Derek Leung/Getty Images
The Oilers have a big decision to make with Sam Gagner.
The Oilers have some decisions to make with the trade deadline rapidly approaching. Several players are currently in the final year of their respective contracts, and rather than see them leave in the summer as free agents, the Oilers could decide to try and make a move at the deadline to try and acquire some assets.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
Ryan Whitney - Perhaps the most likely candidate to be moved at or before the deadline is Ryan Whitney. The 30 year old is in the final year of a six-year deal, and has missed significant time over the course of his career due to various injuries. The Edmonton Journal has reported that the Bruins could be potential suitors for Whitney, a native of Boston, to help bring stability to their powerplay.
Ladislav Smid - Smid could be the player the Oilers are most likely to re-sign out of their list of potential unrestricted free agents. As David Staples of the Edmonton Journal suggests, keeping Smid would be the best decision for the Oilers considering that the team needs help on the blueline and not to create further holes. Smid will be in line for a bit of a pay raise from the current $2.25 million that he makes, but the no-nonsense defenseman has been the heart of the Oilers defense this season.
Nikolai Khabibulin - Nikolai Khabibulin represents a risky move for any potential suitor, but the 40 year-old goaltender could provide a solid backup for any team looking for a veteran as the playoffs draw closer. Though injuries have hampered his career, Boasting an amazing .941 save percentage and 1.93 goals against average, Khabibulin's performance this season has shown that he still has the ability to make key saves.
Restricted Free Agents:
Sam Gagner - The Oilers will have a tough decision to make in the next week regarding Sam Gagner. The former London Knight has been the main catalyst for the Oilers attack this season, but thanks to his performance and consistency he will see a pretty significant pay raise should he hit free agency in the summer. His solid performance this year could net the Oilers a healthy return if he was to move and the Oilers will have to decide if he's a part of the future or not and whether or not to try and sign him to an extension.
Magnus Paajarvi - Paajarvi has had quite the rollercoaster ride during his brief time with the Oilers. Due to inconsistent play, Paajarvi has seen his share of call-ups and demotions to the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City. Since lining up with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky, Paajarvi has seemingly turned the corner and rejuvenated his sputtering career and, in the process, perhaps increased his potential trade value.