Draft Day 2009: THE LIST

Robin Brownlee
June 24 2009 02:39PM

kevin-the-scout

You don't want guesses from rank amateurs. Mock drafts? Pfft. You want THE LIST. You want to know what name will be on the tip of the tongue of Oilers GM Steve Tambellini when he steps to the podium in Montreal Friday with the 10th pick at the NHL Entry Draft.

I want THE LIST, too. But, as in years past when I covered the draft for The Journal and The Sun, none of the Oilers brass or scouting staff has slipped it to me on the down-low. Zero chance, Mr. Inside Guy.

As fans know, that's never stopped me from asking questions, taking names or rummaging through Kevin Prendergast's garbage, then offering my best projection as to how things will unfold.

Prendergast, chief scout Stu MacGregor and his staff have compiled a list ranking the top 150 prospects. While there might be some tweaking when the staff gathers in Montreal Tuesday, it's pretty much set.

So, for those who recall my draft previews in those newspaper days, I'm going to take another swing rolling it out OilersNation style -- and, yes, I did have Jordan Eberle on the WISH LIST in 2008.

As always, everything goes out the window if Tambellini deals and moves up in selection order -- he'll be pitching to get into the top seven -- but I'm writing this with the assumption the Oilers stay where they are.

The wish list

John Tavares? Victor Hedman? Matt Duchene? Duh! They don't count.

Obviously, Tambellini, Prendergast and MacGregor will sprint to the podium screaming like their hair is on fire if one of these three blue-chippers is available at 10th. They won't be. So, let's get a grip and stick with players who might be available in the first round.

MAGNUS PAAJARVI-SVENSSON, F, Timra (Sweden)

ISS Ranking (International Scouting Services): 4th

WHAT THEY SAY

Director of NHL Central Scouting E. J. McGuire: "Magnus perhaps is the stereotype of the skilled Swede coming over here in recent years – outside speed extraordinaire, ability to freeze defenders and make all his good moves work even more effectively. He was a good contributor to his team at the World Junior tournament and I think will be an essential member of any NHL team in years to come. He showed, at the World Junior championships, why the 1980 comparisons to Mats Naslund, Kent Nilsson and more recently a Peter Forsberg will follow him over to his NHL team. He’ll be a high draft pick and I’m sure he’s going to be a combination of the kind of offensive flare and skills that have made those other three predecessors great NHL players."

MACGREGOR SAYS: "He's a great skater. He takes it to the net, drives to the net with speed. He's one of those players who's around the puck a lot. He's not overly tall, but he's a solid 198 pounds and he's going to get bigger."

THE SKINNY: The Oilers like his skill and compete-level. He's also got some flair, having suggested Canadian players at the World Junior Championship would "shit their pants" if Sweden scored a couple quick goals. The buzz is some scouts are picking Paajarvi-Svensson to drop a notch or two, but as far as 10th? Not likely.

EVANDER KANE, C, Vancouver (WHL)

ISS Ranking: 5th

WHAT THEY SAY

NHL Central Scouting’s Blair MacDonald: "He has power forward qualities from the blue line in. He's the type of player who doesn't like being denied access to the net. You can almost see when he's got the puck he's going to the net and defying people to stop him. He'll be a 200-pound forward in the NHL. He plays like he's six-foot-two, six-foot-three, bigger than his size. He's surprised a lot of people with his strength going to the net."

MACGREGOR SAYS: "He's everything we could use. He's an offensive player with a real physical edge. There's just a real edge to his game. He competes extremely hard."

THE SKINNY: To steal from Paajarvi-Svensson, the Oilers would "shit their pants" in unison if Kane was around at 10th. They've got no chance at getting him unless they move up to the 4th-7th picks. Take this to the bank: they like him enough to try.

JARED COWEN, D, Spokane (WHL)

ISS RANKING: 7th

WHAT THEY SAY

E.J. McGuire: "Cowen made his name last year as a Memorial Cup winning member of the Chiefs and the comparisons that were thrown around at that time were that of Zdeno Chara. Physically, he looks big, strong and rangy. Offensively he has that kind of contribution and if he, despite the pressure that we are putting on him, blossoms into half the player that Chara he is going to be a solid NHL player for years to come."

