Armchair GM II: A Smokin’ Deal

Robin Brownlee
March 03 2009 06:19PM

romanenotlettuce

I wish I could say the smoking deal I discovered Monday night came by way of a phone tip from Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, but that wouldn't be true, so I'm going to digress before getting back to what's happening, or isn't, with your favourite hockey team.

I've been trying to quit smoking for at least 10 years now, but I don't have the willpower to stick with it. Still, I thought I'd give it another try this week, even if it's bad timing with the NHL trade deadline looming.

Saw an ad about a hypnotist being in town, a dude named Romane, so I coughed up my money and attended his seminar Monday night -- stressed that I might miss the BIG deal we all know Tambellini and Kevin Lowe are working on, which was not a great start.

Smoked about 18 cigars in the hour leading up to the event, then filed into a room with 200 other people like me -- stinking of tobacco and determined to stop spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment each month to turn my lungs into garbage.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the best thing about the seminar was the intermission -- we'd all been HYPNOTIZED by then -- because that gave everybody a chance to go outside and SMOKE.

Then, about an hour later, after we'd been HYPNOTIZED again and separated from more money for CDs and DVDs that would allow us to HYPNOTIZE ourselves at home, it was over. Everybody headed for the parking lot, and not a moment to soon. Time for a SMOKE.

OK, I just wrote 300 words on something that has nothing to do with hockey, but the good news is I didn't miss a damn thing in terms of Oilers trade news by spending an evening getting HYPNOTIZED.

What I know

  • Like I said last week, Tambellini can move pending UFA Erik Cole if he wants to, and Carolina would be at the front of the line of teams interested. That's not "new" news, but it's the most solid item I've got and it hasn't gone away since I first heard it. I'm still convinced the Oilers would want to pry Tuomo Ruutu out of Carolina to consider the deal worthwhile.
  • According to one source, the Oilers aren't interested in Olli Jokinen, who is being shopped by Phoenix. That runs contrary to what I thought just a week ago. I don't have a reason why the brain trust of the Copper and Blue isn't taking a look at Jokinen, only that, as of yesterday, he's drawing a shoulder shrug from them.
  • As suggested by Jim Matheson in The Journal today, the Oilers are interested in Mark Recchi as a rental. It's not the big move Tambellini would like to make, but Recchi would come cheap and he'd help in the stretch.
  • The Flyers are as keen about ridding themselves of Daniel Briere's salary as the Coyotes are about trimming Jokinen from the payroll. Lowe made a pitch for Briere before, so... That's a big chunk of salary to take on, but the Oilers see Briere as a better option than Jokinen. Still, a long shot.
  • I knew I wasn't HYPNOTIZED when Romane told me my eyelids were so heavy I wouldn't be able to open them and all I could think was that if I didn't have a rocket soon, like in the next 10 minutes, somebody was going to get kicked in the groin.

What I think

  • Robert Nilsson won't need a return ticket home from this road trip.
  • I said last week Tom Gilbert would be available this summer and I wonder if you can add Ladislav Smid's name to that list. Despite increased ice time in the absence of Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov, I wonder if Smid sees himself here long term. He's got Sheldon Souray, Visnovsky and Gilbert ahead of him on the depth chart and Theo Peckham, Taylor Chorney and Jeff Petry on the way.
  • I think Tambellini and Lowe will stand pat rather than make any deal that jeopardizes a playoff spot in the name of future gains. There's no way Craig MacTavish survives a third straight year out of the post-season and there's no way Lowe will have a hand in a deal that gets him bumped.
  • Best bet for Wednesday: Oilers dump a contract (Nilsson, Marc Pouliot or JF Jacques) for a rental.
  • Even HYPNOTIZED, there's no way MacTavish. Romane or anybody else is going to convince me Liam Reddox is a first-line player. If he is, you've got a bad, bad hockey team.

-- 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 Poo Czar
March 03 2009, 06:30PM
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Seeing a team featuring Liam Reddox and MA Pouliot on the first 2 lines does not instill hope for another Cup run... And I'm talking about the CALDER CUP.

Ugh.

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#2 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 03 2009, 06:34PM
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So have you had a smoke since being hypnotised?

