Eberle brushes off trade rumors: ‘I want to be an Oiler’

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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:

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.

Oilers lose Hall again — what’s next?

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Big development in the McEichel Derby — on Tuesday, the Oilers announced that Taylor Hall was placed on IR:

Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the suspicion is Hall suffered a “bone bruise’ that morphed into a fracture, and will miss the next 4-6 weeks as a result.

Two takeaways…

1) Will Hall play again this year? Assuming he misses the full six weeks, that puts a potential return around Mar. 24, at which point the Oilers will have 10 games left in the regular season. For a guy with a long, troubling history of health concerns — he’s now missed 60 games over his first four-and-a-half years in the NHL — the idea of shutting it down isn’t far-fetched, especially since it could benefit Edmonton in the aforementioned McEichel Derby (but hey, nobody tanks in the NHL.)

(Right?)

2) This latest injury will be a jumping off point for discussions about his future in Edmonton. This is, without question, another disappointing campaign; the Oilers are going to finish well out of the playoff picture and Hall, he of the $42 million deal and $6M cap hit, is on pace for his worst offensive campaign since he was a rookie (difficult to extrapolate given all the time he’s missed, but Hall’s current .71 points-per-game average is his lowest since breaking in during 2010-11.)

Remember, Hall’s already been the subject of trade rumors this year.

Oilers’ Hall returns to Edmonton for further evaluation

The Edmonton Oilers have sent forward Taylor Hall home from the team’s six-game road trip for further evaluation on his left ankle the club announced Sunday.

Hall missed his fifth game due to the injury on Saturday night.

As Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press points out, Hall and Benoit Pouliot, who missed his second game due to injury on Saturday, account for a quarter of the Oilers’ goals this season.

“That’s an excuse, right? We’re not going to use it, but it is reality: We do miss those guys,” said Matt Hendricks following Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Leafs. “They play big minutes for us and are big offensive guys for us. But we’ve got to find ways to put pucks in the net.”

Hall has 11 goals and 30 points in 42 games this season.

The Oilers continue their road trip Monday night in New Jersey.

Oilers best Sharks in 13-round marathon shootout

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The Edmonton Oilers are by far the worst team in the NHL when it comes to protecting a lead established through 40 minutes and tonight looked like it might be another example of that, but they bounced back from their early third period struggles to earn a 5-4 shootout victory.

Edmonton had a 3-1 lead going into the third period, but the Sharks responded with three goals in the first half of the third, including Joe Pavelski’s 27th marker of the season.

For a while it looked like that might be the winner, but Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz managed to even things up in the dying minutes of regulation time.

After overtime failed to solve anything, Edmonton and San Jose settled in for a 13-round shootout. Both Edmonton goalie Viktor Fasth and Sharks netminder Antti Niemi stood tall for much of the skills competition, with Fasth denying 12 of 13 skaters. In the end it was Rob Klinkhammer, who has just 20 goals in 151 career games, that managed to end the contest.

The Oilers have now won four of their last six games and have consequently opened a six-point lead over Buffalo in the battle to avoid the NHL basement. The Sabres have lost 14 straight contests.

At the same time, this was a potentially damaging night for Edmonton. The squad lost forwards Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Hall due to injuries, per the Oilers’ Twitter feed. Pouliot was hurt when he took a shot off his foot while Hall re-aggravated the leg injury that kept him out of Edmonton’s previous three contests.

Oilers’ Hall (bone bruise) to sit out versus Flames

Taylor Hall will not be ready to return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup against the Calgary Flames on Saturday, according to the Edmonton Journal.

Hall has missed the last two games coming out of the All-Star break, after blocking a shot off the foot during practice on Monday. He’ll now miss three consecutive games, however he did skate Saturday with his teammates.

So, that’s a positive development.

“Today was good, the pain didn’t get worse . . . it even subsided a little bit,” said Hall, as per the Edmonton Journal.

“You can never really tell when you walk around with a skate on. It was just a weird injury. It wasn’t even a hard shot. Even if you look at it, there’s nothing there. There’s no swelling or anything.”

The Oilers, while they sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, have won three of their last four games, but only once with Hall recently out of the lineup.

Hall has gone without a goal in his last five games, and has only scored once in his last 13 games.

“I just took a shot kind of where there is no protection right above the boot,” said Hall, as per NHL.com.

“It’s just an unfortunate thing. It hit the bone, hit right on the fibula and bruised it pretty bad.

“It’s always tough to tell with a foot injury when you get hit with the puck. Sometimes it hurts really bad and goes away 30 seconds later. This one hung around and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to practice and eventually wasn’t going to be able to play. It’s tough coming out of the break. I thought I refreshed my mind pretty well and I got prepared to have a good last 35 games and this happens. That’s the way it goes.”