CARLE FRANSON GLEASON
With Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini most likely making calls around the league to see what defencemen might be available via trade, I decided to look over the other twenty-nine rosters and see what players could possibly be had in a deal. My search uncovered three names, that I feel fit the bill as the type of defenceman the Oilers would be interested in acquiring. Those players being Matt Carle, Cody Franson and Tim Gleason.
While two of the three defenceman play a somewhat similar game, all three bring elements to the table that would make them a nice fit in Edmonton. Would the Oilers and any of these clubs be able to pull off a trade that would work for both sides? I would say yes but lets see if any of you agree.
Matt Carle - With Philadelphia having just signed Braydon Coburn to a four year contract extension, it leaves the Flyers with Coburn, Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros all signed to multi year deals at a cap hit of just under $20 million. With Philly right up against the cap and Carle set to become a UFA at seasons end, you would think they'd seriously consider moving the talented blueliner in the right situation. While he has been solid in his two years plus in Philadelphia, his skill set has become redundant on the Flyers backend. Honestly, I can't see them wanting a ton in return for Carle. You would think a bottom pairing defenceman that will allow them to save on cap space and possibly a 3rd or 4th rounder would get the job done. Edmonton have two guys they could offer up, one being Cam Barker and the other Theo Peckham. Barker is probably the less appealing of the two, with a cap difference of just under $1.2 million, but he does have the ability to move into a top four role, if the Flyers were to run into injury problems. Peckham on the other hand, would be an instant fan favourite in Philadelphia with the rugged style of game he plays and he would be placed in a third pairing role that would see him play no more then 12-15 minutes a night...which is the role he should be in. More importantly, he makes just under $1.1 million which would leave the Flyers with just under $2.4 million in cap space to play with come trade deadline time.
From an Oilers standpoint, Carle would come in and instantly quarterback the power play. He has proven to be more then capable of playing twenty minutes a night while putting points up on the board. The 27 year old blueliner's play took a big step forward when he was paired with Chris Pronger so having him play in a pairing with Ryan Whitney, would seem to make the most sense. Another thing to consider, with Carle set to become a UFA on July 1st, there is no guarantee he would stay here long term. That being said, if Edmonton were able to bring him in and end up falling short of making a push for a playoff spot, they could easily flip him for the equivalent of what they gave up, if not more, at the trade deadline.
Cody Franson - I am really not sure what to make of Franson's inability to crack the Maple Leafs top six but what I do know, is I love what Franson brings to the table. He has shown the ability to put up points in a secondary role in Nashville, on a team that has always been challenged to score goals and playing behind two workhorses in Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. While the former third round pick isn't overly physical, his 6'5" frame would be a welcomed addition to the Oilers blueline, as would his puck moving abilities. He doesn't necessarily help Edmonton fill their need for a top four guy this season but he would be a great fit moving forward
Toronto gave nothing up to get the talented defenceman, other then having to eat Matthew Lombardi's salary for the next two seasons, but I can't see them just giving him away. The player that would seem to make the most sense from a Toronto stand point would be Sam Gagner but the Oilers would not make that deal if it were a one for one swap. Lets not forget, that Gagner was a sixth overall selection and just turned 22 years old in September. If the deal would look something like Franson and a 2nd for Gagner and a 3rd or 4th rounder, Edmonton might just bite.
Tim Gleason - In my opinion, Gleason has been one of the most underrated defenceman in the league for sometime. While some felt Gleason would be more of a point producer after the Ottawa Senators took him late in the first round back in 2001, he has transformed himself into a solid shutdown guy while becoming one of the leaders on the Hurricanes. Even though he doesn't put up a ton of points, the rugged defenceman can transition the puck up ice and that is a quality that is lacking from many of the Oilers current group of defenders. Gleason would be a solid addition but the American is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this off season...so what would be reasonable to give up.
Carolina has struggled to score goals this season but have also had trouble keeping the puck out of their own goal. You would think the Canes would want a skilled player to play with Eric Staal but they'd also need to get some sort of physical presence in return to play on a the backend. Does a Linus Omark, Andy Sutton and a late round pick possibly make sense? What about Peckham? You would think that Jim Rutherford would love to get a hold of Ales Hemsky to play alongside Staal but I don't think the Canes have what Edmonton would want in a deal involving Hemsky. Being able to settle for a highly skilled player like Omark as a consolation prize, may be enough to peek Rutherford's interest.