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#3 Chris
March 03 2009, 06:35PM
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Quitting smoking will make you crabby... oh, nevermind.

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#4 TonyT
March 03 2009, 06:52PM
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Pouliot and Gagner just scored! Pouliot, Gagner, Penner, and Horcoff for Kovalchuk (e3.5)

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#5 Robin B
March 03 2009, 06:57PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

So have you had a smoke since being hypnotised?

Half the people there were outside having a smoke during the intermission between sessions of being HYPNOTIZED. We all looked at each other and laughed. Like, who the f*ck were we kidding? What a bunch of spineless, addicted suckers.

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#6 willy fisterbotom
March 03 2009, 06:57PM
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hey robin i see recchi didn't play tonight. do you know which teams may be interested in him?

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#7 fortis1
March 03 2009, 07:11PM
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note to Tambo SELL!! SELL! SELL! take what you can get.

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#8 Gene Principies pubic hair
March 03 2009, 07:27PM
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So does that half the people include you?

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#9 Smokin' Ray - NNC
March 03 2009, 07:27PM
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What would the Flyers be asking for Briere?

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#10 willy fisterbotom
March 03 2009, 07:29PM
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@ Smokin' Ray - NNC: someone dumb enough to take that contract

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#11 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
March 03 2009, 07:39PM
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Its pretty bad if our management is scared to make a move,that does not work out and the coach loses his job.Does Mac t have pictures of K lowe and a goat what gives? We should have gassed him at the 25 game mark,instead we will have to wait until the last few games to see if we make the playoffs,what ever happened to us challenging for the division?

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#12 Slurve
March 03 2009, 07:41PM
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We want Kovalchuk! We want Kovalchuk! We want Kovalchuk!

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#13 Slurve
March 03 2009, 07:50PM
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Why is Liam Reddox still playing on the first line? Since the first line is your offensive line, they should put offensive players there such as Pouliot, Gagner, Cogs, Cole and Penner again BUT not Reddox. MacT is such a defensive minded coach that he would be satisfied to lose a 1-0 game then 6-5 shootout loss. It is a shame that our team has so much offensive abilities and we are not allowed to use them. MacT hold their skills back by always thinking defense first even if it means 17 shots a game as a result...

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#14 Robin B
March 03 2009, 08:57PM
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Nice no-show against Nashville by Horcoff and Hemsky tonight. Reddox isn't the answer and neither is Penner, who also took the collar. I'd suggest Tambellini would be wise to, at the very least, start Wednesday by doing what it takes to pull the trigger on Recchi and then go from there.

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#15 W.T.
March 03 2009, 08:58PM
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W.T. says those followers that want and wish for Kovy are right on the mark. Klowe and Tambo(why is Klowe even there if Tambo is a true GM) want a superstar. Oil can't sign a superstar in the free agent market(haha) as no superstar wants to come to Edmonton(ask Pronger, Hosa). Thus, common sense(which KLowe has very little of) is to trade for a superstar. Looking around the NHL which superstar is truly available(Heatly in Ottawa,maybe). W.T. suggests Oil need to have some courage and bring in this superstar. What to give up, you have to give up something to get something so just get it done. Only person not to give up Hemsky, everyone else is ready to go. JUST DO IT (sounds like a winning slogan to W.T.)

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#16 B-rad
March 03 2009, 09:10PM
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I think after that game I will start to smoke........and run with scissors....and smash my head on something sharp....

Seriously...year after year...

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#17 jeanshorts
March 03 2009, 09:11PM
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W.T. wrote:

Oil can’t sign a superstar in the free agent market(haha) as no superstar wants to come to Edmonton

I just....ugh...Is this even close to a valid argument at any time? Just because we've never landed a big free agent outside of Pronger doesn't mean no one wants to play here. But I guess you're right. Who in their right mind would want to play for a franchise with a storied history and a rabid fan base. All that matters is how warm the city is that you play in. Right? Can we please drop that argument. You know who says that no one wants to play in Edmonton? Calgarians. Now if you want to be lumped in with those dicks then be my guest.

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#18 tankit4Tavares
March 03 2009, 09:24PM
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AMEN to that jeanshorts!

