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The Edmonton Oilers Now Need A Center Or Two

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

Edmonton’s roster right now holds only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at first-line centre, and Boyd Gordon on the fourth-line.

Is general manager Craig MacTavish counting on newly minted draft pick Leon Draisaitl to play No. 2 centre in the NHL as an 18-year-old this fall? Or does the timing of this trade suggest that MacTavish has already landed a No. 2 centre during the interview period prior to the opening up of free agency at noon Eastern on July 1?

It’s not often you can trade, ostensibly, a 5-foot-10 winger for a 6-foot-3 one like Purcell, but this appears to be a classic case of two guys whose organizations felt it was time to move on.

Purcell comes billed as a Top 6 right-winger, but at times late in the season Tampa coach Jon Cooper had him toiling on the fourth line. He’s a pass-first player — even though Purcell is reputed to have a wicked wrist shot — who surely does not play as big as his frame might have you hoping he will.


added 7:55am, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal on Sam Gagner,

He remained loyal to the end, never groused that he was tired of all the losing and wanted out.

Gagner is a pro’s pro, a class act. When other players would maybe be ducking into backrooms, away from the prying media after losses, Gagner would be patiently waiting in his stall — a standup guy, even if he was sitting down.

He’s on my top 10 all-time Oilers to deal with, and I’ve been covering them for 35 years.

He never ducked his responsibility in the seven straight years out of the playoffs as the longest-serving Oiler; he knew he had to be better on faceoffs and better when he didn’t have the puck, knew he should be better; not that anybody expected the stars to all align as they did that Feb. 2, 2012, night against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rexall Place, when he had eight points, tying Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey for the all-time single-game record.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank1974's avatar

It could be that Edmonton is looking more seriously at making Hall a centerman full time.
He was a centre his whole career until he played Junior - which I guess could be said by most kids.
But he played quite a bit of centre with the Spits in his final season, and even said he considered himself a centre during his draft interviews.

He’s played well as a pivot in short stints as an Oiler as well.

Unless MacTavish has a centre lined up once free agency starts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see #4 lined up down the middle.
Which makes sense considering all the wingers this team has.

Posted by Hank1974 on 06/30/14 at 08:00 AM ET

Primis's avatar

So in other words EDM wants Connor McDavid.

Because unless they EVER get a dman or three, they’re going to stay in the basement.

Posted by Primis on 06/30/14 at 09:48 AM ET

LumberingD's avatar

They are not looking to move Hall to C, they are looking for a #2 C and more D (likely via trade). Hall is deadly flying down the wing, moving him to C once and awhile is stop gap and no more.  Of course they “want” Conner McDavid, 30 teams do, but they are in win more now mode not tank mode. 

And yes, if they do not get at least one top 2 D locked up for the next 5 years they will stay at the bottom.  Much in the way of D in the system, very little NHL ready D now though.

Posted by LumberingD on 06/30/14 at 10:20 AM ET

LumberingD's avatar

I think you are bang on for how the Oilers have to get it done, same as last year.  Picks for players (Perron & Scrivens).  When you have to fish off the B and C free agent pools you need to trade to get quality and you won’t have many assets other than picks to do so.  Well, picks and cap space this year. 

Who is your 3rd line C?  Can he be a second line C?

Posted by LumberingD on 06/30/14 at 12:43 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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