Value Added

Lowetide
July 02 2010 06:56AM

Former Oiler Jason Smith taking care of business

This is Jason Smith. He's a good example of the time if takes for NHL defensemen to develop. New Jersey dealt him for immediate help one trade deadline, old-timey-coach didn't like the cut of his jib in Toronto and sent him away one other time.

When Jason Smith arrived in Edmonton he was battle-hardened, had leadership qualities, had learned to deal with injury, had a boatload of defensive talent and was willing to do damn near anything to establish himself in Edmonton. It takes time to learn NHL defense. A lot of good ones slip away to other teams in their mid-20's.

Steve Tambellini and the Edmonton Oilers are having a nice summer. The entry draft went very well, with Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor delivering a strong draft list that includes potential Calder candidate Taylor Hall.

The club placed three veterans on waivers (Moreau, Nilsson, O'Sullivan) for the purpose of buying out their contracts only to see the Hockey Gods bless them twice (Moreau claimed by the Jackets and a solid return in exchange for O'Sullivan).

The club entered free agency with a reasonable shopping list and some walking around money.

In the early hours of free agency we heard the Oilers were "in the mix" for Derek Boogaard and Manny Malhotra. These players address specific needs but the eventual pricetag was way too high, indicating Steve Tambellini backed off when the bidding got crazy.

His signing of defenseman Kurtis Foster--at a price of 1.8M times 2 years--has an excellent chance of being a value contract. He's big, has good footspeed and can play the position. He also possesses one outstanding skill--a monster shot from the point. The Oilers are likely to send Sheldon Souray away in trade sometime this summer, so the cannon from the point from Foster means one more need is covered with this free agent signing.

Foster has a nice range of skills, has proven he can help a powerplay and be successful against softer NHL opposition; if there's another gear there this could be a very good acquisition. We should also remember that long list of defensemen who developed late (Jason Smith, Steve Staios, others) and were available to the Oilers at less than 100 cents on the dollar. Foster could find a home in Edmonton, it's happened before. 

No matter the outcome, it's a solid bet.

The items remaining on the Oilers shopping list--a veteran center who can win faceoffs; an enforcer who can protect the small and inexperienced forwards; possibly a veteran 2-way winger to mentor the kids ala Fernando Pisani--are all out there and available. Some of the candidates the team might be looking at include Chris Higgins,  Eric Belanger and Zenon Konopka.

Steve Tambellini has money in his pocket for free agents, he has the lessons learned from the Phoenix Coyotes and their late summer value contracts a year ago, and he has veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray.

This is turning into a very nice summer.

UPDATE: Oilers have signed Jason Strudwick along with AHL veteran defender Richard Petiot this morning. Also, Ryan Rishaug is reporting that Sheldon Souray has been placed on waivers.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 SirFozz
July 02 2010, 09:36AM
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Wanye wrote:

Welcome aboard Lowetide. This truly is a wonderful day.

And fear not, we are trolling your commentary with a rockey launcher looking for trolls*

*shakes fist at trolls*

*All trolls welcome on my articles

You really should pen an article every time LT does. You know, give the trolls a home....then take them out with the rocket launcher.

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#52 Boondock
July 02 2010, 09:38AM
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Oilers sign Strudwick and Petiot on D as per their twitter.

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#53 D
July 02 2010, 09:40AM
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Good to see you here LT. It's kind of strange though.

Any sense Oiler Nation where the team would finish the season pointwise with the lineup in its current form?

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#54 Highlander
July 02 2010, 09:53AM
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LT - New Site looks good on you. As noted above I went to Lowtide a few times before thinking of looking for you here.

As for the Oil, would still like one more d (beyond what we may get in a Souray trade) and still have my man-crush on Milan Jurcina from the Caps.

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#55 Downright Fierce
July 02 2010, 09:53AM
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So Jason "Masterton" Strudwick is back... Sigh. I suppose even the new-look Oilers have to cling to the past in some way. The deal better be peanuts.

