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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#101 Dyckster
June 30 2010, 11:08AM
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@Jason Gregor,

Please help, everything makes sense to me except this "While the Oilers get Vandemeer for this season, but won't have his salary (at least not at $2.3 million)"

Why exactly won't we have his salary?

Thanks in advance.

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#102 Chris.
June 30 2010, 11:08AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Oilers won't buyout Vandemeer...I updated story...

Thanks Jason... (Guess that's why Wayne pays you the ~big~ bucks)

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Jason Gregor wrote:

Oilers won't buyout Vandemeer...I updated story...

"won't" are you using this word by the real meaning?

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#104 Banger
June 30 2010, 11:12AM
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Dyckster wrote:

@Jason Gregor,

Please help, everything makes sense to me except this "While the Oilers get Vandemeer for this season, but won't have his salary (at least not at $2.3 million)"

Why exactly won't we have his salary?

Thanks in advance.

X2

Why wont we have his salary?

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#105 Matt Henderson
June 30 2010, 11:12AM
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Vandermeer averaged almost 18 minutes a night last year. He is a defensive upgrade to Strudwick that can play more minutes. Looks like a good bottom pairing guy.

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#106 BingBong
June 30 2010, 11:13AM
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Dyckster wrote:

@Jason Gregor,

Please help, everything makes sense to me except this "While the Oilers get Vandemeer for this season, but won't have his salary (at least not at $2.3 million)"

Why exactly won't we have his salary?

Thanks in advance.

I think he means Vandemeer will be off our books after this year, as opposed to having to still pay for O'Sullivan's buyout for the next 2 years.

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#107 Eddie Shore
June 30 2010, 11:14AM
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Why does Phx make this trade?

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Matt Henderson wrote:

Vandermeer averaged almost 18 minutes a night last year. He is a defensive upgrade to Strudwick that can play more minutes. Looks like a good bottom pairing guy.

158 hits in 62 games is a stat the looks not bad either.

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#109 Ender
June 30 2010, 11:16AM
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The reason the Oilers won't necessarily have Vandemeer's salary next year is that he's an unrestricted free agent after this season. The only way the Oilers pay him next season is if we resign him, and that may be unlikely.

If we bought out POS, he'd be on the books for this year and next.

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#110 BingBong
June 30 2010, 11:16AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Why does Phx make this trade?

I think POS is a cheaper buyout option than Vandemeer because of his age. Someone correct me if I'm wrong...

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@Eddie Shore

Save 500k.

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#112 Ender
June 30 2010, 11:17AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Why does Phx make this trade?

I can't figure that out either. Even with Vandermeer being older, I can't see how Phoenix saves any money buying out POS instead of just buying out Vandermeer in the first place.

Edit: I figured it out. Explanation in #125.

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#113 Dyckster
June 30 2010, 11:18AM
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Ender wrote:

The reason the Oilers won't necessarily have Vandemeer's salary next year is that he's an unrestricted free agent after this season. The only way the Oilers pay him next season is if we resign him, and that may be unlikely.

If we bought out POS, he'd be on the books for this year and next.

Okay, I get it.

I had read it like it was (part) of this year's salary we may not have to cover.

Many thanks Ender....

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O'Sullivan around 800k to buyout, Vandemeer is 1.5mil.

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#115 Bandwagon jumper
June 30 2010, 11:20AM
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Are we sure Phx will buy out POS?

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#116 yegCopywriter
June 30 2010, 11:21AM
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Ha, I was confused too. Semantics of what "next season" is.

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#117 freeze
June 30 2010, 11:21AM
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Tambo is earning some credibility!!

Ballsy!!

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#118 Bandwagon jumper
June 30 2010, 11:21AM
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I think CBJ picking up Ethan gave Tambo an extra Million he didn't plan on having. That may have led to the Vandermeer deal.

Out of pocket similar dollars and has a new body.

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Jason Gregor wrote:

Correct my man...

I meant if the Oilers re-sign Vandemeer I doubt it will be at $2.3 next year, and with trading 19 they won't have the remaining $397,000 from his buyout on the books either.

