With Monday’s trade deadline fast approaching and some deals starting to trickle through, the annual unofficial Canadian holiday that is NHL Trade Deadline Day figures to be the focal point for all hockey fans all day long.
While many fans are eagerly tuning in for who will win the Rick Nash sweepstakes or which team makes the biggest splash in an attempt to catapult themselves into a better playoff position, Oilers fans will be just as interested in their own team and what deals Steve Tambellini can swing to continue the team’s rebuild down a successful path. With Ryan Smyth and Andy Sutton getting contract extensions and essentially being pulled off the market, not to mention Sam Gagner’s recent offensive explosion potentially doing the same,Edmonton looks to have less pieces they are looking to part with. That doesn’t mean, however that they planning on staying quiet at the deadline either.
Here are a few names the Oilers have as trade pieces and are potential candidates to be dealt by February 27.
Cam Barker (19GP, 2G 0A -2) RFA
Barker is a 25 year old defenceman with offensive upside. Brought into Edmonton to jumpstart his career Barker has had an up and down year. He has been on the injured list twice with shoulder and ankle injuries and has only 2 goals on the season. With the Oilers defence getting healthy as a group and the emergence of Jeff Petry in the top four, Barker has found himself on the outside looking in lately. He could offer a playoff team some inexpensive depth and a second powerplay unit skill set.
Sam Gagner (52 GP, 14G 26A +5) RFA
A debate whether his name should still be included in this group. His record setting 8 point night and subsequent 18 points in his last 9 games may have saved his spot on the Oilers roster. Given the ice time and linemates Gagner has proven, albeit a small sample size, that he can be a top six producer. The Oilers will very likely keep him in the fold, given he is still just 22 years old. His value, however, may never be higher and the Oilers could deal him if there’s something on the table they just can’t pass up.
Ales Hemsky (46GP, 5G 21A -14) UFA
The biggest name swirling in the Oilers rumour mill, and Steve Tambellini’s biggest trade chip, Hemsky is the most likely name here to be dealt. With the majority of teams counting a top 6 forward on their wishlist, Hemsky’s skill set could be in high demand. Other factors, however, will limit his market value, such as his status as a rental player, his injury history and his lack of production. Edmonton will be seeking a young puck moving defenceman for him, and teams do not part with those easily. Reports indicate that Hemsky would like to sign a long term deal to remain an Oiler, but with the likes of Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner all needing new deals within the next three years, that appears unlikely.
Nikolai Khabibulin (34GP, 2.60GAA .914S%)
Perhaps more likely to be dealt before a recent groin injury a couple of days ago, there is still a chance that Khabibulin could interest a playoff team looking to shore up their goaltending situation. The 39 year old netminder has 72 games of playoff experience and a Stanley Cup with the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning on his resume and could be valuable during a playoff run, similar to Dwayne Roloson and the Lightning last year. With multiple teams looking for a veteran presence and some insurance between the pipes, there will be teams at least inquiring about Khabibulin’s services, so long as he is only out short term with his injury.
Theo Peckham (48GP, 1G 2A -1) RFA
Andy Sutton signing his recent contract extension could have spelled the end of Peckham’s days in Oiler blue. With 8 NHL defencemen on the roster, something has to give and it looks like Barker and Peckham are the likely candidates to go. Peckham is still young, only 24 years old and plays a strong, physical game. There is very little offense to his game, but he brings size and is an excellent penalty killer. Could provide some valuable depth.
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