A.J. Jakubec is a radio guy from Ottawa and Bob McKenzie is hockey’s most connected reporter.

That’s a slot of smoke around one trade rumour, but then this Gagner rumour has been threatening to combust for a few weeks now.

On one level this trade rumour makes sense, in that the Los Angeles Kings need skill badly and the Edmonton Oilers need size and toughness badly.

Let’s focus on Clifford, 23, who is 6-feet, 2-inch, 211-pounds, the right size and age for a trade target. The Oilers don’t need to pick up any more bottom line players who are right at their “best before” date, as seen with the Ben Eager and Eric Belanger experiments.

In 48 games this year, Clifford has three goals and two assists, Luke Gazdic country, and Gazdic is an AHL-level player with NHL enforcer skills.

Clifford gets the 12th most time-on-ice per game for Kings forwards this year, 9:28 per game, so at least he’s trusted with more ice time than Gazdic, who gets 5:37 per game, most of it spent in the Oilers end of the ice.

Clifford also has 132 hits, while Gazdic has 76.

So it’s pretty safe to say Clifford would be an improvement over Gazdic on the fourth line. But would he be anything more than that?