UPDATED: Moreau Claimed, O'Sullivan Traded

Jason Gregor
June 30 2010 06:57AM

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Edmonton Oilers' fans cheer during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Tomorrow the free agent frenzy begins, and once again we will see some GMs lose their marbles and overpay a first liner, a 4th D-man or even a 3rd line plugger with the hopes that player will put his team over the top.

Rarely does that happen, but that won’t stop teams from opening up the vault and fans from believing that an Ilya Kovalchuk or Colby Armstrong or Paul Kariya will put their team over the top.

For the past two Julys the Oilers and their fans chased the superstar dream, but this summer sanity has replaced fantasy and Steve Tambellini will focus more on role players than a big-ticket-over-priced superstar.

Of course there is only one superstar available this summer, Kovalchuk, but let’s assume the Oilers search for role players is more strategy than circumstance.

Up until this past weekend many wondered if Tambellini would ever make a move, or if he’d continue to be indecisive and slow moving. In the past four days, Tambellini has added Colin Fraser and Jim Vandermeer and said goodbye to six players: Ethan Moreau, Patrick O’Sullivan, Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot, Ryan Potulny and Riley Nash and in the process he might have shed his “Tentative Tambellini” moniker.

It will take more than a few decent decisions to erase past blunders, but Tambellini could earn more love amongst Oilernation if he can add a few more pieces to the puzzle starting Thursday.

PRESSING NEEDS

With Sheldon Souray halfway out the door, Jason Strudwick and Mike Comrie uncertain to return, only Shawn Horcoff (31) and Nikolai Khabibulin (37) are older than 27. It is clear Tambellini needs to add a few veterans to this youthful rebuild, and he should do so by adding at least one or possibly two defenders and a solid 3rd liner. One physical defender and one puck mover would be ideal, and Tambellini needs to find a forward with some size.

The list of candidates that fit the Oilers’ needs isn’t that long. Keep in mind these suggestions are for a team that is still rebuilding, not looking to make a deep run in the playoffs.

D-MEN

Aaron Ward: He’s won a Cup, is outspoken and won’t cost more than $1.8 million.

Nick Boynton: Tough, physical but not a great skater. He just won a Cup in Chicago, and might stay in the Windy City, but for $1.5 million he’d help.

Brett Clark: He was overpaid in Colorado last year raking in $3.5 million, but the 33-year-old will take a pay cut, and for $2 million the Oilers might look at him.

John Scott: Brownlee has been pumping his tires for months, so I’m guessing the Oilers will be talking with him. He’s big and could play 50 games.

Denis Grebeshkov: Kidding. Seriously the Oilers should just keep moving along. Rarely does re-kindling the fire with your ex work out, and I feel the same way about bringing players back for a second tour of duty. It’s comfortable, but you regret it quickly.

Derek Morris: He is physical, can move the puck and has a good reputation in the room.

Daryl Sydor: He’d love to play in his hometown, but if Strudwick comes back he doesn’t think there will be room for both of them.

Willie Mitchell: If no playoff contender calls his agent, Mitchell could help on the backend. He struck it rich a few years ago in free agency, and I don’t see him coming close to another $3.5 million salary.

Henrik Tallinder: He’d be a great signing, but playing in the east for so long, I’m guessing he stays there. He will be in high demand and will probably end up outside the Oilers spending range.

Kurtis Foster: He recovered nicely from his gruesome leg injury a few years ago. He has a bomb of a shot, is a decent passer and is big enough to get in the way.

FORWARDS

Zenon Konopka: I can’t believe the Lightning hasn’t re-signed him yet. He is a great team player, willing to fight anyone and has worked hard on improving his game. He can’t be a 3rd liner, but he would help protect the young guns.

Arron Asham: He played in the top-nine on a deep Philadelphia team. He is physical, tough and not a defensive liability. He only made $640,000 last year, so if the Oilers offered him one million they might land him.

Adam Mair: He won't cost a lot of money, and plays with a bit of grit. He is a veteran who can kill penalties and can play wing and centre.

