Ryan Smyth put a lot of miles on during those WHC’s each spring and one of the things I’m supremely pleased about is that he’s going to get a nice chance in Colorado this spring to win the Stanley.
The return on Smyth has been an up and down kind of thing (Nilsson is establishing himself as a replacement level NHL regular–not a shot at him in any way that’s an accomplishment, O’Marra scored a goal in the AHL tonight which means he’s actually in the AHL and Alexandre Plante is finally healthy enough to play although his offense is way off) but there’s always this year.
Here’s a list of current Oilers I can see headed out of town:
- Steve Staios: Any team looking for a trip deep into the playoffs is also looking for more defense. The Senators loaded up a few years back and still found themselves short as their blueline was felled by injury. Staios has shown some signs of wear which Kevin Lowe is always very aware of (Janne Niinimaa’s trade was amazingly well-timed) and Staios is valuable enough (and signed for long enough) that a fairly handsome return (1st rd pick or possibly a young contributing player). Defenseman usually go for more than you’d think at the deadline and Staios could help a team looking for a third pairing guy who could jump onto the second pairing if needed. A nice group of posts on Staios appears in the comments section of the thread below (Sunday Minor League Report)
- Jarret Stoll: He’s having a tough, tough season. At this point Jarret Stoll is going to be taking a massive cut in pay next season and I could see the Oilers walking away ala Boyd Devereaux. Having said that, he does have specific strengths and they have value to a playoff team. Stoll’s solid in the FO circle (he’s at 54.2% which is 20th in the NHL) and he’s used heavily on both special teams. I can see the Oilers getting a nice young prospect or a pick for Stoll from a team who recently “saw him good” like the Islanders. I like that Jeff Tambellini kid a ton, he’s got 25 AHL goals to lead that league, and that’s no beer league.
- Joni Pitkanen: He’s had some signability problems and since we haven’t heard anything from either side in terms of a new contract it has to be at least a concern. Lowe doesn’t have a ton of money to play with this summer so losing a Pitkanen now for good return is at least an option. A solid pick plus a player would be a must since he’s not yet a UFA.
- Dick Tarnstrom: Oh, he’s gone baby. The question is what is he worth? My guess is a 3rd rd pick because defensemen who can play are so valuable this time of season and Tarnstrom will be very well rested.
- Dwayne Roloson: He costs a lot and he’s got another season left, but Roloson (like veteran defenders) is a guy who can step in when needed. Oilers might have to take back some salary in return but it looks like Jeff Deslauriers is ready for a backup role at the NHL level so clearing his money off the books should be a priority.
I don’t see many other trading chips. Either it would be suicide (Horcoff, Hemsky) or the value isn’t strong enough (Sanderson) to bother. Reasoner might be a guy who a team looks to add for depth.