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Which Young Players Are On The Oilers' Radar?

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Dale Tallon opened trading season last night with the most lopsided trade in the NHL since Kevin Lowe acquired Joni Pitkanen for a broken Jason Smith and the perimeter-loving Joffrey Lupul.  Today, the Predators acquired Mike Fisher from the Senators for a first round pick.  We know that at least four teams are actively scouting the Oklahoma City Barons and the rumors in Edmonton have Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky on the trading block.  If those four teams are targeting the Oilers, who might the Oilers target in return?  After the jump, a look at the young players from the Oilers potential trading partners.

 

New York Rangers

Glen Sather was hot on Sheldon Souray's tail for the better part of two years, but couldn't get a deal done with Steve Tambellini.  When the two of them were close, they were both surprised by Souray's arm infection at last year's deadline.  With Rick Kehoe in Oklahoma to view the Barons multiple times, it looks like Sather is still after an Oiler.  Tambellini should tread lightly because while Sather turns each free agent season into a circus, he's still one of the best traders in the business.

  • Artem Anisimov - the big, 6'4", center has come into his own this season.  He's not a natural goal scorer, but he's a playmaker and can be physical.  He's also developing a defensive game.  He might not be "the number one center" that fans rage on about, but he's going to be a number one center for a very long time.  He's still on his entry-level contract.
  • Ryan CallahanGeorge Ays at Blueshirt Banter wrote the book on Callahan by the microstats.  His penalty killing ability alone might be enough to make him the center of a trade, especially with the Oilers.  His contract expires this season and he's an RFA.
  • Michael Del Zotto - Del Zotto is still on his his entry-level contract and has already shown signs of being a stalwart in the NHL for a long time.  Ays looked at his power play production and found superior skill and everyone is aware of his booming shot.  He's not an own-zone marvel, but for a team that loves the shot from the point, Del Zotto might be their guy.
  • Brandon Dubinsky - Ays again wrote a wonderful breakdown of Dubinsky's career arc thus far and prior to his injury this season, Dubinsky added goal-scoring to his repertoire.  Dubinsky's contract is up at the end of the season and he's an RFA.
  • Ryan McDonagh - The young defender is stout, 6'1" 222, fast, smart and can both pass and shoot.  He's not afraid to use the body and will defend a teammate.  He, like almost all young defenders, is still a work in progress, but he has all of the tools to be a first pairing defender.  He would also complete Edmonton's international defense.  He's still on his entry-level contract.
  • Derek Stepan - The kid who killed Canada at the 2010 World Juniors has had an uneven season, but he's extremely skilled and looks like he's going to be a fantastic number two center and a very good playmaker.  He's still on his entry-level contract.

Chicago Blackhawks

Dale Tallon probably solved the Blackhawks woes when he gifted Michael Frolik to Stan Bowman and it's doubtful the Hawks are going to be in the market for anything but a goalie.  They've already suffered through the Nikolai Khabibulin mistake and aren't going to do so again.

 

Atlanta Thrashers

The Thrashers rode some unsustainably hot goaltending to start the season and seemed to be in contention for the Southeast title.  Then the goaltending returned to normal and the true talent level of the team took over.  The Thrashers are in a freefall and if they want to catch Carolina for 8th, they're going to need help.  Ever since Ross Creek created the Hemsky for Bogosian rumor, the apple of all of Edmonton's eye right now is Zach Bogosian.  And why not?  Though the fans in Atlanta don't seem to realize it, the kid is already a high-end defender taking on the tough minutes and the tough zonestarts.  He's exactly the type of player Edmonton needs for that top pairing with Ryan Whitney.  But what else do the Thrashers have that might interest Edmonton?  What pieces make sense if the assumption that an Oklahoma City player is involved? 

  • Niclas Bergfors - The smooth right wing is in the final year of his entry-level contract and has been saddled with the awful "potential" label.  He possesses high-end skill and is taking on the toughs in Atlanta this year.
  • Bryan Little - Little is a small right wing, but he has proven scoring ability.  He's a natural center without the size and strength to play center in the NHL but can create from the wing.  He's a 20 goal scorer and should excel on the power play.  Little is under contract for two more years.
  • Andrew Ladd - I highly doubt Andrew Ladd is available, even for Ales Hemsky, but if he is in the conversation, the Oilers have to make an offer.  Ladd is a tough minutes player who excels on the penalty kill.  He's big, 6'3" 205 lbs, and strong and only 25 years old.  He's a restricted free agent after the season.

Colorado Avalanche

It's kind of a shame to see Colorado collapsing the way they are.  Last season the Avs stunk, but rode an amazing wave of luck into the playoffs.  This season, they're a decent little team, but they're being thrashed by the injury bug.  They've already traded Scott Hannan for Tomas Fleischmann, but after a hot streak to start his time in Denver, Fleischmann was sidelined with a pulmonary embolism.  The Avs are desperate for some help at forward, especially now that their young defense is panning out.  Who is available?

  • Ryan O`Reilly - I feel bad for O'Reilly.  He was rushed to the NHL too early and is still struggling to figure out the offensive part of the NHL.  He's a nice defensive center, and he's already winning 50% of his faceoffs at age 20, but nice defensive centers are available in free agency and are dirt cheap.  He's on his ELC.
  • T.J. Galiardi - The lanky 6'2" forward plays both center and wing and looks like a 15-20 goal scorer.  He's going to be an NHL regular, but he's not enough return if a player like Ales Hemsky or Dustin Penner is involved.  He's also on his ELC.
  • David Jones - He's the Dustin Penner of Denver.  He's big, 6'2" 210 lbs, and scores goals, but he doesn't fight, doesn't go out of his way to hit and isn't an agitator.  He's ragged on for not playing big enough and not being physically involved, but like Penner, he uses his frame to protect the puck and leverage to win board battles.  He's already 26 years old and not likely the centerpiece of a trade.