Colby Armstrong: Is exactly what the Oilers need, but he’ll be a hot commodity and command Steve Ott money, $2.9 million. Would you pay him that much? I would.

Saku Koivu: He’s a great leader who competes hard, but I doubt he wants to be part of a rebuild. He’ll probably sign with his brother in Minnesota.

Eric Nystrom: He’s only 27, and could be looking for an expanded role. The former 10th pick overall in 2002 might flourish with a change of scenery. Moreau was the 14th pick his draft year, and realized he’d be more productive as a checker/energy guy. Could Nystrom replace Moreau?

Owen Nolan: The 38-year-old potted 16 goals last year in Minnesota. He has Old Man strength, and Kyle Brodziak told me he was an incredible leader. He was a two time 40-goal man so he could give the offensive guys scoring tips, and he is still tough enough to earn the respect of the opposition. I’d sign him for one-year in a heartbeat.

Raffi Torres: Is the type of forward the Oilers need, but that goes against my “don’t date your ex” philosophy. Torres isn’t old or mature enough to be a leader, but his physical play combined with 20-goal potential is the exact type of player the Oilers need. Too bad there isn’t another UFA similar to him.

Mike Modano: It might be a pipe dream, but Modano can play offence and is decent defensively. He can still skate, and would take some pressure off the young kids. He probably has no interest on being part of a rebuild, but if I'm Tambellini it can't hurt to make a call.

Derek Boogaard: He won’t give you any offence, but if you believe you need the Oilers need a bodyguard for their kids he fits the bill.

Raitis Ivanans: Read Boogaard

Eric Boulton: Read Boogaard, except Boulton isn’t as tough, but he skates a bit better.

A REBUILD IS THE ONLY OPTION

After seeing the list of available free agents, it is obvious that Tambellini will have a hard time deviating from his plan to rebuild. If he can land one or even two of the aforementioned players, he’ll be happy. It’s possible he might have to dip to the C or D pool of free agents to fill the voids on the roster.

I suspect he will re-sign Jason Strudwick and Mike Comrie. Strudwick will be a good influence on the young guys, and can fill in for 40-50 games. Comrie is a competitor and he will ensure the young kids earn their icetime. He liked it in Edmonton last season, and told me before he left he’d love to come back. He has talked with the Oilers, and I suspect he’ll be back, especially if Tambellini can’t land a free agent.

Moreau speaks: UPDATE COLUMBUS CLAIMS HIM

Moreau returned my call last night when he landed in Vernon. He didn’t have to, but showed his class in doing so.

“I think it was time to part ways. I’m happy to get a fresh start, but it’s also a sad day because I’m leaving a great city. My kids were raised here, went to school here and our family has met a lot of great people. I will miss Edmonton,” he said about how he felt after speaking to Tambellini.

Tambellini actually gave him some leads on some teams his agent should call starting July 1st based on conversation he had had at the draft. Moreau didn’t have any hard feelings, and he was happy that he got a buyout rather than being traded in the last week. Now he can chose choose where he gets to play.

I'm guessing this is a major surprise for Moreau. As of last night he sounded like a guy who was going to be a free agent. This helps the Oilers in a big way cap wise, because Columbus claimed him on waivers, not re-entry waivers, the Oilers are free of Moreau's salary. It is clear that Scott Howson thought Moreau wouldn't sign in Columbus so he claimed him rather than wait until tomorrow to sign him as a free agent for less money.

It was clear it was the right time for Moreau to leave, but my only question is why the Oilers didn’t let him have a press conference to say goodbye. It is clear that both sides were okay with the decision, so why not let him speak? Unless they were worried he would follow in Pat Quinn’s footsteps and not tow the company line.

