Oilers at Avs, G 61, ’10-’11

As long as I’m alive, the Colorado Avalanche will be Joe Sakic’s team. The Avs enjoyed a nice run there for over a decade with elite talents (Joe, Foppa) and a strong support group.

Last season it looked like they were going to skip the re-tooling and go right to winning divisions and making final fours. However, they have fallen into the turmoil that is the second division this season. And you could argue that Ryan O’Reilly would have been better off staying in junior last season (and this) but Oiler fans are familiar with such development issues.

I think Tom Renney is a smart guy, but sometimes his decisions are difficult to understand. After a third period on the weekend that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hall + Hemsky= effective PP, the coach kept them far apart last night. In a building where goals go to die, it was beyond curious.

According to Dan Tencer’s twitter, there is a Laddy Smid for Jonathan Blum deal on the table and being discussed by Nashville and the Tillerman. Oilers had scouts at the CBS game last night (according to reports) and it is the kind of trade teams routinely make at the deadline.

The players involved are not close in style. Smid is a big, strong kid with lots of defensive tools and an ability to get hurt at a moment’s notice; lately, he’s honed that ability to the point where he no longer needs a member of the opposition to inflict injury. He’s a do it yourselfer.

Blum has decent size but is a finesse defensemen. Finesse defemsemen like Tom Gilbert can be very effective, but we don’t like them much in Edmonton. Not enough grit and stupidity for our liking. Blum has performed well in the AHL:

  • 80gp, 11-30-41 +17 (age 20)
  • 54gp, 8-26-34 +7 (age 21)

He was the CHL defenseman of the year in 2008-09 and won the Bill Hunter award (best defenseman) the same season. Ladislav Smid is having his normal season, and the Oilers needed more. During the reasonable expectations series, I wrote:

  • This will be the season for Ladislav Smid to establish himself in some very important roles. Top 4 defender, plenty of time on the penalty-kill and perhaps most important staying healthy.

There is some danger in deadling Smid at this time. He’s not expensive, and his size/speed combination has real value. There’s also the chance they are going to Matt Greene here; by that I mean dealing a DD just as he’s turning the corner. The club dealt Greene at age 25 (he had played 151 NHL games); Smid is age 25 and has played 309 NHL games.

If the Oilers deal for another finesse D in Blum, that’ll make a bushel from that category. Tom Gilbert, Taylor Chorney and Jeff Petry could all be placed in a group, with Ryan Whitney playing a more “complete” game.

The black hats belong to Theo Peckham (who has probably made Smid expendable–if he is), Jim Vandermeer (about to be dealt one would think), Jason Strudwick (pretty much done) and Alex Plante (likely to be recalled, possibly as soon as tonight if Chorney’s really hurt).

Whitney (and perhaps Petry) boast a wide range of skills, and I would argue Gilbert is extremely effective (although lacking confidence at this time). Looking at the depth chart, I’d hope that Blum would have a wider range of skills if he’s to be the return for Smid.

Hurry Marincin.

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