Armchair GM

Robin Brownlee
February 25 2009 12:48PM

armchairgm

Unless somebody jabs Steve Tambellini in the backside with a syringe of sodium pentothal, the only poop we're going to get on what the Edmonton Oilers might do by the NHL's March 4 trade deadline will come from armchair general managers.

And, while those insights will be considerably more humorous than the vague generalizations and mis-direction we media types coax from Tambellini and Kevin Lowe -- should we even manage to corner them in coming days -- they'll be just about as useful. Like teats on a bull.

It would be wonderful, and stunning, to have Tambellini tell wags: "We're burning the midnight oil to move Erik Cole and we've got Carolina, Boston and New York lined up as bidders, but the hang-up is all three want Andrew Cogliano as part of any deal."

What we'll get is: "We'll look at anything if it'll help the hockey club, but we're not going to mortgage the future. Then again, (insert Lowe smirking here), expect the unexpected."

It's naïve, of course, to expect the unexpected -- the unexpected would be having Lowe or Tambellini actually tell us what they're up to. I could never, and I mean never, coax Lowe (or Glen Sather) to show their cards before the deadline when I was writing the beat. It won't happen now.

So people guess. They speculate. They make stuff up.

This won’t hurt a bit

The Oilers have taken it in the butt more than once at the deadline, but not in the context of a shot of truth serum. So the rumour mill grinds along, fuelled by reporters speculating what they think makes sense and fans, many of whom re-define "wishful thinking."

"Hey, why couldn't the Oilers get Pavel Datsyuk out of Detroit for Cole, Riley Nash, Marc Pouliot and a second-round draft choice?" Or, "I bet the Oilers could rent Jay Bouwmeester for 20 games if they put together a package that included Ales Hemsky." Yes, I bet they could.

From an MSM point of view, putting two and two together and trying to come up with four is part of the gig. From a fan point of view, as hair-brained as the ideas and the rationalization behind them can be, it's in good fun.

I mean, suggesting the Oilers would trade Hemsky and his bargain contract to rent Bouwmeester before he signs as a UFA with Los Angeles/San Jose/someplace else warm is in fun, right? Same with Datsyuk, an example of quantity for quality by those who think teams can get a franchise player for spare parts.

What’s next?

As far as the pending trade deadline goes, I can break things down to what I think (WIT) and what I know (WIK).

Let me confess from the start the WIT category is considerably more expansive than any reliable WIK because the men who call the shots aren't talking, and I'm not going to pass off a nightshift janitor at Rexall Place or the dame who used to cut Josh Green's hair as "sources close to the team."

WIK

  • Tambellini is leaning toward trading Cole rather than losing him as a UFA, but that's not written in stone, which runs contrary to my gut instincts. With a playoff spot in reach, would trading Cole for anybody who can't make an immediate and equal contribution be seen as giving up on the post-season? Of course it would, even if the player coming here has a contract or is an RFA, assuring he's more than a rental.
  • Carolina, as I said last week, is one of the teams most interested in Cole, and he'd be a plug-and-play acquisition for GM Jim Rutherford. If any team could convince Cole to forego UFA offers this summer and re-sign, it's the Hurricanes.
  • The priority is adding secondary scoring. Duh! Aside from Craig MacTavish stating flat-out last week he needs help up, it doesn't take a vast intellect (or a conversation with a reliable source) to figure that out.

WIT

  • While I'd give it a zero per cent chance of happening at the deadline because of injuries to Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov, I can see Tambellini moving Tom Gilbert this summer. Gilbert is inked long-term, he has some cachet and could land Tambellini a left winger capable of playing on his top two lines. One from the group of Sheldon Souray, Visnovsky, Gilbert and Grebeshkov can be dealt. With the KHL looking like less of an option, Grebeshkov won't cost the Oilers as much as Gilbert.
  • Lowe and Sather will see if they can do business March 4. They've already made two deadline deals: Lowe dealt Anson Carter and Ales Pisa for Radek Dvorak and Cory Cross on March 11, 2003, and he traded Tom Poti and Rem Murray for Mike York on March 19, 2002.
  • Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot and JF Jacques are available as sweeteners in any deal Tambellini makes.