UPDATE ON POS TRADE

The Oilers have traded Patrick O'Sullivan to the Phoenix Coyotes for Jim Vandermeer. Vandermeer is a $2.3 million cap hit for next season. I'm going to guess that Phoenix might end up buying out O'Sullivan and saving money. The Oilers get Vandermeer for this season, but won't have his salary (at least not at $2.3 million) or the O'Sullivan's buyout salary for next season. Plus it gives the Oilers some added toughness on the backend and solid #5 D-man.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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MrCondor wrote:

As Per Bob McKenzie's Tweet: Rumour of Souray to St Louis for Brewer

Thoughts?

Well I picked up Brewer on NHL 10 and mand does the guy have some slick moves.

I guess I say why not? Same salary, smaller cap hit although that probably means nothing to us right now. Has leadership and it's probably more about getting rid of someone then it is getting someone.

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#52 Librarian Mike
June 30 2010, 09:43AM
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MrCondor wrote:

As Per Bob McKenzie's Tweet: Rumour of Souray to St Louis for Brewer

Thoughts?

I've always liked Brewer. I just hope people have realistic expectations of him, unlike last time around.

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@Librarian Mike

We got him three years after he was the 5th overall pick, expectations were going to he high.

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#54 hamzinoilcntry
June 30 2010, 09:47AM
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@ Jason Gregor. With the buy out of Moreau complete and the trade of Souray to anywhere a sure thing. Do the oil start the season with out a captain? Who are your early favorites to take the "C"? And does Moreau have any say like Gator did when he left on who his replacement should be?

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#55 Stone Hands McOsta
June 30 2010, 09:48AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Well I picked up Brewer on NHL 10 and mand does the guy have some slick moves.

I guess I say why not? Same salary, smaller cap hit although that probably means nothing to us right now. Has leadership and it's probably more about getting rid of someone then it is getting someone.

That's not the first time today I've seen posts basing real life skill on what they've seen for NHL 10 skill...

I support the trade rumor reluctantly, only because we have to get rid of that dead weight. But has anyone taking a peak at Brewer's career stats? Over -100 +/- on his career (I know +/- is not a big stat around these parts) but the stat I'm worried about is never a season with double digits in goals. Where are we going to get our blue-line offense from? Remember when we had too many of those guys...

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#56 Mr DeBakey
June 30 2010, 09:53AM
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"I would like to see Jason Strudwick back in oiler silks."

You can never have too many top-5 picks, I suppose.

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#57 PhillipSmithson
June 30 2010, 09:54AM
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Let's pretend that Souray is gone for a bag of pucks. (though I'm sure there will be a small return)

Here are a list of UFA's that would be good fits for the Oilers (mind you this just my opinion)

Forwards:

Colby Armstrong - At the right price he's the pot o'gold at the end of the UFA rainbow for the Oilers

*note: here's where some leaps of faith come into play*

Jonathon Cheechoo - Recently bought out by the Sens; former 50 goal scorer could be had at a steal of a deal.

Mark Parrish - Injury plagued but his style of play (when healthy) is much needed in Edmonton

Adam Burrish - Hard hitting and big mouthed; we'd like him, trust me.

Darcy Tucker - Veteran presence in the room, plus we need a good agitator

Matt Lombardi - Good player who puts up good points; downside is that the Oilers tried for him once by drafting him and he didn't want to come here then. Unsure on $ tag.

Defence (all leaps of faith; but solid D-men who bring a calming veteran presence)

Jordon Leopold

Joe Corvo

Aaron Ward

Ruslan Salei

Sean O'Donnell

None of these D-men bring the offensive game with them, but they have been around long enough to know who to play the game, but have not been around so long that they can't play the game. Each of them have all had seasons that could make it possible to sign at a decent rate.

What do you think?

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@Stone Hands McOsta

I was joking on NHL 10.

There is no suprises to Brewer's game everyone knows his holes in his game. It's just more about getting something for Souray.

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#59 DC
June 30 2010, 10:03AM
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No buyout!!!! as per twitter: Aportzline Dispatch: #CBJ have claimed LW Ethan Moreau off waivers.

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#60 Stone Hands McOsta
June 30 2010, 10:05AM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

I agree with you completely, I'd be satisfied with a couple "previously owned" jock straps for SFS, anything more would be a bonus.

