Armchair GM V: housekeeping items

Robin Brownlee
June 01 2009 01:42PM

Even with the hiring of head coach Pat Quinn, associate coach Tom Renney and assistant Kelly Buchberger taken care of, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini has a full plate these days.

The first order of business for Tambellini right now is schmoozing and setting the table for possible deals down the road at a meeting of general managers in Pittsburgh over the next couple of days.

While we media types refer to trades made at the NHL Entry Draft as, duh, draft-day deals, the feeling out process begins weeks ahead of time when the GMs get together to kick tires as to what-ifs and possibilities with an eye to when everybody gets together again at the draft.

Given the significant tweaks Tambellini is looking to make to the roster, the glad-handing, huddling and casual inquiries that mark these gab sessions will be particularly important before the draft begins in Montreal.

Hey, big spender, can I buy you a drink?

Looking ahead

If Tambellini manages to package up (unload), say, a Robert Nilsson and a Rob Schremp for pucks, I mean picks, chances are the seeds of that deal will be sown in Pittsburgh before the action heats up down on St. Catherines Street in Montreal.

Same thing if Tambellini is looking to move up in draft order from the 10th spot. I know, it never happens with the Oilers, but there's no harm in asking what it might take to slip into the top five, and Tambellini will do his due diligence on that front.

Likewise, you can bet Tambellini will ask around about players who might fit into one of his top six-forward spots, preferably on left wing. Would making a defenceman like, say, Tom Gilbert (you knew this was coming) and a leader of men like Ethan Moreau available be the start of a meaningful discussion before things get busy on the draft floor?

You'd have to be profoundly dense not to understand Tambellini has depth on the blue line and that, jettisoning spare parts aside, the most likely move is that he'll use that depth to attempt to fill that top six spot.

The checklist

From what I understand, Tambellini will wrap up the GM schmoozefest and jet to Kelowna to oversee meetings with assistant GM Kevin Prendergast and the amateur scouting staff in preparation for the draft.

Aside from going over his staff's draft list -- who is this Turkish goalie we've got rated No. 10? -- Tambellini has his work cut for him in the next 10 days. In no particular order:

-- What about naming a head coach in Springfield? I'd be stunned if it isn't Rob Daum, but I'm going strictly by common sense and the job Daum did at the end of last season despite being saddled with, essentially, an ECHL roster, especially on defence. Indications are we won't hear anything on the Springfield front until next week.

-- What about adding a second assistant to the coaching staff? People are already guessing about who that might be, but I haven't heard one firm word from anybody who calls the shots that the decision has even been made to go with a staff of four.

-- Who replaces video coach Brian Ross, a Craig MacTavish hire who was let go with assistants Charlie Huddy and Bill Moores?

-- What happens with goaltending coach Pete Peeters?

-- Does Rod Phillips come back for his 37th season as radio play-by-play man or does he hand the microphone over to Bob Stauffer?

When I know, you'll know.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. 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 Ogden Brother
June 01 2009, 01:45PM
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Robin, what do you think the odds would be of putting O'Sully with our 10th to get in the 5/6 range?

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#2 dyckster
June 01 2009, 01:48PM
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"If Tambellini manages to package up (unload), say, a Robert Nilsson and a Rob Schremp for pucks,"

There's truth in jest. All the same though....ouch. Being in the media isn't about making friends eh? Although with these two, if they happen to corner Robin in a dark alley, my money would be on Mr. Brownlee.

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#3 Rick
June 01 2009, 01:55PM
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With the combine's over and the GM meeting's about to kick off, how long before you media types start getting leaks on what deals may be cooking? Or does it stay pretty quiet?

As for Gilbert, is there anything to read into him buying a house here in Edmonton? Particularily since he bought it after the season was over.

I know Lupul bought one and was shipped out shortly after, but it still leaves me wondering if the fact he bought one is an indicator of what he heard from Tambellini at the end of the year.

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#4 Librarian Mike
June 01 2009, 01:58PM
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Turkish goalie ranked 10th? Really? Hopefully he's the next Anze Kopitar instead of the next Michel Riesen.

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#5 Dustin Penner's 2nd Chin
June 01 2009, 01:58PM
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Thanks for the updates Robin. I do not envy the tough decisions Tamby has to make in the coming weeks. It should be entertaining to watch how it all unfolds though.

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#6 Souby
June 01 2009, 02:03PM
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If they are going to add another assistant it should be someone who can help the special teams because both stunk last year! Maybe Bucky handles the PK and the other guy handles the PP. Just a thought.

