Latest on the Oilers, Predators and Hurricanes – April 29, 2013.

More speculation over which players the Oilers should or could pursue this summer, plus a look at what’s in store for the Predators and Hurricanes this off-season.

Could the Oilers pursue Nathan Horton this summer?

Could the Oilers pursue Nathan Horton this summer?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Minnesota Wild can’t afford (for salary cap reasons) to re-sign forward Cal Clutterbuck and believes they’ll trade him, leading Matheson to suggest the Oilers should pursue him…He expects Oilers center Sam Gagner will file for salary arbitration…He believes the Winnipeg Jets will shop defenseman Dustin Byfuglien…He also wondered if the Oilers should pursue pending Blackhawks UFA forwards Bryan Bickell or Viktor Stalberg, considering the latter the better of the two. Matheson also believes the Oilers will try to sign Bruins UFA forward Nathan Horton…He believes the Kings will be moving defenseman Alec Martinez.

Matheson also wondered if the Oilers might move their first round pick (which could be seventh overall) if centers Aleksander Barkov and Sean Monahan is gone. They can’t shop it as part of an offer to the Predators for Shea Weber because he cannot be moved until late-July, if at all. He wonders if they might offer that pick to Boston for Milan Lucic or Philadelphia for either Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn…He also doesn’t believe Ryan Miller would be an upgrade in goal for the Oilers over Devan Dubnyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have over $55 million invested in 17 players next season, so they could be forced to part ways with Clutterbuck…Wouldn’t be surprised if Gagner files for arbitration…Byfuglien could be dealt, but only if the Jets could get a scoring forward in return…Remains to be seen what moves Oilers new GM Craig MacTavish has in store for the club. Horton’s injury history makes him a risky investment…Weber won’t be traded. Neither will Lucic, and the Flyers aren’t parting with Couturier or Schenn…For those debating if Miller would be a good fit with the Oilers, you’re forgetting one thing: his limited no-trade clause, whereby he lists eight team he want accept being dealt to. He would prefer being closer to his wife, who’s an actress living in Los Angeles.

EDMONTON SUN: Derek van Diest reports Ryan Whitney won’t be re-signing with the Oilers. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Oilers aren’t expected to re-sign him. Whitney also ripped the coaching staff for making him a healthy scratch in the club’s final games.  Nikolai Khabibulin also isn’t expected to be re-signed.

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper recently offered up his take on improving the Nashville Predators, suggesting a bold move to bolster the offense and pursuing ageing defenseman Sergei Gonchar to bolster their offense from the blueline. John Glennon reports Predators defenseman Shea Weber remains committed to the Predators rebuilding process. Weber said GM David Poile assured him the club would make moves this summer to rebound next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been ongoing speculation (see above) Weber could be available this summer, but Poile has stated he intends to build around Weber and goalie Pekka Rinne. As for Gonchar, if the Preds want him they shouldn’t have much trouble signing him, but he certainly wouldn’t be a long-term addition.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford acknowledged he’s facing some tough decisions and changes will be made in the off-season.  Chad Larose, Dan Ellis, Tim Brent, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Joe Corvo and Bobby Sanguinetti are due to become UFAs and it’s uncertain how many of them will return.  Rutherford cited defense as a problem area. ““We put some defensemen in roles they couldn’t handle,” Rutherford said.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Mike Halford recently speculated about which defensemen the Hurricanes could pursue, citing Douglas Murray, Robyn Regehr and Ryan O’Byrne as possible options to add physical depth to their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford won’t blow up the roster or move his core players, but there’s no doubt the blueline is the area he’ll target for improvement in the off-season.


  1. I’m not a big oilers fan but I’ve watched several of their games this season and from my perspective almost none of the names suggested above seem like the right sort of move. Edmonton has no plenty of offensive punch what they need is some top defensive players. They need to go after a couple quality defensive forwards a ideally a top shutdown defender but even just a couple of solid d-men would be a big improvement. I’m not saying the suggested players wouldn’t be a good addition, specifically clutterbuck, but they don’t fill edmonton’s biggest needs.

  2. Why do the Oilers want Clutterbuck? I agree with BWIII. Not a player that they exactly need.

    Miller is not an upgrade over Dubnyk? Errr….. Matheson’s credibility there is lacking.

    Not sure why the Jets would want to move Buff. Carolina has a lot of work to do on the offense. I’d expect them to sign Whitney and Hainsey.

  3. Bickle – I agree – the Oilers need a couple of defensive minded forwards – now Vanek has become a pretty good defensive forward, but the Oilers could also trade for someone like Bryan Little, Winnek, Stalberg or Stepan. One thing though – Miller will not be going to Edmonton – he might as well stay in Buffalo then.

  4. I am a long suffering Oiler fan and while i agree with Micki that Miller would certainly be an upgrade over Dubnyk but a guy like Clutterbuck is EXACTLY the type of player Edm needs….gritty hits plays a hard game…dont have many like him….would love to have him on the team…..I am totally terrified that our management team is gonna screw this all up…..Same guys runnin this show as the ones who made this mess…..oh well…..

  5. I agree that miller probably won’t sign in Edm

  6. Have the Jets tried moving Big Buff back to forward. He was a beast on the wing for the Hawks, or would that just open up too big of a hole on their blue line? The move to forward has been good for Burns in SJ…

  7. To: Jim Matheson
    Re: On Stalberg & Bickell

    I can see many teams looking at either player as they have really come on as role players for the Blackhawks.

    It is tough to try and separate these two player’s value in terms of positives /negatives, one better than the other. Granted, Stalberg has great speed and when moving more staright line, as opposed to laterally, he is effective moving in.
    Bickell has a very under-rated shot, and has used his size very effectively, and makes sure he is always in the top hit totals for his team.
    I think Stalberg HAS stepped up his compete and conatct in battle zones, but Bickell know his role.
    If Stalberg was just a bit better handling and recieveing the puck, I would be comforatble offering him a bigger contract (he makes $541,667), but before any team offers Stalberg more than his current $875,000, you better be sure he REALLY fills a top six spot and is not a speedy role guy.

  8. I don’t think the goaltending was the Oiler issue. Their defence corp couldn’t move the puck up the ice. The Oilers need to improve on the back end. Nathan Horton could get the Penner Treatment. He plays well for a few games then checks out for a few.

  9. Ongoing speculation about Weber being traded from the Predators? Rather than “ongoing speculations” I believe the term you’re looking for is “wishful thinking.”