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Good news on Moreau.

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#62 offside
June 30 2010, 10:13AM
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Ryan Rishaug is also reporting Moreau to CBJ off of waivers - no buyout.

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#63 Gregors dirty 'stash
June 30 2010, 10:17AM
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Didn't Brewer already play here?>

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#64 Archaeologuy
June 30 2010, 10:18AM
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offside wrote:

Ryan Rishaug is also reporting Moreau to CBJ off of waivers - no buyout.

Good for him and the Oilers. Win Win.

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So much for the black eye of buying out your captain.

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#66 Tyler
June 30 2010, 10:22AM
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Mark Spector is reporting on his twitter that POS and Nilsson will not be bought out... Fail by the oilers ifthis true

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Tyler wrote:

Mark Spector is reporting on his twitter that POS and Nilsson will not be bought out... Fail by the oilers ifthis true

How is it a fail?

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#68 Archaeologuy
June 30 2010, 10:26AM
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Tyler wrote:

Mark Spector is reporting on his twitter that POS and Nilsson will not be bought out... Fail by the oilers ifthis true

They can be sent to the minors. It will cost the Oil their full contracts but their Cap hits wont count and will disappear after this year instead of counting for 2 years.

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#69 Tyler
June 30 2010, 10:27AM
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If they are not bought out... likely wont get traded or it would be done by now... So much for eliminating the extra players. and creating room for 2 or three rookies

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#70 MrCondor
June 30 2010, 10:29AM
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Tyler wrote:

Mark Spector is reporting on his twitter that POS and Nilsson will not be bought out... Fail by the oilers ifthis true

If they cleared waivers, they can be sent to the minors, be bought out, or just hang out in limbo.

I don't know if the buyout has to be done immediately, but I hope we don't send them to the minors cause we don't need that kind of attitude in OKC

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@MrCondor

I'd like to add that if Brule does go to arbitration it opens a 2nd buyout window.

For the record here is what Spec said

Told three Oilers - Moreau, O'Sullivan and Nilsson - won't have buyout exercised at noon et when they clear waivers. Something cooking?

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#72 Tyler
June 30 2010, 10:36AM
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maybe we claim Tom Pressing from COL waivers he only has one year left at 2.75

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#73 Mike Krushelnyski
June 30 2010, 10:37AM
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@Gregor

Can you see the Oil throwing a little more money at some of the older veterans on a short-term contract? Nhlnumbers says they have $19M and change in cap space right now and I think it would be great to have guys like Morris around as transitional players and to mentor the young guys. Even if you have to give out some $3M contracts, it wouldn't be a big deal if they're coming off the books in a year or two.

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#74 madjam
June 30 2010, 10:37AM
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misfit wrote:

@madjam

No, he didn't say that at all. He said they'd be active in free agency, just not in regards to the big name, high end free agents.

Besides, any GM who would purposely avoid an area of player aquisition shouldn't be a GM. Rebuilding or not, a GM needs to explore every avenue of improving his team, and that includes signing free agents.

I hope your right in that regard , as they have not fared well there anyways . Even cutting that market off is still reducing the marketplace .

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#75 Cosmo
June 30 2010, 10:38AM
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Good luck to Moreau in Columbus. I wonder if Howson will look at any other Oiler cast-offs?

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#76 Ryan
June 30 2010, 10:39AM
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Jason, With the Kings rumored to be pursuing Kovalchuk, do you see them being willing to move Smyth? I know he has a bad cap hit but is solves 2 of the Oilers problems: Who wears the C and who mentors the kids. Could it happen?

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So seeing as we aren't buying out Nilsson and O'Sullivan is it possible we are trading our dead weight to another team that has waived guys?

I still say if we are going after a fighter that we could help the Rangers out by taking Brashear of their hands. Give them Nilsson and at least they can bury his salary, unlike Breashear who counts no matter what.