-- 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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#1 sittingatmydesk
February 25 2009, 12:55PM
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I agree that trading Cole, would be giving up... I suggest lets stay put with our team, and make the changes in the summer.... where's my phone i need to call Tambo

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#2 mjsh
February 25 2009, 01:02PM
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If you put the kids back together and get a quality third line centre and a pick for Cole I would do it. Maybe I am overly opitmistic but I think that this team can still do well without Cole.

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#3 Travis Dakin
February 25 2009, 01:06PM
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Of course this team can do well without Cole. He doesn't bring much to the table that can't be replaced. He is good, but not 4 million good. However, some teams could really use him. It is absolutley stupid asset management if you keep him for the drive only to lose him for nothing after the inevitable first round sweep.

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#4 Dennis
February 25 2009, 01:06PM
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I don't think the Oilers could get Datsyuk for that package but maybe they could get Zetterberg?

Other than that, for sure the Oilers have to trade one of the big four D for a forward and that is a good point that the implosion of the KHL gives 37 less leverage.

The thing about dealing 77, though, it might be coloured by your constant argument with Willis over whether or not he'll be able to cover his contract.

And by that rationale - which is strong, BTW - the Oilers should deal off 18 and 24 post-haste.

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#5 Zamboni Driver
February 25 2009, 01:07PM
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mjsh wrote:

... I think that this team can still do well without Cole.

Some would say they are currently doing okay without him now!

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#6 Wanye Gretz
February 25 2009, 01:10PM
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I’m not going to pass off a nightshift janitor at Rexall Place or the dame who used to cut Josh Green’s hair as “sources close to the team.”

That. Is. Funny.

FMNF

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#7 mjsh
February 25 2009, 01:21PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

mjsh wrote: … I think that this team can still do well without Cole. Some would say they are currently doing okay without him now!

Some would be wrong.

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#8 Tim S
February 25 2009, 01:23PM
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mjsh wrote:

If you put the kids back together and get a quality third line centre and a pick for Cole I would do it. Maybe I am overly opitmistic but I think that this team can still do well without Cole.

The kids have been terrible every chance they have had to play together this season. This line should never be allowed to play together again.

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#9 Dennis
February 25 2009, 01:26PM
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One of the least talked about storylines of this season has been the decision to let 13 lose numerous faceoffs and blow numerous defensive assignments while playing pivot.

I'm thinking it's a tough love thing where macT's willing to let him drown this year with the overall plan being that he'll be a shutdown pivot.

In that regard, this could be looked at as yet another developmental year.

Every move you make now has to make sense for the future and though Gregor says 13 can't play wing, I'd much rather re-unite him with 89 and look for a winger to round them out and then go and pick up a vet pivot to round out your top three centres.

Unless you want to give that role to 51 and then the development cycle will continue in 2010 as well.

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#10 Colin
February 25 2009, 01:28PM
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I have nothing to add other than great post.

And I wish I had "Bonestorm" :(

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#11 jeanshorts
February 25 2009, 01:30PM
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sittingatmydesk wrote:

I agree that trading Cole, would be giving up…

I'm a Cole fan, and I think that he could come back like gangbusters next year if they find the right people for him to play with. But Tambo is in such a hard spot right now. Either put everything on him, and hope that this team 1. makes the playoffs, and 2. somehow has a deep enough run that actually has some kind of worth. and then more than likely lose him in the offseason to free agency. Or trade him at the deadline to at least get some value out of the whole deal.

Personally I would go with scenario two. Because lets be honest. Do you really think he'd want to sign back here for less money after the terrible season he's had? I really doubt it.

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#12 Wanye Gretz
February 25 2009, 01:41PM
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I love Erik Cole. Not in the way that Jeanshorts loves Baggedmilk - but he is my star for the season and I stand by my man. Mark my words - if he leaves the Oil it will be a mistake and we will all watch him light it up somewhere else for seasons to come and will think "I wish Cole was still an Oiler."

There is no way that Oil can possibly win a Cole trade this close to the deadline with him being a UFA at the end of the year.

We will most likely come to regard this as Tambellini's first bad move as GM, though I do agree with my colleague jeanshorts when he notes Tambo is in a tough spot.

