The wheeling and dealing is underway in this summer’s NHL trade/free agent frenzy. The Oilers need to make a few deals like the “Kyle Brodziak for picks” trade at the draft last year. The problem for Steve Tambellini is probably this: the players he wants to move out are not getting any interest and his keepers are in heavy demand. What to do? Well let’s start by listing the players/prospects that are likely unavailable:
- Hemsky, Penner, Gagner, Gilbert, Whitney, Paarjavi, Eberle, #1 overall selection.
Your list might be a little different, but those are the 8 most valuable assets on the team. Whitney and Gilbert are there because after those two the Oilers are painfully weak on the blue. Next up, let’s list the players who, while not inner circle members of the cluster, do deliver value and for the 10-11 roster:
- Horcoff, Brule, Pouliot, Cogliano, Potulny, Jones, Stortini, Smid, Khabibulin, Deslauriers or Dubynk.
This group will see some changes over the summer, more on that later. Three goaltenders, one more defender, and some pretty good forwards who are either overpaid or have some flaw on their resume. Still, useful players and a few with long careers (likely) ahead. Now, let’s list the players who may have some impact on the 10-11 roster but shouldn’t be counted on to fill important roles:
- Omark, Vande Velde, Peckham, Plante, Chorney, Jacques, Stone
The next group would be the UFA target list but we don’t know the names (although it’ll be full of defensemen) and that’s for another post. Finally, we have the group of players who (for whatever reason) the team will try to move this summer:
- Souray, Moreau, Nilsson, O’Sullivan
These 4 players don’t have to move, in fact I wonder if they can move that Souray contract at all. But if we were to ask Tambellini the question and in a moment of weakness he let down his guard, we have good evidence these are the 4 men on his hit list.
- Souray: For a team like the Rangers or Dallas, Souray has some value. The Oilers could take back a problem contract of their own in the deal and that could save the day. I don’t know that there’s any urgency to get this done before July 1, so wouldn’t call it a likely scenario this week.
- Nilsson or O’Sullivan: I was very interested to see what Nashville did yesterday, sending away Jason Arnott. The return (Halischuk) was a physical winger and the Preds need to add offense. I don’t think this is a team that will chase a Spezza, so someone like O’Sullivan or Nilsson might fit the bill. This deal (if NAS wants either player) would likely come this week.
- Moreau: I think this is a player who might move this week for a late pick. If he doesn’t get done this week, then a buyout looms. I’ll bet beer he isn’t back in the fall.
Next up, let’s make up a list of players other NHL teams will want from Tambellini. I think this group will end up answering the question “who goes first” later in the week.
- Smid: Remember when the Avs dealt Ryan Smyth to LAK and the return was inexpensive D with NHL experience? The Oilers have very little depth at the position and it would make little sense to deal him, but this is a player of interest for other NHL teams. This is about where the Oil dealt Matt Greene, too.
- Peckham: I can see an NHL team asking after “Wreckum” because he’s done his minor league time, played against tough opponents in that very difficult league, and is on the verge of regular NHL employment.
- Brule: He scored 15EV goals last season and was a lottery pick. Still only 23, a team could absolutely see him as an attractive top 6F option and ask about him.
- Cogliano: He’s been in the NHL for three seasons now and has averaged 15 goals a season. It isn’t too hard to imagine that another NHL team might see him as a talented kid who struggled with ham-handed linemates last season.
- Potulny: If you can’t trade Nilsson but teams are offering you value for Potulny, wouldn’t you consider it? 7 powerplay goals last season. He could fetch something nice.
- Pouliot: I think he showed enough to get another season with the team, but his injury history and establishing himself by sundial must bring its own frustration. He is a very useful player and certainly has value.
- Dubnyk or Deslauriers: One of them is apparently heading out of town and I think another NHL team might offer a reasonable pick. The Oilers have suffered through most or all of the painful development period and both of these goalies will get long auditions in an NHL town over the next few seasons.
- Riley Nash: There seems to be a disconnect between team and player, with Nash apparently spending another season at Cornell in 10-11. There was a very specific rumor out of Boston naming the player coming in return (Lehtonen) from a year ago (it is in Matty’s EJ stuff again today) so there’s probably a deal to be made this week.
Here is my list for “who goes first” from most to least likely:
- Andrew Cogliano
- Gilbert Brule
- Marc Pouliot
- Riley Nash
- Ryan Potulny
- Dubnyk or Deslauriers
- Sheldon Souray
- Patrick O’Sullivan
- Robert Nilsson
- Ethan Moreau
- Ladislav Smid
- Theo Peckham