Petiot is the first of the AHL signings and a seemingly good one at that. Appears to be a bigg'un (6'4"/210) with good upside and nasty luck with injuries.

From HF:

Talent Analysis Petiot is a big punishing player, known more for his momentum-changing hits than his scoring. He is a stay-at-home defenseman who, along with teammate Mark Stuart, forms one of the best tandems of hard hitters in all college hockey. Petiot is a good skater for his size and excellent in the corners. Former General Manager Dave Taylor on Petiot: "He has excellent size, good mobility, and makes a solid first pass. He continues to work on his overall strength and we like his overall potential." Future Petiot has a legitimate future as an NHL defenseman [in the NHL] if he continues his development.

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#56 speeds
July 02 2010, 09:55AM
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You could well be right on Strudwick LT, that he's the guy they'd bring in if they go with 8. I'm with you in thinking that wouldn't be a great idea, Strudwick sounds like a nice guy, but I think he's a 9th or 10th D, not a 6/7 like some feel, and Vandermeer kinda sounds like a Strudwick replacement.

If EDM could pick up, say, Pisani, Belanger, and Eaton for 6 mil on one year deals, they wouldn't be in a position where they HAVE to dress all kinds of rookies up front until they're ready, and would have pretty decent depth on the back end.

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#57 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 02 2010, 09:58AM
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D wrote:

Good to see you here LT. It's kind of strange though.

Any sense Oiler Nation where the team would finish the season pointwise with the lineup in its current form?

Healthy Bulin 7 - 11

JDD/DD combo 11-15

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#58 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 10:02AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Is it just me that was really slow to realize that the 1st round pick that the Flames traded to Phoenix for Jokinen ended up being Gormley?

Also welcome aboard Lowetide, you've made an already excellent site even better.

No. No, it was not just you.

*goes back to mumbling under his breath*

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#59 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 10:03AM
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As per Ryan Rishaug...

Sheldon Souray has been placed on waivers

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#60 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:05AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

As per Ryan Rishaug...

Sheldon Souray has been placed on waivers

Uh oh..

So basically all the "work" that Tambs has been doing to try and trade him was a smoke screen?

Why would they even do this? Any ideas?

Also, with the re-signing of Strudwick, I guess Johnson's moving on. Too bad, I thought he made a decent 5/6 guy in what little time he had here.

So I guess it was more a 3rd rounder next year for Staois..

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#61 cambosmash
July 02 2010, 10:07AM
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D wrote:

Good to see you here LT. It's kind of strange though.

Any sense Oiler Nation where the team would finish the season pointwise with the lineup in its current form?

I don't know if this team can keep the puck out of their net enough to be a playoff team. If the Bulin Wall is like the Berlin Wall pre-1990 they're fighting for a playoff spot. If he plays like the current Berlin Wall the Oil are out by Valentines Day.

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#62 speeds
July 02 2010, 10:08AM
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I was writing that last reply for while watching the Brazil Holland game, so didn't see that Strudwick re-signed while writing.

It's not a move that I'd have made, probably at all but at least until more options were exhausted, but then again he sounds like a really good character guy.

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#63 jeanshorts
July 02 2010, 10:09AM
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"RT @TSNRyanRishaug: Sheldon souray has been placed on waivers"

WHAT????

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#64 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:12AM
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Something big must be going on.. Maybe Holland defeating Brazil? Twitter is over capacity..

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#65 cambosmash
July 02 2010, 10:13AM
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@madjam

Sending Souray out doesn't solve the problem of a lack of communication in the organization. It does rid the team of a very vocal and negative dressing room presence.

The problem will not go away, but one of the symptoms will. Completely hypothetically, if I had something like oral herpes (hypothetically) and couldn't get rid of it (hypothetically), I'd want remove the blisters from the limelight (hypothetically).

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#66 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:13AM
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That must be it Jeanshorts!

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#67 DC
July 02 2010, 10:14AM
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BAHAHAHAHA good eye opener to Souray if he clears. See Big Sex no one wants you.

