Oilers Trade Jason Smith

The Edmonton Oilers made a big trade this afternoon, sending away a veteran leader and quality NHL defenseman (captain Jason Smith) and an enigma with talent (Joffrey Lupul) in a deal for a young, talented RFA who was in the doghouse (Joni Pitkanen) and a veteran winger (Geoff Sanderson) who’ll help this season and give the kids at LW time to make the grade at the NHL level.

Joni Pitkanen will be 24 in September and made $2M last season. He’s 6-3, 215 and is a talented defender with a wide range of skills who fell on hard times with a Flyers team that had a season as long as the Oilers did in 06-07. I like Pitkanen a lot (always have), and if he can regain his status as a quality blueliner who can move the puck and take care of his own end with rugged play, the Oilers have a big piece of their future. Geoff Sanderson is a merely “stopgap” and is certainly a player who should have success in the MacT system (he’s fast and he’s pretty smart).

It’s hard to sell this trade as helping Edmonton starting in the immediate future, unless there are several things about to fall into place after this deal. The Oilers dealt two players from their major league roster and further weakened their blueline in the process. They simply don’t have enough NHL players to compete in 07-08 as things stand now and today’s deal didn’t see them add NHL calibre players (got two, lost two) and weakening the D by adding youth will make it more difficult next season.

One final note: Jason Smith was a warrior for this hockey club and will be missed tremendously. He is a veteran who will help the suddenly impressive Flyers in a big way. All the best to a fine hockey player who gave this city everything he had for a long damn time.

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45 Responses to "Oilers Trade Jason Smith"

  1. Shawn says:

    I think landing Pitkanen is something you have to do. However, Smith and Lupul is almost more of a return than we got for Pronger.

  2. Tyler says:

    Philly’s in town next year. I suspect that Lupul and Smith might get different reactions.

  3. Doogie says:

    “Almost?” Considering Smid and Lupul was the damned return, almost my ass.

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of the Gator, and can only hope that this is a net improvement in the long run. Lupul? Can still go fuck himself.

  4. momentai says:


    But Philly really only 2 assets. I kid. I kid.

    I wish Gator all the best. He was basically drowned with the youth last season on the blueline after keeping afloat until Christmas or thereabouts. A lot of respect for his work there…

    Ironic that we had Lupul who Lowe was coveting in that draft and traded him to get another player Lowe was also coveting.

  5. Asiaoil says:

    We got the best player – for a change

  6. twain says:

    I like the deal quite a bit; it doesn’t make us better next year (although the addition of losing Lupul might be so great that it will), but Pitkanen is exactly the kind of player we needed for our rebuild.

    Gator will be missed. Great player, great character, tough as nails. Philly will have a pretty decent team this year, from the looks of it.

    Fair trade that is good for both teams.

  7. Shawn says:

    Well Smid, Riley Nash, whatever we get next year…

  8. twain says:

    …and I really like the fact that Lowe admitted his mistake the best way he could and got rid of Lupul.

  9. Andy Grabia says:

    Is this going to be a trade and sign for Pitkanen?

  10. Shawn says:

    So the trade sorta works out to

    Pronger and Smith


    Pitkanen, Sanderson, Smid, Riley Nash, 1rst and 2nd

    We still lose but not as bad

  11. godot10 says:

    Does Charlie Huddy have his work cut out for him in the next couple of years?

    Pitkanen, Greene, Smid, Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Roy, Young, Chorney, Peckham, Petry, Plante.

    A pretty well-balanced set of potential and prospects.

    I hope they re-sign Hejda, with Smith gone.

  12. Mamettt says:

    This is a good deal, both for the longterm and (dare I say it) for the short term- as in, next year.

    Pitkanen is still a player who, in his “awful” season, put up 40 plus point. No oiler d-man even came close to that, and with him and Tarnstrom we should have at least two guys who can really move the puck on the first unit of the pp. Pitkanen is exactly the type of player we needed, and exactly the type of player all team’s covet: a young, puck moving d-man who can play top line minutes in any situation. There are very, very few of them available, and when you have a chance to get them you jump at it.

    If you realize that Lupul was worse than useless for this team last year- a real nothing on either even strenght or the pp- than you naturally come to the conclusion that losing him will have very little impact on the lineup. In fact, his defensive lapses will probably be covered by a guy like Sanderson, and so I think getting rid of Lupul and adding in Sanderson is probably a net-game, or at least an even situation.

    Then you add in Pitkanen for Smith, and while Smith is far and away the better defensive player, he couldn’t move the puck to save his life. And, he’s getting older, slower…he’s still a warrior, and still effective, but ask any team who’d they want over the next five years, and I’d say the majority would choose Pitkanen. Adding in Pitkanen and deleting Smith isn’t a huge loss. We become much better offensively, and worse defensively. But, long term, and perhaps even for the short term (given the offensive boost pitkanen will give this club), this team is better.

    Losing lupul is nothing to fret over, and will not be felt in any way. Smith was an assett that had to be given up to get something of quality, and that quality was Joni Pitkanen. Today is a good day for the oilers, both for next season and hereafter.

