The Philadelphia Flyers have a struggling defense and the Edmonton Oilers are struggling all over which makes the two teams seem like a match made in heaven. Both teams may be in need of a shakeup and they could be perfect trade partners.
Entering December trade rumors continue to dog the struggling Edmonton Oilers, who finished November winless in nine games. Various reports claim Oilers GM Craig MacTavish continues to seek help for his floundering team.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports Oilers winger David Perron was rumored being shopped to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Artem Anisimov, but the Jackets seem reluctant to part with Anisimov. Matheson also cites sources claiming right wing Nail Yakupov was offered to an Eastern Conference club, but given Yakupov’s current performance (only seven points in 24 games) his trade value is low right now.
MacTavish is believed seeking a center. Matheson claims there’s talk of the Oilers shipping young defenseman Justin Schultz to the Philadelphia Flyers for center Brayden Schenn. He also notes the Flyers need help on the wing, musing about the possibility of Perron being offered up for defenseman Braydon Coburn, who the Oilers attempted to acquire during the June 2013 NHL draft.
It appears rival GMs are waiting for MacTavish to become desperate enough to part with one of his core players. It’s widely assumed left wing Taylor Hall and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins aren’t available, but right wing Jordan Eberle‘s name continues to be tossed around as a trade possibility.
Trading Eberle for a center, however, will address one problem while creating another. Such a move means the Oilers top right wings would become Yakupov, Teddy Purcell (10 points in 24 games) and Steve Pinizzotto.
FALLING FLYERS CAN BLAME FAULTY DEFENSE
Speaking of the Philadelphia Flyers, they won only four games in November and enter December with only one victory in their last nine. A weak defense is killing the Flyers. They begin this week dead last in penalty killing and among the bottom third in goals-against and shots-against per game.
With only 19 points in 23 games, the Flyers have become the target of trade speculation, but GM Ron Hextall claims there’s nothing imminent. The Philadelphia Daily News’ Jake Kaplan reports Hextall said he wouldn’t make a trade just for the sake of doing so. If he does make a move, Hextall claims it’ll be a deal which helps his team now and in the future.
Given the payroll and roster Hextall inherited from former GM Paul Holmgren, there’s not much he can do right now to improve his club’s fortunes. The Flyers currently have just over $1.1 million in cap space, meaning any moves will have to be as close to dollar-for-dollar as possible.
During the summer Hextall tried to trade fading center Vincent Lecavalier but couldn’t find anyone willing to take on his full $4.5 million per season cap hit. Hextall also probably regrets shipping winger Scott Hartnell to Columbus for R.J. Umberger, who has only three points compared to Hartnell’s 14.
With few trade options available, Hextall could be forced to consider a coaching change. He inherited coach Craig Berube, who took over early last season from Peter Laviolette and rallied the struggling Flyers into playoff contention. With the club in danger of falling out of the playoff race, a change behind the bench could be Hextall’s only realistic move.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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