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#7 Wanye Gretz
June 01 2009, 02:22PM
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"When I know, you’ll know."

I love this website so much.

*sits back and stares at computer happily*

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#8 Ender the Dragon
June 01 2009, 02:34PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

I love this website so much.

Oddly enough, we love that you love this website so much.

*claps once, so loudly that it breaks the silence in the room and starts him wondering why the heck he's clapping*

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#9 David S
June 01 2009, 02:41PM
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~a leader of men like Ethan Moreau~

Fixed.

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#10 sittingatmydesk
June 01 2009, 02:48PM
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bla bla bla, we want ( need ) news, whod on the block, whos coming, we know that you have all that info and we know that you are well connected, give us more, its way too long until draft day... im going crazy!!!!

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#11 Bar Qu
June 01 2009, 02:55PM
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I hate the idea of giving up Gilbert, but I understand the need to lead with your best available assets. But then again, what does a Gilbert get you in a top-6 winger? And who out there is a willing partner to the Oil? Hopefully someone who is a willing fool with great players ;).

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#12 swany
June 01 2009, 03:04PM
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We need so many things it's to hard to try and guess where Tambo might start. Top six forward a third line centre who can win faceoffs and PK. More size and grit to go along with the talent WE do have (Pat Quinn). I don't envy Tambo this summer if he could plug just 2 holes I think he has done a good job, if he hits the home run than this would be the best summer an Oiler GM had in a long time.

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#13 swany
June 01 2009, 03:07PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

I hate the idea of giving up Gilbert, but I understand the need to lead with your best available assets. But then again, what does a Gilbert get you in a top-6 winger? And who out there is a willing partner to the Oil? Hopefully someone who is a willing fool with great players ;).

Yoy could look to Philly, you might be able to get a Gagne, for a Gilbert+ or what about a longshot Richards Size grit hands Maybe a Gilbert plus Cogs and a prospect. Philly needs to shed some salary and they need a puckmover in the worst way.

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#14 swany
June 01 2009, 03:12PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

I hate the idea of giving up Gilbert, but I understand the need to lead with your best available assets. But then again, what does a Gilbert get you in a top-6 winger? And who out there is a willing partner to the Oil? Hopefully someone who is a willing fool with great players ;).

When you look at the Oilers D Gilbert is the logical choice to move. Reasons Gilbert will get you more than any other D-man 25 years old 45 points moves the puck very well, 4 mil cap hit and signed for 5 more year. You can't trade Souray he is the only guy that we have that has a mean streak. Vish well look what happened to Hemmer and the PP after Vish got hurt, and Gilbert is a good puck mover but Vish is far better, But his cap hit will mean less in return than Gilbert. Grebs we just signed him to a 3 year 3.1 mil contract, he takes Gilberts place on the roster, less money moves the puck as good or better younger. $ puck movers are great but we sure could use a young Jason Smith, I would take 3 puck movers a 3 guys that can hit and play D

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#15 Bar Qu
June 01 2009, 03:14PM
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swany wrote:

what about a longshot Richards

My understanding (with the longterm contract he signed) is that Richards is the new cornerstone of the franchise. But, I like the idea of a Gagne. Maybe an all (or mostly) Gagne/r line?

BTW, Gagne's shooting % the last few years is impressive (15, 14 and 14) along with his shots taken (221, 291 and 334!?).

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#16 Wanye Gretz
June 01 2009, 03:17PM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

That's a mad decent clap.

*seconds the notion clapping once, so loudly Pat Quinn's old skateboard injury immediately heals and he is able to rejoin the NHL as a player*

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#17 swany
June 01 2009, 03:23PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

swany wrote: what about a longshot Richards My understanding (with the longterm contract he signed) is that Richards is the new cornerstone of the franchise. But, I like the idea of a Gagne. Maybe an all (or mostly) Gagne/r line? BTW, Gagne’s shooting % the last few years is impressive (15, 14 and 14) along with his shots taken (221, 291 and 334!?).

I agree about Richards but I could wish, I think he is exactly the TYPE of player Tambo, along with Quinn would want. Gregor keeps bring up Hartnell could he play top six? I think he would look good on the second line with Gagner, he would create alot of space for the little guy to operate, but I think if it was Gilbert for Hartnell Philly might have to add.