MACGREGOR SAYS: "He's a shutdown-type defenceman. He's got great reach. He loves the challenge of being matched up against the other team's offensive players. He plays a simple, easy game with the puck. He isn't punishing physically, but he uses his body effectively."

THE SKINNY: While Cowen might not develop into a first pairing defenceman in terms of offence, he's got the size and skill set that makes him a sure-fire NHLer as no worse than a second-pairing guy.

The Oilers select...

Don't expect the Oilers to have a Jesse Niinimaki flashback and go off the board if Tambellini can't make a move up from 10th pick.

MacGregor refused to discuss the Oilers list of rankings in relation to those of Central Scouting or ISS, but I'd be surprised if anybody utters WTF?, as was the case with Niinimaki, when Tambellini leans into the microphone.

NAZEM KADRI, C, London (OHL)

ISS RANKING: 8th

WHAT THEY SAY

E.J. McGuire: "He's big, lanky and skilled. He uses his size to accentuate his puck skills. Size, reach, stick handling ability, those long kinds of stick movements that Mario (Lemieux) used to make, like (Vincent) Lecavalier makes."

MACGREGOR SAYS: "Sure, we like him. He's very good with the puck and he uses his size to his advantage."

THE SKINNY: Can he be an elite centre one day? The jury is out on that. The consensus seems to be that Kadri's got the tools that project to him being no worse than a second-line centre.

DMITRY KULIKOV, D, Drummondville (QMJHL)

ISS RANKING: 10th

WHAT THEY SAY

Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau: "In his first year, he’s been an all-around good player. He’s a great skater; he can carry the puck and shoot the puck well. He’s strong too, he can take big hits and they don’t seem to bother him. What we saw this year is likely what we are going to see from Kulikov in the future; he’s going to play the same way in the NHL. He knows when to join the rush, he plays defence first, but recognizes the holes. He can shoot the puck well on the power play and I wouldn’t be surprised if he played in the NHL next year."

MACGREGOR SAYS: "He's an excellent two way defenceman with some offensive upside. He's a guy who is going to give you a lot of minutes as develops."

THE SKINNY: Everything about Kulikov's resume -- he was defenceman of the year and rookie of the year in the QMJHL and voted best pro prospect -- screams blue-chipper.

SCOTT GLENNIE, RW, Brandon (WHL)

ISS RANKING: 19th

WHAT THEY SAY

E.J. McGuire: "Glennie was mislabelled earlier in the year as perhaps being only a finisher for linemate Brayden Schenn. Yet Scott took matters into his own hands with an equal number of goals and assists and contributed greatly this season with a power forward type attitude. Glennie might remind the fan of NHL players with power forward abilities coming off the wall like Jonathan Cheechoo and Jonathan Toews -- that kind of offensive ability."

MACGREGOR SAYS: "He has some real athletic aspects to him. When Schenn was out early in the year, he still played at a high tempo. He's a guy who really has untapped potential at this point."

THE SKINNY: While the scouting staff won't admit it, I have a sneaking suspicion -- nobody's tipped me off, I'm reading between the lines -- they're almost as ga-ga about Glennie as they are over Kane.

Taking a Flyer

Looking for a darkhorse pick if the WISH LIST is picked clean and Glennie, Kulikov and Kadri are gone?

DAVID RUNDBLAD, D, Skelleftea (Sweden)

ISS RANKING: 22nd

WHAT THEY SAY

CS Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb: "He has a very good shot. He is a right-handed shot and he is used on the power play, even in the (Elite) League despite being a young player. He is a very smart player. He could be a little more physical in his game, but that is something that he is learning."

MACGREGOR SAYS: "Good size. He needs to improve his skating and speed a little bit, but he's got real good patience and calmness with the puck. He has a unique offensive vision and ability to move the puck."

THE SKINNY: The Oilers like Rundblad a lot more than ISS and CS do.

THREE DOTS...

Adam Kimelmen of NHL.com had the Oilers taking Carter Ashton 10th in his mock draft, but that won't happen... The Oilers like Zack Kassian (20th ISS), but not enough to take him ahead of Kadri, Kulikov or Glennie because he projects to a third-line player in the estimation of the scouting staff... Diminutive defenceman Ryan Ellis (13th ISS) and pint-sized right winger Jordan Schroeder (14th ISS) are pegged by some as possibilities for the Oilers, but MacGregor and his staff have other players ranked higher, so it's not in the cards.