This trade doesn't save the Oilers any money overall, but does give them some much needed toughness and a decent D-man.

I just got a text from an Oiler who said Vandemeer is a great team guy so that should help.

Comrie is my guess

Any word on Nilsson?

Also do you have confirmation that we aren't buying out Vandermeer? McKenzie is still under the impression we are.

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#122 Ender
June 30 2010, 11:26AM
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Bandwagon jumper wrote:

I think CBJ picking up Ethan gave Tambo an extra Million he didn't plan on having. That may have led to the Vandermeer deal.

Out of pocket similar dollars and has a new body.

Edit: I can't read.

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@Jason Gregor

All things considered do you think either team really cares about cap hit this year or next?

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#125 Ender
June 30 2010, 11:30AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

POS would cost around $935,000 to buy out this year and another $398,000 next year...

The Oilers WILL NOT be buying out Vandemeer. He would of cost $766,667 this year and next year. They can use his toughness and experience on the backend.

I just finished finding these numbers myself. That kind of explains why Phoenix does this deal. The cap hit for PHX over the next 2 years, then, is a front-loaded $1.33M, a bit nicer than the evenly-distributed $1.53M that buying out Vandermeer would have cost them. PHX pays a bit more this season but saves big next year on their capspace.

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#126 Spence.
June 30 2010, 11:30AM
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Smart move by the Oil...Exciting time!

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#127 helicopter guy
June 30 2010, 11:30AM
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How did POS get traded if he was already waived? Was the paperwork not filed or something?

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#128 Dyckster
June 30 2010, 11:32AM
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helicopter guy wrote:

How did POS get traded if he was already waived? Was the paperwork not filed or something?

I think because he had until Noon MST to officially clear waivers. I think.

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helicopter guy wrote:

How did POS get traded if he was already waived? Was the paperwork not filed or something?

No one picked him up, so at 10 this morning we were able to do whatever we wanted with him.

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#130 Ender
June 30 2010, 11:33AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

They save about a million dollars...

They would have had to pay Vandemeer $2.3 million...A buyout for POS is $935,000 this year and around $398,000 next year...

They save $967,000 in total... Maybe they are trying to re-sign Michalek and need the money.

They only save that much if you assume that they'd have played Vandermeer. If they were going to buy Vandermeer out, they still save money, but only $200K. I think for PHX it was more about when they had the cap hit. Maybe they have room this year but saw a lot of hefty increases due for next season.

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#131 misfit
June 30 2010, 11:35AM
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I just hope by "#5 Dman" (regarding Vandermeer) you meant #7.

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#132 JackBauer
June 30 2010, 11:36AM
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So were the stories that these 3 guys were bought out false or were they claimed before the buying out process was complete?

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http://www.capgeek.com/buyout_calculator.php?Player=19&buyout_y=2010&buyout_m=06&buyout_d=30&Calculate=%C2%AB+CALCULATE+BUYOUT+%C2%BB

http://www.capgeek.com/buyout_calculator.php?Player=456&buyout_y=2010&buyout_m=06&buyout_d=30&Calculate=%C2%AB+CALCULATE+BUYOUT+%C2%BB

Simply looking at the buyout column where is 200k coming from?

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#134 Librarian Mike
June 30 2010, 11:38AM
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misfit wrote:

I just hope by "#5 Dman" (regarding Vandermeer) you meant #7.

He will be #5 if the Oilers hang onto Strudwick.

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#135 MrCondor
June 30 2010, 11:38AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

All things considered do you think either team really cares about cap hit this year or next?

Phoenix doesn't care about Cap hit. They care about a million dollars.

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#136 DougWeightProblem
June 30 2010, 11:38AM
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misfit wrote:

I just hope by "#5 Dman" (regarding Vandermeer) you meant #7.

I'm sorry, but with our current D, I don't see 6 guys ahead of him on the depth chart ...

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@JackBauer

Claimed to soon. We couldn't buy anyone out until 10 this morning. I have to think that the agents were told buyouts were going to happen, but then all of sudden deals opened up.

