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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#101 PerryK
July 02 2010, 11:23AM
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@Next Year Country

"As for Souray, I expect that we will trade him, but if we can't, I don't want him back polluting the atmosphere in the room. A new leadership group will emerge and evolve, and it would be best done without him. I hope Kevin was serious about letting him sit if we can't move him."

We had to have learned our lesson with Chris Pronger situation. We do not have to move Souray. He voiced his opinion on the management and the direction at a pre-Tambo 3.0 time. I think there were many people that were also in the same frame of reference across the oiligosphere at that time. He has never been known to be a negative influence in the dressing room. We should play him.

His value is at an all time low. Trading him right now would be a total knee-jerk reaction. I am starting to expect more from ST.

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#102 Milli
July 02 2010, 11:43AM
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Welcome LT. Souray, that's awesome. Tambo has shown some stones this offseason. The Summer of Steve has not disappointed!

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#103 Eddie Shore
July 02 2010, 11:45AM
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I have never read a word you have written until now. Welcome.

@ EVERYONE

Rishaug says that SMAC is still an option. What do you think?

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#104 RLH
July 02 2010, 12:43PM
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You need a catchy bio-esque line at the bottom of your articles, LT. Brings the whole thing together and warns us that sometimes excellent and sometimes inane (aka, Deep Oil) comments are near at hand.

...And, nice article.

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#105 Downright Fierce
July 02 2010, 01:23PM
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Hey Wanye/Bingofuel/SKYNET/whoever,

Can we get LT added to the Voices of the Nation author filter PDQ? Frankly, all the gaudy photoshop and Google images on some of the other authors' posts are a bit too ostentatious for my (boss') liking.

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#106 Bendelson
July 02 2010, 01:52PM
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Well LT... let's give this 'Oilernation' site a shot. Hope they are paying you a ridiculous sum to add your skills to the group. Upon early analysis it would appear as though they need you badly. Good luck.

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#107 Oiler Country
July 02 2010, 01:54PM
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Lowetide! Nice to see you here! Just wanted to welcome you to my eyes. Wait a sec...that sounds kinda...funny. Not that there is anything wrong with that..

*gulp*

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#108 Dominoiler
July 02 2010, 03:37PM
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And so it begins,..

I dont have a clue as to how placing Souray on wavers fits into the master plan, but im looking forward to finding out!!..

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#109 bingofuel
July 02 2010, 04:04PM
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Downright Fierce wrote:

Hey Wanye/Bingofuel/SKYNET/whoever,

Can we get LT added to the Voices of the Nation author filter PDQ? Frankly, all the gaudy photoshop and Google images on some of the other authors' posts are a bit too ostentatious for my (boss') liking.

Done.

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