Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Even with their recent shuffling of the deck, the Edmonton Oilers will have to make some choices about how they wish to approach their future. The Detroit Red Wings have had their eye on Tyler Myers, but is Tomas Tatar the piece to bring him to Hockeytown?
The Edmonton Oilers wasted little time making moves as the calendar turned to 2015. On Dec. 29, they plucked winger Matt Fraser off waivers from the Boston Bruins and shipped center Mark Arcobello to Nashville for veteran pivot Derek Roy. On Jan. 2, unhappy winger David Perron was dealt to Pittsburgh for winger Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick in 2015. Over the weekend, rookie center Leon Draisaitl was returned to the WHL for the rest of the season.
With the Oilers mired at the bottom of the NHL standings and seemingly certain to land the first- or second-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, some pundits are wondering what other moves GM Craig MacTavish has in store for his floundering club.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch speculates right wing Jordan Eberle could become the odd man out if the Oilers decide to make another move. He also notes teams are inquiring about left wing Taylor Hall and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Garrioch believes pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Jeff Petry will be dealt by the March 2 trade deadline to a club seeking a right-handed blueliner.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, however, claims it doesn't appear MacTavish has any further big moves in the works. Like Garrioch, Friedman thinks Petry could be worth watching because of his UFA status leading up to the trade deadline.
ESPN.com's Rob Vollman feels the Oilers would be crazy to part with Hall, in part because they'll likely receive a return of two or three lesser players, just as the Boston Bruins did when they dealt Tyler Seguin to Dallas in 2013. Unless the 23-year-old Hall demands a trade, Vollman believes the Oilers should retain the talented left wing.
MacTavish will probably wait until the off-season, when teams have more cap space and willingness to pursue deals, to make decisions about his core players. Much will depend upon which of the top-two picks the Oilers end up with from the draft lottery. It's widely assumed centers Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will be the top prospects in this year's draft, and there will be teams willing to make offers to MacTaish for his first-round pick
As for the trade deadline, MacTavish could put newly-acquired Oilers Roy or Klinkhammer on the block in hopes of landing more draft picks. He could also dangle the first-round pick he received from the Penguins in the Perron deal.
COULD TATAR BE BAIT FOR MYERS?
Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar is blossoming into a scorer this season. After tallying 19 goals and 39 points in 2013-14, the 24-year-old left wing enters this week leading the Wings in goals (16) while his 26 points ties him for third with Gustav Nyquist. At his current rate of production, Tatar is on pace for 34 goals and 55 points.
The Detroit Free Press' Helene St. James believes Tatar's performance could make him “intriguing as a trade asset.” She notes the Wings have sought a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot for some time, and to land a quality blueliner like Buffalo's Tyler Myers could take “a young hotshot.” St. James wonders if a package of Tatar, blueliner Jakub Kindl and a second-round pick would be enough to pry Myers away from the Sabres.
As Ken Campbell recently reported, the Sabres asking price from the Wings is “prospect Dylan Larkin, a roster player along the lines of a Riley Sheahan or Tomas Jurco, and a first-round pick.” While Tatar could undoubtedly pique the interest of Sabres management, it's unlikely Kindl and a second rounder will convince them to part with Myers.
Veteran forwards Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen are getting long in the tooth and susceptible to injuries. The Wings are better off retaining a good young forward like Tatar and pursuing more affordable options to address their blueline needs.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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