Should the Edmonton Oilers Be Buyers or Sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline?

Adam Bowen@truknorrisContributor IIIMarch 31, 2013

EDMONTON, CANADA - FEBRUARY 23: Jordan Eberle #14 of the Edmonton Oilers battles for the puck with Steve Sullivan #26 of the Minnesota Wild during an NHL game at Rexall Place on February 23, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Derek Leung/Getty Images

The Edmonton Oilers could be one of the busier teams at the NHL trade deadline on April 3.

While the season has been a disappointment, the Oilers' recent run of form has provided a glimmer of hope, and though the playoffs may not be in the cards this season, the team should be a buyer at the deadline should the right opportunity present itself.

Though a blockbuster deal is unlikely, the Oilers have a few expiring contracts and other interesting assets that could be in play to help round out the roster.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Ryan Whitney is a likely candidate to be moved at the deadline.

The season hasn't quite gone as well as Whitney or the Oilers would have liked, with the defenseman being removed from the lineup on several occasions.

Whitney has been linked with the Boston Bruins in trade rumors (via David Staples of the Edmonton Journal), but could be moved to any team looking to add depth heading into the playoffs.

Ryan Jones is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and could potentially be moved at the deadline. 

The Oilers have a very skilled group of young forwards, but unfortunately nothing much else, and they are now finding out that a team can't be built entirely around top-end forwards.

When the Oilers added Mike Brown, the team took a good first step in trying to change the culture of the team and add some toughness in the process. 

Unfortunately, thanks to subpar performances over the last three seasons, the Oilers have also developed somewhat of a losing culture.

If the team can add some grit and toughness through the trade deadline, it could go a long way toward helping turn around the fortunes and changing the culture in the locker room.  

Edmonton finds itself in a fortunate position with the talented players it has accumulated and could very well decide to part with one of its younger forwards to help fill a position of need at the trade deadline. 

With Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner both being restricted free agents at the end of the season, Edmonton could decide to trade one of these players in a deal to acquire a defenseman or a more physical forward. 

Thanks to his amazing season, Gagner is almost certainly going to fetch a more expensive contract and the Oilers could decide to move him. 

The Oilers should be buyers at the trade deadline not only to try and help the team compete for a playoff spot this season, but also to get the correct pieces together to help the team compete in the future.