Carolina Calling?

Robin Brownlee
February 17 2009 07:46PM

There's plenty of debate about whether the Edmonton Oilers should trade Erik Cole, and lots of buzz he'll be dealt to the Boston Bruins, but I'm told that if the Oilers decide to move Cole by the March 4 trade deadline, a likely scenario is he'll get a return ticket to the Carolina Hurricanes.

While Kevin Dupont of the Boston Globe, who is as connected as any newspaperman in the NHL, and other scribes in-the-know have written about the possibility GM Steve Tambellini will send Cole to Beantown for prospects, I'm led to believe Cole could again be a Hurricane -- the team he spent six seasons with.

I'm not discounting interest in Cole by the Bruins, who are believed to be offering Vladimir Sobotka and Matt Lashoff, because the guys writing about the possibility are as credible as they come.

Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald wrote today: "Rumours persist that the Bruins will acquire gritty veteran winger Erik Cole from the Edmonton Oilers, with one NHL source saying Cole is telling friends he expects to be a Bruin soon. Most speculation focused on Sobotka and defenseman Matt Lashoff as trade bait for the unrestricted free agent-to-be."

Still, I'm told Carolina is in play.

Another conversation?

The Oilers and Hurricanes did business when Kevin Lowe and Carolina counterpart Jim Rutherford did the Cole for Joni Pitkanen swap, and there's every reason to believe Tambellini and Rutherford are talking now.

Cole, as everybody knows, will be an unrestricted free agent this July after earning $4 million this season. I don't see the Oilers making a big pitch to keep him. Even if they do, I don't see Cole accepting it.

So, Tambellini either lets him walk for nothing at the end of the season or gets down to business now. Cole's ties to Tobacco Road aside, a move back to Carolina makes sense.

The Hurricanes just lost forward Justin Williams to a broken hand that'll keep him out at least a month, and Rutherford needs help up front. Cole, despite his offensive struggles here, is a proven commodity on Tobacco Road.

The Oilers, meanwhile, could use help on the back end with Lubomir Visnovsky gone for the season after shoulder surgery and Denis Grebeshkov on the shelf with a high-ankle sprain.

Name game

The interesting thing about a potential Carolina-Edmonton deal is I'm not hearing names who'd fill that void, namely blueliners like Dennis Seidenberg and Anton Babchuk. Then again, the prospects being mentioned in the trade with Boston don't offer an immediate fix, either.

For what it's worth, the name I'm hearing is Tuomo Ruutu, who the Oilers could have had in a swap for Jarret Stoll last summer in a deal Lowe passed on before sending Stoll and Matt Greene to Los Angeles for Visnovsky.

Ruutu, 26, selected ninth overall by Chicago in the 2001 Entry Draft, will be a restricted free agent next season. Ruutu, who has scored 16-17-33 and is a minus-5 in 54 games this season, makes $2.25 million.

On the face of it, moving a young player like Ruutu for Cole looks like an overpayment even if Rutherford is confident he can re-sign him, but perhaps there's other names in play here as well.

Stay tuned.

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 Tyler
February 18 2009, 04:55PM
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@ Dennis:

The famed OilersNation irreverent wit apparently does not extend to pointing out obvious ironies. You have been warned sir, and your comment edited.

(Unless you lifted that line about irony from somewhere else, in which case I completely understand that they did what they had to do.)

Robin B wrote:

What “reports” about Staal? Are you differentiating between MSM beat writers with inside-knowledge who talk to GMs and front office types or some fan boy writing under the name HOCKEYFREAK69? If you want an old guy who can still play a little and won’t stick around here any longer than he has to, why not keep after Jagr? That scenario, by the way, isn’t completely dead. And that’s not from HOCKEYFREAK 69, that’s from somebody who knows.

As long as I'm in the mood to point out ironies...Staples, who doesn't seem to be MSM when it comes to sports, took some pretty good shots from Robert Tychkowski and (so I read) Mark Spector for reporting that initially. It'd be awfully amusing if it turned out to be accurate and guys who actually work covering the Oilers (maybe more broadly in Spector's case; not really sure what he does) missed the boat on it.

I assume, given that you're saying that Jagr should be preferred over Kovalev, that you're saying that Jagr should be an option for this year. I'd take that, although the waiver problems seem large, but I'm not so sure that you aren't writing off Kovalev too quickly.

Matt at BoA has a good post up pointing out that Kovalev's big problem this year has been that the Habs shooting percentage on the PP is in the toilet; his numnbers at evens are awfully similar to last year. He'd fill Horcoff's spot on the first unit nicely, particularly if Penner could handle the draws. I'd think that there'd be some advantages there in terms of being able to really ride Hemsky/Penner on the PP and then still have Horcoff ready to go when the PP ended.

That said, maybe he wouldn't take the trade well. His reputation isn't great but a great twenty games could probably make him some money. Sergei Samsonov could tell him all about it.

