Oilers 2010 Trade Deadline: Tambellini found alive

Robin Brownlee
March 01 2010 04:38PM

2009 NHL Entry Draft, First Round

With the trade of Denis Grebeshkov to the Nashville Predators this afternoon, it's obvious reports of Steve Tambellini's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Amid scuttlebutt the Edmonton Oilers GM would be among the busiest in the NHL at the trade deadline, Tambellini got a jump today by unloading Grebeshkov for a second-round pick well before the deadline comes and goes Wednesday.

So, does this signal something more substantial than lip service when it comes to undertaking a rebuild after Tambellini went 60 games without a twitch? Is Tambellini going to dismantle a roster that clearly isn't good enough? Well, the answers are maybe and maybe.

It's difficult to say because there hasn't been a hint to be had from the tight-lipped Tambellini so far, NOTHING of substance to read from the beat guys in the dailies. Nada. Jack. Now, Grebeshkov moves.

Without a tip from Tambellini, not to mention the invaluable information I used to get from scouts on the road, I didn't have a sniff that the Oilers were talking with Nashville. Obviously, I wasn't alone.

With that caveat out of the way, here's what I've got heading into the deadline . . .

What I know

If I had anything as firm as I did last year when I was told the Carolina Hurricanes were calling for Erik Cole, I'd have already given it to you, but there's nothing that hot this time around.

The likeliest names to be traded have been out there for awhile now -- Ethan Moreau, Fernando Pisani, Steve Staios, Sheldon Souray, Robert Nilsson, Patrick O'Sullivan, Tom Gilbert and Grebeshkov. Not exactly a news bulletin.

Anyway, what I know is based on discussions with NHL sources, as well as other reporters. While it might not be as sexy as some of the stuff on other websites out there, here it is.

  • Jokes aside, Tambellini has made it known the players mentioned above are available. He's been working the phones and pressing the flesh, as first reported by Darren Dreger of TSN. That's something I've confirmed in conversations with Dreger, among others. It would seem, given the Grebeshkov trade, there's something to that.
  • Moreau is being shopped heavily by Tambellini. I was told Toronto was at least interested enough at one point to have VP of hockey operations Dave Nonis inquire about who Tambellini would want for Moreau. I'm told Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim are also interested.
  • The Oilers and Columbus were scouting each other before the Olympic break. Edmonton had Morey Gare tracking the Blue Jackets, while GM Scott Howson had Bob Strumm keeping tabs on the Oilers.
  • I was told Howson asked about Gilbert. Howson confirmed to me he'd had a casual discussion with Kevin Lowe -- not Tambellini -- but wouldn't comment on if the teams had talked specifically about Gilbert. Does that talk end with Grebeshkov off the books?
  • I'm told the Montreal Canadiens are interested in some of the Oilers forwards, which would seem to back up speculation about the teams scouting each other a couple of months ago.
  • The New York Rangers are one of the teams Souray listed as a destination when it comes to waiving his no-movement clause and I'm hearing the Rangers might be interested.
  • As a UFA next season, Pisani is drawing limited interest as a rental player mainly because of the health issues he's had over the past two seasons. I'm told Pittsburgh, as Jason Gregor has already written here, as well as San Jose are possibilities.
  • I haven't managed to find one substantial lead regarding interest in Staios, Nilsson or O'Sullivan by specific teams.

What I think

I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong ago, but here goes . . .

  • There's not a chance, none, Moreau will be here after the deadline. I see Los Angeles and Toronto as the likeliest destinations. I give the Kings the inside track.
  • Even with Grebeshkov gone, I'm expecting Columbus and Oilers to at least explore a deal because Howson wants puck-moving help on the back end. Would Howson part with R.J. Umberger for Gilbert?
  • I don't see a fit with the Habs, who are already small and soft up front, despite what I've been told. Heaven help Tambellini if he's interested in one of the Kostitsyn brothers.
  • While I haven't been able to find anything meaty regarding Staios, I'm thinking there's a playoff-bound team with cap space that might come calling despite the year that's left on his contract. The best bets look like Washington and Phoenix.
  • I'm thinking there's a chance that O'Sullivan's name came up in talks with Nonis in Toronto. If the Oilers and Maple Leafs can't trade bad contracts with Moreau and, say, Garnett Exelby in a swap involving picks, maybe O'Sullivan gets something done.

Despite all the speculation, tire-kicking and the desire for change by fans, I'd be surprised if Tambellini manages to get as busy as a lot of people hope he will.