    Thanks gator. Hello Joni. And give props to Lowe- he pulled off a good deal in which we got the best player, both now and in the future. That’s not a bad day.

    Hopefully, of course, this is a part of a bigger series of moves, we’ll have to wait and see.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Andy: Yeah, he’s an RFA and I believe he’s eligible for arbitration.

    I’ve gotta say as the deal sinks in it appears Lowe saved $700K as well.

  14. Mr DeBakey says:

    So the trade sorta works out to

    Pronger and Smith

    Don’t forget the Oiler’s 2008 2nd Round Pick

  15. SweatyO says:

    Best of luck Jason Smith. The season-ticket holder print that I have will proudly hang in my condo for many years to come.

  16. Mamettt says:

    I would hasten to add, let’s not forget the stretches of last year where Smith looked lost and hurting. When we think of Smith, its important to remember the 2007 version (effective, but getting slower and more mistake prone), not the monster he was during the pre-lockout days, or even during the playoff run. He’ll be missed, but not as badly as some here may believe.

    And if you replace him with a Hannan or Hamrlik, then forget about it…this team is far and away better. I have very little hesitation about giving up Smith to get Pitkanen.

  17. Doogie says:

    So is Sanderson coming in as the mythical scoring winger, or is he more of a support guy at this stage of his career? I’ve seen his numbers, and I kind of wonder if he’s got another 25-goal season in him.

  18. oilerdiehard says:

    I would think the Oiler blogosphere would be happy. There was a lot of rallying to have this kid here and there were some proposals on here that were worse IMO than what we gave up.

    It could have been Torres instead of Lupul. There is all the talk about how deeply Lupul is dragging down this team. I believe Asia even said the other day if we trade Lupul we gain 5 wins next year.

    I really am happy to see Pitkanen coming here. The price was dear just like we knew it would be.

    Stauffer right now sounds truly choked that they traded Lupul. He is talking about Smith but gets choked when Lupul comes up every time.

  19. Loxy says:

    Sanderson is a toss-in. That’s all.

  20. speeds says:

    Well, we’ll have to see what else happens here.

    Pitkanen sign a Whitney type deal shortly?

    I don’t like losing Smith, but having Sanderson in the deal is strange though I guess he’s in as a PHI salary dump.

    I’m kind of surprised they couldn’t get a better pick back, at least a 2nd?

  21. PDO says:


    Good job.

  22. twain says:

    Gomez to the Rangers is a relief; it was possible this set up the overpay for Gomez.

  23. Black Dog says:

    Good trade.

    Sad about Gator but he would have gotten 4 per next summer and there would have been serious angst when they let him go. I think his best days may be behind him.

    Dumped Lupul’s contract.

    Picked up Pitkanen – nice.

    What’s next? D looks good – for 2011.

  24. Josh says:

    Sanderson is way more than a toss in. Like LT said, we need to groom the youngins’ and he’s gonna help make the transition easier. This team is built for contention in a couple years, and we need a vet like Sanderson to help this team not be horrible when we play so many rookies.

  25. Bendelson says:

    Good trade. Nice to see a player get added with a future in Edmonton. Gator was a solid captain but his time was up…

    Ethan will be the new captain I am assuming… I believe KLowe first identified him as ‘a future Captain of the Oilers’ what, 5 years ago?
    It appears to be his time. Hope that shoulder is better.

    Edmonton gets younger on D and Philly gets older… strange.

    Yes, he’s a stop gap, but I’ll enjoy watching Sanderson play this year (I think).

    Lupul will always have a special place in Oiler history. His ‘stint’ in Edm was similiar in ‘taste’ to Jimmy Carson (without the 50 goals)…


  26. PunjabiOil says:

    I like the deal as a stepping stone. Lowe still has to fill 2 holes in the lineup.

    By the way, this trade should give you an indication why it’s important to draft BPA (Cherepanov) instead of drafting for need (Plante)

  27. jb says:

    Anyone else like the sound of a Pitkanen-Smid pair?

    I like the deal, been a Pitkanen fan for quite a while now. Would have MUCH rather have Staios going the other way rather than Smith.

    Have we officially gone into a rebuild season?

  28. Lowetide says:

    At a guess I’ll say that MacTavish will have these pairings:


    But Lowe CAN’T be done.

  29. momentai says:

    jb: Maybe in 3 years… But for next season if I see Smid/Pitkanen as one of our go to pairings… that tells me that we’re going to be in for a long year.

  30. Andy Grabia says:

    I would think the Oiler blogosphere would be happy.

    I like the deal as a stepping stone. Lowe still has to fill 2 holes in the lineup.
    But Lowe CAN’T be done.

    So what is left? Another defenceman, back up goalie, and a forward? Plus he still has to sign RFA’s and Sykora, right?

  31. momentai says:

    Pretty much Andy. We’re looking at some additional help on the blueline, a backup goaltender and a forward that can play ES and a forward that can work on the pp (I think only Stoll/Horcoff/Hemsky qualify right now and MacT would probably prefer to save Horcoff for heavy ES minutes).

    RFA’s are less of a concern because I think only Torres and Greene need to be resigned and I can’t see either being tough negotiations.

