JUST ASKING: ITEMS RATTLING AROUND MY BIG HEAD

Robin Brownlee
June 06 2009 03:28PM

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Forget the buzz surrounding rumours Sheldon Souray has put his house on the market -- it means nothing in the context of whether or not he wants to be traded by the Edmonton Oilers. Besides, I don't even know for sure if it's true.

The question for me, given the payroll the Oilers have invested in the back end and the fact Souray's value is as high as I can imagine it'll be at any point in what remains of his career, is: should GM Steve Tambellini be asking Souray to waive his no-movement clause so he can explore the possibility of a trade?

In my mind, the answer is yes -- if for no other reason than it never hurts to see what's out there. I'm always talking about Tom Gilbert being the guy to move when Tambellini goes fishing for a forward, and I still think he makes the most sense, but there's no downside to taking calls on Souray.

If some of those calls came from, say, Phoenix, San Jose, Anaheim or Los Angeles, where Souray's daughters live with former wife Angelica Bridges, is there a chance he'd happily waive the NMC?

I think so.

IS THAT NO?

The rumour I passed along at the end of the season about the possibility Souray asked the Oilers for a trade, and his response to it, still nags me.

You've likely heard or read Souray's "denial" after reporters tracked him down a few days after he'd cleaned out his stall and left without talking to the media. Here's excerpts of what he said:

"I've been getting phone calls from here ... my mom called me to ask about it. Who knows where it's coming from?

"Our stalls aren't even cold yet. I'm not worrying about it (the rumour). I don't think it deserves talking about. It doesn't deserve a no or deserve a yes. It's fodder for the media. "If it was something I was feeling, I wouldn't voice it through the media anyway."

Like I said, I've read the accounts and watched the interview on TV more than once, and all I can say is unless I'm missing something, what Souray said falls well short of being a vehement denial. No?

Did Souray, at any point, say, "No. That's not true?" He denied talking to Tambellini, but did he deny asking for a trade? What do you make of, "It doesn't deserve a no and doesn't deserve a yes?"

And the last quote . . . isn't Souray saying he wouldn't tell the media he'd asked for a trade even if it was the case?

Just asking. It's what I do.

I LIKE IT

There's nothing like a positive comment from somebody you respect to make your day. I got one from Lowetide the other day. He wrote:

"I love the annual NHL entry draft and specifically all of the lists and predictions that come from various sources on the Al Gore. I've come to believe Bob McKenzie is some kind of savant when it comes to predicting the top 30 and in fact when he posts his list, I print it and wait for the draft instead of buying all the publications (on line and in newsstands) that have become money making productions.

"The other guy we need to pay attention to this time of year is Robin Brownlee. Back when he wrote for the Sun (who stepped into an elevator shaft coverage wise when Brownlee left and have not yet recovered), Brownlee's annual "prediction" article on the weekend of the draft was possibly the most anticipated single daily article in my home. I seriously raced out of the house to buy the Edmonton Sun on that one day each year."

That's high praise from a high place. I'm flattered Lowetide remembers all the educated guesswork I did leading up to the Entry Draft. Getting the dope took a lot of phone calls and a lot of beer. I'm not sure if I can replicate that here, but I'll probably give it a shot between now and draft day.

WHILE I'M AT IT

-- People on fansites like to crap on Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun for the rumours he churns out, but people eat up the stuff, If they didn't, Garrioch wouldn't be doing it.

The thing is, he's connected, whether you believe that or not. He just doesn't lock everything down before he runs it, but that's what the newspaper wants. Fans read it, so he produces it.

Here's one example from a few years back: I'd written that Kevin Lowe had talked to the Florida Panthers about trading Jason Smith. Lowe and I almost got into a fistfight over the story -- one I stand by to this day -- when he got in my face at the rink and swore up and down it was bogus.

Garrioch phones me up and asks about the Smith item. I told Bruce, "Lowe says it's a bogus rumour and I'm full of shit." Garrioch replied, "But it WAS a rumour, right?" Two days later the item appears in his Sunday column. The Sun wants it. Garrioch delivers.

