The Olympic roster freeze deadline was a bust, but the speculation continues. Check out the latest on the Oilers and Blue Jackets.
EDMONTON SUN: Derek Van Diest reports Oilers center Sam Gagner can relax for the next couple of weeks, at least until the Olympic roster freeze is over. Recent speculation had him going to the LA Kings in a deal involving Kings forward Kyle Clifford but it failed to materialize.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited tweets from TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Oilers aren’t keen to retain part of Gagner’s salary if they move him and were getting interest from other clubs. They’re in no rush to move Gagner as he could fetch more at the trade deadline or the draft. Staples concurs with this assessment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I feel a bit sorry for Gagner, as he’s been the subject of trade rumors for several years. While he could fetch a good return, trading him away could leave a gap down the middle the Oilers might struggle to fill. He’s only 24 and has many more productive years ahead of him, which is why rival clubs are interested in him. As Staples noted, why move Gagner if the best offer is Kyle Clifford?
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace doubts the Blue Jackets are a fit for NY Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. Team president John Davidson said his club wasn’t doing playoff rentals because the price is too high. Davidson admitted his club has to decide if they’ll retain pending UFA winger Marian Gaborik for the rest of the season or move him at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Blue Jackets challenging for a wild card berth in the Eastern Conference they can afford to wait for the trade deadline to gauge their needs and adjust their roster if necessary. They’ve played well without Gaborik but he could be a worthwhile retention to bolster their scoring down the stretch. Still, if the right offer comes their way they’ll likely jump on it, but I daresay they’ll want a good roster player, rather than picks and/or prospects. The Jackets are rebuilding anymore.