FMNF

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#13 Harry Merkin
February 25 2009, 01:44PM
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Nice simpsons reference there Colin took me a few minutes to understand until i looked at the picture again.

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#14 Moose
February 25 2009, 01:45PM
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The other scenario is you keep Cole, and take 60 cents on the dollar when you trade his negotiating rights after the season. It won't net you much, but I imagine there would be a couple teams willing to pony up a draft pick.

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#15 Dennis
February 25 2009, 01:58PM
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If Lowe moves Cole, he'll also have to bring in another guy to replace him so it's basically two moves instead of just the one.

I'm about the future of the club but I'd also like to make the playoffs.

You have to weight the pro's and con's but moving Cole for a still-under-contract Rutuu who can provide some offense right now makes more sense than moving Cole for magic beans.

Unless you want to go something resembling lateral where you move Peckham for Guerin and then Cole for Sobotka and Lashoff and in the interm, Guerin replaces Cole and then come 2010 Lashoff replaces Peckham as a cheap top sixer.

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#16 Ssseth
February 25 2009, 02:00PM
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Damn I love the trade deadline (especially post lock out). Let the fun begin!

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#17 Rick
February 25 2009, 02:03PM
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Dennis wrote:

If Lowe moves Cole, he’ll also have to bring in another guy to replace him so it’s basically two moves instead of just the one.

Based on how Cole has played how much are really losing by putting Pisani in his spot?

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#18 Harry Merkin
February 25 2009, 02:04PM
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Seriously Wanye what do you know about hockey anyways. Cole will just be another guy in a long list to come here play in a terrible system then leave and play up to potential again. Until we get rid of MacT players will continue to under achieve and leave for better coaches.

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#19 Kevin
February 25 2009, 02:08PM
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I think the Oilers should do absolutely nothing at the deadline and deal with the consequences in the offseason. Yes, you lose Erik Cole but unless someone is offering a roster player or a great prospect in return there is no point. They will be without his, Roli, and possibly Grebby's salary next season which opens up a lot of cash. This offseaon you'll see a lot of the financially struggling clubs offloading their talent because they simply can not afford them. As in most successful businesses, patience pays off not knee-jerk reactions.

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#20 Robin B
February 25 2009, 02:16PM
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@ Kevin: Patience has its place, but if Cole and his agent give Tambellini a heads-up that they have no intention of returning, it makes sense to get an asset for him instead of nothing at all.

That wouldn't hold true if this was a typical Cole year, but it's not. Losing what Cole has brought to the table so far isn't like waving a white flag on the playoffs -- although some would perceive it as such -- if you get a reasonable facsimile that is younger, cheaper and under contract.

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#21 Cam
February 25 2009, 02:18PM
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They traded to get Spacek, Roloson, and Samsonov at the deadline in 2006 and it paid off. At that time no one thought much of the teams chances against a powerhouse Detroit team and then another powerhouse SJ team. Those trades made the difference.

With that kind of experience under their belts do you really think Management is gong to sit tight when we are on the brink? I don't think so. This management team will make a trade.

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#22 Colin
February 25 2009, 02:22PM
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Harry Merkin wrote:

Nice simpsons reference there Colin took me a few minutes to understand until i looked at the picture again.

Yay! someone got it.

I do think they have to trade Cole though, he cost them a solid asset(Pitkanen-although he wasn't great here) very hard to let him walk away for zilch in return(let's be honest he's very unlikely to re-sign).

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#23 Robin B
February 25 2009, 02:26PM
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@ Cam: They got Spacek and Dick Tarnstrom well before the deadline, but your point is valid -- Samsonov and Roloson made big contributions.

The Oilers will be buyers at the deadline, even if it's not a pure "hockey decision." I can't see Lowe and Tambellini sitting pat with the Oilers in the race in Katz's first year as owner. Bad optics with the boss.

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#24 Ender the Dragon
February 25 2009, 02:28PM
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Kevin wrote:

I think the Oilers should do absolutely nothing at the deadline and deal with the consequences in the offseason. Yes, you lose Erik Cole but unless someone is offering a roster player or a great prospect in return there is no point.