  32. uni says:

    Smith mostly looked slower and more mistake prone one would suspect cause he was playing more and harder than he should have been. Hell of a price but Pitkanen is one of those types of players that are worth it.

    Wonder if they can swing a minor trade for a guy like Zhitnik? And I almost wish they could have gotten another forward, but I’ve always been a big fan of Sanderson. Does he still have that speed and shot though.

  33. Lowetide says:

    He needs more NHL players. A goalie, a defenseman and at least two more forwards. Here’s what I would consider a good depth chart:







    They do THAT and I’ll stop bitching and moaning.

  34. uni says:

    Wow, the Leafs lock up Blake for 4 million and 5 years. That’s a darn good deal by my eyes, a 30 goal scorer that can play in any situation. The last year may bite them, but that’s what you go to do sometimes.

    Where are they at the cap now? And I’m still upset about Rask for Raycroft considering what Fernandez, Vokoun, Toskala, and Biron went for.

  35. uni says:

    WTF, 7.3m/7 years for Gomez? 7.1m/5 years for Drury? Has Sather learned nothing?

  36. momentai says:

    I wonder if anyone would like to take a run at Henrik Lundqvist as a RFA. This would be a prime opportunity. The Rangers haven’t filed for arby with him have they?

  37. oilswell says:

    Huge loss on the D for this year and I’m not a Pitkanen fan at this point. Still, it looks like the better player came this way, but clearly this is building for the future at the expense of the present.

    If I’m guessing, I’d say Lowe thinks he’s secured the future D core with four of Pitkanen, Smid, Grebeshkov, Greene, and Gilbert. I’m curious to see if he deals soon because there’s not a lot of room at the inn for solidifying vets unless he upgrades Staios somehow.

  38. Steve says:

    Does anybody think that it’s realistic for the Oilers to sign a defenseman like Sutton or Vishnevski for a low enough price that there’s still money left for Sykora, one of Nagy or Kariya, and a backup? I’d be prepared to bet on that team (or the one that Lowetide put together a few posts up) to make the playoffs. But I’m concerned that budget runs out before we hit either of those points.

  39. Aaron Paquette says:

    You know, I don’t keep up as much as I’d like with other teams’ finances. How are they doing in comparison? Is it common around the league to have as many issues juggling the budget in order to put together a playoff team?

  40. Lowetide says:

    aaron: Yes.

  41. Andy Grabia says:

    Kariya is off the table. Went to the Blues of all places.

    We’re looking at some additional help on the blueline, a backup goaltender and a forward that can play ES and a forward that can work on the pp

    Is that the royal “we”?

    He needs more NHL players.
    Why start now, LT?

  42. Aaron Paquette says:


  43. jon says:

    Chiming in a bit late, but I think it was the right time to move Smith and I like getting Pitkanen, at least for now. If he doesn’t put the effort in he’s going to become the team goat rather quickly.

    I think it’s the right time to move Smith for a few reasons. Yes, he was slowing down a bit and losing a bit of effectiveness, but that’s not the main thing. He only had 1 more year to UFA and on our D for this upcoming season he would have played a very prominant role again, above his comfort level. Come time to re-sign him he would be asking for a price tag fitting for the role (first pairing) he was playing, and not his best role and effectiveness (second pairing). Would anyone be comfortable with paying Smith 4-5 million AFTER this coming season? I doubt it. Now was the time to move him.

  44. Dennis says:

    I’m late to this party but I really like the move. I’ll never forgive Lowe for dealing with Ana and not knowing that Lupul was never ready to play in Edm, but at least now he’s admitted that mistake and is trying to bring some good of it and I gotta give him credit for that.

    I’m not one of the guys who thinks that Gator’s really going downhill or anything, him and Shaggy did some good work with tough min early in the year as did Gator and Hejda later on when the injuries struck us. I just think that going forward it’s time to start spending that much icetime on a guy that can make a pass. I got sick of seeing guys rimming the puck around and icing the puck and turning it over. I also got sick of Lupul but I’ll get to that when I finish:) I wish Gator well and I hope a Cup’s in his future but if that’s what it took to get Pitkanen, I’m all for it. Maybe JP had reached the point in Philly where it isn’t gonna happen for him but he’s got so much bloody potential. Even when he was bad this year, he was pretty good in terms of what the Oilers were icing.

    I have to say that I’ve wanted Pitkanen for awhile and I’m sad to see 21 go but the more I think about this deal, the more I like it. There’s been an awful lot of recent evidence that points to Lowe being an idiot, ie Pronger-Smyth-draft trades and the fact that Smyth’s now in Col, and the truth is that Lowe should’ve been fired by now. But if we’ve got to put up with him, I’d like to have at least some confidence in him and I think this is a move in the right direction.

    Finally, it’s just wonderful to not have to watch Lupul next year. All the numbers are there but people have to idea just how bad his ’07 season was. I’m glad that nightmare is over with

  45. jd says:

    “So the trade sorta works out to

    Pronger and Smith


    Pitkanen, Sanderson, Smid, Riley Nash, 1rst and 2nd

    We still lose but not as bad”

    Loving it now arent we. Nash put up some serious points. Funny to look at all this now.

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