June 07 2008 11:37PM
It's far more likely Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe will make a trade for a significant roster player at the 2008 Entry Draft than it is he'll swing a deal to move up from 22nd in selection order.
Lowe has never moved up, although it's not for lack of trying—he toasted his cell phone in 2003 trying to get a crack at Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf or Braydon Coburn before moving down to take Marc Pouliot over, ahem, Zach Parise.
With a glut of second- and third-line forwards and depth on defence, Lowe said his week he'd consider moving assets in a three-for-one or even four-for-one deal—a top-three forward is the target.
"It's a matter of me and the organization trying to do our best to manage the assets, improve the hockey team," he said.
"If that means getting into a situation where we move a couple, maybe three or four assets for one or two coming back, a player and a draft pick or something, that might be a good thing."
Joni Pitkanen is Lowe's best bargaining chip because there's still people around the NHL who don't laugh out loud when the phrase "future Norris Trophy candidate" is attached to his name.
Puck-movers who skate as well as Pitkanen are at a premium and the Oilers are in a position—assuming Sheldon Souray doesn't slip and fall in the shower and Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov continue to develop—to shop him in a package and see what the returns might be.
A source in the east who I know and trust says there's already been inquiries about Pitkanen. That doesn't mean Lowe has something on the table, but the schmoozing that went on at a meeting of GMs last week is bound to turn into more substantial talks by draft time.
As for possibilities, I'm with Team 1260 loudmouth Bob Stauffer in thinking the Ottawa Senators are prime candidates as trading partners. The name being mentioned, of course, is Jason Spezza.
More in coming days...
Lowe trades leading up to and at the draft.
June 24, 2006: Acquire 3rd round pick in 2006 (Theo Peckham) from Atlanta for a 3rd round pick and 7th round pick in 2006.
June 21, 2003: Trade 17th overall pick to New Jersey for the 22nd pick (Pouliot) and the 68th pick (J.F. Jacques).
June 23, 2002: Jochen Hecht to Buffalo for the 31st pick (Jeff Deslauriers) and the 36th pick (forward Jarret Stoll) in 2002. Trade the 14th pick to Montreal for the 15th pick (Jesse Niinimaki) and the 245th pick (Tomas Micka).
June 18, 2002: Trade a third-round choice in 2003 and a conditional selection in 2004 to Philadelphia for Jiri Dopita.
June 24, 2000: Roman Hamrlik to the New York Islanders for Josh Green, Eric Brewer and New York's second pick (Brad Winchester) in 2000.
June 12, 2000: Fifth-round draft choice in 2000 to Nashville for Patrick Cote.
- What was Aaron Downey doing after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final guzzling champagne in Detroit's dressing room while wearing equipment? Downey didn't play, so what's with the gear? Did the equipment crew spray on fake sweat, too?
- Why did people insist on comparing the Penguins to the 1983 Oilers? As Glen Sather told Jim Matheson in the Journal last week, it's a bogus angle. Three seasons from now, 2010–11, there won't be more than six players remaining from the team that lost to Detroit.
- Why would the Oilers pay Curtis Glencross more than $1 million when they have a cheaper, younger alternative—with more upside—like Pouliot in the mix? Enjoy Florida or Carolina, Curtis.
- What is it, exactly, Craig MacTavish sees in Marty Reasoner? As MacT said last week, "I want Marty back!" It's so mind-boggling, I'm tempted to go for an MRI to see if I've lost my brain.
—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.