I think this is where I'm going too. If you can swing a deal with Cole where you actually get value for value coming back, then fine; that's better than letting him walk. But I don't think that deal is out there, and I'd rather ride Cole into the playoffs and deal with filling his slot from scratch in the off season than trading him for a fifth-round pick and a bag of pucks now and scrubbing a playoff shot. Do I think that where goes Cole, so go our playoff chances? Plain and straight out, yes.

Rick wrote:

Based on how Cole has played how much are really losing by putting Pisani in his spot?

A lot. Cole isn't what we hoped for on the first line, but after three months on the bike Pisani is likely not even what we'd hope for on the third line. Prove me wrong, 'Nando, but I' be scared as hell icing a line-up that included both Pisani and SMac but not Cole if we expected to make the playoffs.

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#25 smytty777
February 25 2009, 02:30PM
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@ Robin B: If T. Ruutu is on the table for Cole straight up I do that deal for sure. They seem to play a similar style and Ruutu's numbers are actually better this year.

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#26 swany
February 25 2009, 02:30PM
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Robin Barnes had an article about some top players "he" thinks the Oilers should target. Out of them all I can only recall 2 since I think they make the most sense, what are the odds that Atlanta would listen to offers for Kovalchuk or the Avs for Hejduk. These players could really help in the scoring department. Kovy would be a stud for Hemmer

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#27 swany
February 25 2009, 02:35PM
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smytty777 wrote:

@ Robin B: If T. Ruutu is on the table for Cole straight up I do that deal for sure. They seem to play a similar style and Ruutu’s numbers are actually better this year.

Another players stats blown up because of the confrence he plays in, remeber Cole scored for the Canes to. Take a player from there that gets 40 goals and he might be able to get 30 in the west. Barnes said it best the time for trying is over, you can see it on the ice Hemmer is looking frustrated he needs some help.Robin were are all these assets Klowe was talking about for 2 years now. "We will be able to acquire what we need we have the assets to make a big deal" those were his words last summer. Still waiting.

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#28 Robin B
February 25 2009, 02:38PM
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@ swany: Any GM with a functioning brain stem should be listening to offers because there's often somebody offering a big overpay. Atlanta and Colorado aren't winning anything with the rosters they have now, so why not listen if there's a chance to re-stock with draft picks and prospects?

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#29 Wanye Gretz
February 25 2009, 02:54PM
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@ Moose:

WRITE MORE ARTICLES. YOU ARE A GOD AMONGST MEN

Ahem.

That is all.

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#30 Tod
February 25 2009, 02:55PM
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You think they'll trade Gilbert eh...would that have anything to do with the rumors that Jay Bouwmeester wants to come home on July 1?

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#31 swany
February 25 2009, 02:58PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: Any GM with a functioning brain stem should be listening to offers because there’s often somebody offering a big overpay. Atlanta and Colorado aren’t winning anything with the rosters they have now, so why not listen if there’s a chance to re-stock with draft picks and prospects?

So Mr. Arm Chair GM what would you want if the Oilers came calling for Kovy, he has another year left on his contract and would what YOU are asking for be worth it from the Oilers side.

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#32 Zamboni Driver
February 25 2009, 02:58PM
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I have no idea why, but part of me feels like Tambellini isn't going to have anyone particularly to play with come trade time UNLESS it's for Cole. Or the kids, I guess, but that would be suicide.

Seriously, I wonder who the Oilers have that anyone would want?

And the other question I guess I have for Robin....do you feel like the Oilers are sort of blackballed after the Buffalo and Anaheim experiences. For some reason I really have that feeling.

Wow, I'm in touch with my feelings today aren't I?

Opens door wide open...

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#33 swany
February 25 2009, 02:59PM
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Tod wrote:

You think they’ll trade Gilbert eh…would that have anything to do with the rumors that Jay Bouwmeester wants to come home on July 1?

Good guess my man

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#34 W.T.
February 25 2009, 03:04PM
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W.T. states that Robin is bang on. Not only do Tambo and KLowe need to be worried about their team, they must also keep in mind what other teams are doing. W.T. suggests that if the Oilers went hard after Hossa and Jagr, do you not think they will go hard after Kov. in Atlanta. As Robin stated, Atlanta isn't going anywhere with the roster they have now, but wait a minute, maybe Oilers aren't going anywhere with the roster they have now either. What place did they finish last year and was it not Robin who predicted at the beginning of the year the team KLowe built would not make the playoffs.

