Peter Chiarelli should have a busy five weeks leading up to the trade deadline. He could sign some impending free agents (Teddy Purcell, Eric Gryba) or trade them, and no doubt will attempt to shed some salary to create more room to wheel during the big summer ahead.
One area we could see some action at this deadline? Defensemen who are under control being dealt by contending teams. I had a chance to talk to Pierre Lebrun today, and brought up the name Sami Vatanen as a possible option for the Oilers.
- Lebrun: “Part of what’s made this a situation of abundance is the continued really solid play of a young Josh Manson, who’s become a really reliable guy. And then Shea Theodore has come up and it looks like he should be there to stay.”
- More Lebrun: “So they’ve got too many defensemen once they’re healthy. So you’re right, that’s where Anaheim could make a deal from a position of strength. Hardly any team in the league is too deep on defense. You almost never see it. So they would be in a rare position where they could do that. And maybe that’s where they try to help themselves and add some offense between now and the deadline, is by dealing one of their D away.”
- Still more Lebrun: “That is potentially possibly for sure. And if you’re Peter Chiarelli, for sure you’ve got to be looking into that because that’s got to be a priority for Edmonton, from between now and training camp next fall.”
ANAHEIM’S RICH BLUE
When Lebrun talks about Manson, he’s not kidding. Terrific line for the young defender, not much to criticize there. For our purposes, beyond staring slack-jawed at these totals the big item is the RH fellow Vatanen. A strong offensive option at 5×5 and the power play, a capable player in possession and, most important, he could shake loose because of the exceptional depth.
What would it cost? I suspect it would be a scorer based on the Ducks current needs, so fashion your trade ideas accordingly. The key here is to ask ourselves how often these players come available, and if Vatanen qualifies as a perfect fit, then it needs consideration.
One thing I did notice over at HockeyAnaylsis.com? Lots of Ducks are better without than with, although everyone is over 50 percent and singing, dancing and laughing. He is 24, righthanded, RFA this summer an makes $1.262M with a slightly higher cap hit. He is 5.10, 180 and has 169 games of NHL experience.
- Sami Vatanen per 82 NHL games: 13-27-40
- Justin Schultz per 82 NHL games: 10-24-34
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Vatanen is an interesting option. Edmonton fans have been discussing Travis Hamonic as a solution, but he lacks the power-play element. Vatanen covers the offense, but is not a big man and his defensive ability doesn’t involve being physical. Ideally, you get both. Do you have a preference?