Are The Devils A Good Partner For A Defensive Trade?

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 06: Mark Fayne #34 of the New Jersey Devils stands up Clarke MacArthur #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center on April 6, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Scott made the case for Carlo Colaiacovo or Brett Clark through free agency and Alan made the case for Andrej Sekera via a trade. Kevin made the case for Mark Fayne via trade.

Who did what now?

In an article at the outstanding (it really should be in your RSS Feeds) In Lou We Trust, Kevin Sellathamby makes the case for a Devils - Oilers swap, forward for defenseman. As Sellathamby points out, the Devils lack what the Oilers have and the Oilers lack what the Devils have:

The Devils have a surplus of defensemen- both at the NHL level and regards to prospects. The Devils need forwards (they're missing a top 6 forward and a bottom 6 forward, lack of elite forward prospects). One team with a surplus of forwards would be the Edmonton Oilers- they already have three young star forwards in Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. They also recently drafted Nail Yakupov, who is expected to be a top line winger. They also have several other offensive prospects in their system. However, they're slightly lacking in terms of defense.

And the Devils are one of the very few teams in the NHL in that situation. The others include the Sabres (as pointed out in Alan's trade article), Penguins, Capitals, Flames, Kings, and Flyers (though the Flyers depth is limited completely to bottom-pairing defenders. If the Oilers want to ignore Scott's advice to sign Brett Clark, it's likely that their trade partner will be one of those six teams (no one wants the Flyers garbage, especially with those enormous contracts).

In his article, Sellathamby throws out a couple of possibilities, including Mark Fayne, Adam Larsson, Henrik Tallinder, and Anton Volchekov. Breaking down each of his suggestions:

Taylor Hall for Mark Fayne + more

This one is a non-starter. Hall is worth an enormous amount and Mark Fayne isn't. To make this work, the Devils would have to include something much, much bigger. Fayne, Jon Merrill, Reid Boucher and a first round pick? I don't know if that's enough.

Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson

This one isn't going to work either. Though I loved Larsson first overall last year, and he acquitted himself wonderfully in his first year in the NHL, and he's on an amazing ELC, he's still a couple of years away from beating/dominating the tough minutes. Hall isn't. He's ready to roll right now. This trade pushes the Oilers further from playoff contention.

Jordan Eberle for Adam Larsson

Like someone shoving a flush draw into your flopped set, this is a snap call. Eberle kicked both soft minutes and lady luck in the behind last year, but those are minutes ready-made for Nail Yakupov. Eberle is still a few years away from playing toughs, like Larsson, and this trade sets the Oilers up for a very long time.

Ales Hemsky for Henrik Tallinder

Tallinder is an injury-prone, tough-minutes defender on a bargain contract for the next two seasons. Hemsky is an injury-prone, tough-minutes right wing on a nice contract for the next two seasons. This one doesn't make sense for either side. The Oilers have too much injury risk on defense in the form of Ryan Whitney, adding more risk makes little sense. The Devils need a forward to drive play and risking that on a guy that might sit often is a bad deal.

Ales Hemsky for Anton Volchenkov

Volchenkov is 30 years old and has four years left on a $4.25 million per year deal. His play has slowly declined recently and with that many years left on the deal, makes little sense for the Oilers.

Linus Omark for a depth defenseman

This makes no sense for the Oilers. They have an egg carton full of depth defensemen, another one won't solve their problems.

If the Oilers and Devils were going to trade, Fayne looks like an attractive target, but moving one of the triumverate of first overalls doesn't create equal value. The Devils aren't going to take a package of the Oilers' junk, so the question is - can they find a common ground? Is Sam Gagner the right player straight up? Is Jordan Eberle the right guy, but the Devils will have to kick in Jon Merrill?

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