W.T. says watch out for Calgary, they are not happy with Phaneuf being a minus 10 as they feel his development has stalled. Not that they would trade him, but they might add,PRONGER. Cap issue thus they are going to have to find someone, NYI to be not so smart enough to take players that are underachieving and their salaries.

W.T. thinks if MacT is as smart a coach as Tambo and KLowe suggest, why did the Rangers not wait till end of season and sign the smartest coach in the NHL. W.T. believes Sather does have a history with Oilers.

W.T. reads some of you suggest a deal with Buffalo. As much chance of that happening as dealing with Toronto.

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#35 shakey
February 25 2009, 03:13PM
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@ swany: Then it wasn't just me that saw a different Hemsky last night. Every time the camera was on him he looked exhausted and beaten. He couldn't hold onto the puck and didn't drive around guys like he has all year. Hopefully he hasn't burned out from carrying the offensive load.

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#36 Craigsworth
February 25 2009, 03:14PM
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@ W.T.: Hey douchenugget, you could save a lot of needless syllables by NOT speaking in the third person. Unless you're signed in as someone else, there's no need to tell us that "WT Thinks..." you quite clearly think that no need to waste my time and yours by typing it out.

Ugh.

My money's on Tambellini making a move or two. Like RB says, there's still a shot at a playoff spot and with a new owner no doubt eager to have a go at a Cup run, they can't just sit on their hands and wait out the season.

What that move ends up being, I'm not sure.

FMNF!!

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#37 Wanye Gretz
February 25 2009, 03:17PM
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@ Harry Merkin

What do I know about hockey? What do you know about curling? Ill give you a hint.

Nothing.

Wait did I just burn myself?

@ everyone

Is it just me or does reading WT make you long for Deep Oil to come back in here and be the resident weirdo.

FMNF

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#38 swany
February 25 2009, 03:17PM
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shakey wrote:

@ swany: Then it wasn’t just me that saw a different Hemsky last night. Every time the camera was on him he looked exhausted and beaten. He couldn’t hold onto the puck and didn’t drive around guys like he has all year. Hopefully he hasn’t burned out from carrying the offensive load.

I don't think he is burnt out just frustrated, he has been told as have us fans that they will get a LW to help him out, look at the money he left on the table with his contract I take that as a sign to the Oilers that I want to be here I will sign cheap BUT get me some help at LW, Horc wou;ld get 80 points with Hemmer and Kovy this organization has said it would bring in that player since Smitty left well were is he I agree with Barnes the time for trying is over put up or shut up. It wasn't the fans that came out and said we have all these assets to trade it was Klowe well make the friggen trade already and keep your star player happy.

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#39 Matt N
February 25 2009, 03:20PM
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Not trading Cole would be criminal IMO, unless he resigns before the deadline, which isn't happening. Pisani is coming back soon and will fill in just fine on the right wing for 20 games. Incredibly bad asset management to let him walk. Your lineup is not affected with Pisani taking his place and you can look for the best deal out there.

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#40 swany
February 25 2009, 03:21PM
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Craigsworth wrote:

@ W.T.: Hey douchenugget, you could save a lot of needless syllables by NOT speaking in the third person. Unless you’re signed in as someone else, there’s no need to tell us that “WT Thinks…” you quite clearly think that no need to waste my time and yours by typing it out. Ugh. My money’s on Tambellini making a move or two. Like RB says, there’s still a shot at a playoff spot and with a new owner no doubt eager to have a go at a Cup run, they can’t just sit on their hands and wait out the season. What that move ends up being, I’m not sure. FMNF!!

You make a good point with Katz beeing so aggressive on Hossa you would think he won't just be happy adding a Reasner type player, speaking of Reasner maybe we can kill to birds with one stone Reasner and Kovy for--------

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#41 Robin B
February 25 2009, 03:31PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: I'm sure Jimmy's crusing around in a stretch waiting for the right time to chime in with another touch of the bizarre.

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#42 jeanshorts
February 25 2009, 03:31PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

@ Moose: WRITE MORE ARTICLES. YOU ARE A GOD AMONGST MEN Ahem. That is all.

