Oilers Sign RFA's Smid, Brule and Stone

Jonathan Willis
August 12 2009 11:15AM

The Edmonton Oilers have announced the signing of restricted free agents Ladislav Smid, Gilbert Brule, and Ryan Stone.

The key player here is obviously Ladislav Smid.  He's spent his entire NHL career in Edmonton, and their have been rumours that he has requested a trade in the past, but he sounded fairly happy today:

“This is great news for me.  I really enjoy playing for the Oilers. I feel my game is improving every year and I can’t wait to get started again this fall.”

It's a two-year contract, and dollar figures are presently unavailable.  Yesterday, Jim Matheson suggested that Smid and Brule combined would be around 2.5 million, so I'd guess Smid's deal is in the 1.5-1.6 MM range.  If so, it isn't exactly a bargain, but it isn't a bad bet either for a maturing physical defenseman.

Gilbert Brule also signed, and the surprise is that it's a two-way deal (evidently the Oilers are convinced he can be sent down without clearing waivers).  It's only for a single year, and should give Brule a chance to prove if he belongs in the lineup or not.  I'd guess he'll earn between 800K and 1MM (based on Matheson's article yesterday) and I hope it's toward the lower end of that range.

Lastly, Ryan Stone has signed.  Stone came over from Pittsburgh in the Matheiu Garon trade last year, and spent all of his time after the trade with Springfield.  He's a darkhorse candidate for a roster spot, but the smart money says he's a top-six AHL forward this coming season.  He's got size, a willingness to use it,  and some scoring ability.  Today's signings leave Rob Schremp as the last of the Oilers' restricted free agents.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Librarian Mike
August 12 2009, 11:19AM
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It was nice to see Smid displaying some meanness last season. He's a good player, I think. Glad we can keep him around.

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#2 smytty777
August 12 2009, 11:20AM
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It will be interesting to see the numbers on Smid and Brule. $2.5M between the two seems like an overpay.

Smid will need to step up on the PK this year, here's hoping for a Matt Greene-like level of improvement in Smid's game.

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#3 rindog
August 12 2009, 11:24AM
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If only we could get rid of Staios for a 3rd or 4th line centerman.

I would have no problem going with Smid, Peckham and Strudwick as our 5, 6 & 7.

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#4 Jonathan Willis
August 12 2009, 11:29AM
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@ rindog:

Or better yet Smid, Tjarnqvist (or Malik, or...), Strudwick with Peckham in the minors until injury hits.

As it stands (with your lineup), if someone goes down, Taylor Chorney's getting a callup.

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#5 rindog
August 12 2009, 11:30AM
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JW,

I find it hard to believe that after having been questioned by local media that the Oilers wouldn't know exactly what the waiver status of Brule is???

Would it be safe to say that if the Oilers haven't done their homework by atleasting asking (the NHLPA or the NHL) about the exact waiver status of Brule - that they are absolute morons?

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#6 Jonathan Willis
August 12 2009, 11:35AM
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@ rindog:

I'd like to think the Oilers have a good reason - and maybe they do, we just don't know it.

It would also be the height of arrogance for me to conclude that I know better than they do.

All of that said, until I've seen some reasonable explanation for why Brule wouldn't have to clear waivers (and I haven't) I have to remain skeptical.

Besides, remember the assumptions about Heatley's deadline? Both Ottawa and Edmonton were apparently wrong there, so I'm not inclined to take a "because I say so" from the Oilers as proof of anything. I need to see an explanation.

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#7 bingofuel
August 12 2009, 11:37AM
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Just spoke to Gregor on the phone. He doesn't have Smid's salary figures, but here's what he told me about Brule and Stone...

  • Brule: $800K for the year ($62.5K if he gets sent back down)
  • Stone: $600K for the year ($75K if he gets sent back down)
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#8 rindog
August 12 2009, 11:38AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Jonathan Willis wrote:

As it stands (with your lineup), if someone goes down, Taylor Chorney’s getting a callup.

If it is Chorney that gets called up (most likely will be). I have no problem having Chorney being called up to be #7 as an injury replacement. If we sustain a long term injury to one of our Dmen, then we can always find a suitable/experienced guy (Hedican, Warrener, Klee, etc) to play in the last pairing.

I honestly think that Peckham is ready for an increased role at the NHL level. He did nothing but impress me with virtually every shift he took at this level. What surprised me the most is how good he was with the puck. I knew about his physical play - but didn't realize what a good passer he is.

