Procurement 2010

The Edmonton Oilers reached an all-time low in the summer of 1993. They finished 92-93 with a 26-50-8 record and were rewarded with the 7th overall pick in the 1993 Entry Draft.

The Oilers had drafted higher than 7 only once (Paul Coffey, #6, 1980) and Barry Fraser’s scouting staff delivered Jason Arnott with the pick.

In many ways the Arnott selection represented the beginning of a new day for the Oilers and their fans. Although the player ended up leaving town under less than ideal circumstances the club had rebounded by the time Arnott exited the scene.

The Oilers drafted a very nice group of players 1993-94 (Arnott, Vyborny, Satan, Smyth) but the heart of the 1990′s cluster came via the trade route.

Here’s a list of Glen Sather’s major trades from January 1993 through summer 1995. I think you’ll agree these deals had a major impact on the team’s makeup through the end of that decade.

  • Esa Tikkanen for Doug Weight
  • Dave Manson for Bo Mironov, Mats Lindgren and a first round pick.
  • Craig MacTavish for Todd Marchant.
  • 1st rd picks in 1996 and 1997 for Curtis Joseph and Mike Grier.

Those trades had a major impact on the team’s future. Glen Sather made some mistakes (Satan being an obvious one) but getting Weight and Joseph along with some important secondary players gave the young drafted Oilers a lot of sock when they came of age.

The other day Dennis King posted several questions on this blog that are worth discussing. Dennis said “when will Lowe make deals like Sharp and Versteeg for little in return? When’s the last time our GM robbed someone like that? And where’s our Kane? Our Toews? Do you see a Keith?”

I’d like to have a lash at the answers.

  1. When will Lowe make deals like Sharp and Versteeg for little in return? I don’t think an organization can count on a steal like the Sharp trade, but his point is well taken that this club isn’t exactly lapping the field when it comes to grey matter. The real problem is that the team just traded Visnovsky and Grebeshkov without getting a Joseph, Weight, Grier or Marchant. They got an established NHL defenseman and a draft pick that may or may not turn into anything but can’t help for years. The rest of the roster players likely to be headed out of town this summer (Souray, Moreau, O’Sullivan) aren’t quality veterans other NHL teams will trade their best prospects for in order to edge closer to a Stanley. Trading is an important way for teams to improve, but you need something of great value heading the other way in order to get a Doug Weight. Rangers wanted a Stanley, so they made the deal. Will someone trade a Doug Weight for Sheldon Souray? Andrew Cogliano?
  2. When’s the last time our GM robbed someone like that? Years ago, probably Sather. Lowe’s high times came at the 2006 deadline and they were trades in reverse to the ones we’re discussing here. I’ll say Tikkanen for Weight, but let’s remember the Satan trade before we give too much credit to Slats.
  3. And where’s our Kane? Our Toews? Do you see a Keith? This is an area I believe Oilers fans should be feeling pretty good about. Although Kane and Toews aren’t usually unavailable unless you’re picking first, the club does indeed have a nice group of young players (Gagner and MPS among them) and Hall/Seguin on the way. I don’t think the draft table is a huge area of concern for the organization, especially if the ownership and upper management leave the scouting department alone. If Seguin>Hall then have some balls and make the pick. My guess is Magnficent Bastard has the stones.

So if we can agree that Steve Tambellini, Kevin Lowe and Pat Quinn (and whoever else is in the room when the decisions are made) aren’t likely to make a Tikkanen for Weight deal anytime soon what does that mean for the amateur procurement department? Where are they going to get the extra bullets?

College free agents. Young European veterans from the Vyborny tree. Marginal NHL players buried under a deep depth chart at a specific position, players with room to grow. The Oilers need to be very active in the procurement of talent outside the draft and trade if they’re serious about building a winner.

The Edmonton Oilers are in need of talent and they are burning daylight on some of this year’s available talent.

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