Seconded. Reading your articles is like looking at Sheldon Sourays wiener. Breathtaking.

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#43 Robin B
February 25 2009, 03:38PM
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swany wrote:

Good guess my man

It's not a good guess. Bouwmeester is not signing here as a UFA.

Matt N wrote:

Pisani is coming back soon and will fill in just fine on the right wing for 20 games.

I tend to agree, but the on-again, off-again situation with Pisani's return makes me nervous. Fernando tells me he feels pretty good, but the medical staff saw something in the CT scan with the way the break is healing they didn't like and have held him out. You can't force a bone to heal faster. Until he's declared fit, you can't count on him as a replacement for Cole. I get visions of Moreau all over again.

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#44 W.T.
February 25 2009, 03:39PM
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W.T. has been hearing Kovy and Reasnor for Smid,Cole and Horc. With current D men injuries, Smid is a tough trade right now but Atlanta wants him bad. Remember MacT refer to Reasnor as Joe Sakic once before. He will center 1st line or move #89 and #13 up and Reasnor will center 3rd.line?

W.T. heard Ken Reid is unemployed, say hi to him in the line up Craigsworth

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#45 Cam
February 25 2009, 03:39PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ Cam: They got Spacek and Dick Tarnstrom well before the deadline, but your point is valid — Samsonov and Roloson made big contributions. The Oilers will be buyers at the deadline, even if it’s not a pure “hockey decision.” I can’t see Lowe and Tambellini sitting pat with the Oilers in the race in Katz’s first year as owner. Bad optics with the boss.

That's another angle I hadn't really thought of. I think most trades the oilers might make would involve picks and prospects from our side along with one lineup type for something a bit better.

I was trying to recall how we aquired Spacek and I couldn't remember and now it is bugging me. Does anyone know?

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#46 Harry Merkin
February 25 2009, 03:41PM
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@ jeanshorts: You should try looking at Wanye's wiener it's breath taking but for different reason's i suspect.

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#47 Craigsworth
February 25 2009, 03:43PM
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@ W.T.: Craigsworth heard WT suffered severe head trauma and that's why he insists on speaking in the third person.

Craigsworth still has a job even in this new economic reality.

Craigsworth will now logoff and do his job lest he get fired by his boss (who also loves OilersNation, by the way).

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#48 Robin B
February 25 2009, 03:45PM
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Cam wrote:

Robin B wrote: @ Cam: They got Spacek and Dick Tarnstrom well before the deadline, but your point is valid — Samsonov and Roloson made big contributions. The Oilers will be buyers at the deadline, even if it’s not a pure “hockey decision.” I can’t see Lowe and Tambellini sitting pat with the Oilers in the race in Katz’s first year as owner. Bad optics with the boss. That’s another angle I hadn’t really thought of. I think most trades the oilers might make would involve picks and prospects from our side along with one lineup type for something a bit better. I was trying to recall how we aquired Spacek and I couldn’t remember and now it is bugging me. Does anyone know?

JAN 26, 2006: Forward Jani Rita and defenceman Cory Cross to Pittsburgh Penguins for defenceman Dick Tarnstrom. JAN 26, 2006: Forward Tony Salmelainen to Chicago Blackhawks for defenceman Jaroslav Spacek.

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#49 dw
February 25 2009, 03:54PM
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@ W.T. dw is amazed to realize that even the douchebags are bigger in Texas.

dw wonders why W.T. isn't busy rolling back odometers.

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#50 Souby
February 25 2009, 03:56PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ Kevin: Patience has its place, but if Cole and his agent give Tambellini a heads-up that they have no intention of returning, it makes sense to get an asset for him instead of nothing at all. That wouldn’t hold true if this was a typical Cole year, but it’s not. Losing what Cole has brought to the table so far isn’t like waving a white flag on the playoffs — although some would perceive it as such — if you get a reasonable facsimile that is younger, cheaper and under contract.

The Oilers cannot afford to have a guy like Cole get away for nothing. Other teams are interested in him, some more than others, so it is just a matter of deciding whether to try a one for one deal to get a guy like Ruutu out of Carolina, or adding bodies/picks to get a LW to play with Hemsky. The LW will cost you more, but more often than not, the team that receives the best player in a trade, wins that trade.

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