-- Unless I'm out to lunch, Rob Daum is the obvious choice to coach the Springfield Falcons this coming season. My sense is Tambellini agrees. What I want to know is why it's taking so long for an announcement?

-- I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I'm told by somebody I trust the Oilers will definitely add a second assistant coach. The only question, and it's a big one, is who?

-- 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 Austin Ayala
June 06 2009, 03:43PM
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My name is Austin,

Long time reader and avid commenter. Robin, if i was an NHL player and I was perhaps anticipating not living in the current city I am in, i would probably put it up for sale. Let's say I was an all-star defenseman and i was disgruntled and no man, woman or child could gruntle me... then I'd probably want to move. Somewhere near my daughter. (Did I tell you i had a daughter?) It just so happens that my daughter live in the O.C. where the weather's nice, the women are pretty and my supermodel ex-wife is living.

Put all that together and you would have me selling my house the second the season is over.

I'm not saying, i'm just saying.

Austin Ayala reporting...

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#2 Austin Ayala
June 06 2009, 03:58PM
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Also,

If you got into a fistfight with Lowe, he would take you down pretty easy. No doubt.

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#3 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 04:27PM
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Hey Robin. Just when I think it must be so cool to rub shoulders with famous hockey players, you remind me of the realities (getting sworn at by a GM for having the audacity to do your job). For that I thank you. I can't imagine being treated like that and having to just suck it. No fun, I think.

Just curious, in your experience is that kind of behavior the norm? Do guys tend to hold grudges?

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#4 Cory Dakin
June 06 2009, 04:33PM
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As much as I love Souray- and hate the idea of trading the teams highest scorer- I can't help but agree. There's no way Souray's value will ever be this high again. It's not like he's been a consistent 20 goal scorer. And the only two years he's done it, coincidentally, are the only two years he played more than 80 games. There is definitely no harm in exploring what is out there in the market. Maybe Tambellini can turn a coveted defenseman into something of value, unlike last time they traded a coveted defenseman and proceeded to be violated with no lubrication (no offense Ladislav Smid).

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#5 Robin Brownlee
June 06 2009, 04:35PM
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@ Librarian Mike: What's the "just having to suck it" part about? If I'd have sat there and taken my scolding like a good boy, we wouldn't have got into it so far, but I didn't so things got a bit heated.

And, no, that's not the norm. Not with Kevin, not with any GM I've dealt with or colleagues have told me about. That was the exception.

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#6 Joey Moss
June 06 2009, 04:36PM
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@ Austin Ayala: thanks for just repeating what Brownlee wrote.

@ Robin: i always wondered about this; but do people other than a GM or player leak a story to stir the pot? like maybe a rival d-man trying to secure a spot in the line-up by making another look like he is halfway out the door or maybe a coach that thinks its either his ass or that of an elite player that is going to get the boot?

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#7 Austin Ayala
June 06 2009, 04:36PM
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To Tampa Bay:

Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Jordan Eberle, 1st 2009

To Edmonton:

Vincent Lecavalier

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#8 Austin Ayala
June 06 2009, 04:37PM
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people don't seem to like it when I include Hemsky in trade proposals...but in the back of their minds they know it's coming.

Ayala predicts this is Hemsky's last season as an Oiler. Book it.

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#9 Joey Moss
June 06 2009, 04:39PM
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@ Austin Ayala: stop double posting this isn't your blog.

also, TB won't unload lecavalier here for that, they need to lose salary and acquire prospects. your trade is practically a lateral move salary wise and last time i checked souray and horcoff are not prospects.

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#10 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 04:51PM
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@ Joey Moss:

He's been lurking for the last few days. We're trying to ignore him and not feed the troll.

I have mixed feelings about Lecavalier. He's a really talented player, but I'm not sure he's what we need. I guess my biggest worry is that they'll move Souray for a bunch of prospects, one of whom MAY be ready to play. I'm cool with anyone getting traded, but it would be nice to get someone here who has a good season right off the bat for a change.

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#11 Robin Brownlee
June 06 2009, 05:03PM
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@ Joey Moss: Things seldom get leaked to "stir the pot." Reporters who've been around awhile sometimes -- less now, it seems, than in years past -- get tipped off as a favour so that they get the story first.