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#18 dyckster
June 01 2009, 03:29PM
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You guys think if(when) Hossa gets his ring he may consider coming here as an FA? Maybe he'd be ready to be "the guy". We'd obviously have to clear up some cap space though.

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#19 DBO
June 01 2009, 03:36PM
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Philly needs to drop salary. Getting gagne for gilbert would be nice, and it saves them $1.25 mill. Only issue is he's a UFA after the year and that seems to rarely work out for us. Hartnel, while also having a hefty contract, fits all of the needs for our top 6 and doesn't add salary. I'd sooner take a run at Clowe form SJ, who will cost us $2 mill less per year and bring almost the same thing as HArtnell. We still need to address a tougher top 4 dman, and a goalie, but Hartnell or Clowe is a start (especially since Hartnell was who lowe wanted 2 years ago when he signed before july 1 with Philly). - Gilbert for Hartnell - If not then Souray for Clowe and a pick form SJ - Nilsson and 2nd round pick for Harding (sign Harding to a 3 year $2 mill deal) - Sign Anderson at G for $2 mill for 2 years - Make a run at Komisarek ($4.5 mill per year for 5 years) - Sign a 3rd line center with some size and who can win a faceoff or deal Cogliano and a prospect to Rangers for Dubinsky

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#20 Bar Qu
June 01 2009, 03:37PM
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@ dyckster: Just say no to Hossa. I know he is good (mad skills good) but I don't think he is what the Oil need. We have a dangler and a pile of smooth skaters. What the Oil need is big, bullish and grit. And I think those are available at a lesser price than Hossa would demand.

Besides, what would the team have to give up to get him in? Dunno if it is worth it.

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#21 MyrJ
June 01 2009, 03:42PM
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what I want to know is, why are people intent to trade Gilbert? Gilbert is young, and let's not forget, dmen take a while to develop. Even if we ignore that, within say, 3 years at most, Souray and Visnovsky will be on the decline. Heck, Souray's contract will be up in 3 years and it's almost for sure he'll be gone before then. If we traded Gilbert, in less than 3 years we'd be left with Grebeshkov and Smid as our primary dmen. Sure, they're good, but beyond that we have... very little. It's not a knock against Chorney, Peckham, or Petry. We just haven't seen enough to have faith in them and to lose an up-and-coming young dman in Gilbert. It would suck, but it would be wiser to trade off one of Souray or Visnovsky.

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#22 Ducey
June 01 2009, 03:45PM
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Tambi is probably just trying to figure out who some of the GM's are!

Florida doesn't have one all of a sudden, Dallas just got a new one, Colorado is in limbo, Minni just got a new one, and Phoenix doesn't even know who will own them or where they will play, and Charlie Wang seems to be making player personel decisions with the Islanders.

Throw in a bunch of teams with major money worries (both with losses and cap problems) and I wonder how hard it will be to make a deal with some of these clubs.

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#23 Bar Qu
June 01 2009, 03:46PM
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DBO wrote:

- Sign a 3rd line center with some size and who can win a faceoff or deal Cogliano and a prospect to Rangers for Dubinsky

Is it you that has the man-love for Dubinsky? Is he really all that and a bag of chips?

I do like his faceoff % though. What's his salary? (too lazy to look it up)

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#24 scorcoff hemmercules
June 01 2009, 03:50PM
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If Grebs has been re-signed like everyone says, why can't I find it anywhere?? I keep hearing 3 years at 3 mil, Is this deal actually done??

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#25 scorcoff hemmercules
June 01 2009, 03:57PM
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@ dyckster:

When Hossa gets his ring I think he's off to the beach. He will deny us again and go somewhere nice while we end up with Jagr.

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#26 dyckster
June 01 2009, 04:00PM
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@ scorcoff hemmercules:

Just say NO to Jagr!

I second your Grebeshkov question. I don't think his signing is done yet. Isn't that usually bad? Media says it's all but done, but a few days later still no confirmation. Stalled talks perhaps?

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#27 Wanye Gretz
June 01 2009, 04:03PM
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@ scorcoff hemmercules:

I'd hate to see Hossa or Jagr in a uniform. There are much better longer term moves than either of those two if cap room is available. The Oil should shed as many contracts as they feel they can and sit tight.

The economic collapse in the US is only bound to continue and will put the squeeze on many teams. Being able to bring cash to the table might put the Oilers in a very select group in the next couple of years and absurd deals could abound.

