As the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals wind down and we approach the NHL Draft, which is set to take place in just one week, the Edmonton Oilers figure to be hot and heavy in trade rumors. With a new general manager, and pieces to move, they’ll be among the more active teams out there this offseason.
One team that the Oilers have been seen next two in trade rumors on more than one occasion so far in the short offseason has been the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are another team that will be active, with very few players on their roster appearing untouchable despite their success in 2013.
Of the many different trade scenarios that one could dream up involving the Edmonton Oilers and the Maple Leafs, the one that ends up most favorable for the former would be the acquisition of Jake Gardiner, which has been floated out there as a possibility by multiple outlets.
Gardiner didn’t get too much playing time in 2013, but has loads of potential on the blue line, fitting the bill as exactly the type of player the Oilers are looking for. He’s a two-way defenseman, with great puck moving skills and a big 6’2″ frame. His game in his own end is improving rapidly.
Even better, Gardiner and Justin Schultz were the top defensive pairing for the University of Wisconsin. So you can understand why there’d be a tremendous appeal on the side of the Oilers. Having those two patrolling the blue line as your top pairing has the potential to be among the elite pairings.
Of course, that’s assuming the two sides could find a potential trade they could agree to. The Oilers could try and shop the seventh overall pick to the Maple Leafs, but Toronto could also deem Gardiner has too much potential to trade, the latter of which seems much more likely.
There may very well be a match for a trade between the Oilers and the Maple Leafs, especially if the seventh overall pick is in play. But as for whether or not Gardiner is in play, the Maple Leafs would have to get the Oilers to overpay in order to make it worth trading a d-man with his upside.
It is Toronto, though, so you never know what kind of trade they’ll make to set themselves back, if you’re looking for a reason for optimism on the Edmonton side.