A rival defenceman, as in a teammate? You're kidding, right? The player would be a fool to risk his standing in the dressing room by doing that and a reporter would be just as dim for writing it.

As a reporter, if you get the tag as somebody who just throws stuff out there without any basis in fact or to stir the pot as you put it, it's not long until you get nothing from anybody. You get shut out. You're done.

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#12 Jonathan Willis
June 06 2009, 05:28PM
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@ Austin Ayala:

FYI, you're getting perilously close to having your comments blocked. We hate to block people at OilersNation, but you've been on the wrong side of the line for a while now.

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#13 j v
June 06 2009, 05:32PM
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Dear JW,

Thanks

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#14 BigE57
June 06 2009, 06:00PM
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@ Joey Moss:

Joey Moss wrote:

@ Austin Ayala: stop double posting this isn’t your blog. also, TB won’t unload lecavalier here for that, they need to lose salary and acquire prospects. your trade is practically a lateral move salary wise and last time i checked souray and horcoff are not prospects.

Actually the very idea of a move like that would be seem more regressive from a Tampa point of view.

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#15 Robin Brownlee
June 06 2009, 07:17PM
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BigE57 wrote:

@ Joey Moss: Joey Moss wrote: @ Austin Ayala: stop double posting this isn’t your blog. also, TB won’t unload lecavalier here for that, they need to lose salary and acquire prospects. your trade is practically a lateral move salary wise and last time i checked souray and horcoff are not prospects. Actually the very idea of a move like that would be seem more regressive from a Tampa point of view.

You think? Let's see, the whole reason TB would move Lecavalier in the first place is to shed salary, particularly over the next two years when the cap is bound to drop to $46-48 M. So, they're going to send the Oilers a guy who makes $10 million in each of the next four years but actually add to the payroll in the next two by taking Horcoff at $7M and $6.5 M and Souray at $5.5 M and $4.5? So, in 2009-10, they give up $10 M and take on $12.5 M and in 2010-11 they give away $10 M and are on the hook for $11 M. Gosh, that adds up for me.

To AA: We get it. You're trying to come off as a mouth-breathing, bologna-spanking, pay-attention-to-me imbecile -- and doing a fine job of it -- because momma never breast-fed you and you crave attention. As JW said, we can make you go away because you add nothing to the discussion here, but we'd rather you just pack up your "book it" pablum, brain-dead trade proposals and miscellaneous tripe and move along. There's the only reaction you'll get from me. Now slap it off and be on your way.

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#16 Austin Ayala
June 06 2009, 07:32PM
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Sorry Guys I will stop being Bothersome.

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#17 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 07:41PM
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Oh man. Garon's going in. Pittsburgh is in trouble.

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#18 Robin Brownlee
June 06 2009, 07:43PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Oh man. Garon’s going in. Pittsburgh is in trouble.

Pittsburgh's been in trouble since I picked them to win the series just to screw Gregor over. I'm 4-10 going into the SCF and destined to be 4-11. Mr. Freakin' Hockey Expert, my eye.

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#19 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 07:46PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Haha. I know how you feel. I picked Washington/San Jose. What a dummy. I have to say it's impossible to not respect the Wings. They are just assassins.

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#20 Cory Dakin
June 06 2009, 07:47PM
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Can you imagine the feeling of being beaten by the same team two years in a row? Not only that, there's a decent chance it could happen in your own building both years.

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#21 Robin Brownlee
June 06 2009, 07:53PM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

Can you imagine the feeling of being beaten by the same team two years in a row? Not only that, there’s a decent chance it could happen in your own building both years.

I'm guessing we'll crickets from all the geniuses who were dumping on Hossa at the start of the series for signing with the Red Wings because he felt he had the best chance of winning The Cup with Detroit. I couldn't figure out how some Oilers fans were actually hoping Hossa would lose with the Red Wings after he put his money where is mouth is by passing up a loaded, long-term contract here to sign for one year. There's an embarrassiong inferiority complex in this town in some corners.

