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Edmonton could move defenseman Schultz in ongoing rebuild

Oilers NHL Trade Deadline outlook

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline approaching at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 29, is taking a close look at what moves teams might be looking to make and whether they'll be buyers or sellers. Today, the Edmonton Oilers:


Record: 21-29-5, 47 points; 7th in Pacific Division, 8th in Western Conference Wild Card

Unrestricted free agents: Teddy Purcell, RW; Eric Gryba, D; Nikita Nikitin, D; Rob Klinkhammer, RW

Restricted free agents: Justin Schultz, D; Iiro Pakarinen, LW; Zack Kassian, RW; Brandon Davidson, D; Adam Clendening, D

Projected 2016 draft picks: 7 (1 first)

Projected 2017 draft picks: 6 (1 first)

Needs: Top-end defenseman

Surpluses: Young, skilled forwards

Players Potentially in Play: Schultz, Purcell, Benoit Pouliot, LW; Mark Fayne, D; Jordan Eberle, RW; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C; Nail Yakupov, RW

Likely status: Seller

Skinny: Despite winning the NHL Draft Lottery four times in the past six years, the Oilers are at the bottom of the NHL standings. This season was expected to be different for Edmonton. After hiring general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Todd McLellan and adding phenom Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, to a maturing core, the Oilers were hoping to challenge for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Edmonton has not qualified for the postseason since losing in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final to the Carolina Hurricanes. Unfortunately for Edmonton, McDavid fractured his left clavicle 13 games into the season, and the Oilers were unable to gain any traction without him. McDavid returned after missing 37 games and has been one of the Oilers' best players, but it has not been enough to get them out of the basement. Leading up to the trade deadline, Edmonton will be looking to move complementary players to, once again, rebuild the roster around its young nucleus. It is unlikely Chiarelli will trade any of his young, talented forwards before the deadline. He will likely re-evaluate the roster this summer and decide whether to move a player such as Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins in an effort to obtain a much-needed, high-end defenseman. Until then, the Oilers likely will try to move other pieces of their roster. The Oilers are looking to trade Schultz, who is unlikely to be tendered a qualifying offer this summer. Outside of Schultz, Chiarelli likely will attempt to add draft choices in exchange for players who are not in the Oilers' long-term plans. Edmonton must forfeit a second-round pick to the Boston Bruins either in the 2016 or 2017 draft as compensation for hiring Chiarelli, so it is likely they will try to acquire a second-round pick before the deadline.

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