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#9 Jonathan Willis
August 12 2009, 11:40AM
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@ rindog:

Disagree. Most teams seem to get 1-2 defenseman injuries a year, and frankly I'm leery about the prospect of Taylor Chorney getting, say, 25 NHL games. Depth is cheap, good, and Peckham will probably develop more as a bonafide #1 AHL defenseman than as a 7th NHL guy.

And if this team has shown anything over they ears, it's an inability to make trades midseason.

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#10 smytty777
August 12 2009, 11:43AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Does Chorney get the call over a guy like Dean Arsene though? Chorney looked way over his head in both the AHL and NHL last year.

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#11 Ogden Brother
August 12 2009, 11:47AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ rindog: Or better yet Smid, Tjarnqvist (or Malik, or…), Strudwick with Peckham in the minors until injury hits. As it stands (with your lineup), if someone goes down, Taylor Chorney’s getting a callup.

Wouldn't Chorney be 9th though? That doesn't seem like unreasonable depth.

Smid/Staios

7. Strudwick 8. Peckham 9. Chorney

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#12 rindog
August 12 2009, 11:49AM
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I look for Quinn to play our top 4 guys a ton this year. With all of the TV timeouts, etc. It is quite realistic to have our top 4 playing between 22-25 minutes each.

If that is the case - guys like Smid, Peckham and Strudwick can easily handle 10-12 minutes of softer minutes each game.

Chorney would also be able to step in play those minutes if need be.

You need to remember that rosters that come about due to injuries are never ideal. They are (for the most part) patchwork.

If we sustain a significant injury (or two) to our top 4 guys (which I conceed will most likely happen), it will be up to the GM to then fill in the holes via trade, call-up etc.

Jonathan Willis wrote:

And if this team has shown anything over they ears, it’s an inability to make trades midseason.

Don't forget that this is only Tambellini's 2nd year as GM. I think it would be unfair to use Lowe's history against Tambellini??

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#13 rindog
August 12 2009, 11:51AM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Ogden Brother wrote:

Wouldn’t Chorney be 9th though? That doesn’t seem like unreasonable depth. Smid/Staios 7. Strudwick 8. Peckham 9. Chorney

We were discussing what would happen if my wish of getting rid of Staios (hopefully) for a 3rd or 4th line center came about.

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#14 oilerdiehard
August 12 2009, 11:53AM
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smytty777 wrote:

It will be interesting to see the numbers on Smid and Brule. $2.5M between the two seems like an overpay.

Matheson has been high on his numbers before when reporting them ahead of time. So I will wait and see what the actual amount is before I worry too much about it.

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#15 Chris.
August 12 2009, 11:56AM
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Based on the fact that everything in the Matheson article basically came true less than a day later... What are the odds that Betts is signed? We all know the Oilers have an abundance of bodies... but were Jim's comments with regards to Betts editorial, or do they reflect a shift in Tambellini's thinking as we draw closer to camp? IMO, the fact that Brule got a two way deal is telling.

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#16 rindog
August 12 2009, 11:58AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Peckham will probably develop more as a bonafide #1 AHL defenseman than as a 7th NHL guy.

I don't know about that??

I paid very close attention to Peckham at every game and he seemed very, very reliable. Sure he made the odd mistake by stepping up on a guy at the wrong time (remember he is young). I do know that he was WAY more effective than Staios in many areas. He was a better hitter, passer, outlet (for his D partner) for sure. He might need a bit of work on controlling his guy in front of the net - but he was no worse at it than Staios was??

He (in my mind) was just as good, if not better than Matt Greene ever was (with us). I think given the opportunity - Pechkam will be a solid defenseman in the NHL.

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#17 Ogden Brother
August 12 2009, 12:00PM
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rindog wrote:

Jonathan Willis wrote: And if this team has shown anything over they ears, it’s an inability to make trades midseason. Don’t forget that this is only Tambellini’s 2nd year as GM. I think it would be unfair to use Lowe’s history against Tambellini??

I'd be willing to bet the Oil have been one of the most active teams at the TDD.

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#18 Wyseguy
August 12 2009, 12:05PM
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I'd love to see Peckham in the line up, but the only way he makes it is injury or Staios gone. Only way we get rid of Staios is a buy out. Captain Penelty would be less fond of that than he was when Jason Smith was traded.

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#19 Cam
August 12 2009, 12:13PM
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smytty777 wrote:

It will be interesting to see the numbers on Smid and Brule. $2.5M between the two seems like an overpay. Smid will need to step up on the PK this year, here’s hoping for a Matt Greene-like level of improvement in Smid’s game.