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#22 Cory Dakin
June 06 2009, 07:57PM
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If Hossa goes to free agency at the end of the year do you think the Oilers are interested again? Do you think he's worth the rumored amount they were offering last year?

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#23 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 08:00PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Sometimes you just can't win, eh? If Hossa takes the big money to play here, he's just another Euro-softie who's all about the money. He signs with the Wings because he wants to win a cup and he's viewed as a rat leaving a sinking ship.

I don't imagine those people thought that way about Ray Bourque when he ditched the Bruins to win a cup with the Avs. Granted, the Bruins were practically pushing him out the door, but it seems like a double standard to me.

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#24 Robin Brownlee
June 06 2009, 08:02PM
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@ Cory Dakin: I'll be very surprised if Hossa doesn't re-sign with Detroit. I haven't asked Steve Tambellini lately about Hossa but the assumption is the Oilers would at least inquire about him. I get the feeling they won't get the chance.

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#25 Cory Dakin
June 06 2009, 08:08PM
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That's kind of what I figured. I still wonder if he could handle being the go-to guy on a team. He's never really had that. That would be a lot of money and a lot of pressure. Detroit seems like the safe bet

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#26 Ivy.eyez88
June 06 2009, 08:26PM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

To Tampa Bay: Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Jordan Eberle, 1st 2009 To Edmonton: Vincent Lecavalier

o_0

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#27 heavyd
June 06 2009, 09:04PM
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I would love to see hossa sign in detroit. Cause then that means they will have to shed some salary and won't be able to sign some guys, so then we might be able to pick up a couple good third and fourth liners, and some penalty killers.

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#28 Joey Moss
June 06 2009, 09:10PM
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it occurs to me that if this was another, less friendly website, that an idiot who posts his full name would meet a different kind of fate...

@ Robin Brownlee:

if Hossa isn't likely to come to Edmonton and assuming Jagr/Sundin are too old, who do you think the team should go hunting for, whether by trade or signing?

also, heard Strachan mention the oilers and khabulin in the same breath on the hot stove, any thoughts on this?

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#29 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 09:24PM
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I'm kind of stealing from Bill Simmons at ESPN, but what we witnessed tonight was a 'f**k you' game by the Red Wings.

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#30 RossCreek
June 06 2009, 09:40PM
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Joey Moss wrote:

if Hossa isn’t likely to come to Edmonton and assuming Jagr/Sundin are too old, who do you think the team should go hunting for, whether by trade or signing?

PATRICK MARLEAU

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#31 BigE57
June 06 2009, 10:03PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Robin Brownlee wrote:

You think? Let’s see, the whole reason TB would move Lecavalier in the first place is to shed salary, particularly over the next two years when the cap is bound to drop to $46-48 M. So, they’re going to send the Oilers a guy who makes $10 million in each of the next four years but actually add to the payroll in the next two by taking Horcoff at $7M and $6.5 M and Souray at $5.5 M and $4.5? So, in 2009-10, they give up $10 M and take on $12.5 M and in 2010-11 they give away $10 M and are on the hook for $11 M. Gosh, that adds up for me.

Thanks for running the numbers there for me.

So do you think the Oilers are better off moving Gilbert or Souray for a top 6 or going after a mid level free agent like a Cammalleri or maybe a MaAx Afineganov?

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#32 RossCreek
June 06 2009, 10:20PM
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BigE57 wrote:

So do you think the Oilers are better off moving Gilbert or Souray for a top 6 or going after a mid level free agent like a Cammalleri or maybe a MaAx Afineganov?

No disrespect... BUT Max Afinogenov is NOT a mid-level free agent. He should NOT be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Cammalleri. He LIKELY will NOT be in the NHL next season.

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#33 GSC
June 06 2009, 10:22PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I’m guessing we’ll crickets from all the geniuses who were dumping on Hossa at the start of the series for signing with the Red Wings because he felt he had the best chance of winning The Cup with Detroit. I couldn’t figure out how some Oilers fans were actually hoping Hossa would lose with the Red Wings after he put his money where is mouth is by passing up a loaded, long-term contract here to sign for one year. There’s an embarrassiong inferiority complex in this town in some corners.

