Latest Oilers Speculation – April 23, 2013.

Could the Anaheim Ducks make a pitch for Sam Gagner this summer? Should they shop Nail Yakupov? Will they try to sign David Clarkson? Which free agent goalies should they target?

Could the Ducks have interest in Sam Gagner?

Could the Ducks have interest in Sam Gagner?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders if the Anaheim Ducks might make a pitch for Oilers RFA center Sam Gagner, who has yet to enter into serious contract negotiations. Gagner doesn’t want to leave the Oilers but it’s believe he’ll seek between $4.5 – $5 million per season, “the going rate” for second line centers. He noted the Ducks have two quality goalies in Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, and also wondered if they might be willing to shop defenseman Cam Fowler for a second line center, “or would that be a reach?”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, Jim, that would be a reach. The Ducks aren’t shopping Cam Fowler. They might have interest in Gagner but they won’t resolve one problem by creating another. If the Oilers shop Gagner, I suspect they’d want depth on the wings or the blueline, so I don’t think they’d be interested in Hiller or Fasth, preferring an established backup for Devan Dubnyk, rather than someone who would challenge him for the starter’s role.

Matheson also responded to reader e-mails speculating over potential moves this summer by the Oilers. He believes if the Florida Panthers win the first overall pick in this year’s draft lottery they would listen to a pitch for it from the Oilers if they offered up Nail Yakupov, but if the Oilers were to include their first rounder, it would have to be higher than 6th overall. Matheson doubts the Oilers will be able to woo David Clarkson if he hits the free agent market this summer. In fact, he believes the New Jersey Devils will re-sign Clarkson. Bruins pending UFA forward Nathan Horton is an option, but Matheson noted he hasn’t been the same since suffering a concussion in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. He also dismissed any possibility of the Oilers making a pitch for Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: New Oilers GM Craig MacTavish is expected to make a bold move or two this summer, which could involve trading rookie Nail Yakupov, but if he does, I don’t believe he’ll pursue the first overall pick in this year’s draft. The Oilers have enough youth, they need experienced skill, size and leadership. Horton could be a free agent option for the Oilers,  but only if he agrees to a two-year deal for less than the $4 million per season he made on his current contract. Forget about Malkin going anywhere, the Penguins will re-sign him.

Jonathan Willis recently examined the free agent options to back up Devan Dubnyk, suggesting Jose Theodore, Evgeni Nabokov and Jason Labarbera could be decent choices, while Anton Khudobin could be an attractive option.

John MacKinnon warns the Oilers must be careful that any bold moves this summer doesn’t hurt the team’s core, suggesting moving a young player before he matures could prove costly in the future. He’s against moving Yakupov and considers trading Jordan Eberle a risky move. ” A less brash, still bold move might involve packaging, say, defenceman Ladislav Smid with still-developing winger Magnus Paajarvi for a big chunk of sandpaper up front”, writes MacKinnon. He also notes the Oilers are deep in defense prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Oilers will seek an affordable, experienced backup for Dubnyk. Moving Yakupov could come back to haunt the Oilers if they fail to get a solid return. I’m not convinced they’ll part with Eberle. Moving Smid would create more problems on defense, but I could see Paajarvi being shopped. 


  1. Does anyone else like to watch the oil implode year after year? They are the nhl’s version of the real housewives! It’s like you don’t really want to watch but you have to…just to see what a train wreck it is. Good luck with the draft lottery!

    • They’re a young team folks. In a few years they will be strong.

  2. If I am the Oilers I am drinking the Horton kool-aid for sure. I think he will recover over the off season and would be a perfect compliment to the Oilers, a big sizeable winger who can score and with the young talent on the Oilers team, you can bet that he will. I also think if I am Edmonton I would see if Yakupov can land me a defensive upgrade, knock on the ‘Yotes door for Keith Yandle

    A long stretch, but bring in Horton & Theodore, trade for Yandle (or another strong D-man), buy-out Horcoff, and sign some affordable depth, plus another top pick and the option of shopping Paajavri. Would be a ton of movement, but would help the Oilers turn around in a big way.