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#138 Dyckster
June 30 2010, 11:39AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

No one picked him up, so at 10 this morning we were able to do whatever we wanted with him.

12 EST...missed it by THAT much.

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#139 Matt Henderson
June 30 2010, 11:39AM
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misfit wrote:

I just hope by "#5 Dman" (regarding Vandermeer) you meant #7.

The guy averaged almost 18 minutes a night on a team that racked up 107 points. Who is going to push him to #7 on the Oilers? Dean Arsene or Taylor Chorney?

The guy is definitely a #5 right now, #4 if Tambellini cant find someone else before October.

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#140 Stone Hands McOsta
June 30 2010, 11:40AM
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misfit wrote:

I just hope by "#5 Dman" (regarding Vandermeer) you meant #7.

On any other team, absolutely.

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@MrCondor

That's kinda what I'm getting at, yet lots of people are looking at cap hit. Not just people here, but some of the so called insiders.

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#142 Fartknocker
June 30 2010, 11:41AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

No one picked him up, so at 10 this morning we were able to do whatever we wanted with him.

Thank you

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#143 JackBauer
June 30 2010, 11:44AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Claimed to soon. We couldn't buy anyone out until 10 this morning. I have to think that the agents were told buyouts were going to happen, but then all of sudden deals opened up.

So why did they report that these 3 were bought out? Jumping the gun perhaps?

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#144 Dyckster
June 30 2010, 11:44AM
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Vandermeer was a stud in his last year of junior. Captained the Rebels to a WHL and Mem Cup Championship. Had over 60 points in that year as well.

I realize it was 10 years ago, but the dude can play...no question.

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#145 Ender
June 30 2010, 11:44AM
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JackBauer wrote:

So were the stories that these 3 guys were bought out false or were they claimed before the buying out process was complete?

The only story I was able to find yesterday referenced Moreau as being bought out but didn't mention the other two waived players. I thought it was odd since I was pretty sure they needed to clear waivers before the buyout could happen (otherwise, what would be the point of waiving them?) but it was right there in black and white so I didn't argue. Just goes to show that you can't believe everything you read. Even the MSM gets it wrong sometimes, or fudges it a bit in order to get 'the scoop'. Of course, they look pretty silly today . . .

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JackBauer wrote:

So why did they report that these 3 were bought out? Jumping the gun perhaps?

Well the media claimed things too early and fans really didn't realize the whole situation as is.

The Oilers apparently told those players agents that they will be bought out if they didn't clear waivers. The media reported this and some did say there is a 24 hour window for them to clear waivers, but fans elected not to hear this.

Then when teams started talking again one realized we should take Moreau for free and another thought here is a potential way to save 800k and give the Oilers a defensive d-man they need.

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#147 Canadian Maniac
June 30 2010, 11:47AM
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I'm liking these player moves so far by Tambellini. Nothing that will get us into contender shape immediately, but we've cleared Moreau and O'Sullivan off the payroll without a buyout and got a decent enough defenseman to boot. Let's hope they stick to their guns about not hunting big game come tomorrow.

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#148 JackBauer
June 30 2010, 11:48AM
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Ender wrote:

The only story I was able to find yesterday referenced Moreau as being bought out but didn't mention the other two waived players. I thought it was odd since I was pretty sure they needed to clear waivers before the buyout could happen (otherwise, what would be the point of waiving them?) but it was right there in black and white so I didn't argue. Just goes to show that you can't believe everything you read. Even the MSM gets it wrong sometimes, or fudges it a bit in order to get 'the scoop'. Of course, they look pretty silly today . . .

Yeah no shoit. I think there were some confusing reporting yesterday.

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@Dyckster

He is in the same boat as the three guys we waived. They are NHL players, but are making too much money and there wasn't space on their previous team.

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#150 Shapeman
June 30 2010, 11:50AM
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I hope Vandermeer plays good in oilers silks but I have a bad feeling the curse of Pronger will continue.....

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