With the 2013 NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET April 3, Eye on Hockey will examine whether each team is a buyer or seller at the deadline, and who each team should look to sell or receive by the deadline.
Buyers or Sellers
Edmonton is in an interesting position. The Oilers are currently on the outside looking in for the playoffs, but that could change as they're just three points out. That could be tough ground to make up, but with that in mind, Edmonton is probably somewhere in between of buying or selling.
There's no way they'll part with their young assets just to make a run at sneaking into the playoffs, but general manager Steve Tambellini has some pieces he could move to improve the Oilers both this year and going forward.
The complicated trade market this season may have created more buyers than sellers around the NHL, which is why it might be a tough time for Edmonton to make any significant moves without giving up something they'd rather not.
With the Oilers getting back into the playoff picture, the outlook on their trade deadline has become much less predictable. However, as Jonathan Willis writes at Cult of Hockey, regardless of playoff standing, the team should be looking to deal veteran defenseman Ryan Whitney , who is consistently brought up in trade rumors. Ladislav Smid is a desirable trade target for other teams including the Detroit Red Wings, but it sounds like the Oilers would prefer to re-sign the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent.
Potential Trade Bait
Whitney is the piece the Oilers could sacrifice without negatively impacting the team's building blocks for the future. Whitney is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and may not be in the Oilers' long-term plans. He has some offensive value as a player who can contribute on the power play and has a serviceable defensive game. With the Oilers still in the hunt for the playoffs, the squad may wish to keep him as a veteran presence on the blue line, so the asking price could be higher than market value.
One of the players who has been rumored to have garnered external interest from the Oilers is Smid. He's a sound defensive defenseman that plays tough and is tough to play against. With the Oilers potentially looking to re-sign Smid, it is going to take a big offer to pry him away from Edmonton. If the Oilers have any doubt about their ability to sign Smid, they'll have to at least consider moving him. The interest level is already there and high.
The one other intriguing option for the Oilers could consider moving is Sam Gagner. He'll be a restricted free agent next year and could command a sizable contract, but he's also been a solid performer for Edmonton this year. If the Oilers fade at all in the next few weeks, it's something that Tambellini will at least have to think about. Not long ago, Doug MacLean of Sportsnet thought if the right player came along for Gagner, the Oilers would do the deal. With 28 points in 29 games, it seems less likely now that he would be moved.