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#102 swany
February 18 2009, 05:00PM
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Tyler wrote:

@ Dennis: The famed OilersNation irreverent wit apparently does not extend to pointing out obvious ironies. You have been warned sir, and your comment edited. (Unless you lifted that line about irony from somewhere else, in which case I completely understand that they did what they had to do.) Robin B wrote: What “reports” about Staal? Are you differentiating between MSM beat writers with inside-knowledge who talk to GMs and front office types or some fan boy writing under the name HOCKEYFREAK69? If you want an old guy who can still play a little and won’t stick around here any longer than he has to, why not keep after Jagr? That scenario, by the way, isn’t completely dead. And that’s not from HOCKEYFREAK 69, that’s from somebody who knows. As long as I’m in the mood to point out ironies…Staples, who doesn’t seem to be MSM when it comes to sports, took some pretty good shots from Robert Tychkowski and (so I read) Mark Spector for reporting that initially. It’d be awfully amusing if it turned out to be accurate and guys who actually work covering the Oilers (maybe more broadly in Spector’s case; not really sure what he does) missed the boat on it. I assume, given that you’re saying that Jagr should be preferred over Kovalev, that you’re saying that Jagr should be an option for this year. I’d take that, although the waiver problems seem large, but I’m not so sure that you aren’t writing off Kovalev too quickly. Matt at BoA has a good post up pointing out that Kovalev’s big problem this year has been that the Habs shooting percentage on the PP is in the toilet; his numnbers at evens are awfully similar to last year. He’d fill Horcoff’s spot on the first unit nicely, particularly if Penner could handle the draws. I’d think that there’d be some advantages there in terms of being able to really ride Hemsky/Penner on the PP and then still have Horcoff ready to go when the PP ended. That said, maybe he wouldn’t take the trade well. His reputation isn’t great but a great twenty games could probably make him some money. Sergei Samsonov could tell him all about it.

Did you see my post above about waivers I think that could work, it's dirty pool but dirtier things have been done in the NHL before ie Nylander to Edmonton that's dirty pool.

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#103 Matt N
February 18 2009, 05:03PM
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When Smitty got traded the Oil got a pick, a prospect and a player (Nilsson, Omarra and a 1st(plante)). Cole isnt the player that Smitty was, but a pick and prospect would be great. This would free up the cap space for a run at someone next year as well as getting a decent return. Maybe Colbourne and a 2nd from Boston??

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#104 Tyler
February 18 2009, 05:03PM
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@ swany: If I'm Jagr, I'm not exactly wild about throwing away ten million bucks if I don't get to play in Edmonton. I don't see what's in it for him to make that threat.

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#105 swany
February 18 2009, 05:09PM
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Tyler wrote:

@ swany: If I’m Jagr, I’m not exactly wild about throwing away ten million bucks if I don’t get to play in Edmonton. I don’t see what’s in it for him to make that threat.

Go back to USSR and take there cash, plus making that threat who would pick him up knowing that they could be stuck for say 7 mil next year with NO player, it's a bluff mostly, but what if he did it there is no rule in the cba that say he can't do that, and maybe Katz gives him a signing bonus up front is there a rule against that in the cba, it will make GM's think twice three times before they pick him off waivers. And if someone does well he can decide what he wants to do if it happens, he can still go and play. If Robin says there is still something happening they must be a way around waivers this is the only one I can see.

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#106 APE - FMNF
February 18 2009, 05:13PM
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Kovalev is soft as sh*t and shows up for only half of the games he plays. We already have enough of those on this team that make big money (ie: fatso). I like the Tuomo idea because he hits and he can play the game.

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#107 APE - FMNF
February 18 2009, 05:16PM
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Robin B wrote:

That scenario, by the way, isn’t completely dead. And that’s not from HOCKEYFREAK 69, that’s from somebody who knows.

I told you that in confidence Robin...

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#108 swany
February 18 2009, 05:20PM
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APE - FMNF wrote:

Robin B wrote: That scenario, by the way, isn’t completely dead. And that’s not from HOCKEYFREAK 69, that’s from somebody who knows. I told you that in confidence Robin…

shh know one knows anything shhh

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#109 Robin B
February 18 2009, 05:21PM
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@ Tyler: Staples source was Peter Adler, who is very connected in the Czech Republic. Peter used to tell me stuff I didn't know about what was going on in Europe and with the Czechs all the time when I was at the Journal covering the Oilers beat. He helped tip off Matheson on Lowe's interest in Dopita -- I was at the Sun by then and got beat to hell on the story by Matty. I'm not the least bit surprised Staples got the jump on everyubody with Adler's help.

I had no doubt when Staples cited Adler that there was some substance to what he wrote. But let's not stretch it from Staples, whether he's considered MSM in sports or not, to Fred Poulin and others. That's a reach.

And, like I alluded to above, I'm led to believe the Oilers are still pitching for Jagr, even if it remains a longshot.

