Oilers will be sellers once again at the deadline
The Edmonton Oilers will undoubtedly miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season this year. They haven't appeared in a playoff game since they lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs to Carolina back in 2006.
It seems like ages ago since the Oilers were buyers. Remember 2006? The Oilers acquired Dwayne Roloson, Jaroslav Spacek and Sergei Samsonov—who all proved to be vital pieces of that unlikely march to the Stanley Cup final.
Now other teams will try to pick a few pieces from the Oilers to make a run for themselves. Although Steve Tambellini seems content with most of the current pieces in place, as the deadline nears the offers will get better, and Tambellini may not be able to resist pulling the trigger.
Here are the five Oilers most likely to be dealt from now until the deadline on February 27th.
Let's start off by saying it—he's had an awful year. Two goals in 18 games is an absolutely atrocious stat-line. He hasn't been the same since leaving the Blackhawks, making him a failed experiment by all accounts. I'm sure the Oilers would rather give his 15 minutes per game to someone with more upside.
Even though Cam is only 25 years of age, it seems like he'll be fighting for any type of contract next season. He's a RFA making $2,250,000 this year.
Prediction: The only logical destination I see for Barker is a move back to Chicago. The price tag? A bag of pucks (seventh round pick).
With the recent re-signing of Andy Sutton, that may have been the writing on the wall for Theo Peckham, an impending RFA.
There isn't a lot of room on the Oilers blueline next season. The Oilers 'D' will consist of something like Gilbert, Whitney, Smid, Potter, Petry and Sutton. That's six right there, with some kids knocking on the door as well.
It may be the end of the road for Theo in Edmonton. He hasn't the type of season he would have liked. He's been a liability on the back-end at times, and as a defensive defenceman it's tough to make a living when you're not protecting your own zone. He's still young though, only 24 years of age, and I believe someone will take a chance on him.
Prediction: The Florida Panthers are missing a few key defenceman in their lineup right now. As a depth move, the Panthers acquire Peckham for a fourth round pick.
He was off to a blazing start—lately, not so much. Despite having a personal record of four games under .500, he still posts a respectable .915 SV percentage. The Oilers aren't in any rush to have to deal Khabibulin. The Oilers will be getting calls, and it could trace back to Khabibulin's Chicago connections, but not to Chicago itself.
Dale Tallon, former GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, is now the GM in Florida, where they are enjoying a fantastic resurgence of hockey and sitting pretty right now, leading the Southeast division.
Scott Clemmensen been excellent, but as an insurance policy I could see Florida in the mix for Khabibulin. He's won a Cup before in the state of Florida, and with ample amount of cap space, the Panthers can make it happen.
Prediction: Nikolai Khabibulin to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Colby Robak (or Alex Petrovic), and Florida's second round pick.
Of all the players on this likely list, he's the most unlikely. The reason why he's on this list is because, for one, Steve Tambellini hasn't gone on the record saying he will not move like he did with Ryan Smyth. Secondly, he's an impending RFA, and contract talks have not yet begun for the most part, while the Oilers concentrated on re-signing Andy Sutton.
If it wasn't for his eight-point game, he'd be on the chopping block right now. He may still be. I'm not convinced that there is a long-term spot for Sam on the one the top two lines for the long haul. His value may never be higher than right now, so why not at least take some calls, Tambo?
Prediction: The Washington Capitals have a gaping hole at center for an offensive centerman. The Caps have two first round picks this year (Colorado's as well as their own), and I believe they will trade one of them at the deadline.
Sam Gagner to Washington for Michal Neuvirth, first-round pick (one of them) and a third-round pick.
There's Rick Nash, and then there's the consolation prize: Ales Hemsky.
It's been much publicized that Ales Hemsky is on the block and looking for a long-term deal, something the Oilers may not be willing to do. He's a talented winger that has gone all the way to a Stanley Cup final before. He's never really been given his due diligence as a solid top-six forward.
His time in Edmonton may be running out, and I think the Oilers will miss him. The list of interested teams are as follows: San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and we can't count out Slats' Rangers.
Prediction: It's tough to make just one, because it is very likely he'll be moved, so I'll make two.
1) Ales Hemsky to the Los Angeles Kings for Slava Voinov, Jake Muzzin and LA's fourth round pick.
2) Ales Hemsky to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Simon Despres, Dominik Uher and PIT's fourth round pick.