Improving the blue - Part 2 of a series | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Improving the blue - Part 2 of a series

In a continued series, we take a look at ways the Edmonton Oilers can improve their situation on defence, an area that Edmonton is clearly the weakest.

We last looked at the option of Mike Green as a UFA out of Washington. There are some who aren't sold on Green, citing his lack of defensive awareness as a reason not to spend what could be $5-$6 million per season on this player. I'm not sure I agree. Green has proven top-tier offensive talent, can quarterback the power play and has not yet reached an age of concern. Even in bad seasons, Mike Green is good for 40 points which is well beyond what any other defenceman did with Edmonton last season.

With the news that Todd McLellan is officially going behind the bench as coach next season, today we look at Brent Burns.

Burns got 60 points in 82 games last season with the Sharks and isn't a likely candidate to be traded from San Jose, but it's interesting to look at knowing that Burns is exactly the type of player Edmonton could use. In fact, Burns is the kind of player every NHL team could use. Size and a willingness to use it, skill, a hard shot and tons of useful NHL experience. Not likely a player most NHL teams would let loose.

However, there will be change in San Jose (how the Oilers were able to sign McLellan) and nothing should be excluded from the realm of possibility. Brent Burns has a limited no-trade clause that requires he provide three teams he'd approve a trade to and in the past Edmonton wouldn't have been on it; except, the Oilers now have a coach that Burns is on record having loved playing for and it was noted Burns would be willing to look closer at a team like Edmonton and consider the option with McLellan as coach.

Burns is a minute-eating defenceman. He can play in all situations and is on the level of the top ten elite defenders in the NHL. The kicker is, he also plays a ton of time at forward when called upon and does extremely well there. In 2013-14, Burns had 22 goals and 60 points, splitting time between the two positions. He's big, uses his size and likes the gritty style that would make him a top-end power forward.

Burns has a ton of World Championship experience playing for Canada, has been an all-star and is just a strange enough dude to fit in well with a team that is young and looking for an identity.

If a team were able to convince Burns to come over and able to get San Jose to bit, it won't come cheap. Edmonton would likely need to move it's 16th overall first round draft pick, a high-end prospect and a player like Justin Schultz or Martin Marincin and that may not be enough.

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