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#19 Bob Sacamano
March 03 2009, 09:25PM
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Bob MacKenzie on tsn just said the Oilers were interested in Jokinen. Is he wrong? I really don't see how they could NOT be interested in him. The guy has multiple 30 goal seasons, isn't just a pure rental, a reasonable cap it (it will be less than Horcoff next year), and I can't believe the asking price would be very high.

Do you think they would trade Nilsson for Recchi, or what would it take to get him?

If the only thing the Oilers do is pick up Recchi, I'll be quite dissapointed.

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#20 W.T.
March 03 2009, 09:25PM
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W.T. suggests it has nothing to do with the weather unless you define weather as Klowe tide.

Next thing you will say jeanshorts is Oilers still play Oiler hockey. Get into reality, Oiler hockey playing the trap. Oiler hockey with Reddix as a first liner. Oiler hockey with MAP in the line up and Nilsson out of the line up. Oiler hockey as Sourey doesn't go down to block a shot in overtime when Oil need all the points they can get. Oiler hockey with Zack as your third best player last quarter. Oiler hockey with no real goalie signed for 2009. Oiler hockey that gets outshot by a mile nightly.

Come on jeanshorts, W.T. enjoys a good debate but you gotta beat being smarter than a 5th grader.

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#21 Bob Sacamano
March 03 2009, 09:27PM
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@ Robin B: Ironic/frustrating that they finally get secondary scoring, and Hemsky and Horcoff are atrocious.

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#22 Bob Sacamano
March 03 2009, 09:28PM
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Clearly WT is The Warrior. Robin, give him round 2!

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#23 W.T.
March 03 2009, 09:30PM
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W.T. prefers you stop calling him the Warrior. Who are you, Bob Hope?

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#24 Bob Sacamano
March 03 2009, 09:35PM
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@ W.T.: I'm a friend of Kramer's

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#25 Robin B
March 03 2009, 09:36PM
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Bob Sacamano wrote:

Bob MacKenzie on tsn just said the Oilers were interested in Jokinen. Is he wrong? I really don’t see how they could NOT be interested in him.

Well, I thought the Oilers were and SHOULD be interested in Jokinen -- note my wording in the story -- but I was told today by somebody who spoke directly with a front office guy in Ottawa they weren't. It puzzled me.

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#26 Robin B
March 03 2009, 09:37PM
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@ W.T.: How about just plain old Howard? Or KOD, even?

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#27 swany
March 03 2009, 09:42PM
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Spec, on sportsnet said Colby Armstrong. I like his game played on Crosby's line is aggresive hits and can score. Not the home run but he would be an upgrade over Penner(the flying fridge) and Nilsson, have you heard anything on this RB?

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#28 Librarian Mike
March 03 2009, 09:42PM
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Hey Robin. I just quit smoking a couple of weeks ago. It's tough for the first few days, but hang in there. Also, use the Nicorette gum. It works...did for me anyway. Good luck. If only there was a gum to curb MacT's Reddox addiction...sigh.

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#29 Robin B
March 03 2009, 09:45PM
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@ swany: Spec said what about Colby Armstrong? You guys need to make a distinction between a reporter saying "I think Player X would/should be of interest to the Oilers" and "I know the Oilers are trying to make a deal with TEAM X to get Player X."

Like with Doug MacLean the other night, there's a big difference between offering an opinion about who might be of interest and who a team is actually pursuing and talking to another team about.

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#30 Dennis
March 03 2009, 09:51PM
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RB: I think 5 has a future with the Oil as an affordable 5th D who can slip down into the top four only if necessary.

The Oil are paying all of 44-71-77 and 37's about to come up so guys like 5 and 49 most certainly have a place on the Oil's blueline.

Not sure how 12 fits back into the lineup and I do know we could use another dman on a controlled contract to help out in 71's stead for '09 and then help us out full-time come 2010.

Any idea what we'd have to give up to grab Recchi? I'd rather deal Schremp than 78.

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#31 Robin B
March 03 2009, 09:51PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Hey Robin. I just quit smoking a couple of weeks ago. It’s tough for the first few days, but hang in there. Also, use the Nicorette gum. It works…did for me anyway. Good luck. If only there was a gum to curb MacT’s Reddox addiction…sigh.