Now, you 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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#151 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 03:00PM
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Mike76 wrote:

They should give Ottawa Gagner for Heatley and make them take Horcroff and his over inflated salary too. They get our best young player, our best two way player (with a huge salary) we get the sniper we need and aren’t taking on much more salary then we already have. Maybe they can add one of our d men and get Brian Eliott as a goalie in the deal too. @ Chris:

Cogs/O'sully/Brodziak/Pou down the middle?

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#152 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 03:01PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: You should let me use your crystal ball. I’m just reacting to what’s going on around me. There are no reports of anyone making a good offer for Heatley. Based on that I’m simply deducing that if the Oilers had offered a defenseman that would have led the Sens in offense (by a Dman) last year AND the 2nd best young player on the team I think it would have been considered a very good option by the Sens. I see no reason to give the Sens both guys Cogs and Gilbert for Heatley. Is he worth it? Probably. Will the Sens get that? Not a chance.

Murray stated he's got one legit offer and it wasn't from the Oil.

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#153 Archaeologuy
June 24 2009, 03:04PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Murray stated he’s got one legit offer and it wasn’t from the Oil.

Murray stated he got one offer that he didnt want to have to take, he didnt say who it was from. Other unnamed sources have said it wasnt from the Oilers, and they havent said what the Oilers have offered. 1 offer is not looking good for Murray. Advantage goes to the rest of the League.

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#154 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 03:08PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Murray stated he’s got one legit offer and it wasn’t from the Oil. Murray stated he got one offer that he didnt want to have to take, he didnt say who it was from. Other unnamed sources have said it wasnt from the Oilers, and they havent said what the Oilers have offered. 1 offer is not looking good for Murray. Advantage goes to the rest of the League.

He also doesn't have to trade him.

They clearly aren't going to get fair value for him, but you also aren't going to get him for Nilsson/Smid and a 2nd.

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#155 Chris
June 24 2009, 03:12PM
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@ Mike76:

And just because:

@ Archaeologuy:

I love this stat site...

Before we get rid of Horcoff it should be known that last season (one of his poor campaigns) he was ranked second in Oiler even strenght assits (23); while Hemsky, aka, the Lone Ranger, was ranked seventh on the team in even strenght assists(16) despite having the same ice time and the reputation of being a "playmaker".

Hemsky did score more even strenght goals than Horcoff, (Who may have been busy back-checking...or sucking wind after killing yet ANOTHER penalty one shift previous) but both players have 35 and 34 total points respectivly with comparable TOI...

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#156 Archaeologuy
June 24 2009, 03:17PM
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@ Chris: My only response to Hemsky's EV assists is, Who was he supposed to be passing to? Horc's inability to score at even strength hampers Hemsky's ability to get an assist off the guy.

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#157 Chris
June 24 2009, 03:27PM
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If points are your measure: Players around the league who put up better even strength numbers than Hemsky:

Most guys making more than $2million/season. *Relax. I'm just kidding.*

Seriously. Hemsky had less even strenght assists last season than Gilbert, Horcoff, Grebeshkov, Souray, O'sullivan, and Gagner. In fact, despite more ice time, Hemsky's legendary puck distribution ability netted him only a point or two more than Brodziak, Cogliano, Penner, and even Nilsson and Staios are close.

This kind of validates what I saw on a nightly basis; Hemsky feeds on the PP from a mostly static position, with everyone else doing the battling for him. Five on five, he floats around, and produces on a level more akin to a second line forward and not an emerging star. This is not acceptable for a player of his skillset. i hope Quinn lights a fire under his arse.

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#158 Chris
June 24 2009, 03:31PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ Chris: My only response to Hemsky’s EV assists is, Who was he supposed to be passing to? Horc’s inability to score at even strength hampers Hemsky’s ability to get an assist off the guy.

Lame duck argument. I mean all those other players... who were they passing to? Look, Hemmer is a good player... but it's clear he pads his stats on the PP... an advantage many on the roster don't get.

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#159 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 03:45PM
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Chris wrote:

Archaeologuy wrote: @ Chris: My only response to Hemsky’s EV assists is, Who was he supposed to be passing to? Horc’s inability to score at even strength hampers Hemsky’s ability to get an assist off the guy. Lame duck argument. I mean all those other players… who were they passing to? Look, Hemmer is a good player… but it’s clear he pads his stats on the PP… an advantage many on the roster don’t get.