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#78 DougWeightProblem
June 30 2010, 10:42AM
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That's a solid from Howson ... good for Moreau.

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#79 Archaeologuy
June 30 2010, 10:43AM
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Ryan wrote:

Jason, With the Kings rumored to be pursuing Kovalchuk, do you see them being willing to move Smyth? I know he has a bad cap hit but is solves 2 of the Oilers problems: Who wears the C and who mentors the kids. Could it happen?

Then the LW looks like:

Smyth, Hall, Penner, MPS. I would think that MPS would have to start the year in the AHL if that deal was made. Maybe Penner gets pushed over to the Centre position.

I dont think the Oilers do it though. Tambellini doesnt have ties to Smyth like Lowe does. He would be Captain in a heartbeat though.

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#81 Tyler
June 30 2010, 10:48AM
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THanks Jason,

I know i dont have great grammer but spec should watch his when there are so many loser oilerfans like myself who read every bit of news

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Gregor

Not to be an arse, but tell Spector not to use words like "won't" when he means it's not offcial yet. His post clearly states that when they clear they won't be bought out.

Edit Clearly he was right.

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Real_ESPNLeBrun Am told by a source Patrick O'Sullivan also not bought out by Oilers because he was traded to Phoenix for Vandermeer. Checking into it

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#85 Ryan
June 30 2010, 10:50AM
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@Archaeologuy

Yeah, I can't imagine any trade that would work for both teams, especially the Oilers cap wise, but man would that ever fire up the fans. Smyth should retire an Oiler.

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Well that's a good trade in my books. Vandemeer plays PK and he hits. Only knock is injuries.

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#87 tyler
June 30 2010, 10:53AM
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pos for vandermeer save 600k and get 5th dman

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#89 Ryan
June 30 2010, 10:53AM
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Just for laughs, maybe something like this: To LA- Souray, Cogliano, Omark To Edm- Smyth, Johnson

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#90 freeze
June 30 2010, 10:54AM
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Wow, Tambo owes Howson a case of scotch!!!

Ballsy!! *clap, clap*

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#91 Chris.
June 30 2010, 10:56AM
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Vandermeer is 6'1" and 210-215 lbs... He also has a bit of grit to his game. Not a bad stop gap as the organization moves forward.

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Ah _ important update on O'Sullivan/Vandermeer: traded for each other but both players then bought out according to a source. Strange

Not sure that can happen. Don't you have to re-waive the players?

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#93 hamzinoilcntry
June 30 2010, 10:57AM
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@Ryan

That would be great. Smyth had a good year last year and would be excactly what the young guys need. To watch and learn from someone that bleeds hockey and copper n blue!!! Get it done Tambi especially if we have 19 mill in cap space and a track record of free agent signings like we have!!

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#94 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 30 2010, 10:58AM
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Chris. wrote:

Vandermeer is 6'1" and 210-215 lbs... He also has a bit of grit to his game. Not a bad stop gap as the organization moves forward.

Ya he'd be an excellent #6 for a year.

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#95 Chris.
June 30 2010, 10:59AM
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I think I'm gonna like our new team of AHLers, kids, pluggers, and stop gap players so much more the the ~skilled~ team we had last season...

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If both teams buy out the guy they acquire, that would have to mean another trade is pending. Would it not? Why would the Oilers spend more on a buyout for no good reason?

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#97 Chris.
June 30 2010, 11:02AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

If both teams buy out the guy they acquire, that would have to mean another trade is pending. Would it not? Why would the Oilers spend more on a buyout for no good reason?

Something is brewing for sure... Souray to Phoenix? Hard to immagine!

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#98 Ender
June 30 2010, 11:03AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Ah _ important update on O'Sullivan/Vandermeer: traded for each other but both players then bought out according to a source. Strange

Not sure that can happen. Don't you have to re-waive the players?

Interesting if true. Vandermeer is a lower cap hit, but he's older so that would affect how much the buyout is worth.

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I don't know, but we have cap space and Jim would've fit perfectly in our bottom 3 pairing.

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