Thanks for the encouragement, but the gum and the patch are useless for me. I've tried both and they did nothing except pee me off and help fuel a nasty column about Jiri Dopita.

The only thing that worked for me, at least for awhile, was that pill Zyban. Stayed off the rockets for almost a year. Romane got me to what, about 60 minutes. HYPNOSIS my eye. I wanted to HYPNOTIZE Romane: "You will give Brownlee his money back, you will give Brownlee his money back . . ."

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#32 Robin B
March 03 2009, 09:53PM
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@ Dennis: You make sense, except what if a player who seems to fit here and has a future doesn't want to be here?

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#33 Dennis
March 03 2009, 09:53PM
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RB: I listened more closely tonight;) and Spec said the name "he keeps hearing is Colby Armstrong."

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#34 W.T.
March 03 2009, 09:55PM
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Oh wise Robin, W.T. would like all your followers to hear who you think other teams are actively trying to obtain from the Oil. I may of missed this if you have already posted. Maybe then folks will realize the position Klowe has put Oil faithful in. Maybe NHL teams are only interested in Souray,Gagner,Cog's,Hemsky and maybe Cole as a rental player?????? This nonsense of trading Penner, Nilsson, MAP and getting something real in return is laughable.

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#35 Dennis
March 03 2009, 09:56PM
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RB: 5 seems like a happy-go-lucky guy so I'd never guess he wouldn't want to stay. Then again, maybe some early benchings and wing-duty have soured him on the skipper.

Seem plausible?

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#36 Robin B
March 03 2009, 09:57PM
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@ Dennis: I'm not going to try to torpedo Spec's "insight," but we're getting next to nothing from the horse's mouth right now, so a lot of guys are relying on the other end and simply repeating rumours they've heard from other reporters etc. I'm not getting Colby Armstrong from the guys who call the shots, so if Spector is, good for him. It's a guy who makes some sense and a pretty safe name to float out there.

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#37 RossCreek
March 03 2009, 09:58PM
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Any interest in Antoine Vermette? I know he's a softy but if you had him instead of Nilsson, it might be a good trade off. Nilsson is not at all a MacT type player, whereas Vermette is. He's versatile, can play either wing or center, is a decent penalty killer and has some hands. He'd be worth a look on Hemshy's wing IMO... at least if nothing else. Vermette, Colby Armstrong and Tuomo Ruutu would be of most interest to me among lesser names. Thoughts Robin?

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#38 Robin B
March 03 2009, 09:58PM
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Dennis wrote:

RB: 5 seems like a happy-go-lucky guy so I’d never guess he wouldn’t want to stay. Then again, maybe some early benchings and wing-duty have soured him on the skipper. Seem plausible?

You got my drift.

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#39 Robin B
March 03 2009, 10:00PM
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@ RossCreek: All three cost you Cole or Cole-plus. All three are probably worth it, but you can't have a lag or a break-in period for results. Oilers don't have that luxury.

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#40 W.T.
March 03 2009, 10:04PM
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W.T. just finished watching Flames hockey, 1/2hr show on Sportsnet. As an NHL fan I enjoy listening to other teams and what they are doing. W.T. missed what channel Oiler hockey 1/2hr show is on. Please advise?

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#41 Dennis
March 03 2009, 10:04PM
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RB: that would be very unfortunate. I guess he'll give us a little hint of his content - or lack of - this summer.

Any idea on what it would take to land Recchi? that team is terrible at drafting so I imagine they need just about everything.

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#42 Bob Sacamano
March 03 2009, 10:05PM
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So Robin, what do you think it would take to get Briere. Is it just a matter of being willing to take on the contract, or do you actually have to give up assets too? His contract has a long term (6 more years), but at a 6.5M cap hit, it's not that ridiculous. He's a 30 goal guy with a 90 point season, who realistically is probably a 75 point guy. Do you think he'd made the team better? It would sure be nice to have a legitimate first line player to play with Hemsky.

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#43 RossCreek
March 03 2009, 10:05PM
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@ Robin B: Would you look at Scott Gomez (obviously more likely in the summer). Would Slats consider giving up a guy like Bobby Sanguenetti in a deal for the cap relief. Or could you swap cap problems (Gomez-Penner being the "key" principals). The only plausible way of moving Penner would be for another bad contract, no? And what do you think of Jordan Staal vs Cogliano or Gagner??

