Last night was a blast on the Al Gore, with talk of Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and various other Bruins in exchange for Hemsky, Paajarvi, Whitney, picks and prizes. There is ‘something in the air’ about these Edmonton Oilers. I think there’s a sense of urgency, a need to improve the areas that are costing victories.
I think the problem is this: not everyone is going to agree on what is needed, the order of importance for the items on the list, and the amount required to pay for the help. If we’re talking Lucic, the haul would be a mountain of assets and could fairly gut the rebuild–moving Edmonton from building a foundation to pressing for the top in a heartbeat.
No. Acquiring Nathan Horton and his contract is one thing, paying in full to get him here? Oilers aren’t there yet. Still, fun.
Here’s (once again) my list of possible assets out at the deadline:
- Ladislav Smid (UFA)
- Ryan Whitney (UFA)
- Mark Fistric (UFA)
- Ryan Jones (UFA)
- Nikolai Khabibulin (UFA)
- Ales Hemsky (UFA 2014)
- Ben Eager (UFA 2014)
- Eric Belanger (UFA 2014)
- Sam Gagner (RFA 2013)
- Theo Peckham (RFA 2013)
I don’t think the Oilers should be trading picks. Not yet, certainly not the first round selection in 2013.
Steve Tambellini arrived late summer of 2008, and about three years later would make the move that defined his time in the GM’s chair: humbling Sheldon Souray and buying out his contract. It happened on the day Tambellini made 7 transactions–putting his stamp on the team.
- February 28, 2011: Oilers trade L Dustin Penner to Los Angeles for D Colten Teubert, 2011 1st rd pick (Oscar Klefbom) and 2012 3rd rd pick (Daniil Zharkov). This trade–at the 2011 deadline–signaled the rebuild would continue for another season. The Oilers dealt a solid top 6 winger in exchange for three assets who are outside the NHL as we speak today, 2 years later. That’s going to make progress difficult. One note: the return for Jarome Iginla last night looks inferior compared to what Edmonton got for Penner. I remain convinced the return on the deal was fine, but giving up/not trying to compete for many seasons in a row was completely unfair to the fanbase.
- June 15, 2011: Oilers sign F Lennart Petrell to a 1-year contract. We didn’t know him then, but Petrell has carved out an NHL career in the same way expansion clubs acquire Euro free agents not under contract as roster options until a better player arrives through trade or the system. He’s still here.
- June 26, 2011: Oilers trade C Colin Fraser and Edmonton’s 2012 7th rd pick (Dmitri Sinitsyn) to Los Angeles for Ryan Smyth. I still think this is a high water mark for the Tambellini regime. Smyth’s return had enormous actual and emotional value, despite the current season’s results.
- June 27, 2011: Oilers do not tender qualifying offers to forwards Zack Stortini and J-F Jacques. The finishing touches on the transactions that flushed the minor league system, from Schremp to Stortini Tambellini did it in record time.
- July 1, 2011: Oilers buy out Sheldon Souray. The story is now infamous and has been re-told so many times I won’t bother here; suffice to say it derailed Souray’s career for a time and robbed the Oilers of an NHL defenseman in a year they probably didn’t want one. A cynic might view this as ‘perfect timing’ or ‘buying the lottery’ but I’m not convinced the Oilers were thinking that far ahead during this period. Their stated concern involved protecting the kids from Souray’s clearly negative view of the organization.
- July 1, 2011: Oilers sign L Ben Eager to a 3-year, $3.3M contract. Eager was the upgrade on Jacques, his resume included being a 1st rd pick and a Stanley cup ring. He was most certainly expected to play in the top 9, but concussions and ineffective play made him waiver worthy halfway through the contract.
- July 1, 2011: Oilers sign D Cam Barker to a 1-year, $2.25M contract. The advanced stats screamed what the boxcars suggested: this player couldn’t help the Oilers team in the role projected. Arriving the same day Edmonton bought out Sheldon Souray, it framed Steve Tambellini’s team building perfectly: he was going the wrong way–and this time, while apparently trying to improve the team.
- July 1, 2011: Oilers sign L Darcy Hordichuk to a 1-year, $825,000 contract. Enforcer signing was a clear upgrade over Zack Stortini, the club signed him for a second season but he did not survive the year, hitting the waiver wire early in the year.
