Not surprisingly, the Sam Gagner to Los Angeles Kings rumours have started to quiet down. While the Kings could definitely use another skilled player in their top nine forwards, the Edmonton Oilers centre doesn't exactly fit the bill for what they need.
At the other end of the spectrum, the rumoured return of Kyle Clifford plus whatever else makes zero sense from an Oilers point of view. That said, the supposed interest from the Nashville Predators appears to be quite real but does making such a move today get Craig MacTavish anything that helps his team starting next season?
So far the rumoured return has centred around one of Colin Wilson or Ryan Ellis coming the other way, with a possible additional piece. While there would likely be some interest in both players, how exactly does adding an under performing forward or another offensively gifted but defensively challenged blueliner help improve MacT’s roster in any real manner?
There are those who will undoubtedly point to Wilson’s bigger frame and ability to play centre ice and automatically assume he would be an upgrade on the Oilers #89. Unfortunately, the former seventh overall pick has done nothing to show he would be capable of even achieving such a feat.
Since entering the league back in 2009-10, Wilson has managed to put together only two seasons in which he surpassed the thirty point barrier and has seen little to no action down the middle under head coach Barry Trotz. For a team that has been starving for an offensively gifted centre for ages, do you not think Trotz would have used him in such a role, if he legitimately felt the kid could pull it off?
The twenty-four year old has all the necessary tools in the shed but looks to be a stretch at ever turning into a top six NHL forward. Could he be an option as a third line winger for Boyd Gordon and a possible swingman in case of injury? Most certainly and he could very well thrive in such a role. However, if something like that were to come to fruition, expectations would have to be kept at a realistic level for the young man.
As far as Ellis goes, one could argue the last thing in the world this team needs is another right-handed puck moving defenceman, as they already have Jeff Petry and Justin Schuiltz on board. Now should the organization decide to move one of those two players in a deal to upgrade the roster elsewhere, Taylor Hall’s former Windsor Spitfires running mate would suddenly look far more attractive.
The former eleventh overall selection has always had the knack too quarterback a power play and possesses an absolute bomb for a point shot…this despite being all of 180 pounds. Problem being, unless the Oilers completely overall the look of their D core in the coming off-season, I am not sure how player of his size could excel in such a setting. Do any of us really need to see an encore presentation of Philip Larsen?
Make no mistake, grabbing a Ryan Ellis or Colin Wilson in a deal for Sam Gagner would be a marked improvement in quality over Kyle Clifford but much like the Kings fourth line winger, neither one appears to be a good fit for the Oilers. There is no question Craig MacTavish has grown tired of all the losing during his first full year as the top dog in Edmonton and would love nothing more than to turn this mess around and in a hurry.
Which is all well and good but rushing into a deal that doesn't improve his hockey club in any real fashion, would be a mistake. Gagner has his issues but 45-50 point players don’t grow on trees in today’s National Hockey League and the Edmonton Oilers should be in no rush to simply give one away.