    • Not sure about the Kool Aid but 1 more hit to the head and the only thing Horton is drinking, is his supper thru a straw…not so sure Id be on the Ho train and how desperate we have become trade Yakopov for Yandel? Not so sure Id be willing to go quite that high on Yandel he is good D-man for sure but that could come back to bite them if Yak comes anywhere close to his potential…

      • Doubt they’ll trade within the division.
        Maloney has stated he doesn’t trust Russians to stay in the NHL – or the KHL factor.

        • I highly doubt Yak will ever go to the KHL.The kid love playing in the NHL

    • No, stay the course and keep building through the draft. They will be good in a few years.

  3. Why is it that bold moves always include trading the best players you have?This conjecture is God-awful! If you trade your second leading scorer (Gagner) at 24 when he’s likely just coming into his own and possibly has his best years in front of him, you’re an idiot notwithstanding you have to replace that production. With the youth the Oilers have they can sacrifice draft picks for the next 3 years and it likely won’t make a difference. You’d probably find way more dance partners offering up 2 first rounders and a second (i.e. 2013 1st, 2014 2nd and 2015 1st) because the move in the NHL currently is to the draft because of falling salary caps. I’d dangle draft picks way before Gagner. And Yakupov? That would be equally asinine!

    • I could agree more but it would require brain surgery from an advance alien race.

  4. Horton is not going to Edmonton unless he gets a very good salary and if the Oilers also get Weiss.

    I don’t see how trading Yakupov for Florida’s 1st overall would make any sense. If Matheson lays out that type of speculation, then allow me….

    Oilers trade Gagner, Hemsky, Paajarvi, and 1st round pick for Florida’s 1st overall (if they get it), Kulikov, and rights to Weiss. Then the Oilers also trade for the rights to Horton. Oilers sign both Weiss and Horton.

    Now that’s bold!

  5. I would not get rid of Eberle. He is a clutch player. He is still young and will be a great player in a few years. I watched him at the world Jr’s in Ottawa and when the pressure was on he was awesome! I think if they ever make the playoffs he would be unreal. Perhaps Oilers can trade this years pick for help on defence. Buyout Horcroft. They have a great young core and if MacT can bring in solid supporters they should be competitive next year and maybe a cup contender in a couple more seasons.

  6. Since I don’t care what the oilers do, food for thought or humor for the day. Tampa buys out Lecavalier. Vancouver signs Lecavalier to a much more reasonable contract. Vancouver trades Lecavalier and Luongo to Tampa for Tampa’s 1st and 2nd plus Lindback and Brian Lee. Both teams get cap space. Tampa upgraes in goal. vancouver gets assets for Luongo. Luongo gets to live in Florida. Lecavalier gets to play his entire career in Tampa (practically if not technically). I know teams can’t buyout and resign but they can probably trade for a player who signed with another team after they bought that player out – maybe not though. Maybe some lawyer who knows the CBA intimately can enlighten us on that.

    • I think it’s one year before a player can return to a team after a buyout whether by signing or trade, so I don’t think your scenario is possible.

    • Sorry Tampa Bay has no desire to buyout LeCavalier it will never happen, And even if it did who’s to say that Vancouver would get the chance for Vinny. And besides LeCavalier has already made it known that he wont play on the West Coast, He wants to stay on the East Coast.

  7. Wow. Has anyone actually seen Nathan Horton play? This guy is a fair weather player. And disappears when the going gets rough. I love all the talk about Dubnyk being an established #1. Really? And the Oilers were how good this year? You definitely bring in a young hungry goalie to push him. That’s how it’s done. On a completely related note – Nobody wants to sign\play in Edmonton.

    • On a completely related note – Nobody wants to sign\play in Edmonton.

      SHUT UP.

