Edmonton - October 14, 2014 - Anyone who has read me for even a little while knows that my connections are somewhat limited in the world of breaking news, so I will never qualify any of these sorts of posts as a rumour. However, using the power of deductive reasoning it is possible to come up with potential outcomes with the data on hand, it can also be fun! So here is what we know.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle have been declared out for tonight’s contest against the LA Kings, and Jeff Petry has been declared a healthy scratch. Something about him “not being up to speed” throughout the first two games is the excuse that Dallas Eakins has provided.
I’m not sure what is “not up to speed” with Petry’s game, but anyone who has any understanding for the game knows that Petry has not been the worst defenceman on the team. Benching him in favour of Nurse while allowing Hunt, Schultz, Ferrence and even Nikitin to play; seems illogical.
So where does the logic come back in? Jeff Petry’s darling wife Julie recently tweeted out a VERY cryptic 140 characters. “Mind boggling is the only way to describe today. Lots of head scratching going on, but reminding myself it is all part of God’s plan.”
What does this mean? Could mean that she lost her car in the West Ed Mall parking garage (happens to the best of us.) It could also mean that Jeff Petry’s time with the Oilers has reached its end.
In the offseason, all the way to last deadline, trade talks involving Petry were rampant, but never substantial. For the first time, the substance behind the rumours seems to be filling the cauldron, and maybe following tonight’s game against the Kings, an official announcement will be made. There are many fans/analysts who would have issue with something like this, unless the return would be substantial. Perhaps the team has realized that the lack of depth at center is finally an issue, and trusting that Ryan-Nugent-Hopkins will be in the lineup every night is simply not feasible.
Using logic again, we can investigate that the Oilers need for a center would be paramount if they were to move one of, if not their best blue-liner. We can also use logic to assume that for a one year UFA with a dull future in Edmonton, that the offer alone would not be one to justify such a return. In comes another scary possibility. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are both scratched for tonight’s game due to injury. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seems to have injured himself in his first NHL fight on Saturday night. Eberle’s injury is not so clear.
We can all remember back to November 8th when Ladislav Smid was traded to the Calgary Flames, and trade talks of Hemsky and Eberle began to emerge out of Philadelphia. At one point thanks to a false report from the Sun, Hemsky’s locker had been cleared out and was on the move. Should we bring up the fact that Eberle + Petry might be the very thing to bring in a clear-cut number 1 or 2 Centerman? I think it deserves some thought.
Now let’s take a gander around the league. If a trade is to be completed, there would have to be at least 2 teams involved, so rumours may be a way to solidify possible outcomes. Well today, the most notable conversations involving trade rumours came from Toronto, where it was rumoured that Eric Staal was being shopped to the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs could use the big hometown centerman to solidify a smaller than desired top 6, but what would the Canes seek in return? How about newly signed defenseman Jake Gardiner? Canes could definitely use some depth on the back end and with the emergence of Stuart Percy, the Maple Leafs aren’t using any of the extras, having scratched Gardiner the last 3 games.
So the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Carolina Hurricanes seem to be able to help each other pretty well, where does Petry come into play? Perhaps we could see the Hurricanes attempt to add some more depth to that blueline as well as Gardiner? Let me repeat myself, this is 100% speculation.
What if the Oilers were to move Petry and a pick to the Leafs for some center depth (Kadri is the only one that comes to mind, as Bozak has been listed “untouchable”) and the Leafs were then to move Petry and Gardiner for Staal, or something similar? It’s really a win-win for everyone as far as organizational depth is concerned, the idea of trading Petry for Kadri is scary, but it wouldn’t be the first time MacT went with his gut.
Being 100% speculation, I guess in a 3 team trade anything is possible, but with the Oilers, the Leafs and the Canes, there is a clear break down of what is needed vs. what is available, and it does kind of make sense. The idea of Eberle thrown in there could be more of an attractive offer for someone like Bozak who is looking at being demoted for Kadri, but I’m not sure the Leafs would go for that kind of deal just yet.
Whatever the exact results; whether Petry is just not playing well enough to be in the lineup, or if the organization has some bigger plans for him, the next thing to focus on is the LA Kings who the Oilers will faceoff against in just under an hour. They will do so with 2 rookies in the top 9 Center spots, and 2 rookies on the blueline, but they will show up, and maybe sans-Petry will show that moving the veteran that has worn number 2 for 4 years, will be the best solution. Only time will tell.
Feel free to disagree with me on twitter @Jthompson2380