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#68 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:16AM
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DC wrote:

BAHAHAHAHA good eye opener to Souray if he clears. See Big Sex no one wants you.

Yeah.. and here's hoping that none of the bottom feeders with cap space pick him up.

Because honestly it would truely suck if we lost him FOR NOTHING.

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#69 Mike Krushelnyski
July 02 2010, 10:16AM
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speeds wrote:

I was writing that last reply for while watching the Brazil Holland game, so didn't see that Strudwick re-signed while writing.

It's not a move that I'd have made, probably at all but at least until more options were exhausted, but then again he sounds like a really good character guy.

Does it really do a lot of good to have a "character guy" in the press box? I'm sure Strudwick is a great guy in the room, but his footspeed is well below NHL-calibre at this point. I don't see how he's any higher than #8 on the depth chart going into the season, so if he's only drawing in for ~25 games does his voice really get heard?

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#70 SirFozz
July 02 2010, 10:17AM
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I'd rather stick Souray in OKC than pay half his salary to play elsewhere.

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#71 Curious
July 02 2010, 10:17AM
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@madjam

Ok Ill give you that. However, getting rid of one of the biggest pieces causing the problems is definitely a start on the road to change.

On another note is it true Souray is on waivers? Hoping someone just takes him - I dont see a buyout as an option - or if it was it would be a dam expensive buyout.

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#72 cambosmash
July 02 2010, 10:18AM
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Jodes wrote:

Yeah.. and here's hoping that none of the bottom feeders with cap space pick him up.

Because honestly it would truely suck if we lost him FOR NOTHING.

Would it suck if we lost him for nothing? We got him for nothing and at least we're not taking an awful contract back.

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#73 Clay
July 02 2010, 10:18AM
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Souray on waivers can only mean there has been zero interest from the other 29 teams. Surely, they'd trade him for a bag of pucks rather than let him go for free.

Buying him out makes almost no sense; that's a big empty cap hit for four years, just to get rid of a guy.

Would they seriously bury him in the minors?

Headscratcher.

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#74 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 10:19AM
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Someone else brought it up in a previous thread: Any thoughts on the Oil signing Matthew Lombardi?

Another established 50-60 pt guy, that allows Horcoff to play more of a 3C role. He also bring the speed that they'll likely end up losing when they trade Cogliano. He may be a more established version of Cogliano, and there's no guarantee Cogs reaches Lamnbo's level.

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#75 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:20AM
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cambosmash wrote:

Would it suck if we lost him for nothing? We got him for nothing and at least we're not taking an awful contract back.

Good point.. I guess there would be that, and then they'd have more money to spread around to the kids, or try and sign 1 or 2 more UFA's.

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#76 madjam
July 02 2010, 10:21AM
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jeanshorts wrote:

"RT @TSNRyanRishaug: Sheldon souray has been placed on waivers"

WHAT????

Why put him up on waivers and risk getting nothing for him ? Is management crazy ? What do they hope to gain by a move such as that ? Cap space for Kovalchuk , Savard or even a Spezza ? Are you sure they are putting him on waivers .

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#77 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 10:21AM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Does it really do a lot of good to have a "character guy" in the press box? I'm sure Strudwick is a great guy in the room, but his footspeed is well below NHL-calibre at this point. I don't see how he's any higher than #8 on the depth chart going into the season, so if he's only drawing in for ~25 games does his voice really get heard?

The "character" guy wouldn't just be in the press box. He'd be in the dressing room. He'd be on the ice at practice. He'd be around the rest of the guys all the time. So yes, on this team, I like the Strudwick signing.

Next up... Mike Comrie.

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#78 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:23AM
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SirFozz wrote:

I'd rather stick Souray in OKC than pay half his salary to play elsewhere.

That only applies to re-entry waivers Ronaldo.

If he gets picked up now, we're off the hook for his entire salary, not half.

Its only when we send him down, and he has to clear waivers to be brought back up that we would be responsible for half his salary.

