the Maple Leafs and their previously unknown rookie goalie Garret Sparks 3-0, and it sent Twitter into an uproar. Just a couple of days removed from beating Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, Edmonton put forth one of their worst efforts of the season. It was an ugly game, and another loss that keeps them bound to the basement of the NHL. Losses like this one bring up so much trade talk, but cooler heads will tell you that you can’t make trades based on one game. Having said that, the team has been a disappointment all season. But key injuries and a new coaching system are legitimate reasons for the struggles.
Should the Oilers start blowing up their core? I say no. They aren’t fully healthy. And the league can see the tire fire that is going on in Edmonton and it puts the team at a position of weakness. I’ve heard the argument that the current make-up of the team isn’t working, so why not make big changes? Well, keep in mind that they only just got a hold of their franchise player, and he’s currently injured. They are still trying to figure out their goalie situation. They made some errors with the defence corp. Now is not the time to panic and trade everyone. Peter Chiarelli is upset at the state of the team, but he isn’t dumb either.
At this point, the Oilers have to see if there are moves that can be made to help the team now and down the road. I pointed out that they are currently constituted to be strong down the middle, and they should stick with that plan. So it brings us to the sore spot; the defence. A couple of weeks ago the hockey world found out that Travis Hamonic had requested a trade out of Brooklyn. It came as a surprise, because he is a really solid defender, and has a very reasonable cap hit of $3.8 million. Players like that normally don’t become available too often.
Hamonic would like to play in Western Canada, making him an intriguing option for the Oilers. But, Islanders GM Garth Snow won’t give him up for nothing. Is Hamonic being overvalued? Probably, but Snow has to do what’s best for his team while trying to honor the players request. The 25-year old Hamonic is a right-handed shot, and has amassed 19 goals and 117 points in 348 regular season games. But it’s not offence that makes Hamonic a special player. He brings a physical game, he’s well-liked in the room, he sticks up for teammates and his all-around game makes him a really valuable defender. However, if he is going to cost the Oilers Darnell Nurse, they should respectfully say no. But what about Oscar Klefbom?
The Oilers really like Klefbom. They gave him a seven-year contract worth $4.1 million dollars a season, a deal based largely on his potential. Here is what Elite Prospects had to say about Klefbom in his draft year:
A big and strong defenseman with very impressive leadership qualities and character. Klefbom plays a good two-way game and is fairly good defensively, while probably being capable to chip in more offensively than he has in the past. Reads the play very well and has good enough positioning. Very good skater with a fine passing game.
That was in 2011. He’s 22 years old now, with 102 regular season games under his belt, and career totals of seven goals and 34 points. The Oilers view him as a big part of their future, but would a player like Hamonic be a better fit? He is a known commodity. You know what you’re going to get from him, and he’s still young. Klefbom likely has a lot more to give, but it’s hard to see him at his best on a troubled Oiler blueline. Garth Snow doesn’t seem interested in getting Jordan Eberle or Justin Schultz in return, so Klefbom seems to be the focus. But can the Oilers really give up on him already?
I mentioned in my previous article that a high draft pick could net them a good defenceman. And so if they hold tight until the summer, there could be a great deal to be had. Free agency may not offer much, and unfortunately, the Oilers may have to look at moving someone off their roster. It’s hard to trade young players, but, this team needs to get better. I really do hesitate to make moves now after a tough loss, and without Connor McDavid in the lineup. But should the team consider moving Klefbom to get Hamonic? Is he a true upgrade? Is his style of play more conducive to the Western Conference? All I know is that I’m glad I’m not in the GM chair.
What say you? Should the Oilers consider trading Oscar Klefbom?