Suggesting trade targets for the Oilers plus the latest speculation on Eric Staal and P.A. Parenteau in the final NHL rumor roundup of 2015.

Trade options for the Oilers.

Could the Oilers part with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (left) or Jordan Eberle for a top-two defenseman in 2016?

Could the Oilers part with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (left) or Jordan Eberle for a top-two defenseman in 2016?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson predicts the Oilers will make a trade for a defenseman in 2016, either before the Feb. 29 trade deadline or at the draft. He believes it’ll take dangling center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or maybe dealing winger Jordan Eberle to the Anaheim Ducks for blueliner Sami Vatanen, who’s very good on the power play. He also wonders if the Oilers might make a play for Dustin Byfuglien if the Winnipeg Jets defenseman hits the free-agent market. Matheson also predicts the Oilers will remain linked to New York Islanders blueliner Travis Hamonic, who’s seeking a trade close to his home in Manitoba. Unless the Oilers first-round pick in 2016 is once again the first overall selection, Matheson predicts it will definitely be in play.

Matheson also notes there’s been a lot of talk late of Nashville Predators GM David Poile recently making inquiries about Nugent-Hopkins. If the Oilers were interested in Predators captain Shea Weber, Matheson believes it’ll cost Nugent-Hopkins plus a defenseman to get him, with Oscar Klefbom the likely candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson really, really wants the Oilers to land Weber, doesn’t he? At least that’s how it seems to me. Not that I blame him, but Predators GM David Poile consistently insists he’s not trading Weber. Maybe he’ll change his mind if the Predators miss the playoff this season or suffer another early postseason elimination, but if so, that won’t happen until the summer. Even then, it’s not a certainty.

It certainly could cost the Oilers one of their good young forwards like Nugent-Hopkins or Eberle to land a proven top-two defenseman. Packaging either of them with the Oilers’ first round pick in 2016 would be very attractive to some rival clubs seeking young forward depth. I doubt they’ll be able to successfully woo Byfuglien via free agency. 

Latest Eric Staal speculation.

Matheson ponders the possibility of the Anaheim Ducks trading for Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and placing him on left wing on their first line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not if the Ducks remain mired near the bottom of the Western Conference standings by Feb. 29. 

Parenteau could be valuable deadline trade bait. 

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes Maple Leafs winger P.A. Parenteau could be attractive to playoff contenders by the Feb. 29 trade deadline. He’s on an affordable one-year deal and is enjoying a bounce-back performance this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parenteau won’t fetch a low first-round pick, as TSN’s Darren Dreger last week suggested the Leafs could get for Leo Komarov, but he could fetch perhaps a second-rounder or a prospect. With nine goals and 19 points in 36 games, the 32-year-old forward is on pace for a 20-goal, 42-point performance.