Also, due to his contract, can we now send him to the minors? I know his no trade clause has expired, but was this strictly a one way deal?

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#79 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 10:24AM
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Via Ryan Rishaug...

No realistic offers for Souray, this way they either rid themselves of him entirely, or he gets humbled in a big way.

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#80 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:24AM
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madjam wrote:

Why put him up on waivers and risk getting nothing for him ? Is management crazy ? What do they hope to gain by a move such as that ? Cap space for Kovalchuk , Savard or even a Spezza ? Are you sure they are putting him on waivers .

Madjam, it's on the front page of the TSN website. So, it's official.

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#81 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 10:27AM
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madjam wrote:

Why put him up on waivers and risk getting nothing for him ? Is management crazy ? What do they hope to gain by a move such as that ? Cap space for Kovalchuk , Savard or even a Spezza ? Are you sure they are putting him on waivers .

Stop. Rethink. Change your mind yet?

-They got him for nothing, so to lose him for nothing is fine.
-No sense keeping a disgruntled employee around to infect the rest of the team
-Free's up cap space IF they want to use it... Lombardi?

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#82 SirFozz
July 02 2010, 10:27AM
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@ Jodes

I get that. But can they wait to "call him up" when the season starts? I don't know. What team wants to pick him up without shedding salary back???

I don't get it.

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#83 cambosmash
July 02 2010, 10:28AM
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Jodes wrote:

That only applies to re-entry waivers Ronaldo.

If he gets picked up now, we're off the hook for his entire salary, not half.

Its only when we send him down, and he has to clear waivers to be brought back up that we would be responsible for half his salary.

Also, due to his contract, can we now send him to the minors? I know his no trade clause has expired, but was this strictly a one way deal?

You pay him his full salary to play in the minors on a one way deal. Maybe he can score 40 playing for Stockton this season. They can't have him in OKC complaining to Omark about how management screwed him.

You think if he ends up sent down he plays to get his $5.4M? Or does his pride get in the way and he sit and forgo the money? I imagine eventually someone would pick him up ala Schneider in Vancouver.

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#84 striatic
July 02 2010, 10:32AM
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madjam wrote:

Why put him up on waivers and risk getting nothing for him ? Is management crazy ? What do they hope to gain by a move such as that ? Cap space for Kovalchuk , Savard or even a Spezza ? Are you sure they are putting him on waivers .

you put him up on waivers because they were going to get *worse than nothing* in any trade involving him.

by this i mean that that teams were probably only offering overpaid, underperforming contracts in return.

they could trade him for a puck bag, only only really high maintenance puck bags and that wouldn't solve the problem.

using waivers, you force other team's hands a bit since there's a shorter window to pick him up or not.

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#85 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 10:34AM
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@SirFozz

They don't have to call him up or anything. If he clears waivers, he's still Oiler property, and they can keep him in the NHL, bury him, trade him, or waive him again later. I can't see any way he's an Oiler passed Day 2 of training camp (a la Heatley in OTT... make him do day 1 testing, then deal him).

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#86 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:36AM
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cambosmash wrote:

You pay him his full salary to play in the minors on a one way deal. Maybe he can score 40 playing for Stockton this season. They can't have him in OKC complaining to Omark about how management screwed him.

You think if he ends up sent down he plays to get his $5.4M? Or does his pride get in the way and he sit and forgo the money? I imagine eventually someone would pick him up ala Schneider in Vancouver.

cambosmash, I know we would pay him full salary in the minors (per his contract) but I think what Ronaldo was saying that we'd be paying half his salary if he was claimed.

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#87 Curious
July 02 2010, 10:38AM
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Didnt see that coming with Souray. Here's to hoping that someone who didnt get Kubina @ 3.8m, Volchenkov @ 4.2m, Hamhuis @ 4.5m, Tallinder @ 3.375m or Martin at 5m, will take Souray at $5.5.

I guess it is worth a shot. Not sure anyone bites though

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#88 cambosmash
July 02 2010, 10:40AM
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Jodes wrote:

cambosmash, I know we would pay him full salary in the minors (per his contract) but I think what Ronaldo was saying that we'd be paying half his salary if he was claimed.

