After a red-hot start to the season, the Edmonton Oilers have fallen back to earth. They’ve lost four straight and five of their last six while allowing 24 goals over the five losses. As such, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal is asking: Do the Oilers really need to trade for a defenseman now?
It’s a fair question, considering…
— Cam Barker is out three months after undergoing ankle surgery.
— Ryan Whitney is on the shelf with a knee injury (and has already missed time with ankle and shoulder issues).
— Andy Sutton re-aggravated his groin injury in last night’s warump and didn’t see a shift against Ottawa.
— Corey Potter sprained his ankle in the second period and didn’t return.
— Jeff Petry blocked a shot with his hand in the third and had postgame X-rays.
This essentially leaves Edmonton with three blueliners at full health (Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Theo Peckham) — three-and-a-half if you count Petry. So, what to do?
Matheson offered up some ideas. Toronto is likely willing to field calls about Cody Franson, the impending RFA ($800,000 cap hit) that’s only played five games this season. Same goes for San Jose with Jim Vandermeer, the former Oiler that’s struggling to crack the Sharks lineup. Other potential solutions include Matt Walker (Philadelphia) and Shaone Morrisonn (Buffalo’s AHL affiliate, Rochester).
As for trade chips…
“It’s pretty obvious Linus Omark is Tambellini’s major trading chip along with a draft pick,” Matheson writes. “Omark doesn’t want to be in Oklahoma City and has vowed to return to Europe with that out-clause in the second year of his Oilers’ contract if he doesn’t get back to the NHL either in Edmonton or somewhere else. But would Omark and a second-round pick get Franson? Iffy. I suspect Burke might rather have hard-luck Sam Gagner, but after missing most of training camp and the early part of the regular-season with a high-ankle sprain, he’s now out with a lower back problem.”
Edmonton could fix this problem by utilizing its AHL affiliate in Oklahoma. Colten Teubert, Taylor Chorney and Alex Plante could all come up and fill the void, but that presents a big question: Can the Oilers stay competitive with those guys in the lineup?