With Grebeshkov unloaded, I see Tambellini getting Moreau and maybe Pisani gone, but a lot of the other deals being considered might be better dealt with during the off-season.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

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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 Matt Henderson
March 02 2010, 11:47AM
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Heavyd wrote:

I don't want to read through all these comments, and the props thing isn't working.

What am I missing?

Nothing happened yet and Horcoff is better than Redden

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#152 Matt Henderson
March 02 2010, 11:47AM
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@Aleslav Smidsky

Hey classy guy, good to see youre back.

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#153 Heavyd
March 02 2010, 11:51AM
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Any rumors out there?

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#154 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
March 02 2010, 11:51AM
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madjam wrote:

Oilers unlikely to make any more deals of consequence at this late stage . They should not want a last ditch effort to gut the team ,and stick the returning fan base with a very poor AHL base (dead last) to start next seasons ticket drive on !! Whom is going to want to renew their tickets if the Oilers are staring at an AHL team to start next season and some unknown potential in rookies ?

That sounds like an argument to gut the team, not stick it out for the rest of the season.

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#155 Ender
March 02 2010, 11:52AM
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@ Archaeologuy

Fun Fact: Matt Moulson would be second in scoring on this team

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#156 Aleslav Smidsky
March 02 2010, 11:53AM
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@Matt Henderson

Thanks ol' pal.

Did I miss much?

So who gets traded first Gagner or Hemsky? Any insight?

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#157 Matt Henderson
March 02 2010, 11:57AM
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Ender wrote:

@ Archaeologuy

Fun Fact: Matt Moulson would be second in scoring on this team

9th round gem.

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#158 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 02 2010, 11:58AM
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Ender wrote:

Happy for a day, maybe, until you figured out that you'd been tricked into trading a top-pairing defenceman for a third-line winger, and taken back almost an extra $1M in salary on top. Once that sunk in, that happy feeling would need to be heavily supplemented with some extra happiness of the liquid variety. For the next two years.

3rd line winger? The guy is still over .8PPG

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#159 Salsa Shark
March 02 2010, 01:36PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The upgrade in charges has been widely written about. Would you be asking this question if it was Ales Hemsky?

No, because I'd know they would do anything to hold onto that contract. But with rumours swirling about Khabi's back injury being something of the more permanent variety, I figured that the Oilers might try and pull a rabbit out.

It is in the CBA that he would still be on the books if he has a career ending injury right? I could be mistaken but it was something I thought I read on here.

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#160 Crash
March 02 2010, 01:56PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Also, didn't Redden already veto a trade to Edmonton back in his Ottawa days? Pretty sure. He does have a no-move, so he does hold the cards.

I believe it's a no trade not a no move...no move means they can't send him to the minors which I think one of the rumours is they might do with Redden.

I don't want Redden myself but I think if his options were Edmonton in a trade or Hartford and riding buses he just might choose the NHL life over the AHL.

Of course a trade wouldn't prevent the Oilers from waiving him either and sending him to the AHL.

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#162 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 02 2010, 03:35PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I see Matty is reporting interest in Staios by Washington today.

EDMONTON — The Stanley Cup-contending Washington Capitals may be looking at Steve Staios.

The Edmonton Oilers’ warhorse defenceman impressed Caps coach Bruce Boudreau during Washington’s victory over the Oilers just before Christmas, when Staios blocked a number of shots and was mixing it up with Alex Ovechkin.

The Caps struck out on Islanders defenceman Andy Sutton Tuesday. With Sutton off the table, several sources say Staios might now be in play.

But sources say the Caps are still a little edgy about the two concussions Staios has had this season. He was rocked by Dallas winger James Neal in October, missed several weeks, and was hurt again in a collision with San Jose’s Patrick Marleau in January. While he insists he’s fine, head injuries are a red flag for teams looking to trade.

Plus Staios, 36, wouldn’t be a rental pickup. He has another season at $2.7 million, which likely means the Oilers would have to take back one of the Caps’ players — they might be looking to move John Erskine — at a lower salary, along with getting a draft pick to offset Staios’s ongoing contract.

Sing me up. As an added bonus I'd love to watch Staios win a cup with the Caps.

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#163 Jamie B.
March 02 2010, 05:52PM
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Yeah, I hope Steady Steve is moved to a quality team. A nice long playoff run for him as the sixth D, occasionally blocking shots with his face (but no concussions!), would warm my bitter heart this season. A little.

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