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#44 Robin B
March 03 2009, 10:07PM
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@ W.T.: Most of the calls start with the Gagner or Cogliano if you're talking about anything more than a rental. People aren't asking for Souray or Horcoff or even a Visnovsky because GMs aren't willing to take on that kind of salary with the cap looking like it'll be $50 M or less by 2010-11. Hemsky isn't on the table -- not for anybody.

The only exceptions would be a swap of bad long-term contracts.

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#45 Dennis
March 03 2009, 10:09PM
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I don't understand why the Pens inked Staal longterm. You see what Malkin can do with Sykora so you spend the Staal money on a winger for Crosby and then you fill your bottom sixers with hard workers and guys who are just happy to have a chance to win a Cup.

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#46 W.T.
March 03 2009, 10:13PM
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O.K. Oil fans, there you have it, bad contract for bad contract or give up the kids and Tambo aka Klowe ain't going to do that. Another disappointing trade deadline day for Oil.

W.T. will motivate everyone, Oilers make the playoffs and W.T. will not post until next NHL season. What was that everyone, go Oil go! And what is your end of the deal if Oil miss playoffs again?

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#47 Robin B
March 03 2009, 10:13PM
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@ Bob Sacamano: Most of these kind of big deals -- Briere etc -- have to wait until the summer. The economic forecast is too cloudy right now. At least at the end of June and start of July teams should have a better idea of the cap and what they can afford. GMs are very cautious right now.

@ RossCreek: Same thing. Gomez, even Jokinen. Big bucks. There's going to be a glut of over-priced guys sitting there. If you've got the money (in this case cap room), it's a good time to buy in the sense that some sellers won't ask much in a trade, they just want their big ticket guys off the books.

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#48 RossCreek
March 03 2009, 10:26PM
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@ Robin B:

What do you think of Jordan Staal vs Cogliano or Gagner?? Staal's got the size and style (read: pk/defensive concious) for MacT. Where do you see those 3 five years down the road? Could Staal be a fit with Hemsky?

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#49 Drago
March 03 2009, 10:31PM
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Hopes/wishes/prayers for tomorrow: - a team gets REALLY desperate and trades for Horcoff - Tambellini makes the following moves: 1- To EDM: RW Scottie Upshall to PHI: D Taylor Chorney & a 2nd round pick Philly needs cap space with Upshall being an impending RFA and this way they get a prospect defenseman and a good pick back. 2- To EDM: C Chris Higgins & D Mathieu Dandenault to MTL: D Tom Gilbert, LW Marc Pouliot & C Gilbert Brule Higgins an impending RFA and Dandenault who wants out for a long term signed Gilbert being the offensive d-man they desperately seek and Brule and Pouliot who are cheap and can fill in where needed. 3- To EDM: C Olli Jokinen & D Derek Morris to PHX: LW Robert Nilsson, D Ladislav Smid, C Kyle Brodziak & LW Rob Schremp making the new lines as so: Penner-Jokinen-Hemsky Higgins-Gagner-Upshall Moreau-Cogliano-Pisani Jacques-Reddox-Stortini

Souray-Staios Grebeshkov-Morris Strudwick-Peckham

Roloson Drouin-Deslauriers

I know that many trades would disrupt chemistry and they would never happen but I think those lines could do some damage.

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#50 Kman
March 03 2009, 10:31PM
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This talk about keeping Cole is non sense and Rolli as well for that matter. Cole is gone in the summer and nothing in return, this would be unacceptable for Oiler fans. Lets face the facts, we are not a playoff team, lets wake up to this fact and move on. Roli should be moved at the height of his most recent performances. This team is badly out shot in almost every game. Trade Roli, play our back up and see really what this team is all about. It makes no sense to limp into the payoffs with roli standing on his head. We are stuck with Hocoff at 7mill next year, a pretty pricey 2/3 line center. If Speeza is available make the move, even if it costs Gange and make a move to land Booth to bolster the top line. I would play cogs as second line centre and move horc to 3rd centre where he belongs.

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