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Insider Trading: Oilers looking for internal fixes


TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger and Chris Johnston have the latest on the struggling Oilers, the IIHF considering mandatory neck protection, why Elias Pettersson is in no rush for an extension, what’s next for Taylor Hall, the Flyers open for business and Thanksgiving delaying Patrick Kane’s decision.

Reda: The Edmonton Oilers are an unmitigated disaster right now and they're running out of time. We know they have to do something fast to save their season, so where are they looking right now, C.J.?

Johnston: Well, they're looking everywhere they can for something that might spark the group. Of course that includes external conversations, but what I would caution you against is jumping to the conclusion that there's going to be some sort of trade here, something that will make the fix come from external. Because, first of all, to make that happen you have to find another team in as desperate a position as you are to make a trade right now, or you have to make a bad trade - overpay perhaps to bring in another player. So, I think the Oilers are looking internally in terms of trying to get themselves to play better and I think one option to consider as well is that Jack Campbell, who's been down in the American Hockey League playing in Bakersfield coming off a shutout there is a potential option to come back up and rejoin the Oilers. So maybe, at least initially here in the short term, that's the kind of move they might make to try to spark a better outcome. 

Reda: A month after the death of former Pittsburgh Penguin Adam Johnson the IIHF is looking to make a significant move to help prevent similar tragedies in the future, Darren.

Dreger: Yeah, preliminary discussions on making neck protection mandatory for international events under the governing body of the IIHF. This comes amid the hockey world continuing to mourn the loss of Adam Johnson. The talks are initial but the expectation is that it will be implemented in some fashion. Is that across the board for all international events, including amateur and pro? We're going to have to wait and see, but there could be more to this in terms of a final decision no later than the end of November. 

Reda: Always interesting to see what a player does in the final year of his contract, and given what Elias Pettersson is doing, does it make sense for him to wait and watch the price go up, Chris?

Johnston: Well certainly I don't think he's in as big a rush as some of the other players out there. I look at William Nylander, maybe Elias Lindholm and these are pending unrestricted free agents. In Pettersson's case, and obviously he's off to a hot start with the Vancouver Canucks, he does have one more year of restricted free agent availability and there's always the possibility, even though discussions are ongoing with the Canucks, that he uses that year. He could go to arbitration this summer. He could even just take his qualifying offer, which would be over $8 million so as I think all agents and players are trying to get their mind wrapped around where the salary cap is going, we're finally going to emerge from this freeze that we've been in the last few seasons, I think that Pettersson maybe isn't in as big a rush to make a big decision right now. Maybe he'll let the season play out a bit more and use that extra time to make a decision, if needed.

Reda: Big news out of Chicago, the Blackhawks have announced that Taylor Hall is going to need knee surgery and will be gone for the rest of the regular season. How did they decide that now was the time for that surgery?

Johnston: What's interesting in this case is that Taylor Hall probably could've kept playing through this. Now to do that, it would've meant maybe some games off, some games on, managing the circumstances which is what he'd been doing in the early part of the season. But here in the last couple days this week, he and the Blackhawks came to a mutual understanding that it's best to just get the surgery, accept the fact he's more than likely done for this year, and start focusing on next season. Remember he is under contract to Chicago next year, remains a part of what they want to do as they're looking to rebuild the team.

Reda: Let's focus on the Flyers now and they're right on the playoff bubble, always interesting to see whether teams become buyers or sellers at the U.S. Thanksgiving break. Which way do you see them headed, Dregs?

Dreger: I can tell you that they're interested in either becoming a wheeler or a dealer, but that's not because they're trying to sell off assets here, it's because they want to build a stronger foundation for the future. They're willing to listen basically on every position - not every player, but every position. They feel like they've got the assets to move. I'm looking at a couple of veteran defencemen, I'm looking at Sean Walker and Nick Seeler. These guys are 29, 30 years of age with the Philadelphia Flyers, they're in the 20-plus range in terms of the minutes that they can consume so in terms of depth defencemen, I think that [Flyers general manager] Danny Briere is going to continue to get interest in those two guys.  

Reda: The Patrick Kane watch continues, he's widdled his list down, how close is he to finding a new home, Darren?

Dreger: Well he's gotta be really close, as we talked about earlier in the week. This week was a bit of a stretch, given U.S. Thanksgiving, and the Kane family is no different than most American families they want the time to be with those close to them and they're not worried or pressured to make a decision so there is no rush for Kane. But we should expect that, given the process they've gone through, they'll make that call early next week.