The Edmonton Oilers are likely moving Sam Gagner — to the wing on Friday and, if the buzz is true, out of Edmonton before the trade deadline.

It is only a matter of time before we start seeing casualties of a rebuild gone horribly wrong, and speculation is that it will begin with him.

But it probably won’t end there.

With a season as bad as this one, and a rebuild as far behind schedule as this one, hard moves are inevitable. The Oilers need three, maybe four, top-six forwards in the 210-225 pound range to round out the none they already have, they need a No.1 and a No. 2 defenceman and they need a starting goalie.

There’s no evidence in Oklahoma City to suggest any of those ingredients are on the way any time soon and there’s no reason to believe an organization that drafted and developed itself into an eight-year desert walk is suddenly going to draft and develop itself into a contender.

Even if they tried, it would take four, five or even six years (dangerously close to the end of the Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle contracts) of everything going perfectly on the home-grown front before they are a top four team in the West.

In order to get the premium ingredients their scouts can’t find, before the entire organization collapses on itself, there seems no other option than to serve up some of their young players.

Bold moves, here we come.

Gagner would be a start, but it’s not unrealistic to think Nail Yakupov and/or Eberle could be next.

“I’ve been through trade rumours my whole career, it seems,” said Gagner, who signed a three-year-contract in the summer with the understanding he’d play it out here. “It’s something I’m used to at this point. Unless something actually comes about, it’s not something I’m worried about.

“There’s going to be trade rumours if the team’s not successful and if I haven’t produced at the level I’m accustomed to as well. You have to expect that.

“I just have to continue to play the same way I’ve been playing the last little bit here and get back to that production level and all the other things will work themselves out.”

As a means to that end, or possibly another, more permanent end, the Oilers skated Gagner on the first line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Thursday in practice and might go there Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.