It’s a worrisome sign for Oilers fans as the team having hit a few dry holes on the ice in the last week or so, have begun shedding some of the platform crew. Making some ponder the possibilities of more moves to come in eight days time.
The Edmonton Oilers made a minor level trade on Sunday, sending Marc-Andre Bergeron and a third-round draft pick in 2008 to the New York Islanders in exchange for blue-liner Denis Grebeshkov.
However, Grebeshkov who was 2002 pick and has played 33 NHL games isn’t going to be of much use to the Oilers this season, as he’s playing out the year in the Russian league. This makes Sunday’s trade very much a next year proposition.
It also leaves hockey fans with the question is it time for the Oilers to think about next year and is this, the beginning of the selling phase for Oilers GM Kevin Lowe.
The Oilers who had entertained thoughts of playoff run a week ago have struggled on their current road trip, most recently losing to Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night. Those losses combined with wins from Calgary and Vancouver puts the Oilers on the outside looking in as the season winds down and the trading deadline looms.
If the team continues to falter on the ice this week then Lowe may decide by February 27th that it’s time to retool his squad for next season, putting any number of Oilers up on the auction block. The highest profile name that could be mentioned is that of Ryan Smyth, and while it seems unlikely that the Oilers would trade the heart and soul of the franchise, stranger things have happened.
The next seven days will be uncomfortable ones for those in an Oiler uniform, the further they fall out of the playoff race; the closer they may come to changing uniforms. All the excitement of last years improbable run, lost to the history books as they struggle to just make it to the dance this time around.