August 16 2009 02:20PM
So, Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini might be considering dipping into his depth on defence to facilitate a trade? Gosh, that had never occurred to me.
I'm not sure about you, but items this week suggesting Tambellini might deal from the back end don't exactly strike me as a revelation. I thought attempting to move one of Lubomir Visnovsky, Sheldon Souray, Tom Gilbert or Denis Grebeshkov was a given, dating back to before the last trade deadline. A no-brainer. Obvious. No?
Apparently there is something new in that. David Staples, in his Cult of Hockey blog over at The Journal:
"There's been a few mentions -- which I would take as strong hints -- from media guys close to the Oilers, such as Dan Tencer and Jim Matheson, that the Oil might be thinking about trading a defenceman... "
Again, not to put too fine a point on it -- or drag out excerpts from this site in recent months pointing out that dealing a defenceman for a first-line left-winger or a proven defensive centre makes sense -- what's new?
Of course trading one of the Big Four is a move that's coming. Gibberish from assistant GM Kevin Prendergast about standing pat notwithstanding, it's not a matter of if but when. And who?
What I'm waiting to see, is who will claim they called this one.
This and that
— All the above, of course, depends on trading money for money. That, as much as all the time that was tied up in the fruitless pursuit of Dany Heatley, is why Tambellini hasn't pulled the trigger on anything yet. The Oilers have too much salary tied up in their top four.
The other complicating factor has been the status of Visnovsky's shoulder. Will he be 100 per cent to start the season? Take Visnovsky out of the mix and it gets dicey dealing away one of the other three until you know exactly when he'll be ready to go.
— If you've been a fan of the Oilers for more than 15 minutes, then you know Matheson telegraphs a lot of trades ahead of time. Part of it is he's plugged in like nobody else when it comes to this team. Occasionally, he'll fly a trial balloon of his own.
So, given the Oilers need for a third-line centre -- competition between Marc Pouliot and Gilbert Brule aside -- what do we make of his multiple mentions of UFA Blair Betts in recent weeks?
I can tell you that Betts is somebody the Oilers are looking at, but my understanding is Tambellini is lukewarm on him. That's not new, either, but for fans thinking Betts might be a good idea, don't hold your breath. Then again, if Betts doesn't get another offer, why not invite him to training camp without a contract for a look-see?
— If Jerry Reinsdorf get the Phoenix Coyotes and Wayne Gretzky gets bumped out in the process -- which sounds automatic if Reinsdorf gets the team -- I wouldn't be surprised to see Craig MacTavish end up in Arizona.
— Players are filing back into town and lot of them will be on the ice this week at Perry Pearn's conditioning camp at K of C Arena.
A fine mess
— Speaking of a look-see, I find it amusing that some fans are screaming about nepotism over the revelation Mark Messier was interviewed for a coaching position. So what? What's the harm.
I've got to admit I was asleep at the switch on this one -- Larry Brooks wrote about it in the New York Post.
I heard Messier's name come up before Pat Quinn and Tom Renney were hired, but I dismissed it. I thought, and wrote here, it was unlikely Messier would end up as a coach with the Oilers. I always had him pegged as going into management. That said, I didn't know he'd actually been interviewed.
-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.