- July 1, 2011: Oilers sign C Eric Belanger to a 3-year, $5.25M contract. What looked like a solid, veteran signing to address C was not successful. Of all the moves Tambellini made, I think it’s fair to say that very few thought it would be this wretched in fact. I’m inclined to file this one under ‘signings that didn’t work out’ as opposed to ‘mistakes in procurement.’
- July 1, 2011: Oilers trade D Kurtis Foster to Anaheim for D Andy Sutton. A good hockey trade, with Sutton playing well enough to earn another contract (and that deal did not work out due to injury). I’d place this deal in the plus column.
- July 1, 2011: Oilers sign D Corey Potter to a 1-year, 2-way contract. The best signing on Steve Tambellini’s big day was an item right at the end of the day, as the club used Tom Renney’s local knowledge of an old Ranger farmhand. Turned out quite well.
- July 12, 2011: Oilers trade Andrew Cogliano to Anaheim for 2013 2nd rd pick. The Oilers ended the summer of 2011 by sending away another player who learned in the capital and then moved on to flourish in a new town. Recalling Kyle Brodziak, Jarret Stoll, Raffi Torres and others, Cogliano has emerged as a useful player.
In 2011, the Oilers sent away Dustin Penner, Sheldon Souray, Colin Fraser, Kurtis Foster and Andrew Cogliano. They acquired Oscar Klefbom, Lennart Petrell, Ryan Smyth, Ben Eager, Cam Barker, Darcy Hordichuk, Eric Belanger, Andy Sutton, Corey Potter. Of the group acquired, Petrell, Smyth, Barker, Belanger and Potter are currently in the NHL. Oscar Klefbom and the ANA 2nd are on their way.
The big day–July 1, 2011–fizzled long ago. Souray has recovered his career, Eager, Hordichuk, Barker are barely hanging on, Sutton lost his career to injury and Belanger looks finished. Only Corey Power Potterplay remains, although the contracts of Belanger and Eager are hanging around beyond this summer.
Up next: the biggest free agent signing in many years, and his unique arrival.
Back to the Bruins story. I’m always cynical on a trade story until smoke appears, in this case smoke represented by one or more media outlets with some credibility confirming elements of a deal.
Haggerty works for Comcast Sports Network, that satisfies (for me) the required threshold. So, with that as the backdrop, can we figure out the trade? I don’t think the players in the Iginla deal would be a fit for the Oilers, but the Bruins do have some things the management group would find interesting:
- G Anton Khudobin, a soon to be UFA goaltender (age 26) with a .916SP. Oilers might find him useful as a backup to DD.
- R Nathan Horton, a soon to be UFA who has under-performed and had injury woes during his time in Boston. Oilers might want to acquire him and make an effort to get the big man under contract. At 27, he should have many miles left–but the injuries are a concern. Concussions are the big concern, but he’s had leg, ankle, knee injuries in the past. I think he’s a guy Boston might consider moving now, owing to his impending free agency and current struggles.
- L Milan Lucic, soon to be extremely well paid (I don’t know how he’ll cover a $6M bet with his skill set). I can’t see any reasonable way for the Oilers to acquire him before summer, as the Bruins are committed to winning the Stanley this spring. If you’re all in–and Lucic is a unique player, despite the offensive falloff–then this player doesn’t leave the organization.
Haggerty mentions Hemsky (Horton?), Whitney and Paajarvi, but I can’t figure out a way to get Paajarvi onto the roster with value coming back in return. Can you?
We should hear in the next 48 hours about Dan DeKeyser, I think that’s probably the beginning of the tumbler clicks for Edmonton. Sign DeKeyser and then trade Whitney? Smid? Peckham? Hell, maybe they go get Bouwmeester from Feaster, lord knows he could use an overpay.
Anyway, I’ve felt for some time the Oilers would be active this time, the organization usually does at least one thing at the deadline. This time? I’ll say two, as Tambellini claws back the 2010 selloff with additions.
- Last deadline: Gilbert for Schultz the elder
- 2011 deadline: Penner deal.
- 2010 deadline: Grebeshkov to Nashville, Jones waiver claim, Lubo for Whitney, Staios to the Flames.
Hold on. I think this is going to be a wild ride.