Are the Oilers looking at McCabe?

the Oilers’ back end also needs a puck-moving defenceman. There’s no sense having forwards Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi and Ales Hemsky come back 180 feet to get on the attack, when one 60-foot head-man pass will send them on their way.

That’s a longer story for another day, but Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini certainly is looking. Yes, we know young Carl Gunnarsson’s name keeps coming up because the Toronto Maple Leafs have too many blue-liners and badly need forwards — where the Oilers are top heavy — but is the Swede really the answer? Or has Tambellini filed away the cellphone number of free agent Bryan McCabe?

Here’s what we know, with the Oilers having to fill out their 23-man roster with the NHL head office by 1 p.m. MDT on Wednesday:

• Defencemen Ryan Whitney (ankle), Ladislav Smid (shoulder) and Taylor Chorney (knee) should be categorized as nothing better than iffy to be ready for the regular-season opener against Evgeni Malkin, but likely not Sidney Crosby, when the Pittsburgh Penguins drop by on Sunday at Rexall Place. If Whitney plays, he’ll be doing it on the fly — he did not play in any exhibition games, and has not played any games in more than nine months. Maybe the Oilers will decide to send him to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League to play a couple of tune-up games first.