    • Dubnyk wasn’t the Oilers problem this year. Lack of scoring was the problem.

      Arguably the top free agent last year was Justin Schultz and he signed in Edmonton for the same money that 28 other teams were offering – including the Canucks where he could have played close to home.

    • Hey c’mon, that slogan already belongs to my NYI. Edmonton can’t have it… it’s ours! :)

  8. The Oilers are a laughing stock man, The Isles and Jackets are ahead of them already. Kevin Lowe is not someone you want at the top of your organization’s food chain. This team cannot attract free agents without having some winning culture and it sure does not look good after how they blew it in the last two weeks. This team has no grapefruits whatsoever. I am shocked at how patient the fan base is in EDM. Lowe and his buddies would not have a job if this was in Montreal or Toronto. Sad.

    • I’m still trying to remember has Lowe ever really been successfully in the The league as anything but a player accept for the fluke run about 10 years ago now???….. Besides To. And Mtl. There are are many other teams that would not put up with the history of losing he has created….

  9. Bold Moves doesnt equate to idiotic moves. There is no way that any of the kids gets moved unless its an absolutely ridiculous return (Doan and Yandle for Yakupov)(M. Foligno and Ott and Pick).

    Bold moves more likely means the departure of Smythe, Belanger, Eager, Hordichuk and Horcoff if they go buyout route, and trades involving some of the “B” youngsters such as Petrell, Paajarvi, Jones, Lander perhaps packaged in with deals for Gagner and/ or Hemsky.

    Unlike some correspondents there has been a lot of renewed interest in Hemsky this year, and teams starved for offense (Buf, Nash, NJ etc) would defintely take a one year $5 mill Hemsky packaged with a younger player. There is lots of talk out of NJ that Hemsky would fit in well with Zajac and Kovalchuk, both shoot first types.

  10. Gagner For Fowler seems kinda fair to me. Perhaps if they included Paajarvi? Or some picks going back and forth? I dunno? I would just hate to see Gagner go. Who’d fill his spot? He’s a great player and i would keep him. He’s like future captain material. Yakopov, why not gamble it, i would. Nothing against him, but if we could get that top D-man for it, it would work for me. :)
    And for the back-up goalie suggestions, i like the Anton Khudobin idea. Although i wouldn’t know how to pronounce his name just right lol. Or Nabokov would be cool too.
    And although it might be tough to do, i hope they can find a new home for Hemsky? I just think his time with the Oil is over. Perhaps a new setting will give him a spark, at least that one last good year?
    Whatever the Oil do this summer, i’d just like to see Hall, Hopkins, Eberle, Gagner, Lander, Smid, J. Schultz & why not Smyth for one more year? At a reduced salary and role? Come’on is Ryan Smyth? He can’t leave! :(
    Go Oilers!

    • Who cares if its Ryan Smyth.. He has done nothing this year but display the years of abuse he has taken in front of the net. Hes slow, makes poor plays and has no jump left. Last year was his last good year.
      I was SO HAPPY when they traded him way back. I have never been a Smyth fan despite his work in front of the net. Cut him, Horc, Belanger, Eager, Whitney and the aging “Vets” who have no interest in playing the game so that we can bring in guys that are interested in showing the kids how to win.

  11. I’d like to see the Sabres trade Miller, 2nd rounder and Vanek to the Oilers for Yakupov, 1st rounder and Horcoff. Horcoff just a throw in because of salary cap reasons.

    • Yikes!

    • Yeah I’m pretty sure the Edmonton is on one of Millers 8 no trade list. Why would he want to play there go from one garbage team to another. He will go to a contender that’s for sure.

  12. If I’m edmonton get rid of rnh. He is a stick and is always going to have injury problems. Someone will give you a good d man and checking forward for him. In a few year they are going to run into the same problems chicago had and pittsburgh is going to have the salary cap.
    Especially if they end up getting a true # 1 goalie and top dman