In a way, all these injuries to the Oilers' defense could end up being a good thing. It's put the focus of the fan base squarely on the organization's defensive depth and the need for a trade that will solidify the backend. The trade may not happen right away, but at least management knows that the fans know that the defense is lacking. So who might the Oilers be after?
Jonathan Willis gave his two cents about why Toronto's Carl Gunnarsson may be a good fit in Edmonton. There isn't much more that needs to be said about the merits of acquiring this player except perhaps what it would take to get him.
Brian Burke isn't under pressure to move a player like Gunnarsson. If the Oilers were after Mike Komisarek and his $4.5 million cap hit, the deal would probably happen instantly. As it is, Gunnarsson's cap hit is just $1.325 million for the next two years and then he's an RFA. The Leafs have 7 NHL-quality defenders on their current roster, but Jake Gardiner is a raw rookie and keeping some veteran insurance can't hurt.
Incidentally, after a series of trades involving the Oilers' 2008 first round pick that Anaheim acquired after the Penner offer sheet, then-GM Brian Burke used the 17th overall pick he ended up with to select Gardiner. The race is now officially on between Gardiner and Eberle (former 2008 first rounder acquired from Anaheim in the Pronger deal).
Would Burke trade Gunnarsson for a Tyler Pitlick or Curtis Hamilton type? Unlikely. Fans in Leafland are getting impatient and if Burke is going to trade a roster player at this point, it's probably going to have to be for a player that can step in and make an impact. Are the Oilers ready to part with such a player? Maybe, but one would think that their eyes are fixed on bigger, better targets than Gunnarsson if players like Omark or Hartikainen are in the discussion.