1.7 a season and 0.8 a season doesn't seem too stupid to me, since Smid has shown that he is solid for us and solid Dmen go for that. I like him better than Greene in a lot of respects (like passing and skating), though Greene had a tougher streak and cooler name.

Though for the money I would still like GlenX... >sniffsniff< :-(

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#20 rindog
August 12 2009, 12:13PM
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@ Wyseguy:

Maybe a package deal for the both of them??

Is there a contending team (with cap room) that might want the verteran presence of Moreau and Staios and willing ot give up a young prospect in return?

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#21 rindog
August 12 2009, 12:14PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

I’d be willing to bet the Oil have been one of the most active teams at the TDD.

Let's just hope we are buying and not selling!!!!

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#22 smytty777
August 12 2009, 12:19PM
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@ Cam: 1.7 and 0.8 are not unreasonable numbers, but on a team loaded with bad contracts you can always hope for a bargain. Those numbers seem just slightly high, but they are young players and I suppose they could potentially outperform those deals.

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#23 Wyseguy
August 12 2009, 12:20PM
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rindog wrote:

@ Wyseguy: Maybe a package deal for the both of them?? Is there a contending team (with cap room) that might want the verteran presence of Moreau and Staios and willing ot give up a young prospect in return?

I'd be open to that.

Gotta wonder with the word of Mac T losing the room last year, the captain has to take some critism for that too. Obviously I have nothing to substatiate what I'm talking about so what the hell do I know.

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#24 Wyseguy
August 12 2009, 12:22PM
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Although, now that I look at it, Moreau's only making $1.75, so that's not a bad contract. But, gotta give something to get something.

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#25 Jonathan Willis
August 12 2009, 12:24PM
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@ rindog:

I'm about as a big a fan of Peckham as you'll find, but at this point he's probably a 'tweener in terms of talent level.

I see no need to rush him; let him dominate the AHL next year and bring him up when injuries hit. There's no need to rush him.

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#26 rindog
August 12 2009, 12:24PM
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Wyseguy wrote:

Captain Penelty would be less fond of that than he was when Jason Smith was traded.

It is not that I don't like Moreau. I just don't think he is a good captain. I love his work ethic and how he speaks in the dressing room (from what I hear), but he is not the type of player that can actually lead his team to any success.

If you look at his best games - they were when he got about 12 minutes of icetime and was able to bang and crash.

He is a role player (like a Maltby) and should be used as such.

I hope Quinn recognizes this and uses him appropriately??

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#27 onehitwonder
August 12 2009, 12:25PM
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bingofuel wrote:

Just spoke to Gregor on the phone. He doesn’t have Smid’s salary figures, but here’s what he told me about Brule and Stone… Brule: $800K for the year ($62.5K if he gets sent back down) Stone: $600K for the year ($75K if he gets sent back down)

2,500,000.00 - 800,000.00 ------------ 1,700,000.00

Don't get me wrong, i like the kid. But what took Laddy so long to sign? What they should have done is sign HIM to a 2-way contract. Not 2 way as in AHL, but 2-way as in "when you play like shit, you'll get paid like shit".

They must really blame Huddy/MacT/Staios for his 'off' games.

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#28 OvenChicken8
August 12 2009, 12:26PM
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rindog wrote:

I do know that he was WAY more effective than Staios in many areas. He was a better hitter, passer, outlet (for his D partner) for sure.

And he brings a lot of sandpaper to the line up, I'm a big fan of how he stands up for his teammates so Souray doesn't have too.

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#29 Ducey
August 12 2009, 12:36PM
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Chris. wrote:

Based on the fact that everything in the Matheson article basically came true less than a day later… What are the odds that Betts is signed? We all know the Oilers have an abundance of bodies… but were Jim’s comments with regards to Betts editorial, or do they reflect a shift in Tambellini’s thinking as we draw closer to camp? IMO, the fact that Brule got a two way deal is telling.

I agree. Tambellini might have been concerned that Brule would not sign a two way. He probably wouldn't have if Betts was already here? Now that Brule can be farmed out, Tambi can sign Betts or someone else.

JW, you can be sceptical of the Oilers regarding Brule's status but its pretty tough when his agent, (who has not only Brule's interest but his own on the line), agrees with the Oilers.

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#30 rindog
August 12 2009, 12:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I’m about as a big a fan of Peckham as you’ll find, but at this point he’s probably a ‘tweener in terms of talent level. I see no need to rush him; let him dominate the AHL next year and bring him up when injuries hit. There’s no need to rush him.

