In last night’s game thread we got to talking about trade bait. It is always somewhat predictable based on things like contract and who is struggling, plus this season we have the added bonus of MacT and his new-found Turrets.
If we know the Oilers problems (PK, RH C, maybe another veteran D to play in the top 4D and some grit) then sure as hell the guy coaching them has an idea. They need a Mike Sillinger, an Ian Laperriere, maybe a Brendan Witt.
So if we can identify need, can we also pinpoint successfully what teams might want in return? I think we can.
The initial reaction is to suggest names that we as fans might want to get rid of, and that list is wide-ranging depending on who you’re reading.
The reality is that other NHL teams already have their own stalled prospects, million-dollar free agent flops and men who have lost a step.
Here then are (imo) the top 5 players who could be in play now through the trade deadline. The list assumes the Oilers are buyers:
- Robert Nilsson: Reasonable salary ($2M in the next two seasons) and cap hit (1.833) plus the fact that he’s already done some things in the NHL at a fairly young age make him attractive. I imagine Nilsson is among the first players mentioned by the other side, and that’s despite the comments from MacT. In fact, Nilsson’s response (he played well last night) may even further his value.
- Jeff Deslauriers: We seem to be having quite the conversation here about JDD’s value or lack thereof, but if Jason Gregor says teams are asking after the big goalie then I believe him. Gregor is an established broadcaster and doesn’t need to make crap up to succeed in his business. I also think that there may be NHL teams who liked him on draft day and haven’t been especially impressed with how he’s been handled since turning pro. A wise organization may see a diamond in the rough here. My own opinions about JDD are well known, but I’m prepared to accept the “smoke–then fire” theory in regard to his trade value.
- Mathieu Garon: Reasonable contract and he showed last year that when things break right Garon can play. Has a super friendly contract and would do as a rental so teams don’t have to be in “dump” mode to acquire him as the Oilers already have the position covered. Teams would likely be getting a hard worker too, as nothing inspires like getting a new life in the bigs.
- Marc Pouliot: I can see a team like the Islanders dealing off their veteran for a younger man who can perhaps fill the job in the future. I don’t know about Sillinger’s health but it seems to me that a deal with those two men is reasonable. I’m a Pouliot fan and would hate the deal but it does make some sense if you’re trying to save the coach and make the playoffs.
- Denis Grebeshkov: An RFA at season’s end and with Ladislav Smid’s emergence perhaps a player the Oilers could afford to part with at this time. Edmonton has already invested heavily in 09-10 on 4 defenders (Souray, Lubo, Gilbert and Staios will cost about $19M) so picking up a gritty defender who can play and is signed to a reasonable 09-10 deal might be an option. Perhaps Edmonton could even pick up someone like Jason Smith from Ottawa, as an example.
I haven’t listed players like Rob Schremp or Liam Reddox (or even Theo Peckham) because it’s probably too soon for any team to flush the season for a pure prospect. As we get closer to the deadline we’ll look at the kids on the farm (and in college, junior and Europe).
The Oilers have a coach who needs a lifeline, a clear need and a new GM looking to make his mark. I’m betting he pulls the trigger in the next couple of weeks.