@ Robin Brownlee: I'm one of those who didn't blame Hossa for it at all, and it might just be because I'm in Ohio and not in Alberta.

If anything, I want Hossa to be successful in Detroit. That way, he'll have achieved everything that he wanted to and might be more likely to consider Edmonton. And speaking of Hossa, remember when he made the comment last offseason about the Oilers' goaltending situation being a concern? Prophetic indeed...

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#34 Cory Dakin
June 06 2009, 11:00PM
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@ GSC: Sadly though, the Oilers goaltending was one of the few high spots this year.

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#35 BigE57
June 06 2009, 11:54PM
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@ RossCreek: RossCreek wrote:

No disrespect… BUT Max Afinogenov is NOT a mid-level free agent. He should NOT be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Cammalleri. He LIKELY will NOT be in the NHL next season.

No disrespect to you but if Afineganov is not in the mid-level free agent bracket I'm not sure who is.......Do you have some inside info that he won't be in the league next year?

Personally I'm not sold on either guy I was just using their names as part of my question as the number of offensively talented free agents this off season isn't exactly overwhelming.

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#36 TonyT
June 07 2009, 12:30AM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

To Tampa Bay: Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Jordan Eberle, 1st 2009 To Edmonton: Vincent Lecavalier

(1) If Tampa is putting Lecavalier up to dump salary, why would they pick up +13 mil in salary? (2) If you're an avid reader and poster why have I only begun to notice you this week? Either you don't post that often or your posts are so inconsequential that I don't notice them.

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#37 TonyT
June 07 2009, 12:36AM
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@ Oilersnation: Are any of Thornton, Cheechoo, and Marleau available? Who would the Oilers have to give up (if possible)?

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#38 Archaeologuy
June 07 2009, 01:04AM
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@ TonyT: Cheechoo makes a lot of money for a guy who hasnt topped 40 points in 2 years. I would avoid the hype on him. Lots of injuries and declining point totals should be a warning sign of worse things to come.

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#39 TonyT
June 07 2009, 01:31AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ TonyT: Cheechoo makes a lot of money for a guy who hasnt topped 40 points in 2 years. I would avoid the hype on him. Lots of injuries and declining point totals should be a warning sign of worse things to come.

I agree with that assessment, however is a 3 mil cap hit for a former Rocket Richard winner a huge risk?

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#40 Cory Dakin
June 07 2009, 02:53AM
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@ TonyT: Yes, that is a huge risk... One that I don't think the Oilers should take. Was Cheechoo ever really that good? Or was it that the Western conference teams weren't ready for Joe Thornton's play making ability?

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#41 David S
June 07 2009, 02:55AM
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GSC wrote:

That way, he’ll have achieved everything that he wanted to and might be more likely to consider Edmonton.

Seriously. If you were Hossa, would you EVER consider Edmonton? C'mon. We threw a ton of cash at the guy last year and he signed with Detroit anyways. Fans see the dollars and assume a guy will come on over. The reality is that real athletes, at least most of the real good ones, want to go where success is most likely to follow.

A fan would want the cash. An athlete who makes tons of dough wherever he goes would want to be where the best chance to win is. Sorry to say it, but Edmonton isn't going to win anything for quite a while.

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#42 Electronic Crossword
June 07 2009, 03:33AM
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Interesting ideas here. Thanks for posting, will add to my RSS feed.

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#43 Cheap Spy Pens
June 07 2009, 06:40AM
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I had no idea this was going on. Thanks for letting us know.

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#44 patty
June 07 2009, 09:11AM
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David S wrote:

GSC wrote: That way, he’ll have achieved everything that he wanted to and might be more likely to consider Edmonton. Seriously. If you were Hossa, would you EVER consider Edmonton? C’mon. We threw a ton of cash at the guy last year and he signed with Detroit anyways. Fans see the dollars and assume a guy will come on over. The reality is that real athletes, at least most of the real good ones, want to go where success is most likely to follow. A fan would want the cash. An athlete who makes tons of dough wherever he goes would want to be where the best chance to win is. Sorry to say it, but Edmonton isn’t going to win anything for quite a while.