Got it. Only pay half if he's claimed on re-entry waivers if he plays in another league. Waivers don't mean "sent down", it just means "can be sent down".

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#89 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 10:41AM
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@Curious

Islander were sniffing out D... plus his cap is 5.4, but his actual salary is 4.5, so thats a benefit to teams trying to reach a false cap floor with his cap hit, but keep the actual payroll below the cap floor.

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#90 Senator Theo
July 02 2010, 10:43AM
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Jodes wrote:

Uh oh..

So basically all the "work" that Tambs has been doing to try and trade him was a smoke screen?

Why would they even do this? Any ideas?

Also, with the re-signing of Strudwick, I guess Johnson's moving on. Too bad, I thought he made a decent 5/6 guy in what little time he had here.

So I guess it was more a 3rd rounder next year for Staois..

It really is too bad - everyone can find a spot for a big Johnson.

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#91 SirFozz
July 02 2010, 10:45AM
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I was trying to say (and doing a poor job) that if he got sent down and brought back up, we'd pay half. Which should be enough for another team to grab him. Now because it's the off season, I wasn't sure if this is possible. I do understand that if someone claims him of waivers now, they pickup the full tab.

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#92 Curious
July 02 2010, 10:48AM
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@RossCreekNation

Yeah it was front loaded. Does make some sense when you put it in that light.

Probably like you said better to just get rid of the contract then to have to take back something worse. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

Sorry about your Flames buddy. My buddies in Calgary are just devastated this morning. I didnt even really even have to do the usually sparing - I could just feel the pain.

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#93 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:49AM
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Senator Theo wrote:

It really is too bad - everyone can find a spot for a big Johnson.

Gigity gigity.. :P

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#94 SirFozz
July 02 2010, 10:51AM
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Senator Theo wrote:

It really is too bad - everyone can find a spot for a big Johnson.

Sometimes a big Johnson doesn't fit...

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#95 westy
July 02 2010, 10:54AM
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Welcome LT To the Great Gig in the Sky. I have High Hopes that you will Keep On Talking about the Sorrow, Sheep, and Comfortably Numb.

Rest assured this is

The Happiest Days of our Lives!!

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#96 Jodes
July 02 2010, 10:55AM
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Now watch Souray come out and say "The Oilers Management didn't work hard enough to try and trade me, waa waa waa!"

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#97 speeds
July 02 2010, 10:57AM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Does it really do a lot of good to have a "character guy" in the press box? I'm sure Strudwick is a great guy in the room, but his footspeed is well below NHL-calibre at this point. I don't see how he's any higher than #8 on the depth chart going into the season, so if he's only drawing in for ~25 games does his voice really get heard?

fair points,I agree, see reply 52

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#98 Quicksilver ballet
July 02 2010, 10:58AM
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I wasn't big on taking Brewer back anyways. With 28 mill in cap space he won't make it by St. Louis. We got Souray for nothing anyways... guess its fitting he goes out this way.I think this is a good move by Tambellini....there are so few teams that are willing to take the cap hit without sending something back the other way.

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#99 smiliegirl15
July 02 2010, 10:59AM
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If no one is willing to trade for Souray and get rid of some of their cap hits at the same time, I doubt anyone will want to take him without the benefit of a trade. I could see him being claimed on re-entry waiver; half is a little easier to stomach. Being passed over for our youth will certainly be humbling for him.

I'm surprised by this move but glad to see Tambellini finally stepped up to the plate and started acting like a real GM. It took him long enough; I am cautiously optimistic this season.

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#100 RossCreekNation
July 02 2010, 11:03AM
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With all the talk of Eric Belanger, I seem to recall him being somewhat of a "negative nancy". Now I don't know if that means he's a "debbie downer" and brings other guys down, or if its more of a self-depricating thing. Pretty sure it came from Mike Russo... I'll see if I can find it.

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