The Edmonton Oilers’ recent demotion of left winger Linus Omark has generated talk of him becoming trade bait at some point this season.
Due to the unexpected depth on the Oilers’ forward lines, Omark, 24, became the odd man out, so they sent him to their farm team where he’d get more playing time, rather than sitting him in the press box with the big club.
The fact he has played fewer than 60 NHL games meant he didn't have to pass through waivers, thus alleviating the worry of a rival plucking him off the wire.
It might be tempting to suggest trading Omark, perhaps for more blueline depth, but as Bruce McCurdy of The Edmonton Journal observed, the Swede on his own wouldn't net more than “a mid-range pick, a prospect at another position, or an established bottom-tier player.”
None of those are requirements for the Oilers right now. McCurdy suggested, if management wanted to address a roster weakness toward the deadline, Omark might build up his value by then an attract better offers.
McCurdy also explored the trade value of right winger Ales Hemsky and center (well, winger now) Sam Gagner, believing the latter is worth more than Omark. Gagner is younger, has an established NHL track record, is relatively inexpensive and isn’t due for unrestricted free agency until 2013 at the earliest.
It should also be pointed out that, while Gagner isn't a “name” player like Hemsky, he doesn’t have the lengthy injury history Hemsky does.
But as David Staples of the Journal pointed out, the Oilers don't have to make any moves at this time anyway.
It would be wiser to hold onto those three players, see how well they perform over the course of the season, and if the need arises to address weaknesses later on, consider moving one or more of them at the trade deadline.
NO TRADE MARKET TO HELP BIG, BAD BRUINS
The struggles of the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins has sparked speculation in the Boston media over what moves GM Peter Chiarelli should make to snap his team out of its hangover.
However, over the course of this week, some Boston pundits were taking back the trade talk.
Stephen Harris of The Boston Herald posed the question, “Who would you trade?” to Bruins fans hungry for a deal.
“Would it be Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton, Chris Kelly or (Rich) Peverley?” Harris asked. He acknowledged those players would have “big time trade value” but doubted any Bruins fans would want to see them dealt.
Harris also noted the Bruins lack blueline depth to deal from and doubted there were many teams keen to make a deal at this point in the season.
That last point was shared by Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe, who noted, “only the Bruins and the perpetually pathetic Columbus Blue Jackets are in desperation mode” right now.
Dupont suggested it would take another 45-60 days until more teams would be willing to make a deal - and by that point it would be too late to help the Bruins if they still haven’t come alive.
Dupont also shot down the notion Chiarelli would deal with the Blue Jackets, pointing out they have “one huge asset” in right winger Rick Nash, but he's not going anywhere.
There's little else on the Blue Jackets’ roster that would make the Bruins a better team at this time.
It appears the best Bruins fans can hope for is that their team, clearly more talented than its current record, snaps out of its funk before digging a hole too deep to climb out of.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.