Maybe I'm missing something.
Why'd the Oilers trade Sam Gagner again? Given his poor season last year and his value at the time of the trade, I was pretty impressed that MacTavish got a warm body for Gagner, albeit one that was on the verge of being bought out.
But there's not much separating Gagner and Purcell (3-7-10 for Gagner, 4-9-13 for Purcell, both in 28 games) except for the position they play. If there's one thing the Oilers couldn't afford to do, it was to get weaker up the middle. The contracts are basically a wash, too.
The Oilers got bigger with Purcell, but it's not like he's a banger. The guy's got eight hits all season - eight. That's last among all the regular Oilers skaters with more than fifteen games played. Hell, even Gagner's got 25.
So now that we're down to just Nugent-Hopkins as NHL-calibre defensemen available, is it a reasonable criticism that the Gagner trade was ill-conceived? I know things were getting stale with Gagner in Edmonton, but just look at that depth chart.
Ironically, Gagner has spent a fair amount of time playing with former Oilers prospect Tobias Rieder. It just keeps getting better.
Edit: I wrote this article last year at the Copper N Blue. We're even worse off now.