The second that it was announced that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the Oilers answer to its search for a first line center, I had a feeling that Gagner's days here might be numbered.
Minimal progression both statistically and physically IMO are at the root of Sam Gagner's problems. On top of RNH's addition, strong camps from Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, and Ryan Martindale must have been noticed by Oilers brass as well as teams that might have a use for #89. Add in the signing of Eric Belanger and the immovable object that is Shawn Horcoff, and Gagner is in an uphill battle to remain an Oiler.
A few arrows are pointing at the Toronto Maple Leafs in terms of a potential suitor. Coincidentally the Leafs are stacked with NHL defensemen and Brian Burke has shown that he is not afraid to move picks in an attempt to win now.
Music to Tambellini's ears! Picks and defensemen, it sounds like one stop shopping for an ongoing Oilers rebuild. While it is rather doubtful that the Oilers could pry TO's 2012 first round pick, if Tambellini could convince Burke that trading up into the first round in the 2011 draft should have pacified his teams fans after not drafting in the 1st in 2010, maybe it could be done.
Even if the Oilers walk out of a deal with Toronto acquiring a serviceable defenseman that is more than a stop gap and a 2nd round pick, I believe that a return like that as well as a potential return on an Ales Hemsky deadline trade would be enough to call the Oilers drafting portion of the rebuild complete.