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#110 BUCK75 - FMNF
February 18 2009, 05:24PM
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@ swany:

The Russian Ruble is a disaster now - that is why he (Jagr) wants out. Inflation is throught the roof - the exchange to amreican dollars is crazy, losing BIG $$$$.

NY Times January 9/09 wrote:

The turmoil has only added to the rumors that the K.H.L. is on shaky ground and that players like Jagr may be trying to return to the N.H.L. One of the main sponsors of the K.H.L. is the Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom, hit hard by the faltering global economy and currently embroiled in an international dispute that has resulted in the cutoff of shipments to Europe. League officials have floated the idea of reducing player salaries by 25 percent to 30 percent, similar to the N.H.L.’s reduction of salaries after the 2004-5 lockout. Quite naturally, those rumors have encircled Jagr, one of the league’s highest-paid players with a yearly salary reported at nearly $10 million.
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#111 swany
February 18 2009, 05:28PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ Tyler: Staples source was Peter Adler, who is very connected in the Czech Republic. Peter used to tell me stuff I didn’t know about what was going on in Europe and with the Czechs all the time when I was at the Journal covering the Oilers beat. He helped tip off Matheson on Lowe’s interest in Dopita — I was at the Sun by then and got beat to hell on the story by Matty. I’m not the least bit surprised Staples got the jump on everyubody with Adler’s help. I had no doubt when Staples cited Adler that there was some substance to what he wrote. But let’s not stretch it from Staples, whether he’s considered MSM in sports or not, to Fred Poulin and others. That’s a reach. And, like I alluded to above, I’m led to believe the Oilers are still pitching for Jagr, even if it remains a longshot.

Well Staples sure got it from Gregor and other media types I hope it comes true then Gregor would have to say sorry on air to Staples he really shot down that rumour as beeing nothing more than an EK type, but did say maybe next year, it would be nice to get something to help Hemmer NOW. I alway thought why Jagr next year when there are a few good players that are UFA this summer, plus some guys that are UFA the summer after ie Kovalchuk that you might be able to trade for.

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#112 black ace
February 18 2009, 05:56PM
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@ Robin With the organization totally void of top end LW prospects, and given the scarcity of those same prospects league wide, dont you think the Oilers would be prudent to hound the Flyers about VanRiemsdyk? He could be the long term solution for the Oilers LW woes, since you probably cant land a "step in right now" kind of left winger..... of course that's if you can believe that the Flyers are not thrilled with his performance in the WJC.

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#113 Dennis
February 18 2009, 06:02PM
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I think the difference is that Staples was sporting just a pajama top when he wrote about Jagr - the bottoms were jeans - so that makes his blurb all the more valid.

I was shocked that anyone went after DS when he wrote about Jagr because Staples and I have had many disagreements but there's no doubt the guy's a real reporter.

And the cool thing about Staples is that he gladly suffers fans opinions before thinking them fools.

Which is a lot more than can be said for others.

I've longed needled Habs fans for putting so much faith in Kovalev because you understand at any moment that he'll just quit. In looking at his counting stats and peeking at his plus/minus you can see he's had two good years with mtl and two poor ones. It wouldn't surprise me if he came here and caught fire playing with either 83 or 89 or if he came here and sucked.

But should such a suggestion be summarily written off?

I certainly don't believe so

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#114 Fiveandagame
February 18 2009, 08:15PM
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J F Jaques being called up? Anyone?

Does this mean lean and mean Reddox the wonder machine is going in the press box?

Does this team get a little bigger and tougher now?

How soon until Pisani is in the line up?

I hope this is all good news for the team.

That concludes this weeks installment of random questions Wednesday.

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#115 Tod
February 18 2009, 09:49PM
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Robin B wrote:

And, like I alluded to above, I’m led to believe the Oilers are still pitching for Jagr, even if it remains a longshot.

You mean for next year right? It makes absolutely no sense to sign him this year. He would not clear waivers.

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#116 swany
February 19 2009, 09:22AM
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Tod wrote:

Robin B wrote: And, like I alluded to above, I’m led to believe the Oilers are still pitching for Jagr, even if it remains a longshot. You mean for next year right? It makes absolutely no sense to sign him this year. He would not clear waivers.

It has to be for this year AND next year, why sign him just for next year when you have UFA season on July 1st, wouldn't it make more sense to go after Gabby or try and make a trade for Kovy from Atlanta as that's his last year there. It just doesn't make sense if it's not help for this year to.

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#117 GDB 64: Welcome the new kids - OilersNation.com
March 05 2009, 05:16PM
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[...] a writer on here. Not a connected writer like Gregor, or a smart writer like Willis, or able to see into the future like Brownlee, not really responsible for anything writer like Bingofuel, more like [...]

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#118 The times they are a changin - OilersNation.com
March 09 2009, 10:23AM
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[...] the guy who predicted that if Erik Cole left town he would be rolling back Chez ‘Canes an incredible 15 days before it occurred. Everyone got on him then too and he stuck to his guns. We would tend to [...]

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