Couple things:

1. We can't forget the goals all count the same, doesn't matter if they were scored 5 on 3 or 3 on 5. That said, more 5 on 5 points do show a higher caliber player.

2. He has had seasons where he was more productive 5 on in retrospect, this past year was fairly weak by his standards.

Must have been his linemates ;)

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#160 Chris
June 24 2009, 04:08PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

I'm just having a bit of fun... Hemsky's EVA totals track in nicely with a lot of other fine players/franchise cornerstones like Joffree Lupul, Tyler Arnasson, Kyle Okposo (Like he had great linemates), and Andy McDonald... oh wait, Andy only played 46 games...

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#161 Chris
June 24 2009, 04:09PM
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@ Johnathan Willis:

Bending Stats to annoy others IS fun!

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#162 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 04:09PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: I’m just having a bit of fun… Hemsky’s EVA totals track in nicely with a lot of other fine players/franchise cornerstones like Joffree Lupul, Tyler Arnasson, Kyle Okposo (Like he had great linemates), and Andy McDonald… oh wait, Andy only played 46 games…

DAMN YOU HORCOFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!

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#163 Chris
June 24 2009, 04:18PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Don't get me wrong, playing with Horcoff does have a negative effect on Hemsky's minus totals.

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#164 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 04:20PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: Don’t get me wrong, playing with Horcoff does have a negative effect on Hemsky’s minus totals.

*Puts hands over ears and shouts*

Hemsky's good Horcoff is bad, Hemsky's good Horcoff is bad, Hemsky's good Horcoff is bad.

Now if we can only find a way to dump that 7 million.

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#165 Chris
June 24 2009, 04:29PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Now if we can only find a way to dump that 7 million.

What we really need is to find a way for Horcoff to help pad Hemsky's EVA totals without getting any credit... Oh wait... he did that the season before!

How about this:

Hemsky scored 19EV goals and had 16EV assists. Horcoff scored 11EV goals and had 23EV assists.

Therefore, it is clear based on number that Horcoff is the playmaking center and Hemsky is holding HIM back!

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#166 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 04:33PM
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Chris wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Now if we can only find a way to dump that 7 million. What we really need is to find a way for Horcoff to help pad Hemsky’s EVA totals without getting any credit… Oh wait… he did that the season before! How about this: Hemsky scored 19EV goals and had 16EV assists. Horcoff scored 11EV goals and had 23EV assists. Therefore, it is clear based on number that Horcoff is the playmaking center and Hemsky is holding HIM back!

Torres out pointed Hemsky 5 on 5 a few years ago.

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#167 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 04:42PM
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ESPPG

05/06

Hemsky .42 Horc .54

06/07

Hemsky .44 Horc .35

07/08

Hemsky .55 Horc .64

08/09

Hemsky .44 Horc .4

Since the lockout:

Hemsky .46 Horc .48

Horc may just be the most underated player in the league.

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#168 Chris
June 24 2009, 05:01PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

I think what bugs me about the whole "Hemmer needs better linmates" thing, is that it absolves Hemsky of any responsibility to get better himself... And let's face it, there is room for improvement.

People on this site give Hemsky a pass, saying he's still young, but then, a day later, entertain the notion that at 27; Heatley's best scoring years may be behind him... (You know who you are)

I, like everyone else, cringe when Horcoff whiffs on a great Hemsky setup. I openly acknowledge that Horcoff fights the puck a bit, and is NOT a dynamic offensive force on the ice. That said, why is it that Horcoff never seems to get his due when he bails out Hemsky defensivly? I mean for every whiffed shot, there is at least one instance where Horcoff has to positively skate his guts out the other direction trying to recover another terrible Hemsky give-away... Why is it so fashionable to blast Horcoff daily for missing shots, but Hemsky draws little to no criticism for making bad decisions with the puck?

I'll bet Hemsky is in for the shock of his life when he reports to camp under Quinn. Horcoff may be demoted... but at least he's not going to have to change the way he plays.