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#28 scorcoff hemmercules
June 01 2009, 04:18PM
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@ Wanye Gretz:

I agree, we need to be careful. Tambo has made some smart moves so far though, lets hope he stays on track and manages the cap well. We have shown interest in both of those guys though so if one of them ended up here I wouldn't be shocked. Decisions decisions, Steve's head must be spinning like a top theses days.

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#29 B.C.B.
June 01 2009, 04:20PM
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The team I would be targeting would be Columbus, since they are bleeding money and did do crap in the playoffs. what about his:

10th overall pick, Cogliano, Chorney/Petry, and a 4th or Cogliano, Gilbert, and a second

for

Nash!

I'd do those deal is about 0.1 seconds.

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#30 David S
June 01 2009, 04:21PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

@ dyckster: Just say no to Hossa. I know he is good (mad skills good) but I don’t think he is what the Oil need. We have a dangler and a pile of smooth skaters. What the Oil need is big, bullish and grit.

Have you seen Hossa during these playoffs? He's got more grit in his big toe than our entire team. Grit doesn't necessarily mean cheap-shotting guys.

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#31 The Menace
June 01 2009, 04:28PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: If they become abundant, then would they still be absurd? hmmmm. *brain implodes while trying to wrap itself around it

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#32 Robin Brownlee
June 01 2009, 04:40PM
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@ DBO: You won't get Komisarek for $4.5 million. Philly will be a prime targer for GMs who are willing to, ahem, help the Flyers with their salary cap concerns. @ MyrJ: Dealing one of the top four is dealing from a position of depth and strength. Gilbert has cachet and gets you something.

@ B.C.B.: Good call on the Jackets, but you aren't getting Nash for that package. They'll be busy between now and draft day.

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#33 Robin Brownlee
June 01 2009, 04:45PM
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dyckster wrote:

“If Tambellini manages to package up (unload), say, a Robert Nilsson and a Rob Schremp for pucks,” There’s truth in jest. All the same though….ouch. Being in the media isn’t about making friends eh? Although with these two, if they happen to corner Robin in a dark alley, my money would be on Mr. Brownlee.

Seriously, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to this conclusion, Nilsson and Schremp are throw-ins in any trade. They don't get you anything straight up. Even as I write this, though, and against my better judgment, I wonder if Nilsson will see this as a new chance and run with it. Same with Schremp. A long shot, but maybe -- assuming Tambellini doesn't make that decision for them with one conversation in the next couple weeks.

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#34 Bar Qu
June 01 2009, 04:51PM
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@Robin

Who is most vulnerable on the Flyers' roster? Hartnell has been bandied about, but is anyone really untouchable?

And which other teams are out there looking for big cap hits in low actual dollars?

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#35 Wanye Gretz
June 01 2009, 05:01PM
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@ The Menace:

I personally think that if the US economy continues to contract at it's current rate of decline over the next year you could see some very shocking things happen in the NHL with respect to guaranteed salaries and player movements.

Put it this way - if the US government is prepared to restructure billions of dollars of GM pension obligations and is being forced to temporarily TAKE CONTROL (!) of the company and restructure all the obligations of the company - think that NHL guaranteed salaries and terms of operations are set in some special stone for all eternity?

Amazing things are afoot. Why waste 5 million on Jagr when you could see the Lightning or some other team completely dissolve forcing the return of a dispersial draft. At that point anyone with the money could simply assume contracts - perhaps even at a lower level.

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#36 Bar Qu
June 01 2009, 05:05PM
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@ Bar Qu: ummm, sorry that second one was a dumb question. I think all teams want that (except for a couple that want the players first and the hit second).

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#37 Wanye Gretz
June 01 2009, 05:07PM
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@ Wanye Gretz:

Wanye - why you bringing everyone down on here? Did you just leave a meeting where old men were all "harumph even our worst case projections have been shattered for economic conditions?"

Signed, The part of Wanye's brain that draws the funny pictures

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#38 Wanye Gretz
June 01 2009, 05:08PM
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@ Wanye Gretz:

You just keep drawing those pictures till one day society collapses all around you and your precious MSPaint.

Signed, The part of Wanye's brain that likes this site as it distracts him from the US Economy on a daily basis

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#39 RossCreek
June 01 2009, 05:09PM
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Hartnell has a no trade clause so he'd have to approve any trade if i'm not mistaken. Lupul is likely one of the most vulnerable @ 4.25 but obviously thats not a likely fit here. Gagne could be had IMO, and I believe he has 2 years left at 5.25. Columbus will look hard to move Huselius I'd assume (perhaps Mike Commodore too). I can't see Nash being moved.

