Jordan Eberle. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
While it could take until next summer for a deal to get done with the Oilers young forwards, the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators could be fits.
With the Edmonton Oilers once again at the bottom of the NHL standings, speculation persists GM Peter Chiarelli could move one of his young forwards for a top-four defenseman.
Sportsnet's Mark Spector recently suggested left wing Jordan Eberle or center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could become trade candidates. TSN's Darren Dreger agrees, though he believes it could take until next summer for a deal to get done. Pierre LeBrun agreed, adding Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins represent the previous management's failed rebuilding efforts.
Spector's colleague Elliotte Friedman also doubts Chiarelli will rush into any deals. Given Eberle's poor numbers since his recent return from injury, Friedman feels his trade value is currently low.
It'll take someone like Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins to land that top blueliner. Chiarelli isn't moving Taylor Hall, who's likely the Oilers' next captain. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisailt certainly aren't going anywhere, while Nail Yakupov won't attract the return the Oilers need. Chiarelli could shop his 2016 first-round pick, but that likely won't be enough.
Should Chiarelli shop Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins, he will almost certainly target clubs with blueline depth in need of scoring punch. Possibilities could include the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators.
Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler surfaced earlier this season in the rumor mill. Perhaps Eberle could be a fit there. The Devils could also use depth at right wing. Chiarelli could ask for Adam Larsson, but the Devils could counter with promising Damon Severson. Senators GM Bryan Murray was in the market for a top-six forward, but it could cost him Cody Ceci as part of the return for Eberle.
Nugent-Hopkins might be a fit with the Wild, though Chiarelli could ask for Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba in return. They'd also have to free up additional cap space for his $6-million cap hit. The Predators could use Nugent-Hopkins, but they're not parting with Shea Weber, Roman Josi or Seth Jones. That leaves Mattias Ekholm or Ryan Ellis, but neither has full-time top-four experience.
New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic would be ideal for the Oilers, but it doesn't appear a deal can be made. Bob McKenzie cites the Oilers' Oscar Klefbom (along with Minnesota's Brodin and Colorado's Tyson Barrie) among the defenders linked to the Islanders. However, he claims Isles GM Garth Snow cites a player comparable in style to Hamonic.
Dreger also reports Snow isn't interested in an Eberle-for-Hamonic swap. Unless there's a three-way deal to be made involving another club, the Oilers will have to look elsewhere to bolster their defense.
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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