Welcome Patrik Berglund to the trade rumor mill


We can probably thank Oilers beat writer Jim Matheson, with the Edmonton Journal, for kicking off the most recent round of Patrik Berglund trade speculation.

From an article published yesterday:

If the Edmonton Oilers are indeed sniffing around St. Louis Blues centre Patrik Berglund, who is currently playing left wing on that stacked team because the team has Paul Stastny, David Backes and Jori Lehtera firmly planted at centre, the Blues conceivably are asking about Jordan Eberle in a package.

Nobody’s saying it would ever be a one-for-one arrangement because Eberle has more currency around the league as an offensive weapon (76- and 65-point NHL seasons on his resume) than the six-foot-three, 217-pound Berglund and he makes considerably more money than the Swede for longer term, but Eberle could take Berglund’s spot as a winger in St. Louis.

This isn’t the first time Berglund’s name has been brought up as a possible fit in Edmonton (see: April), but with Oilers GM Craig MacTavish reportedly eager to make a move for a center, it’s no surprise his name’s being raised again.

The fact is, most teams don’t have a surplus of quality centers, and with the list of pending UFA centers being so thin, Berglund, just 26 years old and signed through 2016-17 for a cap hit of $3.7 million, is an obvious target.

Berglund only has two goals and two assists in 21 games, but as Matheson notes, he’s been used in more of a checking role under Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

In Sochi, Berglund was Henrik Zetterberg’s replacement in the top six for silver-medal-winning Sweden. In Edmonton, he’d immediately become their most qualified second-line center, behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

That’s not to say Berglund is bound to be dealt, or that it’s bound to be to Edmonton if he is. It’s worth noting, however, that, per CapGeek, Berglund has a limited no-trade clause that kicks in July 1, 2015, after which he can reject trades to seven teams.

PHT Morning Skate: (Video) Man sleeps through Zamboni ride


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

There are people that would love to ride on a Zamboni and then there’s this guy:

(H/T Puck Daddy)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $15,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $1,400. Starts Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Edmonton Oilers played shorthanded for about 20 seconds early in the third period on Wednesday. They weren’t killing a penalty so you can chalk this one up to an error in counting:

Speaking of the Oilers, head coach Dallas Eakins has broken up the former top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. (Edmonton Journal)

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock shared his thoughts on the challenges of building a team identity and training younger players to maintain a high compete level. (Winnipeg Sun)

Peter Forsberg talks about what being inducted into the Hall of Fame means to him. (Washington Times)

Russia has come out ahead in this year’s Super Series. (NHL.com)

This fan took a do-it-yourself approach to updating his jersey:

Yes, Taylor Hall’s back for Edmonton

As hoped, Taylor Hall will indeed return from his knee injury on Sunday as the Edmonton Oilers face the Arizona Coyotes.

Hall isn’t sure if he’ll slide into a wing spot with his normal partners in crime Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, as the 23-year-old believes that Benoit Pouliot’s done a great job in his absence.

(After all, if they can maintain strong play, Hall can conceivably boost a different line, giving Edmonton more of a varied attack.)

Either way, it’s clear that Hall is excited to be back, and apparently targeted today as a return date.

The Oilers responded reasonably well without him, yet their chances of squeezing into the 2014 postseason improve substantially with the aggressive forward back in the mix.

Oilers call on Yakupov, Perron after Hall’s fall

With Taylor Hall out for an estimated two-to-four weeks, the Edmonton Oilers need other forwards to step up. So far, it appears that this will mean elevated roles for Nail Yakupov and David Perron, in particular.

Looking at Saturday’s shift charts, Yakupov received the first audition with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. Perron, meanwhile, scored his first goal of the 2014-15.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson noted significant ice time increases for both players, especially Yakupov; the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft received almost six more minutes than his previous high this season.

While the Oilers are notably weak down the middle, they actually boast a host of options on the wing. Yakupov, Eberle and Perron are the most obvious examples as first-line wingers without Hall, yet head coach Dallas Eakins could consider other alignments as well. Perhaps he’ll want to add a possession-friendly winger such as Benoit Pouliot or Teddy Purcell to the top line?

None of these scenarios truly dull the pain of losing their best player and general wrecking ball winger. Still, for a team that continues to struggle to compete, perhaps it would be beneficial to see more from guys like Yakupov?

(Besides, Yakupov could make himself a nice chunk of change if he plays well in the last year of his entry-level contract.)

Draisaitl scores first NHL goal in Oilers’ third straight win


A week ago, the Edmonton Oilers looked worse weaker than they really might be. It’s fitting, then, that a couple late goals made their third consecutive win look a little misleading tonight.

The Oilers beat the lowly Carolina Hurricanes, who were coming off of a 5-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday, by a slightly inflated score of 6-3 on Friday.

Matt Hendricks scored an empty-netter, for example. Also, there’s this thought to at least consider:

The box score reads like a series of “ah ha!” moments (especially if you ignore comparable shots on goal totals), as a number of struggling Edmonton players got on the board. Jordan Eberle didn’t just score his first goal of 2014-15; he scored two goals and added an assist. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seems like he’s healthy with a goal in three straight games.

Maybe most promisingly, 2014 first-rounder Leon Draisaitl’s first NHL goal happened to be the game-winner:

That’s not exactly the kind of beauty that will drive management to burn an entry-level year off of a rookie’s contract or not, but it must have been a relief for the third pick of the 2014 NHL Draft.

The Oilers are now 3-4-1 and get the weekend off before they close out October with home games against two formidable opponents in the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators. If they can win those contests, then the excitement could really build in Edmonton.