Can we stop with this BS? Players take a discount to stay in Detroit because they have a winning atmosphere, something that all teams are trying to emulate. The Oilers are trying to build the foundation for that by restructuring management and hiring Quinn and Renney. Do you really think that players don't notice when an organization tries to show a commitment to winning? It's a snowball effect, and we certainly have a way to go before being a preferred free-agent destination, but the effort is being made. If things go well, Edmonton could become top-tier. So to say that Hossa (or any other player in the same situation) would not ever consider Edmonton is ridiculous.

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#45 Librarian Mike
June 07 2009, 09:23AM
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@ patty:

That's what I thought David S was saying. People will only consider Edmonton if they feel they can win here, and that Edmonton has a ways to go before they are that team. I have no doubt they're trying, but until they start showing consistent results players will treat this town like Siberia.

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#46 Sven44
June 07 2009, 09:37AM
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The Souray trade rumors are disturbing for a few reasons. We all know that we've got a soft club and Souray is our only physically dominant defenceman with an edge. Of all the fights the Oilers were involved in this year there are only four where I felt a clear message was sent to the opposing team. Two of those fights involved Souray. (Mac & Staios the others)

That leads me to leadership. We lose Souray and I think we are taking a huge step back as far as who has that Messier ability to stand up in the locker room and constructively let some players know when they are not towing the line. My opinion is that he should be wearing the C.

Lastly I realize that trading someone when they are at the height of their careers gives us the most advantages as far as returns. On the flip side I want to keep as many players as possible at the height of their careers because isn't that the whole point. Souray is proven. We know what we're going to get out of him for the next 3 years. Can we say the same for Gilbert?

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#47 RossCreek
June 07 2009, 10:20AM
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TonyT wrote:

@ Oilersnation: Are any of Thornton, Cheechoo, and Marleau available? Who would the Oilers have to give up (if possible)?

From what I've heard, Sharks GM Doug Wilson has stated he will not move Joe Thornton or Dan Boyle. Aside from them, all bets are off. I believe this point was reaffirmed on The Hot Stove last night on CBC. At 3 mil, Cheechoo isn't that big of a gamble, as long as you're not expecting 40 goals. Him @ 3 or Softy Bobby Nilsson @ 2, hmmm, I'll take Cheech.

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#48 Jonathan Willis
June 07 2009, 10:36AM
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Sven44 wrote:

Souray is proven. We know what we’re going to get out of him for the next 3 years. Can we say the same for Gilbert?

Is Souray really that consistent? Here are his past three seasons:

2006-07: 81GP - 26G - 38A - 64PTS, -28 2007-08: 26GP - 3G - 7A - 10PTS, -7 2008-09: 81GP - 23G - 30A - 53PTS, +1

In one of the past three seasons, he's lost significant time to injury.

In two of the past three seasons, he's bled goals against at a horrible rate.

I expect that his offensive production (if healthy) will be steady but will we see the same defensive game out of him? I have some doubts.

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#49 Tyler
June 07 2009, 10:37AM
Trash it!
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@Robin - On the Smith thing, you think that there was a chance your sources were wrong? From my perspective, I've always thought that Lowe was on the honest end of the GM continuum. When he's denying something that's true, you get these bizarre non-denial denials, like the bit about Jagr being under contract.

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#50 RossCreek
June 07 2009, 10:40AM
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BigE57 wrote:

No disrespect to you but if Afineganov is not in the mid-level free agent bracket I’m not sure who is…….Do you have some inside info that he won’t be in the league next year?

07-08 Max had 10 goals, 28 points in 56 games. 08-09 Max had 6 goals, 20 points in 48 games.

For stretches he was a healthy scratch (I'm not sure if he suffered any injuries, but if not, those must've been some pretty long stretches).

He made $3,333,333 on his old contract, and IMO likely wouldn't be able to come anywhere close to that on a new contract (meaning that he is not in the mid-level tier).

He could have been had for a song at any point this season via trade, yet there were no takers.

Chances are he's playing in Russia this fall.

Alex Tanguay, Brian Gionta, Nik Antropov = mid-level (I guess depending on defintion of mid-level; Cammallei's above them, Afinogenov's well below, again IMO)

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