I guess we can agree to disagree. I think having a guy like Peckham learn from Quinn and Renney and watching Souray and Visnovsky far outweighs what he will get in the minors. I DO NOT think being a 6th or 7th Dman is rushing a player.

Take a look at Smid. One full season in the minors and then limited minutes in the NHL and he turned into a very good defenseman (other then when he plays with Staios).

Matt Greene is the the same (although older) he got limited minutes as a 6th or 7th guy and has now turned into a very solid defenseman.

I know that it takes longer for young defenseman to develop, but there is nothing major about Peckham's game (from my perspective) that needs major work at the AHL level?

I think he needs to play with (and get beat by) the best so that he can learn what it takes to be effective at this level.

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#31 Librarian Mike
August 12 2009, 12:51PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I became a fan of Peckham when he got into that fight with Claude Lemieux and started laughing at him. Talk about a 'thanks for making a comeback and don't let the door hit your a$$ on the way out' statement.

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#32 rindog
August 12 2009, 12:56PM
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OvenChicken8 wrote:

And he brings a lot of sandpaper to the line up, I’m a big fan of how he stands up for his teammates so Souray doesn’t have too.

I couldn't agree more.

I am not a big fan of rushing young players - but at 21 (22 in November), Peckham seems to be ready. I certainly don't think it would hurt is development to be up with the big club and learn from the best.

It is not like he isn't physically ready to play at this level?

And I hate to repeat myself but his vision and passing are far better than I would have ever expected from him.

Quite honestly, I think he is going to turn out to be an EXCEPTIONAL draft pick at 75th overall...

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#33 OvenChicken8
August 12 2009, 12:56PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: I became a fan of Peckham when he got into that fight with Claude Lemieux and started laughing at him. Talk about a ‘thanks for making a comeback and don’t let the door hit your a$$ on the way out’ statement.

He beat that old man like 20 cent beat the cabbie (allegedly).

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#34 Word
August 12 2009, 12:57PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: I became a fan of Peckham when he got into that fight with Claude Lemieux and started laughing at him. Talk about a ‘thanks for making a comeback and don’t let the door hit your a$$ on the way out’ statement.

~Isn't Peckham beating up Lemieux akin to Kane beating up a 62 year old taxi driver?~

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#35 Word
August 12 2009, 12:57PM
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@ Word:

Curse you Ovenchicken and your fast finger typing.

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#36 Librarian Mike
August 12 2009, 12:58PM
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Word wrote:

~Isn’t Peckham beating up Lemieux akin to Kane beating up a 62 year old taxi driver?~

Beating up on Claude Lemieux is never without justification.

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#37 oilman007
August 12 2009, 01:02PM
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Brule at 800K is fair. He has done about the same as Pouliot in the NHL so far.

Smid IMO should be getting around 1.25. Max should be the 1.5 Grebeshkov got last year. If the 2.5 mill for the pair rumor is true I guess that extra 200K to Smid is the cost of signing a 2 year deal.

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#38 godot10
August 12 2009, 01:02PM
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Reddox also has a two-way deal, and he has to clear waivers, so I wouldn't read too much into Brule's two-way deal, other than Tambellini isn't going to hand out 1-way contracts like candy.

Brule will either be good enough to stay, or be poor enough to not attract interest when he is waived.

Remember, the teaming claiming the player has to keep him on the roster.

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#39 Wyseguy
August 12 2009, 01:05PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Word wrote: ~Isn’t Peckham beating up Lemieux akin to Kane beating up a 62 year old taxi driver?~ Beating up on Claude Lemieux is never without justification.

I've only seen one funnier Claude Lemieux moment. Early in his career as a Hab he was a cronic diver. Once the coach held back the trainer and Lemieux stayed there in the turtle formation for about 30 seconds before doing the skate of shame back to the bench.

As an Oiler fan living in Montreal at the time, I hated all things Hab, so that was hilarious.

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#40 Chris.
August 12 2009, 01:09PM
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@ Ducey:

I'd put the enigmatic Quebecois Pouliot on waivers in a heartbeat if Betts can be brought in for around a million cap hit. Betts is a good ole' Edmonton boy who performed well under Renny, has size, and most importantly: understands his role. Pouliot hasn't been able to fit in ANYWHERE since the Oilers drafted him over six years ago...

