Bait

Every year around this time I have a look at potential trade pieces on the roster for the deadline. My list might be a little different than your list, and I suspect it’s a lot different than the Oilers list.

I’ve heard several comments from trustworthy sources (last night, Ray Ferraro) in regard to Tom Renney’s belief that Andrew Cogliano can fill that 3rd line role we’ve been discussing since 2006 summer. Cogliano’s faceoff percentage is 43.2, which ranks him 3rd on the roster among regulars. He ranks 3rd among forwards in SH TOI (1:57 per game) and the coach likes him.

I don’t believe Andrew Cogliano is currently on a list of players Edmonton plans to shop at the deadline.

Who is?

Zack Stortini. Coach Renney: “I love his ability to get in on the body, go hard to the net, be a real physical presence,” said Renney. “He has a little bit of a limitation when it comes to skating. No limitations with his ability to think the game or his desire to play the game. I’d love to see him get the ugly goal, but he is a very hard scratch because of the heart he brings to this organization every single day.” The article for that quote is here. In it, Joanne Ireland talks of Renney saying that if Stortini could skate like Cogliano he’d be in the lineup everyday. If wishes were horses.

Kurtis Foster. I think they’ll shop him a little because defensemen always have such high value at the deadline. A team looking for some help on the PP might be willing to give up a solid draft pick or prospect for Foster. He is signed for another year, but at $1.8M the contract shouldn’t be a major hurdle.

Jim Vandermeer. He is a free agent at the end of the season and was playing well when injured. Guys like Vandermeer have value because their contracts won’t be a burden moving forward and because teams always need defensemen. Do you remember the reason Buffalo lost to Carolina in 2006 spring? Do you remember the payback for Steve Staios? Defensemen have value.

Ladislav Smid. The big man is still struggling to get into a weak top 4 and it might be time to cut bait with him. I know that many believe this blog has a personal vendetta against Smid, but the truth is he hasn’t been able to make the next step. I do think that NHL general managers would find him an attractive addiiton because of the toolkit. Sometimes the light doesn’t turn on until a player reaches his mid-20′s. Jason Smith was such a player, Smid could be one too. I think the Oilers would deal him at the deadline if the price was right.

Dustin Penner. The Oilers under MacT were quite vocal about his shortcomings. The microphones have been put away, but I suspect Kevin Lowe and company still think the big man should return some of the loot. I disagree, for me Penner is the one big forward who can lean on people and he’s certainly skilled enough to play on a 1line in the NHL. Still, my bet is he’s shopped and if the value is strong enough he’ll be a Penguin (or King) at the deadline.

Gilbert Brule. Brule has faded after a nice start and (unlike Cogliano) there doesn’t seem to be much push back from the player. He’s kind of a lost soul on the ice, and the things that get him noticed (goals, hits) aren’t plentiful or effective enough for him to keep up with the other high draft picks. I think an NHL team could get him for a good price, so I’ll say Phoenix makes a bid.

Ryan Jones. Oilers got a nice contract with Jones and there will be some pressure to cash it for futures. If they don’t trade him, look for Jones to sign a 2-year deal with the club. They should make a decision on him either way before the deadline, meaning if he isn’t signed then we should expect he’ll be dealt.

There are other possibles (Khabibulin, Jacques, Hemsky) but I don’t think they’ll move based on value, contract or asking price. The big ticket is Penner, but those blue would bring back something nice in trade.

NOTE: We’ve had fun over the years discussing the trade deadline over the last few years:

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