Report: Blue Jackets' Umberger could be sent to Oilers for Gagner

June 3, 9:26 AM

Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger has requested to be moved in the offseason, and word out of Columbus is a trade partner may be found in Edmonton.

According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, there have been discussions revolving around a deal that would see Umberger traded to the Oilers in exchange for center Sam Gagner:

It's out there, and it makes a lot of sense ... on paper. Gagner has backpedaled since a strong start of his career, and the Oilers would love to get out from under his $4.8 million cap hit and his $5 million salary the next two seasons ... [Umberger] has three years remaining at $4.6 million per season. The salary number is almost a match, but the Blue Jackets may still need to pay some of Umberger's salary to help offset the third year. That's legal under the new CBA. The Oilers want more size and grit. They could use somebody to stand in front of the net and chew up space. This could happen. 

Umberger, 32, registered 18 goals and 16 assists in 74 games for Columbus in 2013-14, while Gagner, 24, posted 10 goals and 27 assists in 67 games.

One sticking point may be Umberger's limited no-trade clause; he is set to give the Blue Jackets a list of ten teams to which he may not be traded on June 15, and it's quite possible that Edmonton will be one of those cities.

As David Staples of the Edmonton Journal notes, Umberger would fill a need for the Oilers, and while general manager Craig MacTavish "has shown an affinity for this kind of deal" (adding the likes of Andrew Ference and Matt Hendricks), it may be wiser "to turn an asset like Gagner into a player aged 21 to 25, entering into his prime years, rather than a player leaving them."

Gagner, for his part, has been linked to trade rumors for quite some time.

This particular deal would depend on Umberger's willingness to move to Alberta, which is certainly no guarantee.