5 Deals the Edmonton Oilers Must Consider Before NHL Trade Deadline

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Trades that the Oilers must consider

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The Edmonton Oilers were supposed to take the next step in the 2013-14 NHL season. They were supposed to be one of the strongest teams in the West and in the Pacific division. Their skill and talent was supposed to drive them to the top of the standings, where they have not been for years. None of these things have happened for the Oilers, and the staff needs to learn that a team can't get by on talent alone. While having an abundance of former first-overall picks on the team, the Oilers forgot that defense and goaltending also count in hockey games.

The Oilers have stumbled and fallen over themselves so far in the 2013-14 campaign. They are currently in last place in the Western Conference with a paltry 47 points in 60 games. They are the second-worst club in the entire league, ahead of the cursed Buffalo Sabres. Five different goaltenders have started a game for the Oilers, and none have fared well except Ben Scrivens, who was recently acquired from the Los Angeles Kings for a mid-round draft pick. This only illustrates one of the many problems that currently haunt Edmonton.

So what can be done with this team? Are there moves that can right the ship? Yes, of course there are. The Oilers' brass just has to realize this and shift the team focus to a different direction. Read on to see that direction.

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5. Offer Up Their 2014 First-Round Pick

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Defense and goaltending have been the main point of criticism over the past several years and for good reason. The New Jersey Devils were in a similar situation at the NHL Entry Draft last summer and decided to sacrifice their first-round pick, ninth overall, in order to acquire Cory Schneider. Edmonton must take a similar approach. Sacrificing a high first-round pick for a quality, potentially top-tier NHL player can solve one of their issues at the trade deadline.

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4. Acquire A Capable Goaltender

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With their first-round pick on the trade block, the Oilers can open talks with many teams over the possibility of acquiring a quality NHL goaltender. Minnesota Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom's name has been in rumor mill and though he has dealt with injuries this year, he is a top-tier goaltender. The St. Louis Blues have been rumored to be looking to upgrade in net, meaning Jaroslav Halak could be moved if a goaltender such as Miller is brought in by the Blues in March.

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3. Trade For An Established Defenseman

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Goaltenders can only do so much when they have a weak defense playing in front of them. New York Islanders' Andrew MacDonald plays an all-around strong game and leads the league in blocked shots as well. New Sabres GM Tim Murray could make Tyler Myers available on the trade market. Myers is a reclamation project and a high-risk, high-reward option. His unique combination of size, skating ability and a right-handed shot are all things that would improve Edmonton.

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2. Move Sam Gagner's Bloated Contract

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Sam Gagner is in the first year of a three-year deal that comes with a cap hit of $4.8 million. Gagner is currently on pace for only nine goals and 35 points in 69 games, which begs the question if he is worth the pricey cap hit. Rumors have circulated that the Oilers and Kings are negotiating a deal, but the Kings have cap space issues and Edmonton may be reluctant to retain salary for the next three years.

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1. Finally Trade Ales Hemsky

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Ales Hemsky's name has been mentioned at each of the last three trade deadlines, and for obvious reasons. There is no denying that he has an attractive skill set with his playmaking and puck-handling abilities. He is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, so he could be acquired as a rental player for an NHL team at the trade deadline.

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