2014 NHL Trade Deadline: Players Edmonton Oilers Should Pursue
While Edmonton should be in no rush to deal either player (especially Gagner considering he still has two years left on his current contract following the 2013-14 season), if it can make deals that will improve the team going forward, changes must be made.
Here is a look at some last-minute deals that the Edmonton Oilers should pursue.
It is no secret that the Edmonton Oilers lack size on their current roster, especially down the middle in the center-ice position.
Brian Boyle would be an instant upgrade and a nice addition to a team that currently lacks a certain compete level.
Boyle is a smooth-skating center iceman who can utilize his size to win battles and has proven during his time in New York that he can be a reliable option on the penalty kill.
With the Rangers busy trying to lock up captain Ryan Callahan to a long-term deal, according to the New York Post's Larry Brooks, a potential trade for a player like Boyle may be available with a guy like Hemsky or Gagner heading to Broadway in return.
Boyle is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2014 season, so the Oilers would likely only make this deal if it was guaranteed Boyle would re-sign with the club. If they could convince him to stick around, this move could go a long way to help address some of the major holes on the current roster.
According to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, Dave Bolland is seeking a seven- or eight-year extension with the Leafs. He also wants a significant salary (over $40 million), and while he has been injured for the majority of the 2013-14 season, he has proven his worth in his short amount of time on the ice.
Bolland is an extremely capable second- or third-line player whose ability to play physical as well as play the role of an agitator may help to change the culture on the ice for the Oilers.
Edmonton doesn’t have enough veteran players who know how to win and who go about the game the right way, and with his winning pedigree with the Blackhawks, Bolland would be a great locker room presence for Edmonton.
If the Oilers are willing to make the deal and sign Bolland to a three- or four-year deal, this move may start to pay immediate dividends on the ice.
Simon Despres seems to be the odd D-man out in Pittsburgh, and having been sent down to the AHL already this season, he could be a perfect last-minute target for the Oilers to attempt to acquire.
At 22 years of age, Despres has barely scratched the surface of his potential and would provide the Oilers a perfect blend of size and skill as a third-pairing defenseman.
At 6’4” and 225 pounds, Despres has the size that the Oilers covet, though he often doesn’t play the game with the brand of physicality that the Oilers currently lack.
However, his offensive upside provides an interesting aspect to his game. If the Oilers can acquire Despres, sign him to a decent contract and he in turn reaches his full potential, they the team will be able look back a couple of seasons down the road and know that it found a diamond in the rough.
While Edmonton will certainly not want to deal their first-round draft pick in this year's draft, the Oilers could get creative and try and put together a package for the burly winger.
Adding Stewart would not only give the Oilers a physical power forward but also a player who has a decent amount of offensive upside.
Stewart is a big body, but his internal drive has come under question before, so he may not be the ideal player for this current Oilers team. However, if he is available for a decent price, the Oilers should definitely inquire.