Feb 25, 2014, 2:35 PM EST
Edmonton wants back in at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
“I’d be disappointed if we weren’t able to get our second- or third-rounder back,” Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said on Tuesday. “And, potentially more than that. If we’re sitting at the draft with our first pick and then we’re not picking again until the fourth round, that’d be disappointing.
“That’s exactly what we’re going to try and do — get those picks back.”
Based on MacTavish’s comments and Edmonton’s last-place standing in the Western Conference, the tea leaves suggest it’s in full-fledged seller mode starting… now. The Oilers do have some veterans that playoff-bound teams might be interested in, like UFA forward Ales Hemsky, who’s in the final year of a deal that pays $5 million annually and is coming off an Olympic performance in which he scored twice in a quarterfinal loss to the U.S.
Defensemen Nick Schultz, Mark Fraser, Denis Grebeshkov and Corey Potter could draw some interest as well. None of the names jump off the page but, according to Pens GM Ray Shero, “adding any NHL defensemen for any team is going to be difficult.” Schultz looks very much like a rental, a veteran of nearly 900 NHL games with 24 playoff contests on his resume.
The big question is if the club will part with Ryan Smyth. A heart-and-soul guy that loves playing in Edmonton, Smyth’s departure seven years ago was gut-wrenching for both himself and the organization, but the unease about moving him could be turned into a PR move, in which Edmonton flips him to a contender, giving Smyth a shot at a Stanley Cup.
However the Edmonton situation plays out, know one thing — MacTavish is once again promising to be active.
“We’re going to be aggressively speaking to teams and letting them know what we’re trying to do, seeing if there’s a fit,” he said.
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