I understand that management would like to show some kind of return for Pouliot- rather than admit they blew a pick. IMO, with free agents getting younger, and younger; and with the market the way it is now: who cares about getting a return for a questionable prospect? I believe that Betts is an upgrade over Poo, and it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to improve down the middle simply because management is stuck on getting at least a conditional pick for a guy who has just never fit in.

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#41 bbop
August 12 2009, 01:09PM
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@ bingofuel: I don't know if I would be quoting Gregor.

Sincerely, Heater at the cottage

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#42 Nick Dynasty
August 12 2009, 01:09PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

I became a fan of Peckham when he got into that fight with Claude Lemieux and started laughing at him

I think the better moment was when Peckham beat the crap out of Matt Cooke after his hit on Gagner in Pittsburgh. After watching Cooke drive us nuts for years in Vancouver and never being man enough to drop the gloves, I was happy see someone finally give him what he deserved. Best 2 minutes for instigating ever.

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#43 OvenChicken8
August 12 2009, 01:14PM
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@ bbop: Wow a guy jumps the gun once and he's condemned forever. Seriously, give it up. It's not like he comes to this site and pulls sh*t out of his @ss on a daily basis.

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#44 Ogden Brother
August 12 2009, 01:16PM
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Chris. wrote:

@ Ducey: I’d put the enigmatic Quebecois Pouliot on waivers in a heartbeat if Betts can be brought in for around a million cap hit. Betts is a good ole’ Edmonton boy who performed well under Renny, has size, and most importantly: understands his role. Pouliot hasn’t been able to fit in ANYWHERE since the Oilers drafted him over six years ago… I understand that management would like to show some kind of return for Pouliot- rather than admit they blew a pick. IMO, with free agents getting younger, and younger; and with the market the way it is now: who cares about getting a return for a questionable prospect? I believe that Betts is an upgrade over Poo, and it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to improve down the middle simply because management is stuck on getting at least a conditional pick for a guy who has just never fit in.

Do you think that's actually why they haven't made a move?

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#45 Dominoiler
August 12 2009, 01:18PM
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Why are people talking about Chorney as a possible call-up

(As per, "If it is Chorney that gets called up (most likely will be). I have no problem having Chorney being called up to be #7 as an injury replacement.")

That quote was shot down immediately by JW, but following posts kept bringing up Chorney's name as a def. call up.. its ridiculous if you look at how badly he was out classed in the AHL for his Rookie season... now, because he has been highly touted for a few years as a prospect, people think (blindly) that hes ready for 'the jump'...

be real...

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#46 Budget Schmudget | Putting on the Foil
August 12 2009, 01:21PM
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[...] UPDATE 2: It was mentioned in a post on Oilers Nation that Brule will receive $800K. Still no word on Smid’s amount just yet. But I’m [...]

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#47 Colin
August 12 2009, 01:26PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

I didn't think you could put a guy on waivers in August, if that is the plan we might not see it for a while.

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#48 Chris.
August 12 2009, 01:26PM
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@ Ogden Brother: Yes. Maybe not because of pride... (though I wonder)... I believe Oilers management is loath, to a fault, to outright release a player without compensation. IMO, this kind of thinking is obsolete, and is holding the team back.

Look: I'm pretty sure that somebody would pick up Pouliot off waivers. I'm also pretty sure that Tambellini won't sign anyone untill at least one more contract is moved... and he's having trouble moving guys like Schremp, Pouliot, Nilsson, etc. I'm also pretty sure that Betts is an upgrade over the above mentioned players. So I wonder why the Oilers don't just (in a round about way) trade Pouliot for Betts? Isn't improving your team compensation enough?

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#49 Chris.
August 12 2009, 01:31PM
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@ Colin:

I hadn't thought of the specific timeline... I'm just looking at the Oiler track record... Other than the mighty Thor; I can't remember the Oilers ever dumping salary via the waiver wire during this entire CBA.

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#50 onehitwonder
August 12 2009, 01:33PM
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Dominoiler wrote:

Why are people talking about Chorney as a possible call-up (As per, “If it is Chorney that gets called up (most likely will be). I have no problem having Chorney being called up to be #7 as an injury replacement.”) That quote was shot down immediately by JW, but following posts kept bringing up Chorney’s name as a def. call up.. its ridiculous if you look at how badly he was out classed in the AHL for his Rookie season… now, because he has been highly touted for a few years as a prospect, people think (blindly) that hes ready for ‘the jump’… be real…

Maybe some of us thought he would be better than he is because he's the bastard son of CFP? Sorry thats ChorLy

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