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#40 Robin Brownlee
June 01 2009, 05:11PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

@Robin Who is most vulnerable on the Flyers’ roster? Hartnell has been bandied about, but is anyone really untouchable? And which other teams are out there looking for big cap hits in low actual dollars?

NHL numbers can tell you that, but three of the obvious teams who will be up against the cap next season are Philly (19 players at $53 M already committed), Washington (14 players at $45 M) and Detroit (16 players at $51 million).

Problem is, of course, the Oilers aren't exactly blessed with abundant cap space now either with $47 M committed to 18 players. Doesn't leave room for a big splash unless there's salary headed the other way I(Gilbert, Visnovsky, Souray, Penner etc.

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#41 r59
June 01 2009, 05:12PM
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@ Wanye Gretz:

LOLZ

(?) ....

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#42 B.C.B.
June 01 2009, 05:15PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

What kind of Package would it take to get Nash? I was try to overshoot and you thought I undershot. If they can't sign him to an extension because they are losing money, they must be thinking of trading him. Before the report on their income, I would have never thought he would be trade, but now I think they would if they could get serious youth and a nice young (good contract) player in return.

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#43 DBO
June 01 2009, 05:22PM
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Bar Qu :

yeah i have the man crush on Dubinsky. He's an RFA, with size, grit, skill and can win a faceoff. Wouldn't like to give up Cogs, but Dubinsky fits a need as a 3C, or even 2C. Maybe I'm in the "saw him good" group, but he was one of the Rangers best players in the playoffs and fills a huge need on this team. Think Horcoff with more hitting.

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#44 Robin Brownlee
June 01 2009, 05:24PM
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@ B.C.B.: Don' read too much into the "Columbus bleeding money" storyline. There's trouble spots all over and Columbus is one of them, but the losses sustained this season are a reflection of past failures as opposed to a franchise going nowhere.

Howson and Hitchcock have the Jackets headed the right direction. I'm not convinced they'll dump Nash in a fire sale. Do you take apart a team that's just now on the upswing after recovering from Doug McLean's buffoonery? That's short-term gain for long-term pain.

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#45 RossCreek
June 01 2009, 05:33PM
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Wonder what J-Bo's relationship with Jacques Martin is like. Its pretty obvious that he didn't want to return but would he be more likely or less likely to head to Montreal now because of the Martin hiring? ROBIN?

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#46 Robin Brownlee
June 01 2009, 05:47PM
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@ RossCreek: I don't see Montreal in the cards for Jay. He'll get his money somewhere without jumping in the pressure cooker that is Montreal. The Habs aren't Cup contenders right now -- look at their UFA situation -- and Montreal is a not a fun place to play in when the team is middle of the pack.

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#47 Ogden Brother
June 01 2009, 06:28PM
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B.C.B. wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: What kind of Package would it take to get Nash? I was try to overshoot and you thought I undershot. If they can’t sign him to an extension because they are losing money, they must be thinking of trading him. Before the report on their income, I would have never thought he would be trade, but now I think they would if they could get serious youth and a nice young (good contract) player in return.

The only way I could see nash moved (minus someone knocking the Jackets socks off with an offer) is if Nash plays serious hard ball, and wont sign for a penny less then 8 million (or whatever high end # is just to much for Columbus). Then maybe they'd take a 4.1 Hemsky in exchange for and 8.0 Nash.

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#48 Archaeologuy
June 01 2009, 06:51PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Then maybe they’d take a 4.1 Hemsky in exchange for and 8.0 Nash.

Do we get Nash for 1 year? Does he bolt as soon as he's UFA? Or does he sign an extension of some kind? I bet that Nash isnt moved this season, even at the deadline, just like Bouwmeester. Whatever team takes him wont be interested in acquiring a rental for a valued roster player that is signed long term. That's a huge gamble for a club that doesnt have too much depth to fall back on.

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#49 Librarian Mike
June 01 2009, 07:27PM
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We don't need any of those guys. We've got a multitalented player in our stable right now:

http://www.gametrailers.com/video/zach-stortini-nhl-10/49927

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#50 Chris
June 01 2009, 08:37PM
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What about a player like Fredrick Modin? I know he isn't a big name; buty he is entering the last year of his contract with Columbus, and is an experienced, natural left winger with size and a hard shot... Maybe he could be had for cheap as part of a Columbus salary shed. I see him as a slightly more useful player than Kotalik.

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