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#169 Ogden Brother
June 24 2009, 05:22PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: I think what bugs me about the whole “Hemmer needs better linmates” thing, is that it absolves Hemsky of any responsibility to get better himself… And let’s face it, there is room for improvement. People on this site give Hemsky a pass, saying he’s still young, but then, a day later, entertain the notion that at 27; Heatley’s best scoring years may be behind him… (You know who you are) I, like everyone else, cringe when Horcoff whiffs on a great Hemsky setup. I openly acknowledge that Horcoff fights the puck a bit, and is NOT a dynamic offensive force on the ice. That said, why is it that Horcoff never seems to get his due when he bails out Hemsky defensivly? I mean for every whiffed shot, there is at least one instance where Horcoff has to positively skate his guts out the other direction trying to recover another terrible Hemsky give-away… Why is it so fashionable to blast Horcoff daily for missing shots, but Hemsky draws little to no criticism for making bad decisions with the puck? I’ll bet Hemsky is in for the shock of his life when he reports to camp under Quinn. Horcoff may be demoted… but at least he’s not going to have to change the way he plays.

Agreed 100%

Style over substance I guess and we all know Hemsky has plenty of style

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#170 Robin Brownlee
June 25 2009, 08:59AM
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Nilsson for Tootoo? I'm not sure if Dean Millard over at the Pipeline Show is guessing or being vague to protect a source, but that's an interesting one. I'll be checking with people I know to find out if there's anything to Millard saying he believes Edmonton and Nashville have talked trade. Doesn't make sense to me, but I haven't asked specifically about it until now, so we'll see.

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#171 Ogden Brother
June 25 2009, 09:10AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Nilsson for Tootoo? I’m not sure if Dean Millard over at the Pipeline Show is guessing or being vague to protect a source, but that’s an interesting one. I’ll be checking with people I know to find out if there’s anything to Millard saying he believes Edmonton and Nashville have talked trade. Doesn’t make sense to me, but I haven’t asked specifically about it until now, so we’ll see.

Didn't you mention that in your "arm chair GM" blog a few months back? Either way, I'd be pretty happy with that deal.

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#172 Robin Brownlee
June 25 2009, 09:29AM
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@ Ogden Brother: I might have, but I don't honestly recall. For me, there's some merit in a move like this one, but there's a big difference between putting it out there that a Nilsson-Tootoo deal might make sense and suggesting that the teams are actually discussing said move. In fact, it's a quantum leap.

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#173 RossCreek
June 25 2009, 10:13AM
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@ Robin Brownlee: It was in your 'lets play GM' blog a while back. The way I read it then was you just throwing out random deals for us to make.

May 7 1:04 pm Armchair GM IV: The Peanut Gallery Robin Brownlee

www.oilersnation.com/2009/05/armchair-gm-iv-the-peanut-gallery/

3. Nashville wants more skill and you want more grit. The Predators offer you pugnacious and noted serial-charger Jordin Tootoo for sometimes-slacker Robert Nilsson. Do you make that trade?

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#174 Robin Brownlee
June 25 2009, 10:18AM
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@ RossCreek: There you go. An idea spawned here. Maybe the Oilers are reading or I'm just a sharp hockey mind like Tambellini? Like I said, though, Millard takes it beyond that, so he's either fudging or he's on to something. Which one it is, I don't know.

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#175 Robin Brownlee
June 25 2009, 10:42AM
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OILERS TALKING TO MINNESOTA ABOUT JOSH HARDING.

This is from Mike Russo's blog (Russo's Rants). Mike is connected and he doesn't guess, so you can bet Tambellini has made a call to Chuck Fletcher about Harding.

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#176 RossCreek
June 25 2009, 10:50AM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Given these choices and assuming all can be had for sane prices, who do you take:

Josh Harding Kari Lehtonen Ilya Bryzgalov Dwayne Roloson someone else

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#177 Chris
June 25 2009, 11:09AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

The next week is going to be amazing...

I'm dying to see if Tambo can:

a)move up in the draft b)shed some salary c)find a goalie d)land a BIG FISH e)keep Smid from signing an offer sheet.

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#178 Ogden Brother
June 25 2009, 11:59AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

OILERS TALKING TO MINNESOTA ABOUT JOSH HARDING. This is from Mike Russo’s blog (Russo’s Rants). Mike is connected and he doesn’t guess, so you can bet Tambellini has made a call to Chuck Fletcher about Harding.

Music to my ears.

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