With Buffalo having fired the trade deadline’s first salvo — or, the first salvo in the tank-for-McEichel race, depending how you look at it — many are now focused on what the Sabres’ chief rival, Edmonton, will do in response.
One Oiler that’s appeared in trade rumors is Jordan Eberle. The 24-year-old is in his fifth season with the club, leads in both goals (15) and points (43), and knows his name is out there for all to see.
“Any time your team’s in the position we are, we have been for the last few years, names come up,” Eberle said, per NHL.com. “That’s the obvious thing, so you’ve got to put that aside. A lot of the times you have to try and use it as a compliment, you know, other teams want you.
“That being said, I want to be an Oiler, and I want to play here and I want to turn this thing around.”
These rumblings likely have more to do with Edmonton than Eberle. Primed to pick in the top-1o for the sixth year in a row, the Oilers head into tonight’s action 29th in the league — ahead of 30th-place Buffalo by four points — and as rudderless as ever. There’s no clear sign if GM Craig “Man of Action” MacTavish will give players one more chance, or start moving them out:
Just talked to Craig MacTavish, he said Oilers will likely move players at deadline, but laughed that it wouldn’t be like Kane blockbuster
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) February 12, 2015
This invariably leads to talk about the “big three” of Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Of the group, Eberle is thought to be the most expendable because 1) he plays the wing, and 2) he’s the oldest. If Edmonton needs to retool in a significant manner, Eberle could net a significant return and there would be adequate replacements in the wings (pardon the pun), with Nail Yakupov topping the list.
That said, Edmonton would be giving up its alternate captain, most consistent scorer and longest-serving player. All of which is hard to fathom… on a variety of levels.