Could new Oilers GM Craig MacTavish shop one of his young stars this summer? Read on for the latest.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz are “untouchable”, but floated the notion of new Oilers GM Craig MacTavish shopping either Jordan Eberle or Nail Yakupov if they could land a top-two defenseman like Nashville’s Shea Weber. Matheson acknowledged the Predators would be reluctant to move a franchise player like Weber, but feels he’s among the most marketable players in the league, despite his hefty 14-year, $110 million contract. Weber lacks a no-trade clause, but he cannot be moved until a full calendar year from the date the Predators matched the Flyers offer sheet (July 24). He also suggests pending RFA center Sam Gagner might make a good trade asset.
John MacKinnon, meanwhile, speculated players like Ladislav Smid or Magnus Paajarvi might be shopped before Gagner or Yakupov.
TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek believes MacTavish should deal for experienced, gritty, complimentary players (as “MacT” was in his playing days, especially with the 1994 NY Rangers) who can act as calming influences on the Oilers young stars. Duhatschek recommends MacTavish follow the blueliner of Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman suggests we prepare for another round of Ales Hemsky rumors, and also speculates over the possibility of Gagner and Yakupov becoming trade candidates. Regarding Gagner, he feels the Oilers want to re-sign him, but he’s one year out from UFA status, which gives him leverage over management. As for Yakupov, Friedman feels the Oilers could listen to a massive offer… In other rumors, if the Flyers buy out Danny Briere, would the Sabres bring him back to Buffalo?
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators GM David Poile recently dismissed speculation Weber or Pekka Rinne are available, insisting his intention is to build around the duo.
Perhaps MacTavish should the Phoenix Coyotes about defenseman Keith Yandle? The asking price is reportedly steep (two first line forwards, one of which must be a center), but he could be just what the Oilers need on their blueline. Though I know the Oilers want to re-sign Gagner, his contract status could make things dicey. Maybe Gagner packaged with Yakupov for a top-two defenseman and a checking line center? If MacTavish wants to make a bold move, packaging those two for a big return would certainly do it.
I could see Paajarvi being shopped, but it would be a big mistake trading Smid, who’s among the league leaders in hits and blocked shots this season. Hemsky could be shopped, but I believe the Oilers would have to pick up part of his $5 million salary for next season.