It’s only Tuesday, but the rumors are flooding in. Last night, the Ryan Smyth story broke and frankly has to be the best headline for Oiler fans in years involving an established player. Today? The exit list.
First of all, it’s best not to talk about the players who have little or no value. Nikolai Khabibulin, Sheldon Souray and others have issues that lower their trade value. Last season as an example, many Oiler fans thought ST could trade some overpriced and underachieving veteran for value; in fact, prospect Riley Nash was cashed in for a pick in the top 50 but the veterans were either bought out, traded for an impending buyout or hung around for another season of mediocrity in Edmonton, OKC or Hershey.
According to a story by Michael Russo, there are a few Oilers in play.
- Ales Hemsky: Veteran will enter the final year of his contract in the fall and it is unknown if he’ll re-sign. Columbus has a pick in the top 8 and Scott Howson would be very familiar with 83. I suspect this trade would only happen if the right player is available at the time of choosing.
- Tom Gilbert: There’s always a need for veteran defensemen with a nice range of skills. Gilbert is a finesse defender who can move the puck well, has mobility and is a very good shot blocker. NJD and Detroit might be teams interested in Gilbert.
- Andrew Cogliano: I think Toronto will be very interested in Cogs, and with #25 and #30 that might be stronger currency for other NHL teams. I’d be a little surprised if Cogliano leaves, as coach Renney seemed to be growing him into a 2-way player (or trying like hell to, anyway) and at least on the surface there seemed to be progress.
- Sam Gagner: I am a little surprised to see Gagner’s name here, the Oilers have a solid young center and they don’t grow on trees. However, with RNH likely in the fold Friday night the organization may feel they can afford to send him away.
Personally, I’d like to see the Oilers add Ryan Smyth today and a veteran center like Brooks Laich on July 1. The top 14 forwards might look like this (C-L-R):
Defense is still a major issue, and Super Bowl Sunday is a big one too, but there’s a veteran on every line and some of these kids are really good.